Thursday, September 20, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent??? No Way!!

Well, actually, way.
I took the plunge.  After reading about so many people exclaiming on Pinterest and other places about saving bazillions of dollars with their own homemade laundry detergent, I decided to try it. Hey, I'm all for saving money!

Let me preface this by saying I do laundry for a family of six. I have one girl and THREE boys. Which basically means I do a few loads of laundry every day, or it would be BAD. (Want to know what I mean by "bad?" Look up a picture of Mt. McKinley online, and that would be about right.) And my detergent of choice? Tide. At $17 on average for a bottle, which I buy twice a month, that's $32 a month. $384 spent on laundry soap in a year. Yowza.

Anyway, here is the recipe for homemade laundry detergent, and no, it's not my own, I totally copied it from someone else, who copied it from someone else, and so on, and so on. It is for POWDER. So if you use liquid and have an aversion to POWDER laundry detergent, this isn't for you. I used to have an aversion, but I got over it.
Here are the ingredients you need (I found every single one at the local Super Wal-Mart):

--> 4lb box of Baking Soda (I could only find 2lb boxes so I used two of them)
4lb Box of Borax (You can find this in the laundry aisle)
4lb Box of Super Washing Soda (it was right smack dab next to the Borax)
Oxi Clean Powder (I used the 1.3 lb size. *This is optional*)
3 bars of Fels-naptha soap (I found the this right next to the Borax too, I imagine a lot of people make their own laundry soap so they merchandise them together.)

I would also have on-hand a medical mask and some hand protectors. Or you can tie a scarf around your nose and mouth and wear dishwashing gloves. Because you can breathe in the powder and soap, and get it on your skin, which wouldn't be fabulous.
Once you have all the ingredients, grate the 3 bars of Fels-naptha soap. I used a hand cheese grater, it took about ten minutes. Some people use a food processor, but I am thinking unless you SUPER clean it, your food will taste like soap for a while. YUCK.
Now, take a large contractor-strength black trash bag and line a small garbage can with it. Then dump all the ingredients into it. (I did this outside my garage, I'm sure the neighbors wondered what I was up to, mixing a bunch of household chemicals together, but oh well.)
Then take the bag out of the garbage can, twist it up really good midway and shakeshakeshake that puppy to mix everything together.
Next, snip one corner with scissors and let it funnel into your container of choice. I chose this one (it made so much it actually filled up two of these big containers but I'm only showing one:
And voila! There you have it! Homemade laundry detergent! Now as far as use, I have tried it. I use 1/8 cup of detergent (yes, really that's it!) for my front-load washer, and I've washed in cold and hot and warm, and the clothes are CLEAN. I almost think it's better for HE washers because this detergent is extremely low-sudsing. And my clothes don't smell perfumey or anything like that. They just smell clean. Which I like. Because I love my fabric softener sheets and I'd much rather my clothes smelled like those. ;-)

So, this batch cost me around $20 to make when all was said and done. Since I only use 1/8 cup per use, it lasts forever. Let's say I make it only twice a year. That's $40. Compared to the $384 I normally spend?



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