January 21, 2012

So frugally awesome - DIY Laundry Detergent

10/13 Update:  Thanks to everyone from Pinterest who are stopping by!  I've been using this as my detergent for the past year and still love it:)  I've experimented with other soaps and each time has worked out well, so feel free to change up the soap of your preference to get different results.  I'd love it if you would follow the blog and leave comments about your experience with home made detergent - it would be fun hearing how it works for other people:)  Also, if you have any other tips, mention them in the comments.  I know some others have been adding downy and/or laundry enhancers to theirs and I've enjoy hearing how that works!  See you around!

Back in October I experimented with making laundry detergent.  I wasn't sure about this whole thing.  But the thought that I could make a 3 or 4 gallon batch of detergent for less than $5 was baffling to me?  How much money would I save?!  A lot!  Considering that even on sale, 1 HALF gallon may cost $5.  Every once in a while it may be less.  But not all the time! Right now a little over a GALLON (150 ounces) of Tide at Shoprite is $16.99? 

So my BFF, Heather, & I made our first batches of the detergent.  Here is what you need, except I put the wrong box in this picture - the Arm & Hammer should be WASHING SODA - which looks a lot like baking soda...I grabbed the wrong box for this pic.  You need the washing soda, Borax, and Fels-Naptha.  Fels-Naptha is bar soap, a laundry bar soap and it smells lemony and lovely!  All these items can be found in the laundry aisle in any major store - I happen to get mine in Wal-mart (gasp!  I cheated on Target?!?!) and spend $3.89 on the three items.  Score!

 I bought a cheese grater just for this detergent.  I can't imagine sharing my regular one with soap.  That would not taste very good!  So you grate your soap down to ribbons...

Like so...

Then, you boil 4 cups of water on the stove top...once its rolling drop in your soap!

Boil and stir and boil and stir until all the soap is dissolved, it'll look all frothy:

Oh and don't walk away from it.  My BFF may or may not have done that the 2nd time around.  And it may or may not have been a disaster in her kitchen!  Heather, I hope you don't mind me sharing that, I feel it's important enough to warn;)  It totally could've happened to me because that is something I would do.

This will make your house smell so wonderful and clean, even if it isn't!!

Unfortunately this is where my photo's end.  I'll have to add more the next time I make it.

Next, you take a 5 gallon paint bucket (buy it at Home D or Lowes, buy the lid too - its only about $5 or less for the set) and I fill it a little over halfway with warm water, about 3 gallons.  I have to fill it in my bathtub because my sink isn't that deep.  Or I could fill it in the basement in my utility sink.  

Then dump in your dissolved soap mixture!  Stir it up nicely.  Then add 1 cup of washing soda and a 1/2 cup of the Borax.  Stir it well and then stick the top on and keep it in your laundry room.  Let it set for about 24 hours.  Stir it again.  Don't be alarmed by its....goopiness.  That is the official word!  It looks gross but it smells delightful.  It works awesome!  I get compliments on the way my clothes smell, and they are CLEAN!  This is crazy?!?! 

I feel so domestic.  I feel like I belong in Little Women or some movie like that!?  I am making my own laundry detergent!!  How did we get so dependant on main stream products to stop making things ourselves?  I have over 3 gallons of laundry soap that cost me hardly anything!  You spend less each time you make it, because really you only have to buy the soap every batch because the boxes of Washing Soda and Borax last that at least 4-5 batches!  It is really amazing, and feels great to be doing something so close to being natural, and frugal! 

One batch lasted us 2.5 months.  I made mine in early October and I had to make my next right before Christmas.  We do at LEAST 6 loads a week (seriously I am being modest when I say 6, it may be more like 8 or 9 a week) so that is 60+ loads.

We aren't so strapped for money that we can't afford laundry soap or anything, but it's the principal of the matter!  Why pay $10+ a MONTH for this stuff if I can make it myself!?  As a up and coming couponer and frugal lady - this is one of the things that makes me proud and happy!  I love saving money on everyday things!!

By the way, I have front loading machines, HE and all and this works great.  No worries, no spills, nothing.  It's awesome.  Use about 1 cup for a regular load.  You'll be hooked, I swear!