Monday, March 7, 2011

Laundry Detergent

*Edited to show the end result!!*

  • Yes, this is my second post in one day.  I think I just may need a nap when I am finished! 

Back in October I started making our laundry detergent.  I have had several friends ask how I do it, so I decided to make a post about it!   Be advised- this is a little longer than normal- bleeding eyes may occur.  Consider yourself warned.

There are different ways to make this, but here are the ingredients I use:

1 bar of Fels-Naptha   ($1.29 per bar at Kroger)
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda    ($2.79 for 55oz. at Kroger)
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax    ($3.99 for 76oz at Kroger)
Five Gallon bucket
Lots of water!

First, use a cheese grater to grate the entire bar of Fels-Naptha.  Yes, it will look just like shredded cheese!

Next, heat 6 cups of water on the stove, but not to the boiling point.  Add the grated cheese soap and dissolve.

When the soap has dissolved, then mix in your Washing Soda and Borax.  (or get your kids to do it so you can take pictures)

While these soaps are dissolving, add 8 cups of hot water to the 5 gallon bucket.  When the soaps are done, pour them into the bucket and stir.

Fill the bucket up the rest of the way with luke warm water and stir gently and well.  If there is a foam at the top, I ususally take it off (doesn't really matter- I am just OCD about silly stuff).

Finally, put the top on tight and let set 24 hours!!

At the end of the 24 hours the entire bucket of soap will be gel.  I (or one of the kids) will use a whisk or our hands to mix up the soap until it is the consistency of egg drop soup.  Since mine is not yet ready to open, I don't have a picture of that.  I will try to remember to do that tomorrow.   I use 1/2 cup per load.

Points I want you to be aware of:
  • This only takes about 20 minutes to make (maybe less without kids).
  • I don't use an he washer, but have been told that it works just fine.  Just be aware that you will want to make sure you mix your gel extra good to get most if not all of the clumps out.
  • There are many ways to mix the soaps.  The above is my typical batch.  However, during football and baseball season (like now) I will use 1-1/2 cups each of Borax and Washing Soda.  I know some people that use 2 cups of each and 2 bars of soap to 5 gallons.  I find that what I use works, so I have never increased the amounts.  It could depend on your water too (hard or soft).
  • I still use my stain remover (Shout, Oxy-Clean, whatever) when needed.  Which is alot with my kids and sports, wagon jumping, or whatever.
  • If you want to add fragrance you can use a few drop of essential oils.  I have never done this, as I still use my favorite Downy.
How did I figure how much it costs?
Washing Soda at $2.79 for 55oz comes to 0.051 per oz x 8oz= $.41

Borax at $3.99 for 76oz comes to 0.0525 per oz x 8oz= $.42

Fels-Naptha is $1.29

So for a 5 gallon batch:   $.41 + $.42 + $1.29= $2.12

A 5 gallon batch yeilds approximately 160 loads. 
$2.12 / 160= $0.01325  per load!!!!

Now, if you compare the cost of my 5 gallons to 5 gallons of Tide or any of the other brands out there you can certainly understand why it just makes my day!  I average anywhere from 15-21 loads per week and have found that we use between 2.5 to 3 gallons of detergent per month.  Can you say SAVINGS????  Does this make me any happier to actually do my laundry?  That would definitely be a NO.

Now, as for tips on bleeding retinas from long posts?  I have none. 

**Here are the pictures of the final product!!**
As you can see, the gell is semi-solid

using your hands not only is the easiest way to break up the gel, it also gives you very soft hands!!

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate you sharing this. I wonder where I will find that bar in Greenwood? Hmmmm... I already love laundry, so this is going to make me over the moon in love with it.


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