"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Homemade laundry detergent

Although it seems that I am just obsessed with coupons/deals these days, that is not actually the case. I am simply learning to be more frugal. The art of finding a good deal is just more exciting than some of the other things I have been doing. However, I came up with a pretty intriguing one a few weeks ago that I got to try out today.

Have you ever heard of homemade laundry detergent? I hadn't. But, in talking to my sister, she mentioned it. Since the price was right, I got the ingredients and waited to run out of the detergent I was using. Today was my lucky day!

How do you make your own laundry detergent? Easy. Really.

Get a big can (I used a #10 can left over from Costco peaches) and add 6 cups of water. Put that in a big pot of water and bring to a boil. (This "double broiler method may not be necessary, but I didn't want to cook in the same pan I was making laundry detergent.) Then, grate 1/3 of an Ivory soap bar and add to the heated water in your can. The goal is to melt your bar soap in the water. When the soap has melted, add 1/2 cup Borax (found in the laundry soap section) and 1/2 cup washing soda (this is made by Arm and Hammer, and I found mine in the laundry detergent section at Ace Hardware. Walmart failed me on this one.) Mix until the powder dissolves. Then, pour 1 quart of hot water into a 2.5 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and then 22 cups (11 pints) cool water. Stir and let sit until cool. When the mixture cools, it turns to a gel. When you are ready to use, just mix detergent (so that the gel breaks up a bit) and add 1/2 cup to your washing. Done! Mine looked like this:

One batch makes 2 gallons, which means 128 loads of laundry. The super amazing thing about this stuff is the price. Let me do the math here:

Borax - $4.29 for 76 oz - 19 batches in a box - $0.23 per batch
Washing Soda - $3.79 for 55 oz - 13 batches in a box - $0.29 per batch
Ivory bar soap - $1.50 per bar - 3 batches per bar - $0.50 per bar (of course, if you get a good sale, this is MUCH less)
price per 2 gallons of detergent - $1.02
price per load - NOT EVEN A PENNY!

So, as you can see, it is fairly economical. To be mild.

How does it work? Well, I will have to post more about that later. I just washed the sheets that got wet on last night, as well as some assorted kids clothes, and they came out smelling and looking clean. So far, so good. However, I will use it for a bit and post some more opinions. And, since I want to give credit where credit is due, I found the recipe here! Thanks, Tipnut!
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