I can always tell when I'm wearing something I haven't for awhile.  It might be the hives that gives it away, or maybe the raised red skin.  My personal favorite part is that I just want to rip the skin off because it's itching so bad.  No matter what gives it away, I can tell you the what the issue is: the laundry soap or the fabric softner.

I had no idea soy and wheat were in so many products before I had issues with them, but it does explain a few things over the years.  Itchy, red, irratated skin, breakouts that I couldn't clear up (though I was offered plenty of drugs for that) and hives for seemingly no reason.  I've even seen an allergist, who swears I'm not allergic to anything.  His tests say so!

Before I head off on a tangent rant, let's get to what this post is about, taking care of your clothes.  I've had varying washers over the years.  There was the one at my parents place that used to go for a walk.  The one in the second apartment that liked to put rust stains on my clothing, and then I got the front load one.  I love him.  I think for a few weeks we all were mesmerized by it.  The cat and I would watch in joyful bliss as the clothes sloshed around in a circle, used less energy and got everything the cleanest I've ever seen.
However with the itching being an issue, I went through a lot of different types of laundry detergent and softners.  Finally, last year I gave up.  I now make my own, and I've learned a few things while doing so.

1).  Never use fabric softner with your towels.  They don't get clean and don't dry you as well either.
2).  Dryer balls actually work as well as dryer sheets.  Maybe they don't smell as nice, but we seem to be the only culture obsessed with smelling Tropically Fresh.
3). Detergent is incredibly overpriced.
4). Those spray pretreaters don't begin to work.
5). My grandmother is an incrediblly brilliant woman.

Years ago, when the kids were little, my grandmother told me to find a laundry soap bar to get out the stains in the kids clothes.  I did, and it worked.  It worked something akin to magic, not the way a pretreater does.
I still use it today for everything from blood and grass stains to general food splatter and whatever the kids managed to smear on themselves.  I've yet to really find anything it won't take out.  So, what is this miracle product?  It's Fels Naptha.  Costs about a dollar a bar, and as a pretreater, lasts forever.  The actual laundry detergent I make is made with it as well.

The recipe for the detergent is as follows:

1 bar of fels naptha, grated.  (use a kitchen grater on the small holes, and one or more of your children to do this)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup baking soda
1 cup color safe bleach

Stir all that up and put it in a sealed container.  If you want you can add a few drops of essential oils to it.  You might miss being tropical fresh otherwise.

I know that seems as though it isn't making all that much, but keep in mind you're only going to use a tablespoon at a time for a front load. A batch like that keeps a family of four in detergent for a few months.  It might cost roughly 8 dollars for all the supplies.  You'll have leftovers for about 3 more batches, buying the small boxes of the ingredients, so will only cost you about $1 for the soap bar next batch you make.  I think about that every time I pass the $20 box of Tide and I snicker the rest of the way through the store.

1 Response
  1. Thank you so much for the recipe!

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