February 13, 2012

Yes... We DID Make Our Own Laundry Detergent

I have been reading more and more about people making their own laundry detergent, cleaning products, etc. After looking over many different articles, blogs and posts I decided it was something I wanted to try myself.

Lets face it: we ALL want to save money! That was my main reason for trying it. With six people in our house, there are always clothes waiting to be washed. One of my favorite things about my house is the 14' x 14' laundry room. Its nearly as big as my bedroom (or is it bigger? hmmm). Anyway.... its a huge laundry room, one of the most used spaces in our home and I love it. I have a table to fold clothes on, shelves to put the folded clothes on, and a hanging bar to hung clothes up immediately.

We also have an upright freezer in there and one whole wall is lined in shelves that we use as our overflow pantry. Above the washer and dryer are more shelves used for "utility" type things and extras like oil lamps, foot baths, Igloo water cooler, etc. Needless to say, our laundry room is a well used room.

But back to the laundry detergent: I decided to try it out. So, one of my (many) projects over this past weekend was to make laundry detergent. Now mind you, my darling husband thinks I am crazy, and my ex-husband thinks I have totally gone off my rocker. But oh well.... when I have saved my little family some cold hard $$ that when I get to laugh at all of THEM!

The total start up cost of this "project" was about $20. I purchased the following things:

1 Box of Borax
1 Box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
2 Bars of Octagon Soap
1 Bottle Essential Oils
1 5 Gal bucket with lid

Now, I didn't use NEARLY all of that for my first batch, but I couldn't see explaining to Walmart that I only wanted 1 cup of Borax & 1 cup of Washing Soda, so I went ahead and bought the whole box they sold it in! :)

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 bar Octagon Soap
15-30 drops Essential Oil

I have seen many recipes using Fels-Naptha soap, but I couldn't find it anywhere. I saw the "spot" for it in two stores, but they were out so I went with the Octagon soap instead. From what I have seen, any all-purpose bar soap will work: Fels-Naptha, Octagon, Zote, Ivory.

Step 1: Grate 1 whole bar of Octagon Soap

It kind of looks like cheese huh?

Step 2: Mix the grated soap in a pot with 4-5 cups hot water  on medium heat until the soap melts down completely. DO NOT let it get to a boil. Stir in continuously.

Just keep stirring the pot!

Step 3: Once the soap is dissolved, pour it into a 5 gal bucket. Then add: 1 cup Borax & 1 cup Washing Soda. Mix until mostly dissolved.

Add Soap mixture, Borax & Washing Soda to bucket

Step 4: Fill bucket 1/2 full with HOT water. Add 10-15 drops of essential oil for every 2 gals of water. (I used about 25 drops total even though I used more than 4 gals of water.) Mix until well blended.

Yes, I brought the bucket onto the porch and used a drill with a mixer attachment on it!
Step 5: Fill the bucket the rest of the way up with hot water and mix well.

Step 6: Cover and let set over night. Once it has set, it may appear clumped up or like gel or may be watery. (Mine was a mixture of gel and watery.) NO BIG DEAL! Just stir it up and then put into containers (I am using emptied liquid Tide containers).

USE: 1/2 cup per load of laundry

Now I am sure you want to know the COST of this right? Here is my breakdown:
(1 - 5-gal bucket not included in price below)

1 Bottle Essential Oil - $3.60 (Reg Price $5.99 but I got it on sale)
1 Box Borax - $3.38  - 76 oz = .04 cents/ oz
1 Box Washing Soda - $3.24 - 55 oz = .06 cents/ oz
1 Bar Octagon Soap - $0.97

8 oz Borax - $0.32
8 oz Washing Soda - $0.48
1 Bar Octagon Soap - $0.97
Essential Oil (approx 1/5 of bottle) - $0.75
Water - FREE

Total Cost of 5 gals (approx 150 loads)
$2.52 or $0.02 a load

Tide: $19.98 for 170 "loads" = $0.12 a load

When doing JUST 2 loads of laundry a day I am saving:
$0.20 a day
$1.40 a week
$6.00 a month
$72.00 a year

And that is if I only wash 2 loads a day.... I WISH!!!


Not just that we will save $ but that we are being more self-sustaining!

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  1. Thank you for stopping by and getting involved with the give away. Spread the word and I will be reading over your blog as well.

    1. Thank you Clint. Please come back to visit!

  2. this is pretty awesome

  3. I've been making mine for 3 years or more....I had my kids mark on a tally sheet when they did the laundry and my cost ended up being 1/2 a cent per load! Awesome savings! I have found that occasionally there are stains that I just can't get out ~ I've put some detergent directly on the stain and thats helped. I also read you can put some clarifying shampoo on the stain and let it soak in, then wash as usual. This is working great for those stubborn stains! With children ~ stains happen!

    1. Thats great to know Donna, I may have to do the tally too! I have used the detergent already a couple times and I will say, my clothes appear to be just as clean as with commercial detergent! Thank you for the added tips too.

      Thank you for stopping by! I hope you will visit again!

  4. Thanks for sharing your blog, Julie! Isn't it great! I made homemade dry detergent last April (about 1/3 batch) and it has lasted until now (10 months)! I just mixed up a complete batch and it should last at least 18 months in my house! I have the dry recipe if anyone is interested!


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