I’m just going to put this down for you: If you aren’t making your own laundry detergent, you are frittering away money. And don’t give me this, “Oh, I don’t have the time to do this.” If you have time to read this blog post, you have time to make laundry detergent. The only even remotely PITA part of this project is assembling the stuff you’ll need, but even that can be done in the course of regular grocery shopping.
So here’s the deal: You’ll need to buy some stuff, first. You’ll need washing soda – I generally use Arm & Hammer. Make note – this is not baking soda. It’s in a much larger box, and it’s for laundry. I found mine at Central Market, but you can also buy it on the Internets. You’ll also need borax. I use the 20 Mule Team brand, because it seems to be the most available. I found that at Central Market, too, but I think you can find it at just about any grocery store. You’ll need a 5 gallon bucket with a lid – I got mine for about $5 at Home Depot. I’d pick up a paint stick, too. You’ll need one bar of soap – I use Ivory, but I’ve also used scented herbal soap. It needs to be the largish bar – not the kind that comes in the bulk pack. If you have that, though, just use two bars of soap instead. If you want your laundry to be scented, pick up some essential oils.
Now for the actual assembling:
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
1 bar of soap, ground into a powder (I use a food processor)
About 3 gallons of water
1 oz essential oils
Boil four cups of water, and then slowly add the ground up bar of soap, stirring constantly. When it’s dissolved, add the washing soda, stir some more, then the borax. When everything is a little more dissolved (it’ll look kinda like wall paper paste), take it off the heat. Put three gallons of warm water in your bucket, and then add the essential oils if you want. Stir in your soap mixture, and the pop the lid on. Let it sit for 24 hours before using.
Now, it’ll look kinda like albino egg drop soup when you go to use it. You’ll probably need to give it a stir before you use it (hence the paint stick). Use about a 1/2 cup or so at a time. It won’t suds like commercial laundry detergent, either, which makes it generally OK for front loaders, as well. But it cleans as well as commercial detergent, and you can determine the scenting, and it’s about 8-10 cents a load compared to up to 25 cents per load for ready-made stuff.
And if you nix the essential oils, and use a gentle bar soap like Ivory, it’s great for baby clothes, too.
And time – well, it takes about 15 minutes for me to make a batch of this, now that I have all the ingredients. So why aren’t you doing this?