Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to Make Laundry Detergent

A lot of the things I pin are budget-friendly ideas.  Even with my husband in school, we're trying to stay as much out of debt as we can.  He works full time while going to school full time, and I work part time from home while I stay home with the baby.  It's busy, and we don't spend nearly as much time together as we would really like, but we keep telling ourselves it will be worth it when we don't have student loans for years and years.

I found a tutorial on how to make your own laundry detergent and decided I had to try it out.  The detergent supplies cost less than $10, and since you only use 2 tablespoons per load, it is suuuuper cheap!!  All the tutorials I've seen for this say it costs between 5 and 8 cents a load.  To compare, I found that Tide powder detergent is about 17 cents a load and liquid Tide is 20 cents a load.  Since I added the Sun Oxygen Cleaner (not pictured) to mine, it added another few cents a load, but I would be adding that to any detergent I use, so I didn't add it into the price.

First, get the supplies.  For each bar of Fels-Naptha (or other laundry soap), you will need 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Super Washing Soda, and 1/4 cup Baking Soda.

I used Fels-Naptha (which also is great to pre-treat clothes and get out stains of anything--we used this at my house growing up and it works miracles), but I've also seen tutorials using Pink Zote soap and Kirk's Castile.  I've even seen some using plain old Ivory soap, but I think something made for laundry will work better.  For the bar soap I think you can use whatever you like or have at your local store.

I picked all of this up at Wally World (even though my husband is trying to convince me not to go there), and it was relatively cheap.  I'm sure that you could find even better deals if you're a coupon-cutting deal monger, but I don't have patience when it comes to shopping around.  I ended up using a different container that I already had because I wanted something I could scoop out of instead of pour.

Then, you grate the bar of Fels-Naptha (or laundry soap bar of your preference).  When the entire bar is grated, dump the shavings into a food processor and grind it up until it's a coarsely ground powder.

Lastly, you mix everything together, throw it into an airtight container, and find/make a cute label to slap on.

The original "recipe" doesn't mention any kind of oxygen cleaner (like Oxi-Clean or Sun Oxygen Cleaner), but I'm obsessed with it, so I figured out you need about equal parts laundry detergent and Oxi-Clean.  It's easiest to add the Oxi-Clean after you mix everything else up; you can just dump approximately the same amount into your container and shake it up.  This isn't an exact science; I added about 2 cups to the 3-ish cups of detergent I made.  Then use 3 or 4 tablespoons of detergent instead of 2.  

The blog I got this tutorial from had a cute label that I copied into Word (don't worry, she made it available to use) and tweaked just a little.  I've only used it in a few loads so far, but I'm loving it!  It smells nice but isn't too strong (except while you're stirring all the detergent particles into the air) and is so cheap I don't know if I'll ever go back to buying detergent.

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