June 16, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I believe I love this one so much because of all the homemade things I wanted to attempt this year, I wanted to this one to work so badly that when it did, I was just elated! It is such a money saver and so super easy to make! You can easily do double, even triple batches at a time! I will give you the powder recipe I use, but I will also give you the liquid (gel) recipe in case you wash all your clothing in cold water. The powder recipe calls for you to wash on “warm cold” or “hot” setting. The shaved soap will not dissolve properly in cold water if you use the powder recipe…yes, in fact, I did learn that from experience…(wink!)
The recipe for the powder is just the same as the liquid with the exception of one ingredient and one step – water being the ingredient and melting the soap into the water in a boiler being the step.
Let's get started!
Homemade (Powder) Laundry Detergent
The below items can be purchased at your local grocery store:
  • 1 – 55 ounce box of  Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda - $2.19 - $.32/batch
·     1 – 76 ounce box of Twenty Mule Team Borax ­- $4.29 - $.45/batch
  • 1 – 10 pack of 4.5 ounce bars of Ivory Bar Soap - $4.40 - $.44/batch
Batch Total: $1.21 for 32-64 loads! That is $.02 a load for normal wear loads and $.04 a load for heavily soiled loads! See! It really is a HUGE deal!
Each batch yields approximately 32 ounces. This makes for 32-64 loads depending on how much you use. For normal wear clothes, I use only a tbsp. full. For heavily soiled (work) clothes, I use 2 tbsp.
Here’s the recipe:
  • 1 bar of shaved bar soap (Ivory, Zote, Fels Naptha, Dr. Bronner’s, etc.) – You can use a microplane, cheese grater, food processor grating blade, etc. to shave your bar soap.
  • 1 cup of borax (Twenty Mule Team)
  • 1 cup of washing soda (Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda)
Thoroughly stir together for 5 minutes and there you have it, your very own homemade powder laundry detergent!
*This is a recipe that works in all types of washing machines ranging from top load to HE front load.*
Now, above is the basic recipe I use, however I prefer a little citrus scent in mine, so I add 2-4 drops of citrus essential oils to the batch and stir once more. Do not add any more than that or it will stain the clothes in the wash. You can use whatever scent you like; lavender, lemon, peppermint, etc.
Soap/Detergent cost breakdown & savings
Prior to making our own, we were using a variety of liquid detergents. Here is the breakdown in cost analysis:
  • Arm & Hammer® liquid 100 ounce detergent – $6.79 – 32 loads = $0.21 per load
  • Tide® with Bleach powder 267 ounce detergent – $20.32 – 95 loads = $0.21 per load
  • Our homemade powder 32 ounce detergent – $1.21 – 32-64 loads = $0.02-$0.04 per load
So, whether you prefer liquid or powder, you are saving the same $.17 to $.19 per load. This really adds up!
I do hope you’ll give it a shot! I absolutely love how well it works! My husband works in a place where he comes home with very heavily soiled clothes daily and this stuff works perfectly on his dirty, dirty clothes!
If you are interested in the liquid version of this detergent, check out this recipe:
Homemade (Liquid) Laundry Soap

1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax powder 

You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size with a sealing lid.

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use ½ cup per load.

-The finished soap will not be a solid gel.  It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an "egg noodle soup" look.

-The soap is a low sudsing soap.  So if you don’t see suds, that is ok.  Suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap.

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