Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nerdy Laundress

My numbers may be a little off, and I hope to get them tweaked with OFFICIAL prices when I come across them, but I am assuming that Borax and Washing Soda are about $3.50 a box (76 ounces and 56 ounces). **double checked: Washing Soda $3.29/56 oz. Borax: $3.49/76 oz.)

We do about 9 loads of laundry per week on average. I have been keeping track, so it's pretty darn close to the truth. When I skip laundry for a week... then I get to play catch up with a lot of laundry. So fun

If we were to be using Tide (since it is my childhood brand of preference!), we would be spending roughly $3 bucks a week or $170 per year. (numbers have been rounded) I bought my first thing of Tide in a long time because I washed a load for a friend and she had me use her detergent...which smelled so good. I really like making our homemade laundry detergent, but I really miss the smell of the "good stuff." I don't miss it enough to keep using Tide, that's for sure!

The standard "homemade laundry detergent" recipe going 'round and 'round the internet is 1c Fels Naptha, .5c Borax, .5c Washing Soda. I was making the powder, because it was less work for me. Using this recipe drops my weekly cost for detergent to about $2. My yearly cost drops by $65! That's a pretty good reason to switch to homemade right there.

However, since I am a lover of DIY, I wanted to test out taking this a step further. Making my own lye-heavy laundry bar of soap out of tallow and lye brings my weekly cost down to $1.15; my yearly cost would drop another $42 (or $107 from using Tide)! Whoa. I went to the butcher and asked for tallow. Silly me. If you do it, ask for suet instead. Tallow is what it is called after it's been rendered (in your crockpot for 10 hours). I rendered the tallow, I just have to decide on a scent to stick with since it will be with us for a while! I haven't added back in the cost if I was to add essential oils back in and make my laundry smelling great again.

**adding back in the cost for using 1/2oz essential oul per pound ratio of a $16 4oz bottle of lavendar essential oil, it would still be cheaper than the Fels Naptha route. It would eat into the savings by quite a bit, but I would still be saving $0.20 per week or $10 per year. That's not $40 savings like before but I am still happy about it because maybe my laundry would smell better!

I already priced it out one spring/summer/fall about hanging dry my laundry and was able to save $67 hanging when the weather was above 65.

Kind of fun in a nerdy, homesteading kind of way! Whatever will I do with my extra $172 (from lye/tallow soap and hanging dry my clothes)?

This is the pre-rendered tallow, or suet (to save you from the same faux pas). I cut the silver skin off of it and chunked it up to fit in my crock pot. What I assume was the silver skin crackled a little as I cut, which was very fascinating to me. 

It rendered down into a golden liquid with a big chunk of the rest of the non-tallow... Stuff? Silver skin or whatever else I had missed when cleaning it up. It was easy to scoop out.

What was 5 pounds of suet from the butcher, became 50 (weight, not fluid) ounces, or 3.125 pound, of beautiful, pure white, tallow once it cooled.

Just because it is pretty once it is cooled, don't be fooled--it stunk something awful. Ha. Next time it will be rendered AND cleaned up OUTSIDE.

Working up the guts to get some soap
made tonight, but we have another house showing. Maybe after?

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