Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
I wrote a post back in 2009 about making your own laundry soap. My friend Martha had told me about it. She had seen it on TV. You can read the post here. Homemade laundry liquid. At that time I really didn’t need any laundry soap but I did write the directions for anyone interested.
I believe the recipe was everywhere on the internet by the time I wrote my post. Yet, there was something bothering me about the recipe and I never got around to writing that part. Today I was looking through some of my older posts and came across that one. I thought I should finally write the post about what had been bothering me. It might be helpful if you read the original post first or at least know about the homemade liquid laundry soap formula. Probably everyone these days has heard about it already.
The problem I have with that laundry soap recipe are these two products. What bothers me is that these are basically two different brands of the same product. Both are laundry soap booster products. One is all natural and one is chemical. Both have their usefulness but I don’t believe you need both products plus the Fels-naptha soap to have clean laundry. Fels-naptha is also a laundry booster but in bar of soap form instead of powder. In other words, the three products are basically the same thing. So why would you need three laundry boosters to substitute for one laundry soap?
Fels-naptha soap is the original laundry spot remover treatment. It was created in the 1860’s or there about. The soap bar made today is totally different from what it was originally. The Dial Company has changed the formula so it only resembles the original. Today there is Shout or Oxi-clean or other spot removers on the market.
The washing soda is a chemical product but the borax is a natural product. The washing soda is pretty harsh on clothing. Washing soda is used to prepare fabric for dyeing. It breaks down the fibers so dye can penetrate better. Do you want your clothing fibers to be broken down more and more each time you wash them? Wouldn’t that mean the clothes wear out and fade faster and cause your clothing budget to go up because you are constantly replacing them?
The washing soda says to wear rubber gloves when using it but the borax doesn’t. The borax is safe enough to use in your dishwasher. Umm…. assuming the information on the box is correct. Mostly I use vinegar or peroxide for cleaning but I do use the borax to clean stuff around the house every now and then.
In my own opinion all you really need is one of the three products to have clean laundry. My Grandma Mama did make her own soaps but she also kept a bar of the Fels-naptha in the wash house for stubborn stains. It would have been original formula and not current formula Fels-Naptha. She would wet a stain and rub the bar on it a few times. She would then let the garment set for a few minutes before dropping it into the washtub. I vaguely remember Grandma Mama bought only one bar a year and split that bar with three other people. Grandma Mama washed a lot of clothes with farm stains on them but the bar lasted because so little of it was needed to remove a stain.
Well anyway, that’s my opinion of the very popular internet formula for homemade laundry soap. Personally, I prefer to make my own soap from scratch instead of from packaged ones. I’m looking for a local source for lye before I start making my own soap again. Anyone know of a store here in Louisville that sells soap making supplies?