With rising prices on just about everything. I have found many ways to cut corners on the cost of everyday items, my favorite new one is homemade laundry detergent. This seems to be all the rage right now in frugal living, so I decided to do some research and find out if I could make something that would work as well as the store bought brands, plus save me enough money to be worth my time.
There are a number of blogs that will give you various recipes for homemade laundry detergent both in the powder and liquid forms. Up to this point I have preferred to use liquid laundry soap because I liked to use the dispenser of my front loading washer and the powder soap will cake up in it after awhile. So my first inclination was to go with the liquid recipe, but after reading a number of articles on the subject and the logistics of storing the laundry soap, I concluded that powder soap is the way to go. ( I place the scoop of powder in the washer drum with the clothes now. Though for whites I still use the dispenser for bleach when needed.)
First I used a 5 gallon bucket that I lined with a garbage bag. This is our mixing bowl. Then I grabbed my food processor; I think I have used it maybe 3 times over the last 12 years, an item that I am now grateful I didn’t donate to ARC. The food processor will finely grind up the large chunks of soap that you get and even disbursement of ingredients in your laundry soap. You will also need a large spoon or some kind of mixing stick. Now, what do you use?
- 1 Box for Borax $2.95
- 1 Box of Washing Soda $2.95
- 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap $0.97
- 1 bar of Zote soap $0.97
- 4 lbs of Baking soda $1.99
- 2- 9.07oz bottles of Downy Unstopables laundry scent 1.99 each (only because they were on sale and I had a coupon. Normally they are $4.95 at Walmart. There are less expensive brands that you can get for about $3.00 if you don’t have a coupon or sale to take advantage of)
- Total=$9.83 for 504 loads roughly.
You may wonder why I have chosen the items I have for my laundry detergent, because yes there are other recipes that you only use half of the items I have; and here is why. First, Baking soda, growing up my mom used this to clean everything! My Sunday shoes, my teeth, the linoleum floor, you name it my mom probably cleaned it with baking soda and it worked too. So this made sense to me to put it in my detergent. Next, the two different kids of soap bars. The Fels Naptha is a more condensed solid bar and the Zote is a soft bar (much like lory soap, but not quite that soft. I felt that each would serve their own purpose, Fels Naptha as more of a cleaner and the Zote as more of a softener. Lastly, the Downy Unstopables. I like my clothes smelling nice, it adds to the over all feeling of clean for me, so I didn’t want to give that up by making my own laundry soap.
Okay, now its time to make your own Laundry Detergent ( I imaged myself in a Laura Engels dress out on the prairie making my own soap. In know it’s cheesy but it make its more fun.) First break up your bars of soap, you can break them in half with your hands. Place the chunks in your food processor (so much for my Little House on the Prairie scene) also pour in the two bottles of Downy Unstopables (your choice of sent) and grind them up until all the mixture is in small granules.
Then, dump your boxes of Borax, Washing Soda and Baking Soda in your lined, 5 gallon bucket. Mix in your soap and scent combination from your food processor stirring it slowly as to get a evening of all the ingredients. That’s it! You now have enough Laundry Detergent to last you just over a year and a half (that’s doing 6 loads a week). You only use 2 TBS for each load and yes that is enough. It is not a “sudsy” soap so you won’t see the bubbles you do with store bought brands. Don’t worry though, it is not the bubbles that get your clothes clean. I keep a lot of measuring scoops from different things, like drink mixes, so I just measured out 2 TBS and marked the level on my scoop with a permanent marker. This makes it much easier each time I do a load so that I don’t have to measure the 2 TBS every time.
I store my large quantity of detergent in a plastic bin with a lid and place my little scooper right inside. I have been using my concoction for almost a month now and love how my clothes turnout. They are so clean and yes, they smell great!!!!