Monday, March 17, 2014

DIY Laundry Detergent

Last weekend I poured out the last cup of liquid laundry detergent that we had, then glanced over my shoulder at the mountain of laundry that still remained to be washed.  Usually, a lack of laundry detergent would be my cue to stop working on laundry, but Brent doesn't let me get away with that, so I figured this would be a good time to make our own laundry soap, since we needed to go to the store for SOMETHING to get these clothes washed.

Luckily, my sister and I have a crafty friend named Kate - that basically knows a lot about everything, including making her own detergent.  She helped my sister make a batch some time ago and I knew my sister was happy with the results.  Kate referred me to a blog post outlining the "recipe" and included some of her own tips.  I would recommend that you read through the process a few times before getting started to make things a little easier.  Including the trip to the store, making 9 months worth of laundry soap took us about 30 minutes.  Yep, it's that simple.

Here is the recipe Kate recommended to me - please read this gal's instructions, she explains everything much more thoroughly than I ever could!  She also answers lots of common questions that you may be asking yourself at this very second.

We crunched the numbers, and this should last us somewhere between 6 and 9 months - and the ingredients cost a total of $25 - which averages somewhere around 3 cents/load.  Unlike commercial detergents that require a cap worth of liquid, you only need 1 tablespoon of this stuff - maybe 2 if you have a load that is super dirty.  And it is HE safe.


1 - 4lb 12oz box Borax (in the detergent aisle)

1 - 4lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (in the cooking aisle)

1 - 3lb 7oz box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (in the detergent aisle)

3 - Fels Naptha bars (we found them at Ace Hardware)

1 - 3lb container of Oxi Clean

We purchased everything you see in the photo from our local grocery store, Hy-Vee, with the exception of the 3 bars of Fels-Naptha bar soap - we could only find those at Ace Hardware.  The turquoise bottle of Downy Unstopables is not necessary, but Kate recommended it to add a nice scent.  It will add about $7 to your total cost, but you don't need to use the whole thing, we only used half.

We started by opening the Fels-Naptha and cutting into big chunks that would fit in our food processor - the blog post recommends using a cheese grater, but we don't have one.  They also recommend if you are using this soap in a HE washing machine that you grate it a little more fine, which is also why we opted to use the food processor.

 The food processor worked well for about 30 seconds, and then it was incredibly obvious that our mini-processor didn't have the "cajones" (look it up in a Spanish dictionary) to get the job done.

So we threw it in our blender.  Our smoothies may taste like laundry soap for the next six months, but at least we saved a few dollahs making our own soap!!  But in reality, the blender worked great!!

Shredding up the bars of soap only took a few minutes and then it was time to just throw all of the ingredients in a five gallon pail lined with a CLEAN trash bag and mix it all together.

After thouroughly mixing everything, we filled the empty Oxi Clean container with some of our detergent and left the remainder of the soap in the trash bag, tied up with a twisty tie.

And for a completely anti-climatic ending - it works!  Our clothes are clean and they smell good, so it's doing it's job - and for a few pennies per load, I couldn't be happier.  I'm actually more relieved that we don't have to add "Laundry Soap" to our weekly grocery list for a long time.

1 comment:

  1. "A lot about everything" is AWFULLY generous of you, Heidi. :) I'm so glad you like the soap. I can add you to my list of converted launderers.