**UPDATE** Oh my god this is the most amazing detergent ever in the history of ever….. This seriously made my clothes SO PERFECT. Clean and they smelled amazing…and WITHOUT softener, I have NEVER felt my clothes this soft EVER!! I am singing from the hilltops I am so happy! 🙂 Good luck!
Well, hello again! Did anyone else not really feel much change with the extra hour we got last night? I was so looking forward to feeling amazing with an extra hour of sleep….I feel fine, sure, but I still wanted to stay in bed forever! However, today is really sunny and quite warm compared to lately, so it’s shaping up to be a good day. Kevin is at work as usual, and that’s okay–because I am seriously behind on laundry and cleaning. You know how sometimes it seems to just creep up on you? It hasn’t been creeping anymore…more like stomping. So today I better get a lot done– or we won’t have any clean clothes or food to eat!
Yesterday I had plans to clean and do laundry, too, but then I realized I needed to hit some stores and such…so I saved it for today. I also cut off about 6 inches of hair! I’ve been meaning to get a cut and get rid of all the nasty split ends…and finally, it was time. I really like it so far! I’ll post a picture later…so far, it’s a LOT easier to manage so you won’t hear me complain about that!!! 🙂
Now…back to laundry. I know I coupon, and I coupon pretty well in my opinion. But even with savings and freebies (at times) and everything else, I still can’t get over how much money laundry supplies cost. Given, I get a lot of them for nearly free or free, but I still don’t really like having to buy it all the time or waste some of my overage from other items on laundry detergent. I’ve been reading about making homemade laundry detergent on a few different blogs and Pinterest for a while now and I’ve been dying to try it out! I was a bit hesitant, because as with anything, there were mixed reviews, and I didn’t know if it would be hard or not to make.
I read and read and read, and decided that there was no recipe that was EXACTLY what I thought I wanted, so I tweaked a few and did some thinking and came up with what I’m hoping will be a perfect recipe! Not only will I know that there aren’t a million chemicals in my laundry detergent and that I’ll save a lot of packaging, but the sheer savings and cost comparison should be unbelievable! (That is, as long as this works…I’ve got my first load washing as I write!)
Kate’s Laundry Detergent
1 bar of soap (any kind you like; I used Dial Tangerine-Guava)
1 1/3 cup WASHING soda (this is different than baking soda)
1 cup Borax
2 1/2 gallons water
Essential oils (optional)
Vinegar or other softener (optional, again)
First- take a grater and grate the bar of soap, letting it fall in a giant pot. I used the whole bar…but I’ve read that you don’t HAVE to…you can get by with just 1/2 or so. However, I got my soap for free, so I wasn’t worried about money here. This step I thought might be tedious or take a long time, but it went really quickly, and I was amused with the itty bitty curly cues of soap…it doesn’t take much to amuse me. Anyway, once I finished, I added in 1 gallon of HOT water, whisking it to start the shreds of soap to melt. I transferred the pot to my stove and started heating it over medium heat. You want it to get hot enough to melt all the soap shreds, but not boil or anything like that. I stirred frequently during this step, but you have to stir smoothly- otherwise it gets sudsy and you can’t see if the soap is melted! I think maybe about 10-15 minutes went by while I heated it–I could have made it go faster, but I wasn’t in a hurry and I didn’t want to worry about it bubbling over or something. (I just stepped away and put some things away in the dining room and kitchen while it heated.)
Next up, I added in the washing soda and borax, and then I stirred like a crazy woman to make sure it all got incorporated. This is the step where is started to get REALLY thick and goopy. So when this happens- don’t worry! It’s normal. This detergent isn’t “liquid”…it’s more of…a….gelatinous or jello-like substance. So, I kept stirring and added in some essential oils that were really just to bring out more of the scent, since I like my laundry to smell tasty…but doing that really was unnecessary ..the mixture seriously smelled amazing. Like I said, I picked one of my favorite soaps, so how could I go wrong? Based on my readings, I could have taken the pot off the stove right now, but I also saw some people that said it helps to bring it to a boil to make the ingredients really stay incorporated. So, I put it to higher heat and stirred constantly til it boiled. I will say…it didn’t look like a normal “boil” because the top was covered with foam…but I could kind of ‘hear’ the boil starting…and it got foamier, so then I turned off the heat and moved the pot. It is during this step that if you wanted to add some vinegar in as a softening agent, you could, but my soap had plenty of softener in it- and my water is soft- so I knew i wouldn’t need it. You could also choose to use a fabric softener with this detergent on a load-by-load basis, it’s totally your call. There are some good looking softener recipes out there, too…that might be next on my list!
