Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Couldn't Afford NOT To Make This!

I guarantee you that I am not the first one to blog about making homemade laundry detergent. However up until recently no one I knew personally had ever convinced me about why it was worth it. Never in a million years did I think that I would make my own laundry detergent. I assumed that it was too much work and would turn my clothes some kind of crazy yellow.

Those who make their own laundry detergent are probably laughing right now...I know, I know.

I'm just being honest. 

My friend Anna was kind enough to pass on her recipe to me and one fine day last summer I gathered up the courage and the supplies I needed and decided that I would secretly attempt at least one batch of homemade laundry detergent. I have now been making my own laundry detergent for six months...and I'm not sure that I will ever go back to buying the store bought kind. Sorry, Tide...I wouldn't be a good spokeswoman for you.

Make your own inexpensive laundry detergent

3 Reasons Why I'm All For 
Making My Own Laundry Detergent...

Little Effort - It takes me about 20 mins. to whip up a 4 gal. batch that lasts our family of seven TWO MONTHS. Before it took me way more effort to track down coupons and go to various stores to buy laundry detergent even if it was for a fraction of the normal price...extreme couponing anyone? This homemade method really is much simpler.

Little Cost - I spent $15.67 on enough ingredients to keep making detergent for 16 months! For our family of seven that comes to about $.98 per month! Even with coupons and shopping sales I still spent way more than that to buy store bought detergent.

Clothes Are Clean - I didn't notice any difference once we started using the homemade stuff and most importantly...our clothes haven't turned any crazy kinds of yellow. :-)

Here is what you need...

Fels-Naptha (Usually found in the aisle where bars of soap are sold)
Washing Soda (Usually found in the laundry detergent section)
Borax (Usually found in the laundry detergent section)

make your own laundry detergent

Because I make a double batch, I also purchased a 5-gal bucket & lid from Home Depot for $5.26 to store our detergent in.

I usually double the following recipe to almost fill my 5-gal pail
 and create enough soap for two months at about 7-8 loads per week for our family of seven. 
(Here you can check out our non-glamorous, yet super efficient laundry system.)

Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe

1/3 bar fels-naptha
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax

Grate 1/3 bar fels-naptha in a pot and add 6 cups of water. Heat until soap melts. Add washing soda & borax and heat until it melts. Add 4 cups of hot water. Remove from heat and add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. While it is setting up (usually over the next 12-24 hours) whisk every so often so it doesn't get lumpy. Use 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup per load. Note: Add to washer and begin cycle before adding clothes. (Basically, don't put the soap directly on top of your clothes.)

Note: I keep a whisk near the 5-gallon pail to stir it every so often (it tends to separate a little.) I've also heard of others storing their finished product in gallon jugs and then shaking it before using.  

I'm a visual learner so this is a glimpse of what the process looks like. 

how do I make laundry detergent?

I'm a terrible blogger because I didn't take a picture of the finished product once I added the majority of the water (!). However, just picture a bucket three fourths of the way full and a happy momma who knows that she is all set for two months and has cash in her pocket! :-)

So tell me, have you been making your own detergent for years? Know a friend who does? Thought of trying it? Wash any clothes? ;-)

Want to stay connected? Check out these great ways!

34 comments:

  1. Where did you buy the Fels Naphtha soap?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. The price looks good. I want to have someone bring some down to us.....for stain remover!

      Delete
  2. I made my own laundry detergent almost a year ago and there is still about half left. (It is just my husband and me) When I made mine, I left it as a powder and I also added a 3lb box of Oxy Clean to the mix and store it in an old, plastic cat litter container that has a lid and a handle. We add 1-2T per load and everything comes out great! My friend uses homemade for her cloth diapers, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anyone tried it for a front-load washer ? I believe it would work the same ?

    Thanks for the recipe, I think you convinced me as well !

    ReplyDelete
  4. We're only a family of 5, but how could I not try this? The money saving is only the half of it...no crazy couponing & searching sale ads to figure out who has the best deal= that alone is stress saved!
    Two questions, if we use the liquid, and don't add the extra water, couldn't it be used as a conspcentraed form? (them there is less to store n less to pour or spill)
    Also, has anyone figured out a recipe for detergent for the dishwasher?
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle,

      You bring up a great question...I don't see why you couldn't try the concentrated version.

      I have a recipe for dishwasher detergent but I haven't gotten around to trying it yet...maybe that will be my 2014 "learning something new" project. :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  5. I have been using homemade laundry detergent for about 4 yrs in our front loader(liquid form)and have not had any problems with it.I will NEVER buy laundry detergent in the store again!Come to think of it,I need to make a batch today... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing and answering the question about front load washers!

