Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DIY - Homemade Laundry Detergent

So anyone who is on Pinterest saw all the mania over homemade laundry detergent a year or 2 back. Some folks make the powdered and others the liquid version, either way it's supposed to clean very well and is dirt cheap to make and use.

There are a bunch of recipes on the internet, I chose liquid for my HE front loader because I think my washer does better with liquid detergent. About a month or 2 ago I helped my sister make up a big batch of this detergent for her own use, but I never made any for myself because I gave her all the empty containers I had on hand. Of her leftovers that didn't fit in her jugs I got 2 quarts.

Sunday I decided I had enough containers to finally make this myself. I had the ingredients on hand: 1 Fels naptha bar ($1.29) and Box of Borax and a box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (together there were about $8-$10).

Mix dry ingredients: 1/2 cup Borax and 1 cup A&H Washing Soda (This not baking soda, Washing soda is sold in the laundry soap aisle as is Borax and Fels Naptha). Set aside

Boil 4 cups water.

Add 1 shredded bar Fels Naptha to boiling water. Stir to melt the shredded soap.

Use a 5 gallon paint bucket (less than $3 at Walmart) fill 1/2 way with hot tap water. Mix in the powdered ingredients, mix in the melted FelsNaptha/water mixture. Stir. Add more hot tap water to fill bucket to top. Set aside, let cool over night.

This mixture will form a gelatinous blob. I find it easier to remove 1/2 of the soap mixture (about 2.5 gallons) into another bucket or larger stock pot, set aside. This leaves 1/2 the soap mixture (about 2.5 gallons in the 5 gallon bucket). In the 5 gallon bucket add hot tap water to top to refill the bucket (about 2.5 gallons of water) and gently stir to break up the gelatinous blobs in the soap mixture, this will be like a soapy water (5 gallons). Ladle in to jugs.

Take the set aside gelatinous goo (about 2.5 gallons), pour back into the now empty 5 gallon bucket and fill to the top with water (about 2.5 gallons), gently mix until mixture is smooth (making another 5 gallons of soap), again ladle into jugs.

This mixture will make 10 gallons of detergent. Don't be worried that the mixture is like a slimy water when you ladle it into the jugs, as the water cools the mixture will get thick like normal laundry detergent you buy.

The color of the detergent is a pearly ivory color if you want to know how it smells it smells like the Fels Naptha Bar, a very clean soap scent. Fels Naptha is also good to have on hand to rub into stains on clothing. I have a jug that looks blue because I had some left over store bought that I poured into that jug, but this caused that jug to be runny, so it may not be a good idea to try to pour store bought into the homemade, it changed the consistency of mine, but I have no doubts it will work the same.

The cost of 10 gallons is less than $2.00, this should be enough for about 640 loads of laundry in my front loader.

Before you use this in your machine be sure to shake the jar very well to remix the soaps and the water in case there was any separation. If you want a very thick and more concentrated version add less water. I found the blog Budget101 that has a thicker more concentrated version. I may make this to use for stained clothing, this site also has a dishwasher detergent recipe (guess what I am making next weekend), and a few other cleaning product recipes that I may try out.

You can use any container you want gallon jugs work well, as do used fabric softener and laundry detergent jugs. I have a cat so I really like using the old Tidy cat jugs. The flip top tidy cat containers are good too. If you don't have a cat but know anyone else who does ask them to save the empty jugs for you to store your homemade detergent in. If you want a pretty presentation in your laundry room quart or gallon sized canning jar with labels would be really pretty.

I checked both the Purex and Arm & Hammer websites to verify that all 3 products were safe for HE washers before making this detergent. The Borax and Arm & Hammer both are multi-purpose products, as I learn new cleaning products I can make I will share them.

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