I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Maybe I’ve lived in hippy-country too long, maybe I’m just cheap. Probably both. With a little help from some tutorials (like this and this) and a lot of advice from a friend, I made homemade laundry detergent and it is awesome!
This formula is concentrated, so you only use about 2 tablespoons per load. If my math is right (mind you, I’m no mathematician) we’ll get almost 260 loads of laundry out of this jar. We do around 4 loads of laundry per week, so I’m estimating that we won’t run out until September of 2013 (!!!) or so. I spent just about $19 on supplies, so that breaks down to $0.07 per load. A $12.99 bottle of Tide breaks down to $0.22 per load. The 20ish minutes it took me to make this huge container was well worth the $30/year savings that it offers! Just think of the savings it could offer a larger family who does 8+ loads of laundry a week!
This mixture doesn’t have an overwhelming scent, which is great for sensitive skin (like mine) and dissolves wonderfully even in cold water. Want to try your hand at it and save a few bucks at the same time?
- Borax – (1) 4 lb + 12 oz box
- Baking soda – (4) 1 lb boxes or (1) 4 lb box
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda – (1) 55 oz. box
- 2 bars of Zote Laundry Soap or 3 bars of Fels-Naptha
- 1 tub of OxiClean– 32 oz. tub, any brand is okay
- Cheese Grater
- 5 gallon bucket
- 1 large, thick plastic bag
- 2 gallon container to store the mixture in
Step 1: Begin by grating all of your soap with your cheese grater. Be prepared, this takes a while and your arm will be tired. The soap tends to build up on the grater slowing down the process. I rinsed my grater a few different times during this step to get rid of some of the buildup. It helps speed up the process a little. Just make sure to thoroughly dry your grater after you rinse it!
Step 2: Line your bucket with your bag and add ingredients. I added a little of each ingredient in multiple layers to aid in the mixing process.
Step 3: Mix everything together. A friend suggested using a gardening trowel to mix everything together which worked super well (thanks, Tristan!). Towards the end I picked up the sides of the bag (while still in the bucket) and lifted each side alternately. That helped mix it up a little more.
Step 4: Find a large container to hold your mixture. Our jar is a recycled card holder from our wedding. I think my Mom picked it up at Walmart.
Step 5: You’re ready to do laundry! Use about 2 tablespoons per load. Our OxiClean came with a scoop, so I’m using 1-2 of those per load (depending on size and the dirtiness of load).
Not only does this save us money, but looks cute in my laundry room too! :)
- Borax: $4.99
- Baking Soda: $3.96
- Washing Soda: $4.79
- Store brand OxiClean: $3.29
- Zote: $1.98
- Total: $19.01
A few updates! (5/30/12)
I’ve had a few people ask me some questions about this and I’ve caught some of them in the comments but thought an update might not be a bad idea! Hope it’s helpful!
- For those using cold water: Its been brought to my attention that if you use straight cold water the granules may not dissolve all the way! My Mom has a great way to avoid this- fill a cup/measuring glass with hot water from your tap and mix in your scoop(s) of soap until completely dissolved. Then, pour that into your washer. I realize this is an added step, but it may ease your mind a bit about it all dissolving!
- For those who use a front loading machine: Try the trick above and either pour directly into the drum or through the normal liquid soap dispenser.
- For those thinking about using Fels-Naptha: The scent may be a bit overpowering to you. If you don’t like strong scents or have very sensitive skin, try Zote. It has a pretty mild scent. I found mine at The Home Depot.
- For those having a hard time finding Arm & Hammer Washing Soda: I had the hardest time finding it! I finally found it at our local Ace Hardware (along with all of the other ingredients needed). I would recommend looking at Ace or your local mom & pop store.
Another update! (6/22/12) I just found ALL of these ingredients in the Laundry aisle at Walmart! Our closest Walmart is about 45 minutes away and the one place I didn’t try…go figure.
Update (12/24/12) I added sizes of each ingredient! Let me know if you have any questions :)
With squeaky clean clothes and a fatter wallet,