I first heard of homemade laundry detergent when I first got married. I was intrigued, but thought I was too busy to research it, let alone making my own detergent. Over the next couple of years, however, I kept hearing about it. My interest just kept growing, but two questions just kept coming up.
1. How hard is it to make laundry detergent?
2. Does homemade laundry detergent actually work?
Finally, about six months ago I found myself to be a new stay-at-home mom trying to budget on just one income. Suddenly I had time to make homemade laundry detergent and the economic necessity to give it a try.
In all of my research I found that all the recipes have the same ingredients, only the quantities vary.
|Borax (about $4.99 a box)|
|Washing Soda* (about $3.00)|
*Important note: You have to use washing soda, not baking soda or Arm and Hammer detergent.
|Fels-Naptha ($1.59 per bar)|
Other soap bars such as Zote and Ivory may be used. You just want to avoid soaps with heavy perfumes.
The recipe I use is from the Duggar family's website. (I suppose I felt like I could trust them after watching them on their TV show. Silly, but true.)
4 cups hot water
1 bar Fels-Naptha (or soap of choice)
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
You will also need:
a 5 gallon bucket with a lid
a used liquid laundry detergent container (optional)
1. Grate the bar of soap. Add to a saucepan with water. Heat over medium-low heat until the soap completely dissolves.
2. Fill the 5 gallon bucket about half full with hot tap water. Stir in the soap/water mixture, borax and washing soda. Mix until all the powder is dissolved.
3. Fill the bucket to the top and cover. Let the detergent sit overnight to cool and gel.
4. The next day, fill a clean, used laundry detergent container half full of with the homemade detergent. Then fill the rest with water.
Yields 10 gallons
and it only costs about $2.00 per batch
Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oils per 2 gallons. (I add lilac or cranberry/orange to mine.)
For a top load machine use 5/8 cup per load (approx. 180 loads)
For a front load machine use 1/4 cup per load (approx. 640 loads!)
I realize that this recipe makes a lot of soap. That is one reason I used this recipe. I was able to make one batch and have it last for a few months. Just make sure you keep the lid on the bucket so nothing (or no one) gets into the soap.
Question #1 has been answered now. I do need to add that I thought the bar of soap would be hard to grate, but found it actually took less effort to grate the soap than it does to grate cheddar cheese.
Now for Question #2. Does it work?
I have noticed absolutely no difference in our clothes since switching and neither has anyone else!
So, yes, homemade laundry detergent works!
I realize that not everyone will be into making their own detergent, but I found it well worth effort. I am saving a ton of money this way too.
There you go, a surprisingly simple way to be a little more thrifty.
Happy Laundry Day Everyone!