Saturday, June 19, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Thanks to my frugalista sis-in-law, Carrie, I have discovered the benefits of making one's own laundry detergent: chemical-free cleaner for clothes (which go against your skin) and seep up from back yard septic system, and best of all- lots of $ saved! When you do the math (which I'm not especially saavy at doing), you find that quite a chunk of grocery money goes into a $15-$20 container of detergent, which lasts maybe three months...(for a small family). A three gallon batch of this stuff costs us about $1.75. It's worth the effort.

So here's how you do it:
You will need...

1/2 cup Borax <$3 a box
1 cup Washing Soda <$3 a box
1 bar of Fels-Naptha (or any basic bar of soap like Ivory, or Zest) $1.00
OPTIONAL a few drops of essential oil (I use lavender & tea tree)

The first three items are available in the laundry section of most stores- the essential oils are at health-food or craft stores.Grate the bar of soap. It's easier than it seems; it grates like parmesean or any hard cheese.

Boil 4 cups of water, then stir in the grated soap until it is dissolved. This usually takes me about 5 minutes.

Pour the 1/2 cup of Borax and cup of Washing Soda into a large container. I bought a 19 quart container for this purpose.

Fill it up with approx. 3 gallons of hot water. While it is filling, stir in the melted soap.
Stir the mixture until everything is dissolved. Then, wait. In about 3 hours, the top layer of detergent will thicken and become like jello. I like to stir mine up one last time so that the mixture is more uniform. Because it is more concentrated than normal detergent, you can use less per load. I just eyeball the amount in an old measuring cup. We have experimented on David's daily dirt-caked attire and this stuff is just as effective as any.

VOILÁ! Happy laundering.


emily and logan said...

hooray!! i've been wanting to do this. and cute new blog layout!!

Britt said...

This is seriously so cool! I want to do this!!

Halsey said...

I love it! And I love your profile pic. I need to find something more interesting than a picture of myself, haha.