14 April 2011

DIY Friday - Laundry Detergent

I figured I'd kick off DIY Fridays by showing off one of my favorite finds...homemade liquid laundry soap. It's incredibly easy to make & super inexpensive. A little really does go a LONG way here.

While looking for a few money saving tips one day I stumbled across the Duggar Family's 'Favorite Family Recipes' page & figured it was simple enough to at least try. All you'll need is some Borax, Washing Soda, bar soap (Fels-Naptha or Ivory are highly recommended), water, a sauce pan, & a stock pot/bucket that can hold *at least* 2.5 gallons.

After a few tweaks to the original I've come up with a recipe yielding approx 5 gallons of laundry detergent, so it's highly recommended you save your old detergent containers & juice bottles! Some people I know have used milk jugs, but I find the plastic on these a little too thin & flimsy for this purpose.

To start off you'll need to grate 1/2 bar of soap. I prefer to use the small side of a cheese grater, which gives off a 'fine' texture. Seems to melt quicker/easier.

Bring 2 cups of water to a low boil over medium heat & mix in soap, constantly stirring. I prefer a whisk, as it helps the soap dissolve better. It tends to clump up on wooden spoons & the like.

Do NOT let the soap boil over...if this starts, decrease the flame & continue whisking until all the soap is melted. When it reaches a foamy/creamy consistency, it should be ready.

Fill you 2.5+ gallon pot/bucket half full of -hot- tap water. Add in 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda & 1/4 cup Borax. Whisk until dissolved. Next, add in melted soap & whisk until even.

Pour in another gallon of hot tap water to complete the mixture. Stir well, cover, & let sit overnight (best 12-16 hours) to thicken & 'gel'. Optionally you can add in about 5 drops of essence oil per gallon of soap. My personal favorite is a fresh citrus blend...15d lemon oil, 5d grapefruit oil, & 5d mandarin/orange oil. Other highly recommended scents are lavender & tea tree oil.

After detergent has sat & gelled, mix detergent, trying to get the gel in the smallest clumps possible. Clean our your bottles/containers and fill half full with hot tap water.

Measure out half the amount of your container & pour in. For example, I'm using a 48oz juice container & am pouring in 24oz of the soap mixture into 24oz of hot tap water. This is easiest done with a large funnel to prevent from major splashing/spills. After the detergent is in the bottle, shake well to try to break up as much gel as possible.

All that's left now is to label (if you choose) & you're done! Homemade laundry detergent at it's finest. Again, this recipe yield 5 gallons of soap, which, for me, equals out to (1)gallon container, (3)64oz containers, (1)60oz container, (3)48oz containers, & (2)32oz containers. Needless to say family, friends, & neighbors have samples coming their way. =)

On to cost...thanks to the power of eBay I was able to get a 76oz box of Borax, a 55oz box of Washing Soda, & 2 Fels-Naptha bars for $24 w/shipping. Total, I'll get 20 GALLONS of soap out of this, with plenty of Borax & Washing Soda to spare. For those of you keeping track at home, that equals out to $1.20 per gallon of soap. The SINGLE gallon of Purex soap I bought/reused the container....yeah, $7.50 with coupons. Another benefit? I can use this soap even for my girls, both of which have super sensitive skin & can't use most detergents because they breakout from the added chemicals.
Green on so many levels...gotta love it.

And there you have it...the wonder that is cheap, easy, & wonderful DIY Laundry Detergent! Happy Friday everyone!


Heather said...

Hi. I found you on the Blog Hop. I am your newest follower via GFC & Facebook. I would love if you would stop by my blog sometime at http://pricecrusher.blogspot.com

Happy Hopping!
Heather H.
The Price Crusher

Mariah said...

Thanks for this great post! I wonder if I will ever be brave enough to try!

I'm a new follower from the Friday blog hop! Would love if you'd stop by and visit at http://www.formulamom.com ! Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

How much soap do you use for a load of laundry?

Maddie said...

Hi Jackie!

Normally I just use the same about of my detergent as I would store-bought, so about a capfull for a full load.

Thanks for stopping by! :)