Monday, April 23, 2012

Tide's Got Nothing On Me...

I mentioned in one of my first ever posts that I make my own laundry detergent now. I swear by it and will NEVER buy detergent from the store again. It cleans just as well as store bought, there are no added perfumes and dyes, and the cost savings really add up! Also a benefit for my family, my detergent is great for sensitive skin.

I would like to share my recipe for my powdered laundry soap. This not an exact science. If you search for "homemade detergent" you will get many many recipes with basically the same ingredients in varying amounts. I encourage you to play around with the amounts to find what works for you. Also, powdered vs. liquid is completely a personal preference. I have always used liquid detergent, but I find the powder works just as well and seems like it is faster to make and easier to store. So basically, whatever floats your boat :)

So the Dream Team of ingredients for homemade laundry detergent are Washing Soda, Borax, and bar soap. I use Fels Naptha for my soap. Some people use Ivory or other mild soap. Fels Naptha is about a $1.00 a bar. This was the most commonly used in the recipes I found so I stuck with it. The fourth ingredient I use is a generic "Oxy-Clean" type product. All of these can be found at your local grocery store.

First thing you will need to do is grate your bar soap. I got an inexpensive grater at the dollar store. I use the very fine shred so that my soap is small enough that it will mix and dissolve well. My first grating experience was awful. It took forever and made my arm hurt. Now I take my soap, grater and bowl, and sit in front of the television. It gets done pretty fast.  Also, let me warn you. If you leave a bowl of grated Fels Naptha in your kitchen, there is a possibility that your children or significant other will try to eat it since it looks like cheese. Don't ask how I know this, and don't worry, they recovered...

So for my batch, I used the following amounts:
  • 3 bars of grated soap
  • 3 cups Washing Soda
  • 3 cups Borax
  • 1 cup or so generic Oxy

Now I am sure if you go on Pinterest, you can find a really cute, crafty container to keep your detergent in. Here is my pretty bucket...

 Mix all of your ingredients together. Try not to breathe in the dust.  It should look something like this:

 I use the scooper out of the generic Oxy to measure my detergent. You could also use a coffee scoop, a tablespoon, maybe one of the cap measuring cups from cough syrup or other medicine. Basically, you will use one tablespoon per load. If your clothes are really dirty, you may want to add a little more. 

This is now the point where if you want it to be scented, you could add some essential oils. I prefer for it to be unscented.

Making your own detergent is a great starting point in homesteading and living frugally. Just be warned... It is like the "gateway soap," once you make laundry detergent, you will want to make hand soap, dish washing soap, dishwasher soap, and so on...

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