Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How to make your own laundry detergent

How To Tuesday

How to make your own laundry detergent

About a month ago my family moved to a new apartment, this one includes my own laundry machine! I was so excited cause that meant that I could finally try the cloth diapers that I have been looking at for so long.  Along with the new adventure in cloth diapering I decided to try making my own soap.  I asked a few friends and searched google for a recipe.  I found recipes and tips on TipNut.com and ThriftyFun.com

Here is the basic recipe for powdered laundry detergent:
2 Cups grated soap
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda

I personally used Fels Naptha Soap, however many sites talked about using Ivory or any other "natural" bar soap.  I found all of these ingredients at my local Hy Vee grocery store in the laundry soap section.

Warning, you are about to make a big mess!
At first I tried to grate the soap with a cheese grater, but I realized how long it would take to grate the bar, so I tried a food processor, which worked ok. It worked much better once I cut the bar up.  After I ground up the soap I added the borax and washing soda.  It was pretty clumpy, so I went back to the websites listed above to look for tips on solving that.  I learned it was a little late, but the best way to eliminate "clumps" is to let the soap sit out of the wrapper for a day or 2 before you grind it. Something, I will have to keep in mind for next time.

The scent may be a little strong, but you don't notice it on the clothing at all. If you like to change the scent you can add a few drops of essential oils as you mix the powders together.

I am storing the powder in an ice cream bucket.  I use 1 tablespoon for a small/medium load (my diapers) and 2 tablespoons for large/extra large/ extra dirty loads.

Once again, I will warn you making this is messy. However calculating the money that I will save using this (along with my cloth diapers) I think the mess is worth it. I have been using this detergent for a few weeks and it is working great so far. I also haven't hardly made a dent in amount I made, so it should last quite a while.

I hope these tips help you. Please pass along any tips you may also have. If you are looking for liquid detergent I would suggest checking out the sites I listed above. Let me know how they work.



Heidi Maxwell said...

Love it! I make my own laundry soap as well.

1 1/2 bars Fels Naptha Soap, grated and then ground
2 cups washing soda
2 cups borax
2 cups baking soda
2 cups oxyclean
2 T Blue Dawn

I grate the soap and let it dry out overnight. Then process it fine in my food processor. Then I add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. Then I stream in the dawn so it incorporates well and doesn't clump up.

Works great on our regular laundry, ...

but don't use it on diaper laundry. The soap will build up on your diapers and cause rashes and repelling.

Dena said...

I was going to try this one... thanks for posting this and reminding me!!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 5.5-ounce bar Fels Naptha soap
2 cups washing soda
2 cups borax

Using a cheese grater or food processor, grate the entire 5.5-ounce bar of Fels Naptha, finely.

Powdered laundry detergent: In a container that has a tight-fitting lid, combine the grated Fels Naptha, washing soda and borax. Stir to mix well. Store in a sealed container that is properly labeled. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons in a front-loading machine, and up to 1/4 cup in a top loader. Note: The amount required depends greatly on the hardness of your water. Experiment by using the lesser amount, and then increase as necessary. Cost: About 15 cents per load when using 2 tablespoons.

Liquid laundry detergent: Place grated Fels Naptha into a cooking pot. Add enough hot water to cover and heat over low heat, stirring, until soap is melted, not boiling. Remove from stove and pour into a large bucket that has a lid. Add washing soda, borax and 3 gallons of hot water. Stir until well incorporated. Cover and allow to sit overnight. In the morning stir again. Use 1/2 cup to 1 cup per load, experimenting with the lesser amount to start, and then increasing as necessary. Note: The liquid version will be "gel-like." Some call it gloppy and gelatinous. This is normal. Simply give it a quick stir before each use. Cost: About 3 cents per load using 1/2 cup.

What is washing soda? Also known as sodium carbonate, washing soda should not be confused with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Washing soda is absolutely not edible and should never be substituted for baking soda, nor does baking soda substitute for washing soda in the laundry. Washing soda acts as a solvent to remove a range of stains, and, unlike bleach, it does not stain. Note: Washing soda is sold in pool supply stores as "soda ash."

What is borax? A chemical compound of the element boron, which is mined from the ground, borax releases hydrogen peroxide when it reacts with water. Borax is commonly marketed under the label, 20 Mule Team™ Borax.

What is Fels Naptha? This is a bar laundry soap used for pre-treating stains on clothing. In laundry, Fels Naptha eliminates residual resins that can remain in clothes for up to a year when washed with other types of detergents. Manufactured by the Dial Corporation, Fels Naptha comes packaged in paper similar to bar body soap.

What, no suds?! This detergent does not produce suds. Suds should never be considered visual evidence that a detergent is working. Dirty water is the sign that the detergent is doing its job. Because it does not create suds, this is the perfect product to be used in HE front-loading washing machines.

Where to find? Look for all three ingredients in the laundry aisle of supermarkets, discount department and hardware stores, in some drug stores or online at a variety of locations.

©Copyright 2010 Mary Hunt
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Elegant Mommy said...

Thanks for the ideas ladies!