Cross your fingers... I'm using my first batch of homemade laundry detergent as I type. In my quest of being an even bigger cheapskate and wanting to try to go a bit "greener" I decided to make my own. Although I am in love with Gain and obsessed with OxyClean, I have high hopes for my detergent. It really wasn't difficult to find the ingredients and the hardest part was not tripping over Ellie who seemed to be greatly worried at my stint of being homemaker-ish!
The ingredients (minus the baking soda because I forgot about it until I was mixing it up)
And, because I went to the store without my list, I bought the wrong kind of castille soap. That will be going back. I only needed the Fels-Naptha OR the Ivory, but I already had the Ivory and was surprised I found Fels-Naptha in town so I bought it too... we can always use the ivory in the shower.
The recipe I used:
3 cups Borax
2 cups baking soda
2 cups washing soda
2 cups grated bar soap
Mix it all together and store in a sealed tub. I used the Gain box I just emptied. Not exactly "sealed" but it will get the job done.
You only use 1/8 cup per load. I looked it up online and it is only 4 tablespoons per full load. I actually cut the recipe I was following into fourths. I didn't want to make such a huge batch on my first go 'round.
Doesn't it look like food with cheese on top?
This was before I poured it into the Gain box and mixed it up.
Grating the soap wasn't exactly fun, but it wasn't difficult. I could probably have cut it into chunks and put it into my food processor, but Mom didn't answer her phone and I didn't want to do it without asking her first. (She's used to answering the phone to a "Mom, can I..." or "Mom, how do I...." or something similar.... a lot of times I think it is more like "Mom, will you....." :))
We have a front load HE washing machine that we bought in April, so I was a little weary. However, all my research says that the most important thing for HE machines is low sud and that's what this is supposed to be.
I was also afraid that it wouldn't have a "clean" smell. (see above mention of my love for Gain) Fear not-- my entire house smells like the detergent I just made. It just smells clean. It is overpowering in the kitchen, but it starting to fade as the dust settles. --it was a bit of a dusty experience.
And, although this isn't the exact recipe I followed (mine had a bit more in it) I just discovered this cost saving breakdown...
I copied and pasted this from another site (http://www.tidbitsandstuff.com/household-tips/laundry/142-homemade-laundry-detergent) I'm going to try the recipe on their site next.
In May of 2007, in the Northeastern region of the United States, the recipe cost as follows:
- 20 Mule Team Borax: $2.50 for 70 oz.
Cost per batch: .28 (8 oz needed for recipe)
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda: $2.50 for 55 oz.
Cost per batch .18.(4 oz needed for recipe)
- Ivory Soap: $.99 for 3 3.1 oz. Bars.
Cost per batch: .33 (1 bar of soap needed for recipe)
Yield: 442 oz.
Cost per oz. = .00178
Cost per ½ cup = .007 or rounded to .01 cent per load
The cost to wash 110.5 loads is $1.11. How does that compare to your store-bought detergent?
I feel like I have a whole lot more than $1.11 invested in my first batch/110.5 loads, but this is the trial run! Laundry detergent is SO expensive. I'm happy that I'm finally out of Gain and can start experimenting! I might save the type with the Fels-Naptha for Dustin's work clothes, which tend to be a bit dirtier, and try out the other site's recipe for our everyday type of laundry.
I'll let you know how the sheets in the washer turn out.....