      ~Sarah

      Delete
    2. I have been making and using the powder form of this recipe for over two years in my front loading washer with no problem. I just put 1 to 2 tablespoons in the drum before the clothes and everything comes out beautifully. But if you want to really see a big savings you need to stop buying fabric softener and dryer sheets and just pick up storebrand gallon jugs of white vinegar and use it as you would your fabric softener in your washing machine. The savings is huge and it works like a charm. It is also very handy to have near the washing machine because vinegar will instantly neutralize bleach so if you have any spills you can immediately douse it with vinegar and hopefully avoid any damage.

      Delete
  6. I just found your blog thru the thrifty thursday link up! I make laundry detergent with the same ingredients, but do a powdered kind instead of liquid.
    Also I see that you've adopted! We have pursued adoption, it hasn't happened yet, but we've been able to foster.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I discovered home made laundry detergent about 1 year ago and never looked back! I use the same ingredients, but don't add any water, I use it as a powder detergent - 1 grated bar of Fels Naptha, 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of washing soda. I use about 1T per load in my front loader and works great!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I make our own laundry soap in a similar way but I just use it as a powder form and have never had an issue with it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perfect, thanks for letting us know Lisa! :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  9. Sorry what does 1T mean? Do you think we can add a fragrance to this as well? Or something in place of fabric softeners? They are so expensive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great questions! 1T means one tablespoon. Someone on facebook mentioned adding a few drops of essential oils to add some fragrance. I've never tried this but that might be a good option if you are looking for a scented detergent.

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  10. I also started making my own laundry soap using this same version. AND THEN.... I discovered a powdered version that is just as great! I spend about $27 and it will last my family of 4, 8 months. I use:
    2 bars Zote soap (could also use the Fels Naptha)
    1 box Borax
    1 box Super Washing Soda
    1 box baking soda (the larger box found in the laundry isle)
    1 tub Oxiclean
    1 large or 2 small bottles of Purex Crystals (These are the expensive part and could be left out if wanted)

    I grate the soap into my 5 gallon bucket and then dump the rest of the ingredients into the bucket, mix thoroughly with my hands and viola! I put mine into some old formula containers I saved that come with the scoop in it. I use two scoops per load. It takes up significantly less space, I don't have to worry about mixing it every time and only takes about 20 minutes to make instead of having to wait the 24 hours for it to gel. And it works great on my budget!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for sharing Cassie! I have been curious about trying a powdered version. :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
    2. I have always used liquid laundry soap and was very hesitant, but after trying the powder I will never go back :) Happy laundering!

      Delete
    3. Great recipe, how much do you use in each wash, Cassie?

      Delete
    4. I would guess that two scoops is equivalent to about two tablespoons.

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  11. I second the powdered version. I've actually heard that it's easier on your washing machine because the liquid versions gum stuff up. Plus the powdered version is even easier than the liquid, so double whammy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer,

      Thanks for the great feedback and advice! :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
    2. I've used the liquid and powder version of each. I now stick to the powder version because the liquid uses heat/electricity. Note the first time you use this, if you see bubbles, that's from left over residue from commercial products. These recipes should not bubble. And my clothes smell fresh. If I have a stain I just put a little of the powder on the spot with a little bit of water and rub. And I use this same powder to clean with as well. Floors, walls, counters. Just a good all around cleaner at a cost that can't be beat.

      Delete
  12. Hi Sarah,
    I use the powdered version consisting of one whole bar of Fels Naptha, 1.5 cups of both the washing soda and Borax, shake well and store in an air-tight container. I use between 1 & 2 tablespoons per load depending on the size and grime of the clothes. Happy Washing!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. When you are using the powdered version or liquid version with a HE front loader do you put it in the dispenser or in the drum mixed with the clothes. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

  14. Hi , i have been making my own laundry soap for some time now here is a my secret. I leave mine powder and grade the bar of fels-naptha with a extra bar of dove soap as well for sent and softness. Glenda

    ReplyDelete
  15. How do you powdered-version folks grate your fels naptha? Anyone use an electric grater of sorts - like a magic bullet that they don't use for food?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maren,

      I found a electric food processor at the thrift store for $5 and use that only for grating the soap. It works great!

      ~Sarah

      Delete

Thank you for commenting, I read every single one. Because spam is so prevalent I moderate all comments. I also will delete any that are inappropriate or hurtful. All other comments will be approved and published in between me chasing around my five little tornadoes! For any specific questions feel free to email me at aninvitinghome@gmail.com. Thanks for reading and following along!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...