by Jen on August 2, 2011
One of the first things I learned to do when we started this simple living thing, was to make my own laundry soap. Its such an easy thing and sooo worth it cost-wise! I make the powdered detergent, but if you need liquid detergent, there are instructions out there to make your own liquid detergent as well.
Here’s what you need:
–Soap. I use Fels-Naptha. Its a laundry soap/stain remover and is only $0.99 per bar at our grocery store. One bar will do a triple batch of the detergent recipe I use.
–Washing Soda. It is different from the Arm&Hammer laundry detergent, so make sure it says “Washing Soda” on the box.
–Borax. Honey, if you aren’t keeping borax in your house already, you should be. This stuff cleans up so many things! (My boys managed to squeeze out a nearly full bottle of pancake syrup onto our cream colored carpet, and after scooping up as much syrup as I could, I soaked the whole puddle with borax dissolved in water. You can’t even see the stain now, although there is a bit of a “crunchy” spot when you step down.)
Here’s what you do:
First peel back the wrapper on the bar of soap so you have a bit to hold on to.
With the other hand, hold a cheese grater over a clean bucket.
Then grate your soap into the bucket.
When I make a batch of detergent, I usually do a 12x batch. It uses up a whole box of washing soda & four bars of soap with a little borax leftover. Which, around here, is never a bad thing to have borax on hand.
But making a 12x batch means we do a lot of grating.
Once the soap is all grated, I then run it through my mini chopper to get finer pieces. The larger grated pieces still work, but they take longer to dissolve in the wash simply because they’re bigger pieces. So I do a round in the mini chopper.
(My detergent making helper isn’t a fan of the mini-chopper.)
Once the soap is ready, I measure out the other ingredients into a second bucket, and then add the soap pieces.
Here’s the recipe (remember I’m making a 12x batch here.):
Tip: I discovered that if you add the soda and borax on top of the soap, its really hard to get all the soap bit mixed in to the detergent. They tend to stick together and stick to the bottom. So I add the soap on top and then mix everything together.
It will look very similar to store-bought laundry soap when you’re done. But, this kind only takes 1-2 Tbsp per load.
Yes, it really only takes about a tablespoon to get your clothes clean. If however, you have extra dirty clothes feel free to add a second scoop.
I’ve also found this to be fantastic at cleaning up stained clothes due to potty-training accidents. Put a whole tablespoon into a washtub and fill it up with warm water, enough to cover your stained item(s). Leave it soak for a day or so and then run it through a regular wash cycle. I don’t know how many pairs of little boy jeans this has saved me.
One more trick I use is to keep an extra bar of the Fels-Naptha on hand and use it like a stain stick/pre-treat for standard issue stains.
How about you. . . have you ever made your own laundry detergent?
If you have, do you prefer it to store-bought detergent?
If you haven’t, do you think you might try a batch?