With God at the center of our lives, even the simplest of things are infused with peace and joy!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent

When we decided to homeschool, I knew I had to find ways to help us live a more frugal lifestyle, now that we were going back to one income. Not only that, I just LOVE things that are home made, no matter what it is. (unless they are dust bunnies) My kids have always known that I have a very hard time spending money, but when I started making the detergent, they thought I had gone "CRAZY!" We have been making and using this recipe for 2 years now. I just love it and I don't thing I will ever go back to store bought.

So, here are the directions.......and with pictures too! :> ) I am a "visual" person and need to see how things are done. I have a hard time reading directions sometimes, so when we first made this, I had my husband read the directions and do it with me. For some reason, I can read the same directions, book passage, scripture verse, etc., and get something out of it completely different than you. So, the last time I made the detergent, I decided to take pictures in case someone wanted to make it.

There are 2 ways to make this detergent, liquid and powder, but they both use the same 3 basic indredients. Also, if you can, whatever utensils you use to make the detergent, it is a good idea to label them and keep them separate so you won't cook with them. I can't remember if I got my untensils at the thrift store or at a yard sale. This detergent will not suds up very much, which also makes this great for front loading washers, but it is still cleaning your clothes. The first time I used it, I put in my detergent and the clothes, but I forgot to close the lid. When I went back and looked at the water it was dark. I thought something had run because of the BORAX of the Washing Soda. Looking more closely, I realized that nothing had run, it was the dirt from our clothes. Y U C K !!!! I know, I know.....stop talking and get on with the directions!

The 3 basic ingredients you need for your detergent are:

1 cup of Grated bar soap - (Fels Naptha, Ivory, Coast, Irish Spring, basically any kind you like...scented or not) you can add a little bit more soap if you want a stronger scent or you can add essential oils to scent it.
(Now you know what to do with all those bars of hotel soap)

1/2 cup BORAX - you can get this at Wal-Mart or almost any grocery store down the detergent aisle

I purchased mine at Wal-Mart for $2.97 for a 4 lb 12oz box.

1/2 cup Super Washing Soda (not to be confused with Baking Soda....they are NOT the same thing) You can find this at Martin's, Kroger's, and Farmer Food's here in VA. You would need to call your local grocery store to see if they carry it. I purchased mine at Martin's for $1.99 for a 3 lb 7oz box.

Other items you will need:

5 gallon bucket or container with a lid (if making the liquid or some other container for the powder)
Grater ( or you can use a food processor, but you need to grate the soap for both kinds )
Cooking Spray or something else to "lightly" grease your grater for easy clean-up later (trust me on this one from personal experience!
Pot - big enough to hold 1/2 gallon (this is needed to dissolve the ingredients)Measuring cup - 1/2 cup size
Mixing spoon with a long handle - to stir your mixture in the bucket

Ok, we are going to make the powder first.

The first thing you need to do is to "lightly" spray your grater with cooking spray to make cleaning the grater easy later on.

Now, grate your bar soap. Grate the whole bar even though you only need 1 cup, as you can save the remaining soap for another batch. Put soap into a bowl or container.

Measure out a 1/2 cup each of BORAX and Super Washing Soda. Put them in the bowl/container with the grated soap.

Stir or shake your 3 ingredients together.

Now if you have a food processor, some have even used a coffee grinder, you can grind it up to make a finer powder. I did that to mine. The picture above is with the soap just grated, the pictures below, is what it looked like before and after I used my Ultimate Chopper. I prefer to make a finer powder.

See the difference? It is just a matter of preference. Now all you need to do is store it in some kind of container.

How much powder do I use? I use 1 tablespoon for a normal load and 2 tablespoons for a large or extra dirty load.

Onward to the liquid~

Follow the same directions for grating and measuring the soap (you do not need to put this in the food processor because you are going to dissolve it in water), BORAX, and Washing Soda only this time keep them separated.

Take your pot and put about 2 quarts of water in and put it over a medium flame till heated.

(you don't have to be EXACT with this recipe. As my mom would say, "It's not rocket science, Laura!" ha ha (LOVE AND MISS YOU, MOM!)

While the weather was warm and we cooked outside, I would make my detergent on the grill using the left over coals. This way I was not wasting the charcoal or using the electricity.

Ok, now we are going to add our ingredients ONE AT A TIIME, stirring and dissolving each one before adding the next one. The mix will get thicker but to what degree all depends on the soap that you use.

1 cup grated soap,

1/2 cup BORAX,

and 1/2 cup Washing Soda

Are you still with me? It's pretty easy, huh? It's okay, we are almost finished!!!

Alright, after those three ingredients are dissolved, turn off the heat and remove pot from burner. Get your bucket/container and put again about 2 quarts of water in it.

I like to use warm water for this part, only because I am ALWAYS FREEZING and if I get my hands in it, it's WARM!

Next, pour your soap mixture into the bucket and stir.

Now add about a gallon of warm water and stir again.

Coming to the home stretch..........................Now all you have to do is put a cover on it and let it sit overnight, however, I have used it right after making it because I waited to long to make more and I really NEEDED to do laundry.

The next day when you remove the lid, there are a few different ways it may look. There is no WRONG way, as again, it all depends on the kind of soap you used. I don't have a picture because mine looked the same as before.

  • It may look just like it did before you put the lid on
  • It may look like nothing but a big blob of gel
  • It may have the look and consistency of egg drop soup

In any case, all you need to do, if it has gelled, is to stir/shake before use.

How much liquid do I use? I use 1/2 cup per normal load and up to a cup for large and extra dirty loads.

Well, there you have it in a nut shell. Homemade laundry detergent. I hope you enjoy making this as much as I do.

Should you have ANY questions, please feel free to e-mail me.

~COMING SOON TO A BLOG NEAR YOU.....................


Do I really need a DISCLAIMER?
Should this say something different? "As with any recipe, please take caution using any/all appliances. Results may vary. I do not assume any responsibility for your results." Unless they come out amazing, then I will! :> )


E @ Scottsville said...

Okay, just dropped by your blog to 'meet you' since you became a follower on my blog. I read through this post and now feel like a failure as a wife/homemaker/mom. ha ha ha

I am the type that would rather walk into Wal-Mart and fork over my money to them while grabbing a nice box with a built in handle full of PRE-MADE soap. Don't hate me!!! I'm just not as good as you. {sigh}


But welcome! Good to meet you!

homeschool101 said...

Oh Laura.. I have got to try this.. How did you get the receipe for making detergent.. You are awesome hard working mommy.. I think we will do an experiment for school with my oldest well school out now but we can do a summer project and experiment.. LOl! that is awesome.!