Saturday, July 4, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent

After much experimentation I have perfected my recipe for laundry detergent. The recipe along with a few tips and suggestions follow:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

36 cups water
1-1/2 cup Washing Soda
1-1/2 cup Borax
1 bar Soap (grated) I use Dove white

  • In a large pot, heat 18 cups of water. Add the grated bar soap and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat.
  • Then add 18 cups water to the heated soap mixture. Transfer to storage containers. I reuse big liquid detergent or fabric softener containers. The mixture will gel and will need to be stirred or shaken a little before each use.
  • Use 1/2 cup per load.

When I make this I make the whole thing in my huge stainless steel stockpot…it holds about 14 quarts. Do not use a coated or Teflon pan, the borax is a cleaning agent and will strip the inside of your pot. Trust me on this one. A key is really letting the bar soap heat up quite a bit until the shreds are almost dissolved. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just be sure the shredded soap is not in any big clumps. Then, when I add the borax and washing soda (both of which I buy at Kroger in the section with cleaning products), they dissolve quickly.

A few tips to using this detergent:

  • It is not color safe. Do not mix your reds, blacks, or dark blues with any light colors. Tide spoiled me and kept me from really doing the best sorting job.
  • If you are doing a load full of black clothes, add an extra rinse cycle. Occasionally, my black pants will come out with white streaks or spots on them from the soap.
  • When I wash white towels, I will often throw in a scoop of Oxyclean (I buy the Wal Mart brand, Sun Oxygen Cleaner). This is not necessary, but our white kitchen towels get really nasty and need a little extra whitening.
  • The detergent is not perfumed at all. You can add essential oils if you want to go that route.
  • I use Sauvitel fabric softener, which is gentle on my babies’ sensitive skin and mine. I also really like the scent of Sauvitel, so it makes up for that fresh Tide smell that I miss.
  • Making my own detergent has saved us quite a bit of money. Dollar for dollar, I don’t know how much cheaper it is than store-bought detergent. I do know that one box of Borax and one box of Washing Soda (each less than $4) has lasted me nearly a year and I do a lot of laundry.
  • This recipe is very easy to make in smaller quantities. When I first started making my own detergent, I made one third of this recipe and it turned out great.

Below is my huge pot of detergent:

I use a funnel to transfer the detergent into an old container.

Both fabric softener bottles were filled with detergent and the ice cream bucket was a little over half full.

And, the babies: :)

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