Once I hit the blogosphere, it didn't take long to find some great ideas. One of the first ones I found was how to make your own laundry detergent. When you have a family of five, you do LOTS of laundry. And that stuff is expensive! So I started asking about it on my Facebook page. Turns out I was the last to know about this money-saving treasure (well, not exactly the last...). But many of my friends were already doing it, and saving big-time! One friend suggested looking up thefamilyhomestead.com for more information. Her post on making homemade laundry soap gave me all the information I needed to get started.
So I made my first batch a couple of months ago, and just finished it last week. I wanted to use it for a while before I formed an opinion. Now that I have that experience, I will share it with you.
What you need:
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 bar Fels-Naptha Soap
large bucket for mixing
2 empty 1-gallon jugs
I found the Borax, washing soda, and Fels-Naptha soap all on the same shelf on the laundry detergent aisle at my local Walmart. The boxes are each between $3.-$4., and the soap was $1. And considering that you only use 1/2 cup of the powders per batch, you can see that the cost per load is very minimal. The box grater and large pot are from the kitchen; they wash up just fine after using them. I bought a 5-gallon bucket for mixing. It's plenty big; the recipe makes about 2 gallons, so there's plenty of room to stir. And I recycled 2 gallon-sized milk jugs to hold the finished product. You could also recycle your laundry detergent bottles for this. Now, just follow these directions:
- Grate the soap, and put it in the large pot. Add 6 cups of water and heat it until the soap melts, stirring occasionally.
- Add the Borax and washing soda, and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.
- Pour 4 cups of hot water into the large bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir.
- Add 1-gallon plus 6 cups of water to the bucket and stir.
- Let the mixture sit for 24 hours. It will gel during this time.
- After sitting for 24 hours, give it a good stir to prepare it to be poured. Place a funnel over the top of a clean, empty gallon jug. Pour slowly; the detergent will be somewhat lumpy. The recipe makes about 2 gallons.
- Use 1/2 cup of detergent per load.
- Once it has been sitting, it will separate somewhat. This is a picture of my jug that has been sitting untouched for a while. That is also ok. All I do is give it a good shake to mix it up good each time before I use it.
- It leaves a very faint clean smell to my clothes after they've been washed. Now, I like a good smelling detergent. I will probably add an essential oil to my next batch to give it more of a scent. Lemongrass oil has deodorizing properties. So I'll just add 1/2 to 1 ounce of that during the mixing process.
- It cleans my clothes. That's the most important thing after all, right? My son plays baseball, and had a real dirty uniform after one particular game. It was the perfect test for my new detergent. It was a small load, and I used the 1/2 cup of detergent on a heavy-duty cycle. The uniform looked good as new!
- The cost savings are incredible! One batch makes 2-gallons for less than $.75. You just can't beat that. For that reason alone, I strongly recommend taking the time to make your own.