Tuesday, December 6, 2011

DIY Laundry Detergent

I've been eagerly waiting to run out of laundry soap so that I could make my own, I found this recipe quite some time ago and it seemed to be the simplest one to make. I actually halved it though just because I only had the one container to store the soap in and it takes me a good 6 months to go through the contents of it anyway. It only took about 10 minutes total to make so that was a plus for me as well!

Here's how you do it!

 You need:
  • 6 cups hot water
  • 1 small bar of soap (or half of a larger bar)
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • essential oil of your choice (optional)
  • large pot (big enough to hold 1 gallon)
  • whisk
  • measuring cup
  • 6 cups cold water plus more to top up your jug
  • 1 Gallon bucket or empty large detergent bottle
  • smaller bottles to portion the soap into (optional)
  • funnel

Grate your bar of soap ( I just picked up a cheap cheese grater from the Dollar store) into a pot and add 6 cups of hot water. Bring it to a simmer on the stove and whisk until all of the soap shavings have dissolved.

Grated soap
Soap and water

Add the Borax and washing soda and continue to simmer and whisk until everything is dissolved and then remove from the heat. Mine got pretty foamy but the foam will go down once the pot is off the stove.

Washing soda
Everything dissolved
Now you're going to add the cold water 2 cups at a time. The soap is going to thicken up really quickly so you're going to have to whisk pretty aggressively. Just think about when you make gravy and you add the flour or cornstarch, you're making laundry gravy! *Sigh* I'm tired.

Thickening after 2 cups of water
Thickening after 6 cups of water
After you add all 6 cups of water it will probably still need to cool down for a while. After it's cool you can stir in any essential oil you might want to use. I didn't bother with essential oil this round because I used a bar of scented glycerine soap and it had a fairly heavy scent.
Cooled down and super thick

I highly recommend a funnel for this next part, I didn't have one and I really wish I did! The stuff is thick and gelatinous and doesn't like to pour easily even though my measuring cup had a spout. I ended up having to pour it over the pot in the sink because only half of what I was pouring was making it into the jug. It took a while but I eventually got it all in there.
Look at how thick this stuff is!
Nearly full!

My batch made enough to nearly fill my jug, I just topped the jug up with cold water and then gave it a really good shake. I poured some into my smaller bottle when I did laundry today and gave it a really good shake and all of the lumps disappeared completely.

There you go, an entire gallon of liquid laundry soap! Just give it a quick stir or shake before you use it. Use a 1/4 cup per load.

So how well does this work? Well Jon rubbed chocolate on a light colored shirt last night and the shirt sat in the basket all night and most of today and I didn't see any stain on it when I took it out of the washer. I also didn't notice any toddler stains on anything, even her washcloths were clean. Everything also had a pleasant fresh smell, not sure if it was from the washing soda or the borax but it didn't smell like the soap.

I didn't bother doing a price breakdown for this but I know it cost under $1. The soap was from the dollar store, a 2 pack for $1, the box of washing soda was about $5 and the box of borax was $6 and I only used a half cup of each. My 1gallon jug of Purex laundry soap usually costs us about $15 and that is the very cheapest brand of liquid laundry soap available to us. A 1 Gallon jug of Tide (96 loads) is $25 at Walmart. There really is no comparison, I will definitely be making this from now on instead of buying laundry soap.

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