There are two things you should know about me:
1) I am cheap.
2) I am not original.
Awesome way to introduce a post, right?
Let me say a little more about Point #1: I’m not a spendthrift. In fact, if you ask my husband, he’d tell you quite the opposite.
It’s just that I’d rather spend my money on something fun and cool.
Laundry detergent does not fall into either of those categories.
As for #2, well, that’s pretty self-explanatory. This post won’t tell you much more than you could know if you just googled…or frankly, read the post that I got it from myself. But, I get asked all the time about my homemade laundry detergent, so I’ll just tell you how I do it because it’s seems like an easy post and I was making more today anyway.
Here’s what you need for each batch:
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (NOT baking soda!)
1 cup Borax
1 bar of Fels Naptha Soap (I heard you can also use Zote)
1/4 cup of Oxi Clean*
A little bit of Purex Crystals stuff*
*the last two ingredients are optional, FYI.
Let me save y’all a lot of time and agony.
Fels Naptha (and Zote) are found in the laundry detergent aisle. NOT the soap aisle. I may, or may not, have spent a lot of wasted time looking in the entirely wrong part of the store. Ahem.
Secondly, I used to get my Fels Naptha at the grocery store for what I thought was a reasonable price of $1.79 per bar. Until I found that WalMart carries it for under a buck.
The washing soda proved more elusive for me, but my mother in law was able to find it at her local Winco…and she lives 5 hours away…so I had her buy me 10 boxes. I think they were about $2 per box.
Now, the original recipe I followed showed a regular cheese grater in the picture.
And I will tell you right now that if this little adventure required me to sit there and hand grate a bar of soap, I would never, ever, ever do it more than once.
Much less more than one batch at a time.
Grating it in a food processor literally takes all of 9 seconds and all the parts get tossed into the dishwasher. The end.
If you don’t have a food processor and have an aversion to manual labor like I do, find one on Craigslist for $5.
Or borrow the one your mom has had hidden in the back of her kitchen cupboards for the last 20 years.
If you want to grate the skin off your knuckles, then by all means.
When it’s grated, it will look exactly like cheddar cheese.
As in, anytime anyone goes into your laundry room they will look at you with disgust and say “is this CHEESE???!!!”
Every. single. time.
Sometimes I say yes just to mess with people.
I used to make this following the original “recipe”.
And then one day I ran out of homemade stuff and in a moment of weakness bought a bottle of detergent at the store.
And almost had a heart attack at the price tag.
But sometimes desparate times call for desparate measures.
While I swore I’d never pay that kind of money for something as silly as soap again, I did find that I missed the fresh smell of traditional detergents.
(Remember, I’m doing this because I’m cheap. Not because I’m overly concerned with chemicals or have issues with allergies to perfumes and such. If you do, you’ll obviously want to skip this step.)
So I bought a bottle of the Purex Crystals and add about a cap full to every 3-4 batches. Be careful, this stuff is strooooong so don’t use too much or you’ll give yourself a headache.
As an aside, if you don’t add the Crystals your clothes won’t smell like anything. Not bad, nor good. Just like….clothes.
Mix it all together and use 1 tblsp. for an average load.
I use 2 tblsp. if stuff is gross or extra dirty.
Put it in a big pretty glass jar and admire your Little House on the Prairie ways.
Remember how I said the OxyClean was optional?
I’m just really particular about my clothes not being dingy.
So, yes, I use it…and you’ll see that I still use regular bleach, color safe bleach and have assorted stain fighting sprays in my arsenal.
Because the homemade stuff doesn’t work?
No. It works great. I’ve been making my own detergent for about a year and it’s been awesome. Or at least, no one’s said that my family and I look like slobs.
I used all that extra stain fighting stuff when I bought the pre-made stuff too. (Not in every load, just depending on what was going on.)
If you want to make your own detergent and actually be successful about it, I have a couple of tips:
-Make as many batches as the container you have allows and use a big container. In this case, I made 4 batches, which didn’t even fill my new glass jar halfway, but I ran out of Borax. It doesn’t take but a few minutes more to make 10 batches at a time then it does to make 1 batch. Promise.
-Buy more ingredients than you need to make your batches and have it waiting in the cupboard to be mixed together. If you wait to buy all the ingredients when you run out of mix, you’ll instead find yourself buying premade stuff because it’s right there and all done for you. Don’t set yourself up for failure. I usually restock anything I need the minute I run out and then it’s in my house and all I need to do is whip up more.
-This takes 10 minutes. Tops. I made four batches, and took pictures of the process for this post in that much time.
-I have no idea what the cost breakdown of this is because no matter how often I swear I’m gonna count how many loads of laundry I do with it, I never rememeber. But I can tell you with full confidence that it is significantly cheaper than buying even the store brand laundry detergent.
-I’ll be honest and tell you that it doesn’t work to take out the stinkyness of my husband’s workout/basketball clothes. Thinking it was the fact that most of the ingredients are all-natural, I bought my old standby Tide and washed his gym clothes separately. They were still stinky. Eventually, I figured out that I needed to use Tide Sport…so it wasn’t the homemade recipe that was the problem…it was just that weird wicking fabric that needs uber powerful stuff to get clean. So, I just make him keep it all in a separate basket and I wash his sports clothes separately. If you have kids that play sports, you might have to do this too.
Do you make your own detergent? Have you been toying with the idea?