Wednesday, February 29, 2012

how to make homemade laundry detergent

With trying to be more frugal and increase my ever-growing DIY project list, I wanted to try to make my own homemade laundry detergent. Not only had I read that it was easy, but that it was a cheaper option. I decided to give it a try. Here's how it's done:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

What You Need:
- 4 cups of hot tap water
- 1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
- 1 cup of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
- 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax
- a 5 gallon bucket
- essential oils (optional)

*each of the things above was found and purchased at Wal-Mart--most found in the laundry aisle*

1. Shred the Fels-Naptha bar (or another soap bar of your choosing). I used a cheese grater, which worked just fine.

2. Take the shredded soap and add it to the 4 cups of hot tap water in a saucepan. Continually stir on a medium heat level until the soap dissolves completely in the water. 
3. Take your 5 gallon bucket and fill it approximately half way full of hot tap water. 
4. To the bucket, add the melted soap mixture, 1 cup of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda, and 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax. (If you want to add essential oil for an additional scent, you would add 25 drops for the 5 gallons of detergent.----*we did not do this*) Stir till ingredients dissolve. Then fill the bucket up nearly to the top with hot tap water (leave enough room for stirring). Cover with lid and let sit overnight to thicken up and gel. (Ours did not come with a lid, so we just covered it with cling wrap). 
5. When you uncover your mixture the next day, it could look like any number of things. Ours looked like slightly watery jello. This is normal. Stir up the mixture again.

6. Take empty laundry detergent dispensers, or in our case, cleaned milk/juice jugs and fill them up. I used a funnel, which made things easier. Shake before each use.

For each load, you should use approximately 5/8 of a cup (to make things easy, use 3/4 of a cup). I checked, and you are using about the same amount that you would use when you fill a regular laundry detergent cap. 

We have used it, and it seems to work decently. We might add an essential oil, but the clothes smell clean. 

As for costs, I think it's effective as well. The total cost of ingredients is about $11, including the cost of the 5 gallon bucket. For $11, I made approximately 5 gallons of detergent. I will have the bucket to reuse, and I have the Washing Soda and Borax to use probably at least 4 or 5 more times, if not more. 

My bottle of Purex (that is my last bottle of detergent!) is slightly less than 1 gallon, and I bought it on sale for $3. Simple math of $3 (for just under 1 gallon) times 5 is $15. All of my ingredients cost $11, and I have many more batches I can make.

I also know you don't need to use as much, as homemade detergent doesn't have the additives that are in the bottles you by in the store.

In my opinion, a good deal! I'm excited to see what other areas I can expand my DIY love. 

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