Monday, May 16, 2011

homemade detergents

I attended a class recently that taught me how to make my own laundry detergent. The funny thing is, I've been making my own dishwashing detergent for a couple years now but I didn't know that I was already making half the laundry soap too.

Here's everything you need (that grater is never used on's kept in the laundry room cupboard so it doesn't get accidentally used):

To make the dishwashing detergent, I mix equal parts washing soda and borax. The box of washing soda is smaller than the borax so I just pour the whole box of washing soda in a very large mixing bowl, then pour an equal amount of borax in on top of it. Then I mix those two up real good and put them in a couple jars. I was reusing the cardboard box with the pour spout being so small, it took a while to get the soap loaded into the box...and if it clumped up, it would clog the spout and I'd end up pouring way too much out when the clog finally moved out of the way. So a jar with a little scoop is much easier to deal with.

When I need laundry detergent, I simply take 3 cups of that mixture and add a bar of soap, grated finely and stir it up well. The most traditional soap used is Fels Naptha. It's a very hard soap and takes some elbow grease to grate it. You can also use Kirk's castile or Dove or Ivory. All of those are softer and still pure soap. You don't want to use the other body soaps...I don't know why but they say not to. With a HE washer, like I have, I only have to use 1 Tbsp a load. For traditional washers, you use 2 Tbsp a load.

I was buying a bottle of the most pure washing detergent I could find to try to keep my hives at bay and it was costing me about $5/bottle for 32 loads. Fels Naptha costs about $2-3/bar, depending on if you can find it on sale. Kirk's soap only costs $1/bar. Each box of Borax and washing soda costs a little less than $3/each. So, at most, I'm spending $9 for all the ingredients. But I get about 60 laundry loads and enough detergent for a couple months of dishwashing loads as well. I've never had a problem with anything getting clean compared to the storebought soaps.


Stella Andes said...

That is so awesome, Tiff. You really teach us how to be more self-reliant! I am so proud of you! Love you!!!! Mom

Tiff :o) said...

Thanks, Mom. Love you too! :o)

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