Before you immediately write me off, let me just say a few things about making laundry detergent! I’ve thought about it and researched it for several years, but never got around to actually doing it. I kept assuming it was messy or tricky or more expensive than it was worth.
Here’s the thing: I WAS WRONG. I just made a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff, and it took me less than 30 minutes. There was no mess, it wasn’t tricky, and when all is said and done, each load of laundry will cost me LESS THAN 1 CENT.
Let me say that again. ONE CENT. Per load. I’m serious. Without coupons, I find that Costco has the best prices on laundry detergent. Based on the current prices, one load of laundry with Costco detergent costs 52 cents. Math was always my worst subject in school, but even I know that it costs 52 times as much to use store bought detergent instead of my own.
I’m going to show you exactly how to do this, so that you can see it is more than worth it!! Let’s get going!
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup bar soap, grated (I used Fels-Naptha. Other good options are Ivory soap, Sunlight bar soap, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile, and Zote. Avoid any highly perfumed soaps.)
1 cup Borax
1 quart boiling water
Large bucket: my suggestion is to get a 5 gallon paint bucket with a lid. This will keep the detergent free of dust and other particles between uses.
??First, gather your ingredients. These can be found anywhere. I purchased mine at Walmart. The total cost for the ingredients should be less than $10, and each box of Washing Soda and Borax will make several batches of detergent.
Next, grate your bar soap. This will be the only “tricky” step of the process. I’m super lucky to have a friend with a magical machine that uber grates things, so it was very simple and quick for me. It’s completely fine to grate it by hand with a box cheese grater. This’ll take a bit of elbow grease.
Boil 1 quart of water on the stove, then add the grated soap one scoop at a time until completely dissolved.
Fill your bucket about halfway with hot water. I do this using my shower head. Then add the Borax and Washing Soda and stir well.
Stir in your melted soap mixture. Mix well. Fill bucket the rest of the way with hot water.
YOU’RE DONE. no kidding. well, there are some additional things you CAN do, if you wanna be fancy. One way or the other you’ll need to leave the detergent alone overnight to allow it to set. When it has set, you’ll need to mix it up again…I mean REALLY get in there and mix it up… If you’re a super free spirited mama, maybe you’ll invite your kiddos to come and and squish it around with their hands…if that makes your blood pressure sky rocket, you can just use a big paint stirring stick, or some such device.
?Use 1/4 – 1/3 cup of detergent per load of laundry
You’ll be delighted at how simple this whole process is, and how AWESOME your house will smell while you’re making it! Spending 30 minutes making this detergent will yield upwards of 320 loads of laundry!!!
Stay tuned! Over the next few days I’ll show you how to use these same ingredients to make your own dishwashing detergent, all purpose cleaner and liquid hand soap!
first photo via Jo Jakeman