August 31, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

So, I was browsing through Pinterest the other day and came across this recipe for DIY laundry detergent. What a fantastic idea! No more $13 bottles of cheap detergent and $10 bottles (the smallest size) of fragrance and dye free detergent for AJ!

What you need:
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda (not baking soda!)
  • 1 bar of soap (any brand) or 1 bar of Fels-Naptha
  • 4.5 gallons of water
  • Clean, empty 3-gallon bucket (or 5-gallon, if you have it)
  • Funnel
  • 5-gallon jug or smaller jugs (enough for 5 gallons)
*This made about 5-gallons worth of detergent

The Borax, Washing Soda, and Fels-Naptha (I'm assuming) can all be found in the detergent aisle of your local store. I used Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap instead since I couldn't find the Fels-Naptha soap. I cost me about $10-$12 for all the ingredients.

Then I took my cheese grater and shredded the bar soap into a 5-quart pan (3-quart size would be plenty).
The soap cleaned off easier than cheese!

After shredding the whole bar, I added 2-quarts (measured in my bucket) of water to the pan, and heated it on the stove until the soap shreds were completely dissolved.
It felt kind of weird to cook soap

I then carefully poured about half (1-quart) into my bucket. Mix in 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup of washing soda. Stir until the mix has become thick, like body wash or hand soap.
Be careful! This mix will be very hot!! Notice the steam.

Add 9-quarts of water. If your bucket is like mine and is conveniently marked inside with the measurements, fill it to the 10-quart or 2.5 gallons line. Mix well! The thick soap mixture will still be concentrated in the bottom of the bucket. I've read to add boiling water to help break up the borax clumps, but I didn't have time for that. I figured, I live in AZ, my tap water comes out close to boiling! Haha

I took my funnel and 1-gallon jug and poured the mixture in until bubbles came to, or spilled over in my case, the jug opening and moved on to the next one. Its kind of like when you fill a cup with soda and you have to pause to let the fizz go down before adding more so your cup is full; same concept here. I filled up two and a half 1-gallon jugs.
I took the remaining soap and water mixture left in my pan (about 1-quart) and repeated the steps in the bucket. Overall, I filled 5 one-gallon jugs.

You can't buy that at a grocery store for $10, can you? This is gonna last me forever!
Here's how much to put in the wash: 1/2 cup (normal), 1 cup (heavy)
I read that this is okay for HE washers too, but we have a regular washer, so I wouldn't know.

Please ignore the mess in the last picture. I was prepping meals for the month and my husband was getting ready to go on a Cross-Country (AKA: business trip).

Happy washing!
Update 10/30: I found this soap to be far too watery to do any good cleaning our clothes. In fact, the clothes never came out completely clean. Bummer! Maybe use less water, more soap mixture? Or no water at all and just make it concentrated? Regardless, I dumped all the gallons out. It sucks I made so much for it to not work out. On the plus side, now I have the ingredients to try again for free!

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