Sunday, October 14, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent Tutorial Review

I finally did it.  

After buying laundry detergent at the store for years, I finally went ahead and tried making my own. 

I searched the internet and Pinterest for different recipes, but most contained the following ingredients:  Washing Soda, Borax, and Fels-Naptha soap.

Surprisingly, all of these ingredients were easily found at my favorite grocery store, Mejier.  I purchased these two boxes of washing soda and borax, as well as 6 bars of Fels-Naptha soap for about $15.  
While looking on the internet, I was searching for really easy recipes.  Many I saw required boiling or melting the soap and ingredients, turning it into a liquid detergent.  For me personally, that just seemed like a lot of work.  I need something that I can whip up in a few minutes and not have to worry about it for a few months, to be perfectly honest.  

The recipe I ended up using was just that- extremely quick and easy.  There are basically three steps, as you'll see below.  

Above we have step 1: Grate one bar of the Fels-Naptha soap into a container.  I chose a plastic, lidded container that my grater fit into, so there were no other dirty dishes in this step except the grater.  This step took me about 5 minutes to complete. 

Step 2: Pour one cup borax into your plastic tub with your grated soap.  The hardest part of this step for me was opening the box.  

I really hate those "to open- press here" tabs.  They take me forever to open and I always end up just shoving a knife into the box.

Step 3:  Pour one cup of washing soda into the container of soap and borax. 

That's it.  

The mixture you come up with will look something like my container below.

Instructions for use:  Add one tablespoon of this mixture to your laundry.  I have a HE machine, and per user reviews of this recipe, it is recommended just to dump your tablespoon straight into the washer with your clothes.  If you don't have an HE machine, I believe you can just put this straight into your soap drawer/spot just like you would put in powdered detergent.  

I've also read that adding a few drops of essential oils in your chosen scent can give your laundry a fresh smell to it, but I prefer the detergent to be unscented.  While washing, you can definitely smell this soap, but by the time it is rinsed and dried, your clothes don't smell like anything- they're just clean!

I personally added a laundry detergent scoop I had sitting around my laundry room to put the laundry soap into the washer.  

In terms of being environmentally friendly, I'm not exactly sure if this recipe is any better for the environment after it leaves the washer, but I'm going to guess it has to be at least a little better than those detergents with chemically-added fragrances!  I will 100% say that it saves me a ton of packaging from the plastic bottles I'm not using in purchasing something like a Tide detergent.

In price comparison, this detergent cost me about 6 cents per load, as opposed to about 24 cents per load for a liquid Tide bottle and about 32 cents per load for one of those fancy washing machine "pacs" that recently entered the market.  If you take that savings by 4 loads a week for a year, you'll end up saving almost $40 a year over your Tide liquid detergent and about $55 a year over something like a washing machine pac from Tide.  

If you add our savings from cutting back on our needs around the home in cleaning products, we save several hundred dollars per year with everything added up (such as hand soap, floor cleaners, bathroom cleaners, etc.).  I'm a huge fan of saving, and I believe every dollar counts.  

It took me a little while to get here, but I'm glad I decided to make my own detergent.  It was so easy, much cheaper, and works really well.  We've been using this detergent for at least a month or two and our clothes have been nothing but clean and fresh when I am putting away each load.

Would you/have you tried this laundry detergent recipe?  Let me know what you think about it in the comments below!

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  1. Funny you posted this! I was just starting to look for recipes for laundry detergents.

  2. We use this so much that, the last batch I made had to be put into a 5 gallon bucket.

    I normally run the soap through the food processor a couple of times to chop it up more (so that it dissolves better.) I have an old machine and put the scoops in first, so everything dissolves by the time I put the clothes in. I know some people have had problems with spots on the clothes, that seems to help it.

  3. Oh, I just realized your recipe uses more soap than mine does. I use one box of each of the soda and the Borax and then 1 to 1.5 bars of grated soap.

  4. @Cruel- Do you grate and then process the soap? Or just cut up the bar into smaller pieces and put it directly into the food processor?

  5. I use this recipe, too. I LOVE it. I think it smells so good. Like Cruel, I put it into the wash first and let a little water fill up before I add clothes.

    Have you ever made your own dishwasher soap? I tried one recipe and it was a major fail. My dishes came out looking almost worse. Let me know if you have a good one. :)

  6. Hey there... I found you via your guest post on Growing up Geeky and think I'm going to stick around :-) I may have to try this out! I'm realizing how strong our clothes smell after washing with regular detergent! Good post :-)

  7. I used this recipe for about 2 years and loved it! I stopped using it when I started CD-ing and didn't want any buildup in my machine getting on the diapers, so I just use what I use on the diapers on the rest of my clothes for now. I do plan on going back to it after we're done with diapers.

    When I do this, I use the other side of the grater with the smaller holes to make a finer shred so that it dissolves easier.

  8. I have looked into this and one word of caution. I know if you are not super careful this will coat your pipes since it doesnt disolve as well as commercial soaps. Make sure to check your pipes occasionally to ensure you arent getting buildup.


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