Guess what I made this morning! The recipe I used yielded about 3 gallons. I'm no math whiz, thus the queasy feeling I get when someone springs a word problem on me, but even I can figure out that this will save us money - one way to recoup the $500 we spent on the installation of a water softener over Christmas.
I've researched this idea off and on for years, and finally all the ingredients were easily obtained, so I gave it a shot. The recipe I ended up using seems to be pretty standard in the blogosphere. I found this at TipNut. Interestingly, when I consulted The Tightwad Gazette, there was no recipe for a laundry soap mentioned. Whether this was an oversight in the final text or what, I wonder.
You can look at the recipe at the link above, but here are the ingredients I had to purchase:
1 box Borax from WM ~ $3.50
1 box A&H Super Washing Soda from Alice.com* $2.76
1 bar of Octagon Soap** from Bartley's Meat Market ~$.79
I had on hand:
empty milk jugs
empty detergent jug
* I looked high and low for this product, and two years ago could only find it online at a case price of something like $13 plus shipping. I discovered Alice.com, a site that offers free shipping with only a minimum 6 item purchase. They market themselves to folks who want to avoid trips to the grocery store for essentials and bulky items. They occasionally have great clearance sales on things like razors, Lipton tea, etc. Their prices are average, in my opinion, and generally I can get better prices at Kroger by shopping sales and using coupons. But I was elated to see Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda there at a very reasonable price.
** Andy FREAKED when he saw 2 bars of Octagon soap on the kitchen counter yesterday. I mean, FREAKED. He backed across the kitchen with his hands up in front of him as if fielding off a bad dream and said, "Ohhhh, no, you're not bringing THAT stuff in the house!" Further investigation revealed that he has an intimate knowledge of Octagon soap a la:
Anyways, it appears that per the label on the empty laundry detergent jug I used will yield about 44 loads per container, and I made 3 containers with the recipe, or about 3 (scant) gallons.
So, if my math logic is correct, it means that the recipe yields approximately 130 loads. The cost of the ingredients - the initial purchase - was $7.04. Do you divide 130 by 7.04 or is it the other way around?? Well, one way comes out to $18 a load and the other comes out to just under $.05 a load. I'll go with that one. Considering that say, I can get A&H (my usual brand) on sale for about $3 a jug for 32 loads, at $.09 a load (or $10.60/load, depending on your math), it comes to a savings of about 50%. (I say "about" because I have NO idea how to figure actual percentages!)
Of course, the proof will come out in the wash. I'll have to do another post on whether it works, whether it smells OK, whether it gives us a horrible rash and whether Andy has flashbacks and needs to be hospitalized for shock therapy. That will be a fun post to write!!