So…A little known fact about me…I make my own laundry detergent. I’ve been doing this for about a year now and it has saved us about a billion dollars over the course of a year. Ok, not that much, but it’s a lot. I know there are tons of recipes out there in web land about how to make you own laundry detergent, but one more recipe couldn’t hurt right?
Now I do this solely to save money. One of the things I hate buying the most is laundry detergent. Every time I fill a cup of laundry detergent and pour it down the washing machine it’s like pouring quarters into the basin and washing them away. Now I just wash pennies away, not quarters :)
You can get all the ingredients for laundry detergent at Walmart in the laundry aisle (NOT Target, apparently Target is too good to supply home-made laundry detergent items).
What you’ll need:
Super Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda…you don’t want to BAKE your clothes, you want to WASH them.)
Fels Naptha bar soap (A quick note about Fels Naptha, you can really use any bar of soap you would like. I used Zote before, a pink bar of soap, and it smells like mosquito repellant, so Fels Naptha is my favorite.)
Other things you need:
5 Gallon bucket
Something to stir (I use my husband’s BBQ spatula. Sorry Babe.)
1 cup measuring cup
Clean milk jugs or empty detergent bottles to hold your new detergent
Grate up the bar of soap…ALL of it. None of this 1/2 or 1/3 business, grate it ALL.
Mush up all the little soap particles until they are tiny. Remind your kids this is not cheese and to not sneak up behind you and eat a handful (this may or may not have happened to one of my kids).
While you are grating, boil some water, maybe 1/4th of the pot or 1/2. Eyeball it…don’t stress.
After the water boils, turn off the heat and mix in the soap. Stir it well until the soap is dissolved.
Add in 2 Cups of Super Washing Soda…stir until dissolved
Add in 2 Cups Borax…stir until dissolved
Pour all of it into your 5 gallon bucket
Add water to your bucket, stopping about a 1/4th of the way to the top.
Stir it up…basically you’re done.
Now…by the recommendation of my sister I have added an extra step. I had about a half bottle of Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent that I was using because I was in a pinch and had to buy laundry detergent last month (Oh the horrors!!) I love the way this stuff makes my clothes smell and so I added the rest of the bottle to the 5 gallon bucket.
There is no reason for you to do this or to go out and buy a thing of Arm & Hammer (or whatever detergent you love). But what this WILL do is add the missing lovely clothes smell that the DIY detergent doesn’t add, it will also stretch out your detergent even more.
Anyway…once you’re done making the detergent, there’s only one more step…fill the bottles.
Now I have a genius way of filling the bottles without having to pick up the 5 gallon bucket and pour it over a tiny funnel. Simply place your entire milk jug into the detergent. Yep…get your hands slimy and immerse the jug. The jug will fill, wipe it off and you’re done. Repeat this until the bucket is light enough to lift over the funnel.
Don’t fill your jugs to the very top. You’ll need room to shake them if the detergent starts to clump and congele (which it will).
There you have it…I now have detergent for the next three months at least. If your family is smaller than mine, you may have enough detergent for a year :)
I have done the math for my own family and it costs me 3 to 6 cents a load of laundry depending on how much detergent I use. The only thing you will need to buy every time you make detergent is the bar of soap. The Borax and Super Washing Soda will last through almost 3 detergent making cycles.
Lastly…stand back and admire the loveliness that is cheap detergent.
Next up…how to churn your own butter and spin your own thread from tiny grains of rice… :) :)