Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Making your own laundry detergent

About 3 years ago, my sister told me that she’d been making her own laundry detergent to save money.  I came away shaking my head.  Was she NUTS?????  I mean, REALLY!?!?!?!?!  It’s not like it costs THAT much.  If you watch the sales, for $10, you can get a supply that lasts about a month.

On the drive home, my friend of 25 years was with me.  I commented that I thought my sister had gone too far in cutting costs...typical older sister that never gives the younger ones credit for anything, right?  My friend replied that she actually thought it was a fantastic idea.

I then proceeded to think them both insane.

About a month later, I kept thinking about it.  I did a little research.  Shockingly, I only found positive reviews. 

So, I caved and called my friend and told her I was thinking about it.  She was excited beyond belief because she had been thinking about it too.  I shared with her the info I’d found and we decided to split initial costs.  We both spent $7 and gave it a shot.

I didn’t mention it to my family…my husband then played in a band, and my oldest was a teen at the time.  I figured that if no one noticed any change in the cleanliness of the clothing, that was a win.

Two-and-a-half years later, I couldn’t be happier.  In addition to my initial investment of $7, I have spent $5 more.  $12 for 2-1/2 years of clean clothes.  Buying it on sale would have cost $300.  CRAZY how much of a savings it has been.

And the time cost is negligible.  It takes me 5 minutes to grate the soap.  Another 5 to simmer it.  Another 5 to measure everything and stir.  Then I let it rest overnight and it’s good to go.  Each batch lasts me about 3 months.  Not bad for 15 minutes of work.  

AND, it works for high-efficiency washers, too!!!! My friend that I split the start-up costs with has a high-efficiency washer, 3 kids who play sports, and a husband who works weekend construction.  It really works.

And….YES.  I was a big girl.  I called my younger sister and told her I thought it was a GREAT idea!

Here is what you need:
NOTE: I am allergic to Ivory, which was recommended, but oddly all the things I found remarked that the mixture made with Ivory was lumpy; with Dove, it’s not. Finished product looks like the real thing.
  • 1 cup Borax
  • ½ cup Washing Soda
  • 6 quarts of water total
  • Grater
  • Sauce pan
  • Water
  • Container that will hold 6 quarts [I use an empty (clean) cat litter container]

Grate the bar of soap...Typically I have always used plain, white Dove, but this time, my sweet friend picked up the soap for me at a local farmers market.

For the grater, I use a regular cheapo grater that I picked up at my local Swedish store.

Put into a sauce pan and cover with water (about 1 quart of water).  

Heat over medium heat until soap is dissolved.  Do not let boil and stir occasionally.

Pour mixture into your container.  

Add in the 1 cup Borax and 1/2 cup Washing Soda.  I keep mine in zipper bags with the amounts written on it so I don't have to check every time.

Stir until dissolved.

Add 5 quarts of water.

Let rest overnight and it will be ready to use!

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