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Today’s guest post comes from my good friend Zohrbak.  She is an awesome mom and entertaining writer chronicling the challenges, victories, frustrations and humor of parenthood.  I encourage you to visit her blog and subscribe.

She has been generous enough to lend us her wit here at 1CraftyLane as well as a useful tip on making our own laundry detergent.  Useful, inexpensive, and CRAFTY! 🙂  I love it!

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My good friend Spiceblogger asked me to introduce myself to you guys. My pen name is Zohrbak. I’m a mother of 4 and I work full time. My hobbies are housework, homework, and um…did I mention housework? I also blog for fun, on the general topic of parenthood. It helps keep me sane.

You won’t find me lurking around crafting blogs very often, but when you do, it’s always because I’m looking for a low cost, practical solution to an every day issue in my household. If there’s one thing that a mother of 4 is knowledgeable about, it’s laundry. (As opposed to travel, politics, gourmet cuisine, fine art or oh, say, birth control.) Also, I’m pretty particular about it. Well, I’m particular that things are clean, smell fresh and come out of the dryer in wearable condition, because I’m not going to iron anything unless someone has died or is getting married–that’s just where I have to draw the line.

The amount of laundry a six-person household generates is mind-boggling. It’d be easy to assume that, as a matter of practicality, I would use the cheapest laundry detergent that I could get my hands on, but that’s hardly the case with me. I’m a stickler for cutting corners only when I don’t sacrifice quality, and so, as a rule, I’ve been buying only top-of-the-line laundry detergent for years. The cheap stuff just doesn’t clean as well; and I found that, over time, they faded the colors in our clothes. You’re not saving any money at all if you have to replace your clothes more often, right?  On top of splurging on the most expensive brand of detergent, I still used detergent boosters (like Borax), stain pre-treaters and fabric softeners.

I’d heard here and there over the past year or so that people were making their own laundry detergent. The idea intrigued me. A friend recommended a recipe that she found on Pinterest.   I figured it was worth a shot. I easily spend $50 a month on laundry supplies.  For less than $20, I could make a batch that promised to last 6 months in a typical household, so I figured it would probably get me through at least 3 months.

I found all of the supplies at Wal-Mart, and it was very easy to put together.

You will need:

1 55 oz box of Super Washing Soda

1 76 oz box of Borax Natural Laundry Booster

32 oz box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (found in the baking section of the grocery department)

1 56 oz tub of Green Works Oxi Stain Remover

3 bars of Fels-Naptha Landry soap

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a clean, dry bucket. I used a small waste basket lined with two trash liners, which made it a little easier for me to rotate all of the ingredients and mix them better. Using a cheese grater, shred the 3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap. It will have the same appearance and consistency as grated cheddar cheese. (My kids got super  excited about the idea of washing their clothes in cheddar cheese!) Mix again, for good measure.

I store the detergent in a 5 gallon bucket with the lid tightly secured. I use the Green Works Oxi container to keep a small amount next to my washing machine for easy use. The plastic scoop that comes in the Oxi container works great as a measuring scoop for your homemade detergent. Since I have an extra large capacity HE washer, I use 2 scoops in my regular loads, and 3 scoops in my heavily soiled loads. If you have a washer, you should start with 1 scoop for regular loads and 2 scoops for heavily soiled loads.  I still use fabric softener as I would have before, and I still pre-treat heavy stains (like grass stains, etc.) before I wash.

The Fels-Naptha soap disintegrates easily in water, and this recipe makes a naturally low-suds detergent, which is what plumbers will tell you that they recommend for your pipes and septic system. My laundry room smells FANTASTIC when I’m doing laundry now– which I love–even if my kids are slightly disappointed that their clothes don’t smell or taste like cheese when they come out of the dryer.

Overall, I am very pleased with this detergent. If it can handle my family’s needs, I’m sure you will be happy with it too.