In an effort to save money, I started making my own laundry detergent. However, the more I researched laundry detergents, the more I realized that the companies who make laundry detergents are using unnecessary chemicals and use A LOT of water. You are paying for so much water when you buy liquid laundry detergent in the store.
There are many different “recipes” for homemade detergent. You can do liquid detergent or powder detergent. I chose powder detergent, just because it has one less step in it. I found this recipe on the internet somewhere. But, all the recipes are basically the same. Here’s the recipe I used:
½ cup Borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer WASHING Soda
1 bar grated soap*
¾ cup Purex Crystals FABRIC SOFTENER
*Soap: On the internet, many people were using Fels Naptha soap. I also read where some people use Ivory soap. At first, I used ½ Jergens Original and ½ Dove Original Beauty Bar. They seemed to do the job just fine. The second batch I made, I used Ivory soap. (I was able to buy 10 bars for $4.57 at Wal-Mart.) The Ivory soap grates so much easier than the Dove or Jergens. The more I have researched the Fels Naptha, I have found that you can get a bar of it at Wal-Mart for about $0.97. But, Ivory is still cheaper.
To Make the Detergent:
All you do is grind up the soap using a cheese grater. I bought a $3.25 one at the grocery store. Then you add all the other ingredients. Stir well. Using a funnel (which I also had to buy: $0.87), pour your mixture into a storage container. We used a cleaned out ½ gallon milk jug. When you are ready to do a load of laundry, just add 1-2 tbsp of powder to your washer (for top-loaders). This recipe makes enough for 32 loads if you only use 1 tbsp. I find that I tend to use 1 ½ tbsp per load…2 tbsp if the clothes are very soiled.
This mixture does not suds a lot, but it really does work well. It leaves clothes with a subtly fresh scent that I really like. I have not noticed any lingering residue and this seems to clean the clothes well.
The cost breakdown looks like this:
Borax: $4.69—enough for 19 batches!
Washing Soda: $3.24—enough for 6 batches.
Purex: $4.76—enough for 5 batches.
Soap: $1.00—enough for 1 batch.
Some quick math tells me that my laundry detergent costs me $2.47 for 32 loads, again if you only use 1 tbsp. That is just $0.08 per load. Comparing that to the 25 load bottle of Gain that I bought at Dollar General for $5 the other day (which breaks down to $0.20 per load), I’d say that is quite a savings!