Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How to make your own laundry detergent

Hey everyone! I'm soooooooooooo excited to share this post with you today, I can't even tell you! I've been lurking around the cyber world googling different ways to create my own laundry detergent for a few months now. I don't know about you but I sure am sick of paying so much money a month for laundry detergent and that's even shopping with coupons & sales; so I decided to try making my own. Once I started to look up how to do it, I realized there were many different ways go about it making detergent. But before you say "C'mon, its just laundry detergent, how hard can it be?" just check Pinterest if you think I'm kidding. There are SO many ingredients & choices to consider & also whether you want liquid or dry detergent. I was leaning more towards the liquid detergent route until I saw that it took a bit longer to make by needing to boil some of the ingredients & was a bit more of a hassle it seemed from some of the liquid needing to be mixed & "de-clumped" often before use; plus you have to use more liquid per load than with the dry stuff. I preferred a little less hassle in preparing my detergent so I went with a dry mix & modified my "recipe" from this post but I'd encourage you to read around & find all the different ways you can make some detergent & maybe even save some money! I'm linking up to Weekend bloggy reading with Amanda at Serenity Now & Truly Lovely's Fancy this Fridays, be sure to stop by these great blog to see what everyone else is linking up this week!

Here's everything you'll need:
1 - 3 lb 7 oz box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the laundry aisle
1 - 4 lb 12 of box of Borax- Found in the laundry aisle
1 - 3 lb container of OxyClean- Found in the laundry aisle. (Optional but I'd recommended it for the stain fighting power)
2 - 2 lb boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda- found in the baking aisle
3 - 14.1 oz Bars of Zote Soap- Found in the laundry aisle (I chose the pink kind because I heard it smelled better but many other people use Fels Naptha brand as well as Ivory)
Additional supplies: Large 3 to 5 gallon container, grater & measuring spoons

Most all of these items can be found in the detergent or baking aisle but I had a hard time finding the Zote soap and Super washing soda so I ordered those both from Amazon.com. I also opted to use an extra bar of soap as opposed to the purex from the post mentioned above.  We also didn't have a large bucket to use so I wiped down an old cooler we had & used that to dump all the detergent in; we never use the cooler so it was a perfect place to store the leftover  & keep a lid on it after I was finished. (sorry for the nighttime pics, I lost all my daylight while I was preparing the soap)

The first step is to grate your cheese soap finely. I bought a separate grater that I'll only use for the soap from now on but it washed off just fine & was as good as new when I finished. 

Smells soooo good!
I went layer by layer & grated my first block of soap & then layered in some of the powder ingredients & mixed it all together by hand & then grated another bar of soap & added more of the other powders & so on & I kept mixing as I went.


Another layer of soap...

Honestly the longest part was the grating of the soap, it took a while & wore my arms & hands out. I ended up rinsing off the grater after using each bar because it seemed to get a thick layer of soap on it & was a little hard to keep grating, so cleaning it in between uses helped me to grate faster the next time around. Here's what it all looks like mixed together...

I scooped some out & put it in a penny jar with a tablespoon inside because that's all you need to do one full load of laundry folks! ONE TABLESPOON! Seriously, I was shocked too but from everything I had read, I found out that most store bought detergents are chock full of additives & fillers & is usually why you end up using so much more detergent on your clothes but that is not the case with the home made stuff.  This makes your clothes clean & smelling fresh! Also don't be alarmed by the lack of suds, there aren't many but that's normal with this method of detergent, store bought ones with fillers make it seem like "more suds, more clean" but I think those bubbles are mostly for "show", I preferred the way our clothes felt and smelled after using the homemade stuff than with the store bought stuff.

Now, you can use up to two tablespoons for heavily soiled loads of laundry but seriously the one tablespoon goes a long way. I also read about using white vinegar in the wash as a fabric softener & I put some in a downy ball & it did the trick. I tested a full load of towels & rags with two tablespoons of my new detergent & a half a cup of white vinegar in the spin cycle & the towels came out looking, feeling & smelling great! I was amazed! They didn't smell like vinegar at all either, just fresh & clean...so fresh & so clean! (You knew I had to! Haha!)

After everything was done I ended up with about 3 gallons or more of this stuff. We only do about 3 to 4 loads of laundry a week since its just the hubs & I so this will go a loooooong way for us! I spent a little over $40 for all the supplies & I gather it'll last us close to a year if not more. Compared to what I'd spend in laundry detergent, fabric softener & the occasional dryer sheets, $40 is close to what we would spend in about 2 to 3 months so I'm looking forward to what this will save us in our budget!

I'd highly recommend trying this out but please heed to all warning labels on the boxes. I don't know what this will do to some who are prone to allergies or that have sensitive skin. My husband has pretty bad allergies & even with the more "perfumey" smelling pink soap, he hasn't reacted adversely to it at all but you may want to be careful using it on baby clothes or linens. Also, check with the manufacturer of your washing machine; some of the new, higher efficiency washers have not been able to dissolve the grated soap in this detergent when put in the detergent compartment but I've read that lots of others have used it directly in the laundry drum instead & its worked well but use at your OWN risk. If you try it, let me know & I'll post any updates I have or anyone else has shared as they come. I'd love to hear your feedback!

What new things are you trying to cut back on your budget?


Kassi @ Truly Lovely said...

It looks SUPER pretty in your glass jar!!! :) Thanks for sharing the how to with us!!!

Jenny said...

I have been wanting to try this! I am so glad I found your cute blog on Truly Lovely...I am your newest follower! I would love if you would check out my blog and if you like what you see please follow back :)
Modern Modest Beauty

Paula said...

Wow! You only need 1 T?? That's great. Your $40 investment should last you for a long, long time.

KatieLynne said...

This is fantastic! I can't wait to mix up a batch and start using. (I have and HE machine and I really appreciate your comment regarding them.) The only thing I'm going to alter is reserving the OxyClean to use only when I need it on stuff like my DH's overalls and the like. I say this because I wouldn't want to use OxyClean on my unmentionables. (They don't need heavy-duty laundering!) :o) Just wanted to share my POV. Thank you so much for putting this up...and the links too!