Yeah, me neither. It is one of those things that is never finished at my house. There is always a load in my washer, another in the dryer, and more in the hamper (or on the floor in my kids' rooms) waiting to be dealt with. I especially hate spending money on laundry. Detergents and spot treatments must somehow have gold in them; why else would they be so dog-gone expensive?
That is why I was willing to try making my own. When I first heard of making your own detergent, I pictured being outside with a big iron pot over an open fire. Isn't that how they used to make soap? Any-who, I discovered it wasn't nearly that much trouble, nor did it involved fire (much to my sons' disappointment).
I looked at quite a few recipes for laundry detergent. The one that sounded the best was one I found on a blog called How Does She?. I was excited to try it if it meant saving money on something necessary-but-not-much-fun. I looked for the ingredients at the grocery store, but they did not carry everything needed, so I headed over to Super Walmart, which I am sure was cheaper anyway, and found all of the ingredients. The recipe makes a large batch of dry detergent, which I prefer over the liquid kind. It calls for:
1 (4lb 12 oz) box of borax - I bought 20 Mule Team Borax
1 (3lb 7 oz) box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (soda ash)
1 (4 lb) box of baking soda
1 (3 lb) box of OxiClean stain remover
2 bars of Fel's Naptha laundry soap, grated
1 (55oz) bottle of Purex Crystals fabric softener - I bought the lavender blossom scent, which smells heavenly:)
You will need a large bucket to mix it all in. The only tedious part of putting all of this together is the grating of the Fel's Naptha. However, I used my food processor with the regular blade and it was not much trouble. I just cut both of the bars into about 6 pieces, dropped them in, and turned the processor on. In about 45 seconds I was done. The rest is easy: just pour everything into the bucket (you will use all of the ingredients - no measuring), stir, and you are finished.
The ingredients (including the Purex Crystals) cost me right at $23, but this makes a huge batch which should last quite a while; you only have to use 1 to 2 tablespoons of detergent per load, depending on how large and dirty the load is.
|Recipe makes way more than this|
For those of you who prefer to use liquid, here is a recipe for liquid laundry detergent. Need cheap spot treatments for your challenging items? Here is a terrific recipe for cheap and effective spot treating using only 2 ingredients!
New Addition: After posting this, a reader contacted me to say that she has sensitive skin and cannot use Fels-Naptha. If this is the case for you, she recommended Dr. Bronner's Castile Hand Soap or Mrs. Myers instead. Thank you for that information, Sherri!