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Friday, January 6, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

  • Some kind of bucket to mix all your ingredients in. I bought a 6 gallon lidded container for "bulk items." ($4.88)
  • 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha Laundry Soap 
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 
  • water
(everything but the bucket can be found in the laundry aisle of Wal-mart)
Cut your bar of Fels Naptha Soap into thirds and finely grate one third of it. 
Save the other two thirds because next time you make a batch of laundry soap it will feel like you are doing it for FREE! 
Put your grated soap in a pot with 6 cups of water and heat on low until the soap melts. Don't let the soap boil. 
Once all the soap is completely melted add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens (almost as thick as honey) Remove from heat.

 Pour 4 cups of hot tap water into your bucket. 
Add the soap mixture and stir it up. At this point you could add a few drops of essential oil like lavender or tea tree oil if you wanted your soap to have a fragrance. Add nothing and your clothes will simply smell clean
Now add one gallon of hot tap water plus 6 more cups. (or 21 cups)
Give it another few minutes of stirring and then let it sit overnight.
So my 6 gallon bucket was a little too big, because this recipe only makes about 2 1/2 gallons of laundry soap which looked sad after all that work.
So I whipped up another batch so my bucket would look pretty and more full
 In the morning your soap might look runny, or like gel, or separated with big clumps of slime on top and water on the bottom. This is all normal depending on the weather, the type of soap you used. At this point you can be done and simply keep your laundry soap in the bucket and just scoop out 1/2 cup per load. Or you can give it another good stir and funnel it into your old well rinsed laundry soap bottle. An emulsion blender can be used, but it will thicken again later. 
Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry. 

So will this save us money?
4lb of washing soda: $3.24
4lb of borax: $3.38
Fels Naptha Bar $0.97

SO there are 8 cups per box of borax and washing soda- which would make 16 of these recipes for $6.62. We only have enough soap for 3 batches. 5 more bars of soap would make the 16 batches. That would add $5.82 totaling $12.44 for about 37 gallons of laundry detergent. 
using 1/2 cup per load that will wash 1,184 loads of laundry! THat is a lot of laundry for $12.44

Per batch (if you could buy part boxes of the ingredients) the cost is about 76 cents.

Each batch should wash at least 64 loads of laundry, which makes each load about a penny each!

UPDATE 1/8/12: W was concerned we would smell like hippies, but we totally don't. It even got the stink out of his sweaty athletic clothing which the store detergent couldn't do without the 2 hour sanitize cycle + no stains! I am totally hooked.
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