I make my own laundry detergent. There, I said it.
Now this is the part where you glaze over and have visions of me plowing the fields and churning my own butter right? Well, that’s usually the look I get followed by, “what, are you crazy?” The answer is yes, I’m crazy, but that has nothing to do with laundry detergent.
Paul and I raised 4 daughters, we have gone through a lot of laundry detergent over the years. Too bad I did not even think about making my own laundry detergent back then, but it’s never too late to save money wherever you can.
Surprisingly, making laundry detergent is very easy and very, very inexpensive. I’ve done the math here and even though I suck at math, there is no denying the savings are amazing. I found this recipe that I love over at blissful55.com.
- 1 (4 lb. 12 oz.) box of 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster
- 1 (3 lb. 7 oz.) box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- 1 (4 lb.) box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
- 1 (3 lb.) tub of Oxi Clean
- 2 bars of Zote soap
- 2 (55 oz.) bottles of Purex Crystals
- Cheese grater
- A piece of wax or parchment paper
- Mixing spoon
- 5 gallon bucket or other large container
First, take your bar of soap and grate it onto a piece or wax or parchment paper. This is absolutely the hardest part of the whole process. It requires a little muscle, but the rest is so easy it makes up for it. I considered putting the soap in my food processor, but didn’t want to take the chance of messing it up. If anyone tries it with success let me know.
Once you have your soap shredded, start adding all your ingredients to your bucket. Do it in layers adding a little bit of each item at a time to help distribute it. Periodically, I would mix the detergent with the spoon, but eventually there was so much in the bucket I just stuck my whole arm in there and started mixing it by hand “literally”.
And there you have it! Yep, that was it. Easy right?
You use 2 – 4 tablespoons of this detergent per load so it will last you quite a while. I use 2 tablespoons for a regular load and up to 4 for a dirtier or larger load. I have a scooper left over from the laundry detergent that I USED to buy at the store, and marked the sides with my measurements so I can scoop right out of the bucket. You can also use the empty Purex Crystals containers if you’d like a smaller container to handle.
Everyone in the house was very skeptical about this concoction at first. Will the clothes smell good? will they actually get clean? Is it safe to use for baby clothes? Can you use it in a front load washer? The answers to all the above are YES. I was so pleasantly surprised at how well this detergent worked. It does not suds up either but that is ok, and low suds are perfect for HE front load washers.
For you nerdy ones, here is where the math comes in…..
- Borax – Average cost $4.25 a box
- Washing Soda – Average cost $3.25 a box
- Baking Soda – Average cost $2.25 a box
- Oxi Clean – Average cost $7.25
- Zote Soap – Average cost $.95 per bar
- Purex Crystals – Average cost $4.75
Total Supplies: $28.40 That may seem high for laundry detergent until you realize that is all it will cost you for an entire year! With an average of 4 – 6 loads per week, this recipe will last you at least 12 months.
Ok, back to churning butter.