Friday, November 26, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent: Save Some Coins For the Holidays

I've met many of person who makes their own laundry detergent; apart from the fact that their clothes seem clean and they don't seem to have any "funny" rashes, they also seem very happy with the product. And nearly every recipe that I've collected appears to be made with similar ingredients and amounts.

I will say, I was tempted to double or triple the ingredients because it didn't seem to require much and I didn't want to have to mix a batch every Saturday morning. I'm glad I didn't though-this made a sizeable amount.

While you may not have these ingredients currently, they are easy and inexpensive to obtain at nearly any grocery store.

You will also need a large bucket for mixing and-if you choose-storing the detergent. If you don't have something lying around, you can purchase 5 gallon buckets at Home Depot or Lowes or anywhere home improvement supplies are sold.

You will need a bar of Fels Naptha or Ivory Soap. Fels Naptha can be found in the laundry aisle.
You'll also need a box of washing soda (this is not baking soda, it comes in a yellow box) and borax powder.

grated soap
Grate 1/3 of the bar soap into a pot and add 6 cups of water. Heat the mixture while stirring. When the water is hot and the soap is melted. To this stir in 1/2 cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of borax. Stir until this is dissolved (you'll know because it won't feel grainy and the mix will actually feel like it is thickening).
it starts to thicken

Cut the heat. Pour the soap mixture into the bucket and add 4 cups of hot water. Stir, then add 1 gallon (16 cups for those of you who slept through that part of school) and 6 more cups of cool water. Stir again and then let it all sit overnight to cool and gel. Use a half cup of soap with each load.
mmmm, blobby soap mucus stuff

This was fun to make, first of all. I love being a mad scientist. Thing 1 was utterly disgusted when she asked what I was cooking and i replied "Laundry soap."
"I'm NOT eating that." (thanks for the clarification-was I going to feed it to you?)
Secondly, this was easy--not nearly as daunting as I thought it would be.  So it won't be "no thing" when I need another batch (although that will be a while).

When I checked my soap later, it was all blobby goopy. From what I had read, this is normal and you should stir it up a bit before each use. It's like congealed gravy with lumps....actually, it's like a big bucket of mucus but it smells good.

I funneled mine into some empty detergent bottles. I think I'll need to shake 'em a bit before each use. Plus, now I have all the supplies for the next two batches....and by then it will be summer.


Ann @TheAssetEdge said...

My husband found your post through a friend on facebook. Since he's intrigued, I had to follow up! LOL! I've read mixed reviews about homemade detergent. I've heard it cleans well, but the clothes either yellow or grey over time. What have you read?

betty crocker said...

Hi, Ann! :)
From what I've read, a lot depends on what kind of water you have-city or well, hard or soft. So far, I haven't had a problem but I also occasionally bleach my whites to help remove any "funk." I also feel that, like shampoo, if you use any one cleaner for too long, you will get a build up, so every now and then, I switch to something else for a little while to remove any residue and then return to my favorites.
I don't know if this helps but I hope you enjoy the blog. I'm by no means an expert so I appreciate the insight.