Anyway, I bought a big container that I knew would hold 2 gallons AT LEAST, and that had a secure lid with a big enough opening that I could fit a scoop and my hand in. It ended up being a pet-food storage container (a giant tupperware, really…). You could definitely pour this into milk jugs like some do, or store it right in the pot, but since it doesn’t actually stay LIQUID, I figured it would be easier to scoop. So, I poured the still hot mixture into the container along with a gallon of COLD water and mixed them up. It started getting even thicker almost right away! I enjoyed stirring it…gave me a good workout. 😛 Then, since the container and contents were hot, I didn’t close the lid…I just left it sit out! But that was it! All the work was done, and I now have a giant container of laundry detergent ready for my disposal! About 1/2 cup of the solution per regular load is said to be the amount to do the trick! Like I said, I’m testing it right now–so we will see!
Over the next hour or so, I had to put together a shelving unit for my stockpile, and I returned maybe 2 times to the kitchen to see if it had changed and to give it a stir. The borax tends to rise to the top a bit and it is easy to stir it back in. If you don’t want to, you certainly wouldn’t have to re-stir it, I just wanted it to look uniform. Each time I came back it was significantly thicker, eventually becoming about the consistency of custard. Ew…I know…but hey- It smelled awesome and based on the ingredients, I’m really thinking it should work. So, I eventually finished with the shelf (try doing that on the floor with a puppy who thinks the hammer looks like a really fun toy!) and sorted out our MOUNTAIN of laundry. I would post a picture of that, as well, but that is too embarrassing….
So- now we wait for this load to get out of the dryer so we can judge. It smelled really good when I took it out of the washer…but REMEMBER…this does NOT suds up. There is virtually NO bubbles or suds when you use it.. Foam and suds does not mean clean. This would work really well in HE washers too since the suds are minimal. But let’s get to the amazing part of this.
The box of borax cost me $3.12. The washing soda cost me $2.44. The soap was free- as were the supplies that I already had. Both the borax and washing soda were quite large boxes….and since each batch only used a bit of it, these boxes will last for at least 8-9 more batches…but I’m guesstimating. Now that I looked over at them, I read the amounts. There will be 9 batches in the boxes. And I didn’t mention how many loads I should be able to get from the batch I made today. A whopping 64 loads!! Can you believe that? I think that is pretty darn awesome for using a 1/2 cup of detergent and only taking about 30 minutes to make. So wait…let’s do that math. For roughly $6.00, I am going to be able to make multiple batches of 64 loads…so….for that $6, I will have detergent for…..576 loads of laundry! That is a YEARS worth of laundry detergent for $6!!!! Talk about PENNY PINCHING. That works out to be around a PENNY per load. Wow…I am so darn proud of myself. Don’t mean to toot my own horn, but TOOT TOOT!
I am so anxious to see how the clothes come out! They should be clean, fresh, and soft! EEK! I wish my dryer was faster. Now, I do use dryer balls in my dryer because they help speed up the drying and tend to fluff the clothes a bit, helping them to soften. If you don’t own any…just make your own! All you have to do is wad up some foil and toss it in. BAM! Instant solution.
I just can’t get over the 576 loads…maybe a few less if I add more detergent to a really soiled load, but STILL! It’s unbelievable. And I guarantee I could get the ingredients for less than $6 if I searched. I’m just in shock over the price.
I think I’ll be saying good-bye to store bought detergent forever! Which will not bother me one bit. This detergent can be basically altered to fit ANYONEs preferences. You can pick whatever scent you like! You can use a soap meant for sensitive skin! You can wash diapers with it! You can clean any washable material with this. The borax will totally remove any funky smells and the soap and soda will remove even tough stains! I put Kevin’s work jeans in with the first load…and if they come out clean, then this is a miracle detergent. Those things were so gross I think they could walk on their own.
I’ll put some pics up of the process for those of you who like visuals! And I’ll be sure to update how my laundry turns out!!! Happy Laundry Day folks! If you have any questions or comments- I’ll be happy to answer!
Scrub a dub….
Ugh…you know what? All of the pictures posted backward. It starts with the finished product and ends with the beginning process! I am too lazy to try to fix it..sorry! Just scroll to the bottom and work back up. 🙂
Hope you enjoy! I will let everyone know if I have clean clothes or not! 🙂