DIY Laundry Detergent

This morning I finally got around to making my own laundry detergent. I’m SO pleased with the result! I first heard of this from Tammy’s Recipes, but hers is a liquid detergent and seems like it would require a bucket with a lid, which I didn’t have on hand. Then I started following her links, and found out that you can make laundry detergent in powdered form too – it’s much more concentrated, which makes it easier to store in my cramped laundry space, and doesn’t require any cooking or much mixing.

Here’s what I did:

I got a big box of Borax ($3.69) and a big box of washing soda (note: NOT baking soda, washing soda, yes there is a difference, $2.29). Each box has, I would estimate, 25-30 cups of powder inside.

For the detergent, I put a bar of plain soap in my food processor and processed it to dust. Some people use special laundry soap for this step, like Fels Naphtha, and some use Ivory soap, but one thing I read noted that you can use whatever soap you want – the idea being that you don’t want a lot of additives and scents in it unless they are essential oils.

Next, I put the soap dust in a gladware container, and added one cup of borax, and one cup of washing soda. I put the lid on the gladware container, and shook it all up until it was mixed.

To do the laundry, you just put two tablespoons of the powder in the washer, and let it dissolve a little before putting in the clothes. It works on hot or cold water, and some people say they only use 1/2 cups of borax and soda, and/or only 1 tablespoon of powder per load, but we have really hard water so I decided to go with the bigger amounts. So far I have done two loads of laundry with the homemade detergent, and I’m quite pleased with the results.

According to one breakdown I read, using this detergent in these quantities will cost LESS than ONE PENNY per load. Mine will cost even less than that calculation, since I paid about $2 less for my borax and soda than did the person who did the calculations. At any rate, that beats Tide, which costs an average of 47 cents per load.

We do a lot of laundry around here, what with diapers and clothes and towels and sheets and so forth, so I feel like this savings is going to add up pretty quickly for us, with quite minimal effort on my part. Plus the resulting detergent is natural and biodegradable and doesn’t have any annoying detergent odors.

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