I used Fels-Naptha for this batch, but I have also used Ivory Soap. Fels-Naptha is 97 cents per bar at Wal-Mart, but Ivory Soap is 99 cents for 3 bars, and it only takes a bar of either per 4 cup mix. It is kind of what mood I am in, and how rich I feel, as to which one I pick up. If I am feeling wealthy, I splurge on Fels-Naptha.
I started making my own soap as a frugal hack, but then found out that Husband's sensitive skin improved, so I doubt that I will ever go back to buying commercially made laundry soap, no matter how "hypo-allergenic" it is. Plus, it takes about 2 seconds to get everything together and make it.
The last time I made it, one of Thing1's friends was over, and she was kind of surprised to see that it is possible to make your own laundry soap.
One year supply of laundry detergent:
Fels Naptha 4 bars @ 97 each $ 3.88
Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda $ 3.87
20 Mule Team Borax $ 4.15
TOTAL = $11.90
Grate a bar of Fels-Naptha. It will look like grated cheddar.
Once everything is all blended into a fine powder in my little handy-dandy food processor, I break out the Folgers reusable plastic canister.
I add one level (maybe a little bit rounded) Tablespoon of detergent per load. I have added two for particularly dirty/smelly loads.
I also bought a container of Purex Crystals last year, and have added them to my loads with sheets and blankets, so that those items get a softening agent. For towels, I add 1/2 a cup of plain white vinegar to the laundry with the soap to keep them fresh smelling and soft.
I have also toyed with the idea of buying a small box of Gain (by far my favorite smelling laundry detergent) and adding a scoop of Gain (the equivalent of one load) to my mix for the quarter. If I decide to do so, I will update you. I hesitate to do this, since I do not know if even this small amount might irritate Husband's skin. (That is kind of part of the beauty of making your own, and it being so affordable. If it does irritate his skin, I give that batch away and make another. No biggie!)
So, there you have it. A year's supply of laundry detergent for roughly $12.00. And, our clothes are clean and fresh smelling.
Update: Because of some sort of a latent OCD on my part, when someone asked me how much it was per use for my laundry soap, I felt an urgent need to figure out the per use cost.
The bar is 5.5 ounces, and there are 2 tbsp per oz.
Each cup of Borax or Washing Soda is 16 tbsp.
4 C. x 16 = 64 tbsp in the powders, and 11 tbsp in the bar = 75 loads of laundry per quarterly recipe.
$11.90 for the year / 4 quarters = 2.975, or $2.98 per quarter
$2.98 / 75 loads = .0397333, or 4 cents per load. And, that's with the more expensive soap option.
If I were to utilize Zote, which comes in a larger bar (so I only use 1/2 a bar per recipe) or if I use Ivory Soap @ 99 cents for 3 bars, my cost per load reduces to 3 cents per load :-)