Saturday, October 20, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

My house smells wonderful.
Even my kids say so.

Now we just have to see how it does on our laundry.
I have great hopes.
I got the recipe from my ultra-picky Tide-snob of a sister (Beth) who deals with sensitive skin issues in her family.

I have tried making the homemade liquid laundry detergent before, and I have to say I wasn't wowed.  It works okay, but if I forget my laundry in the washer overnight the clothes would smell funny the next day.  I have 4 kids and I home school some of them.  Let's be honest: I forget my laundry a lot.

This is what I started with:

1 (4lb 12oz) box of Borax
1 (3lb 7oz) box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 (3lb) container of OxyClean
2 (14.1 oz) bars of Fels Naptha Bar Soap
(I could only find the 5 1/2 oz. bars, so I got 5 of those)
1 (4lb) box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
1 (55oz) bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener (optional)

I was able to get all of my ingredients at Walmart for just under $30.  They obviously have the same recipe I do, because they are all grouped together on the laundry aisle.  Except for the Purex Crystals.  I did have to walk a couple of yards to get to those.

The recipe I have from Beth advises two things that I didn't do this time, but probably will the next.  First, they recommend getting a big bucket and lid from Lowes for a few dollars for combining the ingredients.  If you don't want to invest in that, a heavy-duty trash bag is probably your next best mixing option.  Unforunately I used a freezer bag from Aldi's which has corners in it.  Yeah, that was not the best idea... and then I had to throw the bag away.

The second thing I wish I had done was pour in the ingredients in layers to make the mixing process easier.  I got it done, but it required getting my hands in there and blending it that way.  
It made me sneeze a little.

The only ingredient prep you have to do is grate the bar soap.  Be sure to use the fine side of your grater.  I used my food grater for it because honestly... it's SOAP.  It'll clean off just fine with hot water and my veggie scrubber.  It looks like funky cheese.

After I got it all mixed together I started putting it into containers.  I measured it as I stored so I could know exactly how much the recipe made.  Kelsey wanted to pose with the first 20 cups.

Here's the whole batch in the storage containers.

I'm am using the OxyClean container and scoop for dispensing it in the laundry detergent.  There's 4 lines on the scoop, and the bottom line is probably about 2 Tbsp which is what a typical load of laundry will take.  Unfortunately we have really hard water in Edmond, so we'll probably need 3 Tbsp.

I opted for the green Purex Crystals, which makes my laundry soap look a little like peas and shredded carrots.  I think next time I'll go with the yellow.  Beth tells me it smells more like sunshine.

Oh, and the final measurement?  We have 34 cups of laundry detergent!  According to the math, that's 272 loads of laundry, which is just under 11 cents per load.

That's about one-half to one-third of what I've been spending per load for my other detergent.  This recipe just might be a keeper - especially if I only have to make it twice a year.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Let me know what you think of it! Does it clean the clothes (reasonable stains out) and smell good afterward - my two criteria. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

PS Cute new blog background!