Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Homemade laundry detergent

On a whim Saturday, I asked my husband to pick up the ingredients for me to make our own laundry detergent. We do so much laundry and go through so much Tide that it eats up a significant portion of my weekly budget--even with coupons. I quickly browsed Pinterest for a recipe and of course, I forgot to pin it, but not before I made my own batch of detergent. Fortunately, I found the site and pinned it.

The recipe on DIY Natural uses Ivory soap, which is smaller than a bar of Fels-Naptha, which is the soap I asked my husband to grab. I just don't like the way Ivory smells. Someone figured that the difference in the size of a bar of Ivory and of Fels-Naptha should change the other ingredients to equal just shy of two cups of borax and just shy of two cups of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda.

To make it easier, I'm just going with two cups of the borax and washing soda, and if I remember I will put just a little less in the second cup. So, here's what I did. I grated an entire bar of Fels-Naptha into a large glass batter bowl. I used my fancy Microplane cheese grater's smallest side. Then I added the (short) two cups of borax and the (short) washing soda. I stirred it up and put it in a pretty clear container with a latch.

The Fels-Naptha smells nice and clean. It almost reminds me of the scent of Dial, which shouldn't be surprising, considering the two soaps are made by the same company. It made my kitchen, where I worked, smell great. The garage also smells a bit better too.

I use one to two tablespoons per load in the drawer of my front loading HE machine. I had been worried that it wouldn't melt completely or that it would leave a whitish haze on my darks, but I had none of the problems *some* people have had. Most of the reviews of homemade laundry detergent have been overwhelmingly positive.

I like it! It doesn't suds up like Tide does, but it seems to work well. I even used it on my cloth diapers, and those are fussy little things. As a bonus, it costs just a fraction of what Tide costs!

The 20 Mule Team borax cost $3.38, Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda cost $3.24 and the Fels-Naptha soap cost $.97. The borax and washing soda contain much more than enough for one batch, but I will need to buy some more Fels-Naptha. I haven't done any cost figuring, but others have determined that this detergent costs about $.05/load whereas Tide costs $.21/load.

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