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Clumsy Crafter: Homemade Laundry Detergent

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I am frugal to the core. One of the things that I hate most is just giving away our money to big corporations for life's necessities. I really hate it when I hear that a large portion of that product is just water. If you use liquid detergent, like we do, than the large majority of it is just water. It's kinda like bathing in Evian water.

Here's where the good news comes in. You can make your own laundry detergent (liquid) and save money. We used to buy Gain liquid detergent which costs between 10$-15$ per bottle depending on if it's on sale or not. Being a large family of five with a larger amount of clumsiness thrown in, we go through 2-3 bottles of detergent a month. I'm not joking. I spill everything on my shirt imaginable and our kids change clothes everytime a dew drop hits them (can you tell I watched Tinker Bell today? Dew Drop fairies....). Based on those numbers, I figured that we were spending $300 a year on laundry detergent, at least.  That is $300 a year for some fancy water that happens to wash clothes in it's spare time.

Someone told me this week that they are just too lazy to make their own but if you really think about  it, you probably spend more time dragging kids to the store just for detergent when you run out.  I've made two batches now. The first batch lasted three months and cost about $3 to make. The entire recipe takes about ten minutes to make. Go try it and save money!  I have a cute idea for gifting the homemade detergent but I'll have  to work on that first.

Homemade Laudry Detergent (liquid) :

1 Fels Naptha Bar or other laundry bar such as Zote
Super Washing Soda by Arm and Hammer
five gallon bucket or large plastic tote

Grate the Fels Naptha Bar. I just use a regular knife since it breaks up easily. I also use a cutting board that I use only for crafts. I do not use it for food at all but since it is only soap, it should wash off if you want to use one that you use with food.  Melt the soap bar into four cups of hot water on the stove top while stirring continuously. When the soap is melted (this part takes the longest), add the melted soap to the bucket with 1 cup of Super Washing Soda and 3/4 cup Borax. Fill the bucket half way with hot tap water and stir well until everything is dissolved (approx. 36 cups of water if you are not using a five gal. bucket) When everything is dissolved, fill the bucket the rest of the way with hot tap water (approx. 40 cups) and  let sit overnight with the lid on. Make sure the lid is on to prevent children or pets from falling into the warm detergent.

Your detergent will be ready to use the next day after you stir it well (it gels).  Fill a used jug half full of the laundry detergent and fill the other half with hot tap water. Shake well before each use.  I use an old gain laundry detergent jug but some people use old milk jugs or vinegar jugs. You can also add several drops of a scented oil such as lavendar oil if you wish. I really like the smell of the Fels Naptha bar so I do not add any scents to mine (most days).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is awesome! I sooo want to try this!! I especially love the idea of being able to add your own scented oils! but, I have one of those stupid fancy schmancy front loading washers, I wonder if I can use this in it?!?!

May 28, 2010 at 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, Naptha is the sound I make when I get a hair in my mouth...I had no idea it was a soap! 8-)

May 28, 2010 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter} said...

i do this too, but just use it as a powder. love it!

October 5, 2010 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger D-L said...

I wondered about being able to use it in a front loader too. And does it still keep clothes white and bright?

December 14, 2010 at 3:05 PM  

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