Monday, September 8, 2008

Laundry Detergent

We made our own laundry detergent this weekend.
I took pictures to show you everything and we have already used it so.... here it goes!!

I got the idea and information from Gayle at the Grocery Cart Challenge Blog. She points to a great website that I used for the instructions called The Family Homestead. This is a great place to go to for the explanation of the ingredients and where in the store you can find them.

These are the 3 ingredients you will need. Borax, Washing Soda, and Soap (I used Ivory- there are a couple of choices that you have according to the info on the ingredients). I found all of these items at my local Kroger with No Problem. I told a friend of mine that I thought they, all together, cost me $5-$7 but just to be on the conservative side I MAY have paid up to $10 for everything here.

You will need 1/2 cup of the Borax, 1/2 cup of the Washing Soda, and 1/3 bar (Chris and I used closer to 1/2 a bar because we liked the smell so much) of Soap. This means that in a pack of 3 bars we can make about 6 batches, the box of Borax will make about 19 batches, and the Washing Soda will make about 13 batches of detergent.

You will also need water, a grater, measuring cups, sauce pan, and about a 3 gallon bucket. The other websites say a two gallon bucket but I am not sure we would have been able to stir it well if the bucket had been that small.

First, you grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups of water and heat it until the soap melts.

Second, add the Washing Soda and Borax and stir until it is dissolved.

Third, Remove it from the heat.
Fourth, Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket.

Fifth, Add your soap mixture and stir.
Sixth, add one gallon and 6 cups of water and stir.
Finally, let soap sit for about 24 hours.

Use 1/2 cup per load.
It makes about 2 gallons worth which means you can get about 32 loads done from this one batch.

Chris and I were both dreading this but really wanted to try it out for money reasons. BUT it was very easy and did not take long to do at all. AND, of course, it was fun!!

Here are a couple of things I have heard/read about this from others who have tried it:
  • The finished soap will be like a watery gel that some describe as an "egg noodle soup" look. (For me - I am not sure I would call it a gel at all.)
  • If you LOVE that laundry detergent smell, you may be disappointed in this. (For me - choosing to go with the Ivory Soap gave it a nice clean smell.)
  • You will definitely need something in the laundry room to stir it periodically as some of the ingredients settle.
  • The soap is a low sudsing soap. Don't worry if you don't see suds. Remember that suds is not what does the cleaning.
  • Some have calculated it out and it costs you about one penny per load. (I did not keep my receipts like I meant to do so that I could accurately calculate it out but now that I have made it and have seen how much more I can make from what I have already bought - I don't doubt it comes out to about a penny a load.)
  • The clothes that we have washed so far look and feel great!

If you try it let me know - I want to know how it goes for you.
If you want me to try to answer any questions about it - feel free to ask.
(I had to ask Gayle a couple of questions before I would commit to trying it!)


Betty said...

Very proud of your efforts! Laundry detergent is expensive and you've taken the time and effort to "do it yourself". Yeah!! (Not to mention the savings on the environment with all of the containers (even though I put mine in the recyling container, I'm still lugging them home from the store) Again, way to go!

Libby said...

Wow, that's really cool! I like the pictures of each step. I might have to try this.

LeeAnn said...

Alright! I am so glad someone else I know has tried this! I told my mom I was thinking about doing it and I think she thought I was a little loco for trying to save money this way!

I realized I had the washing powder already at my house (someone had given it to us) and I bought Borax last week. Which types of soaps will work? I can't use does weird things to my skin.

Thanks for sharing this experiment with us...SO glad it really works!!

Mindy said...

YES! It really works!

The other soaps that they said would work is Fels Naptha and Zote.

On The Family Homestead website link in my post, she says she uses some homemade soap of her own and she does sell it so that would work too.

Wendy Worley said...

Congrats on saving more money! Can you use this in HE machines?

Carrie Mc said...


I'm so glad you tried this. It helps to know someone who has tried it and can honestly say it works. I've wanted to give it a shot, but just couldn't make that final step. I have gathered so many of these "recipes" to help save money for different cleaners and things. I'll send you the ones I have so far. Now I don't have anymore excuses not to try it for myself. Thanks!

Mindy said...

Wendy: Humor me. I have no idea what an HE machine is. However, I would say that if a machine can handle liquid laundry detergent then it can handle this with no problem.

Carrie: I am excited I have left you excuse-less for this project.
You will have fun trying it out. I have seen other recipes on Gayle's Grocery Cart Challenge website like dryer sheets, FeBreeze, and other neat stuff. Definitely let me know what you have. We can try them all together! That is exciting!!

Wendy Worley said...

Front load machine, that requires a different type of detergent that says HE on the bottle for "high efficiency".