Monday, August 1, 2011

An experiment-- my own laundry detergent

I've seen several different recipes for making your own laundry detergent and figured I'd finally give it a try. It ends up being a LOT cheaper than buying detergent (even with coupons and sales) and is pretty easy to make. I took lots of pictures and listed the recipe at the bottom.

What you will need:
Fels-Naptha soap- $1.39 for a bar at Meijer (found in the laundry/hand soap aisle- in my store it was under the hand soaps)
Arm and Hammer Washing soda- $2.79 at Meijer (found in laundry aisle by stain removers)
Borax- $2.99 at Target (also at Meijer in the laundry aisle by stain remover)
Cheese grater
Big pot for stove
Big bucket for detergent (preferably w/lid)
Empty laundry detergent bottles or big containers to hold detergent in

You can replace Fels-Naptha soap with Zote soap (which I hear is around $1 at Walmart) or even Ivory soap- I tried this recipe with Fels-Naptha but will experiment with the others in future batches.

I used:
1/2 bar Fels-Naptha soap (shredded)
3/4 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda
3/4 cup Borax

Heat 6 cups water on stove. Add grated Fels-Naptha soap to water and stir until soap melts. Once melted, washing soda and Borax- stir until everything is dissolved (it will foam up so make sure you use a big pot!).

Heat 4 cups of water in microwave while mixture is on stove. Put heated water in bucket (I used 5 gallon bucket), then add soap mixture and stif. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of tap water and stir. Let sit- stir often as the consistency will change some. It will be liquid- but kind of a gel-gooey. After it sits overnight, put in clean reused detergent containers or other plastic containers.

For each load, you use 1/2 cup detergent. If you have a front loading machine, you'll want to use a bit less. I have read that this laundry detergent is safe for front-loaders- because it doesn't suds up, but use at your own discretion. I filled 4 empty laundry containers with detergent- so this single batch will last quite a while.

Total cost per batch: around $1.24!

The batch I made used a total of 32 cups of water, so at 1/2 cup per load- this makes enough for 64 loads- so $.019 per load! Not too bad considering I bought my last Method laundry refill for $13.98 for 85 loads- or $.16 per load!

So far I've been happy with the detergent-- I even gave some to my neighbor who has a front-loading machine and she's also impressed- it works the same as any other detergent for a fraction of the price. I'll probably experiment with the different soaps and add some essential oils to the next batch.

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