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)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soap (not baking soda)
a big pot (that will hold more than 2 gallons)
a grater (I use my food processor)
a long spoon
a bucket to store detergent in (I use a 2 gallon bucket)

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)

2. Add 1 gallon hot water to the pot and add the grated soap. Heat until soap has dissolved.
I used Kirk's CocoCastile as my bar soap, only because I hate frangranced detergents... you can add essential oils too for smell, instead of using frangranced soap.

3. Add the Borax and the Washing soap.

4. Bring to a boil. It will coagulate. 
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 sit until it cools. If it hasn't coagulated yet, no worries. It will. 

7. Once it is cool transfer it to the bucket. Great tip on WhyNotSew was to store it in the pot you cook it in. Eliminates the messy transfer step. I already added a pot to my thrift shopping list...
Right now I store my detergent in a 2 gallon bucket and scoop out with a measuring cup. 
It is a thick, snotty consistency and I did not want to thin it out to make it pour, because that would mess up my measurement calculations.
I use a 1/2 cup and put it in my front loader dispenser into the powder dispenser. It did not flush out when I put it in the liguid detergent thingy. (thingy is a technical term...haha)

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. 
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).

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~

Cross posted on


Tamara Bell said...

I'm really thinking of giving this a try! We have a challenge this upcoming month (September) that I'm blogging about and this would possibly help keep some of our costs down.

Alyssa Hoyt said...

I have been using this recipe for years! It does a relatively good job on our clothes, although I am not too picky about all the stains getting out. And with four boys, I don't think I ever could!