I almost didn’t insert this tip after seeing the trailers for Wife Swap (no I do NOT watch that show, but they do advertise) and the words “makes her own laundry detergent” (insert a big shudder), but I digress………
Good morning! Wow, I think winter has finally hit the road and boy am I glad to see its backside. I feared it was never going to be warm again. …….. Again I digress. Today I wanted to tell you about homemade laundry detergent. Yes, you can make it yourself and the best part is — it works; and eventually the tune to “Home, Home on the Range” will disappear from your brain. Usually.
The comparison that came with this particular recipe was made with a jumbo container of Tide at Amazon.com costing $28.99 for 96 loads. Now I usually buy my laundry soap at Costco and while I don’t remember the cost, it was not nearly that, more around $15 or so for 105 loads. It is worth the effort to make your own. First things firstly — be warned. This stuff is slimy. And don’t worry it is supposed to be that way. You haven’t discovered some new creature that will crawl out of your bucket and try to take over the world.
Go to the store and buy the following items:
– 1 bar of soap (whatever kind you like; Choose something that you like the smell of or go for the cheapest bar you can find. You can use ANY kind from Ivory to Fels Naptha. It matters not.
– 1 box of washing soda (look for it in the laundry detergent aisle – it comes in an Arm & Hammer box and contains enough for six batches)
– 1 box of borax (Remember the 20 Mule Team????? Oh, you’re not that old. OK.) One box of borax will contain more than enough for tons of batches of this homemade detergent)
– A five gallon bucket with a lid (or a bucket that will hold more than 15 liters) And no, I will not give you one of my kitty liter buckets. Sorry. You will have to find your own) Even if you have to buy one (HORRORS!!) you will still be way ahead with all the money you will be saving using your slimy homemade laundry detergent.
– Three gallons of tap water
– A big spoon to stir the mixture with
– A measuring cup
– A knife or cheese grater (use the large holes if grating)
1. Put about four cups of water into a pan on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. In the meantime, while you’re waiting, use your knife or cheese grater and start shaving strips off of the bar of soap into the water. Use the whole bar of soap and be sure to keep the heat below a boil. Once all the soap has been deposited into your hot water, stir, stir, stir until the soap is dissolved. Hey, whatcha doin’ with all that soapy water?
2. Put 3 gallons of hot water (previously warmed up somehow. I did mine in batches before I started the soap-in-hot water grating process) into the 5 gallon bucket and mix in the hot soapy water from step one. Stir for a bit , say one run-through of “Home Home on the Range” and then add 1 cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two, then add a half cup of borax. Stir for another couple of minutes, then just let your home brew, uh I mean laundry detergent, sit overnight to cool.
3. You are done. It’s all over but the storing of your laundry slime. Find a funnel and start storing this stuff in clean milk jugs or just leave it in the bucket (with a lid!!!). I don’t like putting this stuff in jugs, but that big ol’ bucket takes up too much room in my laundry closet and besides it’s HEAVY, so into clean milk jugs it goes. My mama never promised me things would always be easy. Or that I would like them……… but do what works for you. One measuring cup full of this slime will be what you need to do a load of laundry – and the ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent, just without all the refining and additives that make it look purty. So, out of three gallons, you’ll get about 48 loads of laundry. If you do this six times, you’ll have used six bars of soap ($0.99 each), one box of washing soda ($2.49 – this varies by where you shop), and about half a box of borax ($2.49 or so making it $1.25) and will do 288 loads of laundry. This comes up to a cost of right around three cents a load. THREE CENTS.
After you have washed a load of laundry with your homemade soap, hang your clothes outside to dry (or on hangers slung around your wood stove in the winter 🙂 or on a clothes rack, and we are talking more savings. You can use your clothes dryer to fluff everything up once they are already dry if ya want. You’ve got yourself huge savings AND a pioneering spirit. You go girl!