Saturday, April 21, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

For the month of April, I gave up using the internet for superfluous purposes. I thought this might mean I can go to the Y to continue running, but the ankle dr. said I need to stay off it for 6 weeks so that's not happening :-/). Anyway, that obviously meant I needed to find reasons to go on My Pinterest Account. I ran out of laundry detergent yesterday so I thought this would be a perfect time (!!!) to go online and investigate creating my own. I've heard it's better for the environment and it's a lot cheaper, so I decided to give it a try. 

There are basically two ways to make it- liquid or powder- and they use the same ingredients. I picked up 3 bars of soap so I made both. I don't think I'll be purchasing detergent for quite some time. 

For both versions, you'll need to start out with borax ($3.38), washing soda ($3.24 [NOT baking soda])  and a bar of soap. Many sites recommended Fels-Naptha ($0.97) in the cleaning aisle so that's what I used. 

In the powdered version, I chopped up 1 bar of soap, which made about 2 cups. (I used my blender, which works fine until it gets heated... I think grating with a cheese grater will work just as well) and added 3 c. borax and 3 c. washing soda. I mixed all ingredients together in a bowl. You can see the yellow soap in the white mixture.

After this, just find a container to store it in! I used a large Ball jar, but pretty much anything would work. It made about 8 cups of detergent. Using 1/2 to 1 tablespoon in each load, this should last several months.

Super cheap and easy! 

The liquid detergent is a bit messier, if you're someone like me, but it was really neat to make. I usually prefer liquid detergent over powdered, because I feel like it cleans better. I'm sure it doesn't, though. lol

Anyway, grate 1 bar of soap (which once again makes about 2 cups) and put in about 8 cups of boiling water on the stove to melt. Quickly turn down the heat if your soap starts to bubble so it won't make a mess. After my soap melted, I turned the heat down to medium.

After it's melted add your cup of borax and cup of washing soda. Stir until it appears to be completely liquid (didn't take long!) Then pour into a five-gallon bucket (or whatever you choose, I guess) and add about 3 more gallons of hot water, and let it sit overnight.

The next morning it should be gel like, and after a quick stir it's ready to go. Of course in ValerieWorld it  wasn't quite that simple, however. I only added 2 gallons of water yesterday, and there was no gel consistency... it was very much like thick pudding. So after trying to add another gallon and mix it in (didn't really work) I scooped out bits at a time and used the "whip" feature on my blender for about 5 seconds. That worked fabulously, and now I definitely have more laundry detergent than I could ever possibly want! haha I recycled an old detergent container to keep some in the laundry room, filled up a recycled orange juice container with some, and still have a little more than 2 1/2 gallons in a five-gallon bucket. I'm not sure how I'm going to store it quite yet. Perhaps I'll try to rummage up some more old containers today.

Big Question: Does it work? Yes. I used the powdered form to wash two loads of clothes last night (whites and a comforter) and they both came out of the dryer looking and smelling fantastic! I just finished up a load using my liquid, and it's just as great as the powdered. I hung up a tally chart next to the washer so I can keep track of how many loads I get from each batch. I'm expecting about 150 loads from the powdered, and at least 100 from the liquid (unless I give some away, of course). That will be 250 loads of laundry for $8.56 (and that doesn't even take into consideration that I have more than 1/2 box of borax and almost 1/2 box of washing soda leftover).

That's about 3 cents per load of laundry.


Kymberlee said...

I so want to try this but I am so so so so lazy!!
Hey I bet you can add pure essential oils to it too to have a particular scent if you wanted! I am sure a Tide geek though... hmmm must think about this making your own detergent schtuff!

Channing said...

That stuff is awesome ! It's really does work.