Monday, February 8, 2010

how I made my own laundry detergent [no pictures, boo]

I could tell you a whole long story about all the internet searching I did and how I looked from store to store and where I actually ended up buying all my ingredients and my learning as I went making of it all ... but instead I'll just tell you what to use, how to use and store it and where it's the cheapest.


What to use:
1 55 ounce box washing soda -- I used Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 76 ounce box of Borax -- I used 20 Mule Team, which seems to be the only brand around
10 bars of bar soap -- I used Fels Naptha a bar soap made specifically for laundry but Ivory or pretty much any bar soap you want to use on your laundry is fine too

How to use it:
grate the bar soap. I used a box grater and Daughter thought it was cheese. That was a nice tantrum when I wouldn't let her eat soap cheese, I'll tell you.

Mix all three ingredients together. (you'll need something roughly the size of a 5 gallon bucket)
in small batches (about a cup to a cup and a half at a time) put the mix in a blender and blend it until fine. VERY fine. If the bar soap isn't fine, it runs the risk of not dissolving in the wash thus not rinsing off your clothes properly.

I made the mistake of trying to blend JUST the soap so I could mix it when it was fine, but that didn't work. having the borax and washing soda WITH the bar soap worked fabulous. I also found if I put for than a cup and a half in the blender at a time, it got bogged down. so blend more at your own risk ... or risk to your blender.

For storage, I'm using a five gallon bucket with a tight lid. I'm sure you could also use zip lock bags or a myriad of other things you can think of that seals tightly.

You only need to use between one to two tablespoons per load, depending on the size and dirt of the load. Luckily, I have a scoop that is two tablespoons and marks the one tablespoon mark. [from my Allen's Naturally detergent that I use on the cloth diapers]

Where's it the cheapest:
Publix on the laundry detergent aisle. You can buy all three ingredients for under $20 at Publix.

other places to find the ingredients:
I've heard Wal-mart, but my local one only had the borax
Ace Hardware. (you can also order from their website and have it delivered free to a store)
Amazon or where ever else you buy your online things-its and whats-its.

I wash in hot and cold water and the detergent works great in both.

Have an HE washer?
you can still use it. The only thing 'special' or different about HE detergent is that it produces very low suds in the wash [yes, it's true.] This detergent produces low suds too. It's safe.

p.s. I really love Fels Naptha. I have an extra bar that I'm using as a pre treater. and it smells pretty fabulous. my laundry room has never smelled better

while I found various websites, with various recipes this is the only one that's exactly like the one I used. I'm going to try their homemade dish washing detergent soon.


Mandy Mc said...

Thanks for posting this. My box of borax was a large box so I had to measure out all of my ingredients (1 bar of soap, 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 washing soda). It ended up being a good thing because I didn't have a big bucket or anything to mix in. SO, I was able to use smaller containers to mix it a little at a time. I'm using gallon sized frozen yogurt containers. They fit nicely above my washer. It remains to be seen whether I got my soap fine enough.

Jennifer said...

I made it on Sunday, but have yet to try it. It was $3.99 for the washing soda, $2.99 for the Borax, and $.99 for the soap at Publix. It does smell delicious.

I think my next project is the kitchen compost bucket. Josh hates it if I just put the stuff in a bag until I feel like trekking across our yard to put it in the composter.

Who knew we'd get so excited about laundry detergent and vegetables? ;-)

bpeterson said...

This sounds great. I already use Arm & Hammer detergent and add borax sometimes. This sounds MUCH cheaper though! Great job, friend!

Megan said...

Fun stuff! Great post :)

Mandy Mc said...

We are such a bunch of thrifty tree huggers. I love it! May we continue to inspire one another (because Lord knows I don't have the motivation by myself!)

The Freeman Family said...

I tried the Duggar's recipe for homemade dishwashing detergent. Basically the same was what I just read from your link. I liked it the first few times but it did not seem to cut the grease off the dishes after that. My dishes were kinda oily feeling. I used it in the dishwasher. Handwashing might be different but I don't have time for that.