Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have been obsessing about several things lately, one is cutting our everyday costs. So many"natural" products are beyond pricey. It gets ridiculous really.... so I started with the things that I use every day. Like laundry detergent.

I found this recipe on the Why Not Sew? blog... (click for link)
It uses very few ingredients and took very little time to make.
I did not take photos of the process, since WhyNotSew did such a spectacular job of it.

My notes are in hot pink~
1 bar soap (Kirk's CocoCastile or any soap of your choice) (I now use liquid Dr. Bronner's Castile soap, 1/2 cup per batch)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda (not baking soda)
a big pot (that will hold more than 2 gallons)
a grater (for bar soap~ I use my food processor)
a long spoon
a bucket to store detergent in (I use an old enamel soup pot... make the detergent in it then store it on top of your dryer. This eliminates the messy transfer from pot to bucket step.)

The Process:
1. Grate the bar of soap. (I used my food processor because I am impatient... it took 30 seconds to grate and the soap rinses off easily) If you are using the liquid soap you can skip this step, obviously.

2. Add 1 gallon hot water to the pot and add the grated (or liquid) soap. Heat until soap has dissolved.

3. Add the Borax and the Washing soda.

4. Bring to a boil. It will coagulate, more if you are using bar soap, less if using a liquid soap.  It will also cook over really fast and make a huge mess. Beware.

5. Turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water. Stir. 

6. Let it sit until it cools. If it hasn't coagulated yet, no worries. It will. (When you use the liquid Dr. Bronner's Castile, the detergent stays looser, it does not solidify (gel) up as much. This works perfectly for me and my top loader as I was having trouble with the large gelli chunks getting gunked up in the dispenser).

7. Once it is cool transfer it to the bucket. 
As I mentioned above, I store my detergent right in the pot I cook it in.
I use a 1/2 cup and put it in my front loader dispenser into the powder dispenser. 

Previously I used the Ecos brand laundry detergent from Costco, which costs around $12 for a 210 oz. jug. 
I used 1/3 cup per load, which came to 30 cents per load!
(I have no idea where they get their calculation on the HE amounts! The Ecos bottle says you can get 100 some loads??!!, but that did not work at all for me. Maybe if you washed 3 towels per load, haha).

After breaking down the math on this recipe, a 1/2 cup per load comes to 
4 cents a load! 1/3 cup comes to 2.6 cents!!

So, on average we do 2-3 loads a day. 
The Ecos brand cost comes to 60-90 cents a day, $18-$27 a month and $216- $324 a year.
This recipe costs 8-12 cents a day, $2.40- $3.60 a month and $28.80- $43.20 a year.
BIG SAVINGS, and more than enough to make it worth the time to cook this up.

I have been using this recipe for about 3 weeks now, and so far have noticed NO difference in the cleanliness of the laundry. (update... for 9 months now! It is really easy to make and I have no plans to go back to store bought detergent)

My clothing no longer has a faint old lady perfumy smell and the Borax makes the whites brighter (I do not use bleach in my l laundry, it is bad for the septic). The Dr. Bronner Castile soap comes in some yummy scents. My favorite is Tea Tree Oil.

I use white vinegar for the fabric softener and if it is a stinky load I put vinegar in the bleach dispenser also with a cup of baking soda inside the washer.
The bleach dispenser goes into the wash load, the fabric softener goes into the rinse.
The baking soda also keeps my front loader from smelling mildewy, something I reallllllyyyy noticed after getting a front loader. It does not seem to empty the water competely out after a load, and here in the PNW it is always a bit damp. Even leaving the door open when not in use did not help. The baking soda/vinegar in an occasional wash load did take them mildew smell away.

SO there you have it.... riveting info from Reenie. ;)
What every day household products do YOU make from scratch?
Please share in the comments~

1 comment:

  1. I make almost everything from scratch including deodorant, anti-fungal foot powder, eye make up remover, all purpose cleaner, fabric softener, hand sanitizer, furniture dusting spray, instant oatmeal, dish soap, stain remover, etc. My daughter also makes her own body lotion....I've not done that one yet, but I like the stuff SHE makes!