I am always looking for a way to save money and space, both important considerations when you are embarking on a long term storage plan so I was delighted to find this recipe on my neighbor, Heather’s, blog:  Faith, Fun and Family. It is for a homemade laundry detergent. It is certainly frugal. 32 loads cost just $1.00. Just as important, if you store the ingredients and make up a batch as you need it, you save a lot of space. As I have a 3 full shelves devoted to soaps, this idea is pretty appealing. Here’s the recipe:

1/2 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated

1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)

1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

Mix all of this with 2 gallons warm water. Heather didn’t say how she mixed it but I am guessing that you need to use very warm water and an electric mixer. Heather gave me a quart of it to try and I loved the results. The mixture thickens into a gel as it sets. I used about 1/3 cup. My laundry smelled terrific.

Heather added a nice little rant on what we actually pay for with laundry soap. Product placement, fragrance, color, perceived convenience, and advertising. There was one topic she didn’t touch on and that was the waste.  Plastic cleaning supply containers take up tons (literally!) of landfill space. Even if recycled, the often end up being transported to China. The whole process is hardly benign. Making your own will result in much less trash.

My next book is an essential kitchen guide. I and my co-author, Alice Cozzolino, are looking at the tools we use to process food and how we set up our kitchens to save money while preparing healthy, eco friendly meals. One of the things we looked at was the chemicals we introduce into our homes in an effort to keep them clean. We feel that this is generally a case of the cure being worse than the disease. As I complete my research into recipes for cleaning, I will be passing them on. Our book will be out next year.