Monday, July 25, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Another favorite "green" thing I love to do now is making laundry detergent. Not only does it work, it's cheap and is a calm soap that's not load with dangerous chemicals. It's great investment and super easy to make!

All the ingredients you need: Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda & A Soap Bar
I was able to get all three ingredients from my local grocery store (in the laundry isle): Borax, A&H Washing Soda, and a soap bar. I've heard a lot of good things about Fels-Naptha bars; and I'm happy with my choice. I've also read warnings about getting soap with fragrances (the oil in particular). You will also need a 3.5 gallon bucket.

First, boil about 4 cups of water in a pot. While it is heating up, grate the bar of soap. Grating it makes it easier to melt later.

Grated Soap. Yum.
Add the grated soap slowly into the pot of boiling water. You eventually want a good, smooth, soapy broth. While it's melting, fill the bucket half way with hot tap water. Add the melted soap, one cup washing soda, and half a cup of Borax into the bucket. Stir well until everything is dissolved. Fill up the rest of the bucket with more hot water. Stir, cover, then leave overnight to let it thicken.

Very... Gelatinous.
I won't lie to you, when you open it up the next morning, it will practically be like Jello. Stir it up again (and from time to time), but then it's ready to use! Further instructions say you can water it down more by filling a clean, laundry soap dispenser half way with the detergent, then fill the rest with water. But, I couldn't find an empty soap dispenser, so I just use the bucket. It doesn't hurt to have the detergent extra soapy. Maybe I'll buy one for the next batch.

It is said you can add 10-15 drops of essential oil (like lavender, tree oil, or rosemary) per 2 gallons, but I did not for my first batch. Plus, I like the fresh, lemony smell the Fels-Naptha bar brings to the table. Maybe I'll use my homemade lavender essential oil for the next batch.

If you do water down the detergent further, the yield amount is about 10 gallons. With that being said, if you use a top load washing machine, use 5/8 cup per load (and you'll approximately get 180 loads). If you use a front load washer, only use ¼ cup per load to get approximately 640 loads. That's all too much math for me and my Communications Major, so I use 3/4th - 4/5th's of an old laundry detergent cup and it's been great ever since!

Did I mention the savings? Here is the receipt for the ingredients (minus the bucket).

Initial Investment: Less than $10! After the initial, it's $1.29 per batch!

With this recipe, I did not use much of the washing soda or Borax. So, for the next few future batches, I only need a Fels-Naptha bar which is only $1.29! That equals cheap. 

It also gets the job done. It's gotten out about every stain that I've thrown at it. And it has no harsh chemicals; which is good for your skin and the water drain.

So you now have the power to make your own laundry detergent. No longer are you held in chains by Tide, Gain, and Clorox. And if you don't believe me, know that several friends of mine are also on the homemade laundry detergent wagon and love it!

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