Monday, July 18, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

This working mom of six has finally done it! I have succumbed to making my own laundry detergent.  I have been considering it for a few years but I finally did it.  I made my second batch last night.  So far I like it.  I added lavender fragrance oil to the first large batch but honestly I could never smell it in the clothes so I left it out this last time.  I used the Fels-Naptha soap the first time but last night I used Dove and Ivory mixed. I prefer the fragrance this time around.  I will definitely update this post if I do not like this batch. (Stick with the Fels-Naptha!!) Update: I eventually decided to add two small generic liquid detergents to my five gallon bucket of homemade.
Here is the recipe.  It takes me about fifteen minutes from start to finish and costs about $2.00 in supplies for each batch (180 top loader- 640 front loader)

Hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (Not baking soda)
1 Cup Borax

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.  Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken. Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons.

Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

Note:  I have read several complaints online about clothes looking dingy but I have not noticed anything.   If you are worried about it I would recommend using this recipe and alternating with a commercial laundry detergent once a week or so.  I do approximately 17 loads of laundry a week so.... bleach once in a while will have to suffice!