Saturday, October 22, 2011

Home made laundry soap

I've been wanting to make our own detergent for a while... but I was waiting on a 5 gallon bucket! I'm cheap and didn't want to buy one. My mom brought one over recently so I decided it was time to get to work. Ryan and I were up early one morning (who am I kidding, we're up early *every* morning!) so I started this project around 6:30 and was done by 6:45. EASY PEASY.

Here's what you need!

  • a five gallon bucket and lid
  • 1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap
  • 1 box of [Arm and Hammer Super] Washing Soda
  • 1 box of [20 Mule Team] Borax
  • a plastic stick or long handled spoon *
  • a plastic bag **

* since this mixture gels, you need to stir it every now and then. Using a stick or spoon just shy of the height of the bucket will allow you to leave it inside. A plastic stick is recommended, because wood may rot or metal may corrode.

** as much as I like enlisting my husband to help me with things so he knows how much I need him, I can't always wait until he gets home to open the 5 gallon bucket every time I want to do laundry. My poor fingers would not be happy if I tried to do it myself. So instead of opening and closing a 5 gallon bucket all of the time, you can cover the bucket with a plastic bag and them just lightly push down the lid so it seals. The mixture will evaporate if you don't cover it, so either do this method or close the lid completely.

1. Unwrap the Fels-Naptha bar and grate it. I've heard you can put it in a food processor and do it that way, but it honestly didn't take long (nor was it difficult) to grate by hand using a small hand grater. O

Oh, that's so grate. ;]

2. Boil 4 cups of water in a large pot.

 Once it is boiling (BOILING-boiling, not kinda-sorta-boiling), add the grated soap. 

 Stir it until it is completely melted. This will take some time, and it may clump together.

Keep stirring it and it will completely melt together, like this.

3. Once it is melted together, remove it from the heat. Take your bucket to the bathroom and fill it halfway with hot water. Add the melted soap mixture, and 1 cup of the Super Washing Soda and 1/2 cup of the Borax.

Get your little helper to bring you your spoon :) and stir it really well.

 Then fill it up the rest of the way with hot water. Stir it again, and then cover it with the plastic bag and lid.

Let it sit overnight before you use it. It will thicken like a gel and need to be stirred every now and then.

To use:

Top load Washer:
1/4 cup detergent per load for regularly soiled clothes
1/2 cup detergent per load for heavily soiled clothes
Front load Washer:
1/8 cup detergent per load for regularly soiled clothes
1/4 cup detergent per load for heavily soiled clothes

I don't know the EXACT cost per load of laundry, but one lady calculated hers out and supposedly she said it came to just about 7 cents per load. All of the ingredients I bought cost me about $6, and obviously the two boxes of powders will make SEVERAL 5 gallon buckets of detergent. So it is very inexpensive. I'll have to let you know how it actually works... it's Saturday, and that means laundry day!!

*edited to add* I knew I was forgetting something! The smell! It smells really good; the Fels-Naptha soap has a nice clean scent to it. But I've heard you can add essential oils to it, also, if you would like a certain scent (lavendar comes to mind). YUM! :)


Katie said...

let me know how to smells!!

Esther said...

I would imagine you could add some drops of your favorite essential oil(s) to perk up the smell. :) I like a grapefruit & bergamot combo. Lime or lemon is also good, and they're all good for disinfecting laundry anyway.

Bridget said...

This is so funny! I just bought the making for my first batch two days ago :) Have to get birthday party out of the way, then on to laundry soap making. I'm making a powdered version sans soap for my cloth diapers too. Can't use soap on those I've been told.

Kathleen Quiring | Project M said...

I've been using this recipe for months and love it. I don't know if I'll ever go back to store-bought detergent.