Monday, March 19, 2012

DIY: Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have officially become "domestic." I make my own soap. Well, laundry detergent to be more exact. I had seen ideas of it floating around the web and on Pinterest, and I eventually decided to give it a try. I am normally an uber snob about Tide. Nothing else, no generics, just Tide. I have tried other kinds of detergent and just feel like my brights aren't as bright and my whites aren't as white. Everything seems faded and older, if that makes sense. And I figure it's cheaper to buy more expensive laundry detergent than it is to replace my entire wardrobe prematurely. So I've stuck with Tide. Then one day, my Tide was all out. I went to Walmart to buy some more (I prefer getting it from Sam's, but our membership ran out), but when I got there I was overwhelmed by the amount of choices. I know, lame. But true. So I put it off. And then I did it again the next shopping trip. So eventually, making my own detergent seemed less daunting than making a choice. So I did that instead. :)

I first tried the powdered version. It seemed like much less work, and we are accustomed to using powder. But I wasn't happy with the results. The powder didn't dissolve well in the wash, even putting it in pre-clothes, and our clothes ended up with greasy spots on them (which would wash out if we rewashed the clothes, but really- who wants to rewash?). So I gave up on the homemade detergent idea for a while. But then it was time to choose detergents again, and I approached the idea again. Ha.

I eventually found this recipe on the blog called "One Good Thing by Jillee." This Jillee character really knows her stuff. If you're interested in DIY homemakey sorts of things, peruse her blog. You will come away inspired! Anyway, I mostly followed her tutorial and her "recipe," but I altered it a bit- making less at one time and adding OxiClean (which was it's own little adventure, the dang explosive stuff).

Without further ado, here is the "recipe" and tut. Enjoy. And seriously let me know if you try it and what you think. Here 'goes:

RECIPE: Homemade {Liquid} Laundry Detergent

Yield: 2 gallons (about 64 loads)

Large soup pot
Plastic {silicone?} spoon/stirring device
4 old 64-oz juice containers

2/3 bar Fels-Naptha (3/8 oz), grated
2/3 c. Borax
2/3 c. Washing Soda
2/3 c. OxiClean

1. Get out a large soup pot. Fill pot 1/3 way with hot tap water. Put in grated Fels-Naptha. Heat, until fully-melted (high heat at first, then med... this stuff doesn't make crazy-suds like the other stuff does).

Grated Fels-Naptha
Fels-Naptha in Water
Fels-Naptha in Water (again)
2. Reduce heat to low-med. Add Borax and Washing Soda, a little at a time, stirring.

This is about how accurate I am when measuring.
3. Remove from heat (this is important, the OxiClean is crazy suds-wise... go slowly here). Add OxiClean a LITTLE BIT at a time, waiting a good amount (30 sec minimum) before adding more, stirring slowly.

4. Using a funnel, pour/ladle soap into containers- just get the same approximate amount in each.

5. Let rest/cool a bit. Then add water, shake, add water, shake. After you shake, tap the stuff down and open (slowly) the lids. If they're tight, the stuff just expands and tries to make your containers pop. The pressure needs to be able to release for a while.

Just added (My OxiClean went a little nuts...
I was impatient, go figure... so I had to dump the
stuff in quicko-fasto. Hence the labels still on, etc.)
6. After a few hours, screw the lids on tight. Your Homemade Laundry Detergent is now ready to be used!

Taken just now... I probably should add
more water to these babies. Hm...

Oh, and the one on the left was just shaken
up. They separate normally, which is fine.
Just shake the container a bit before measuring
and adding detergent to your laundry load.
**When ready to do a wash, start the water. Shake up your container, then pour in 1/2 c. of detergent. Add laundry, and wash/dry as usual. (I'm pretty sure this stuff will work just fine in HE washers, as it barely suds, but you'd certainly use less. Check out Jillee's post (my original source) for more info; there's likely info for this in the comments.) Good luck!

PS. As a quick FYI, I just googled the cost of the (powdered) Tide that I had previously used, and it was about $21 for a box of 120 loads. That comes out to be about 18 cents/load. Not bad. But then I looked on Jillee's blog comments and saw that someone had calculated that her recipe came out to be about 64 cents a gallon. Add about 14 cents to that for my OxiClean, and my homemade laundry detergent comes out to be ONLY 2 1/2 CENTS PER LOAD!! Pennies, people, pennies! Certainly worth the 30 minutes in the kitchen every few months! Sweet. Now I feel even better about this whole thing. Way to go, Domestic Diva self... Way to go. ;)


tori said...

good job! i don't think i am patient enough to actually make my own stuff, but it would definitely be cheaper! :)

Missy W. said...

wow. I'm impressed!

Richelle said...

I was reading Old Yeller with my kids today in the book, they made soap by getting lye from wood ash and boiling it with pig fat. I pretty sure I like your laundry soap better!!!! :)