Thursday, February 9, 2012

It All Comes Out In The Wash

I have watched The Duggar's on tv (TLC) for a while now and love them! I happened to watch one episode that showed them making their own laundry detergent and thought  yea right, not this girl. Well that was years ago and definitely well before I had two children that can drain a bank account without a second thought. So for the past few weeks now I have been seeing all of the Pins on Pinterest for Homemade Laundry Detergent. Well I decided it was time to again, save a buck and give it a try. Oh, I was so not disappointed! I found a great blog with wonderful instructions (linked below) and decided to go for it. This recipe just so happens to be the same one that The Duggar's use (just a smaller batch). 
You are going to need the following:

2-5 gallon bucket
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/3 bar of Fels-Naptha (or Ivory 1/2 bar) Soap
Something to store your detergent in

You can find the 3 main cleaning agents in most stores. I got mine at Walmart and they were all on the laundry aisle, literally all sitting side by side. And the cost for all 3 was under $10.00!

First up you want to cut your Fels-Naptha into 1/3 pieces. Then just use a cheese grater (whatever you have will work) and grate 1/3 of your bar of soap. I made my detergent with Fels-Naptha but everything that I read said that if you used Ivory you would use 1/2 a bar of soap per batch and that it could go into the microwave to be shredded (instead of grating). Note, I have never done that, just read that  it could be done and that there is a you tube video that shows the end product. Just an FYI!

Once you have grated your soap you will put it in a sauce pot with 6 cups of water and heat it over low heat until all the shreds of soap are dissolved (do not let your soap come to a boil).

Once all of your soap shreds are melted its time to add the 1/2 cup Borax and 1/2 cup Washing Soda and stir until everything is all dissolved.  When you add your borax and washing soda, your mixture will probably thicken up to about the consistency of gravy. When it thickens remove from heat.

Now go ahead and add 4 cups of hot water to your bucket. I found my bucket in the garden section at Walmart, its an 8 gallon (I think) but works great because it has handles and is very flexible (you will see why this is a plus in a minute) and did i mention it was only $5.00! Okay back to the detergent. After you add the 4 cups of hot water to your bucket, add your soap mixture and stir it all up.

Its normal for it to look all clumpy.  Also you can add a scent to this mix now if you want. Some people have mentioned that they like lavender or tea tree oil but I guess its just personal preference.  I really liked the smell without adding anything so I left mine alone.

Now you want to add 22 cups of hot water (you could do 1 gallon hot water plus 6 cups if you have an empty milk jug, etc). Stir it all together for a few minutes, then leave it alone and let it sit for 24 hours. Below is what mine looked like after I finished all my stirring!

The next day your detergent is ready to go. It will probably look a little like clumpy gel with water on the bottom. No problem, completely normal (well from what I read anyways). You have a couple of options for storing your new detergent. First you can keep it in your bucket and just give it a good stir the use 1/2 cup per load. Second you could re-use that old laundry detergent container you had, or old milk jugs, etc and pour out 1/2 cup per load. Or third you could do what I did below.  And no this was not my original idea! I saw this on the website linked below and LOVED it. Such a neat Idea to store your detergent and accessories!

Here is where my handy $5 bendy bucket comes in to play. I found my beverage dispenser (2.5 gal $7) at Walmart. I used a hand mixer to blend up my detergent so that it would pour a little easier, and then just poured it into my container straight out of the bendy bucket, oh yea!!

No problems coming out the tap at all!!

From the same blog that I found the tutorial and great container, she had also shown how she used the self sticking hooks to keep up with her measuring cup and downy ball!! Brilliant! The only thing that I added was a little homemade device to catch any dripping detergent from my spout after each use. All it is, is an empty baby bath bottle that I cut up using some kitchen scissors. Presto, no more drips on the floor.

Ok a few FYI's. The detergent will separate in between use so you will need to give it a good shake before each use. Also in case you have an HE machine and are wondering if you can use your homemade detergent with it, then in my opinion yes. I say this because I have an HE top loading washer and I have not had any problems using my homemade detergent. I have read were some women have said to start out using only 1/4 cup per load and see how that cleans then work your way up if needed, but I use 1/2 cup per load and have no problems with it. This detergent produces practically no suds (great for HE, thats why you have to use a special detergent for HE machines, it has to be low sudsing). I also use 1/2 cup of Distilled White Vinegar in my Downy Ball per load, its a great fabric softener and it DOES NOT make your cloths smell like vinegar. So far this detergent has been great! I cleans all my families clothing really well and smells great! This can be a bit of a challenge when you have a 1yr old and 2yr old boy and they both love dirt, and food! But this detergent has really held its own! Hope this was as helpful for you as the original tutorial I found was for me!  Let me know how it goes!!

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  1. this kind of soap does not make bubbles it will clean any way

  2. I made this today it was super ease and I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT I used patchouli and lavender its making the whole house smell awesome !!!!<3 u thanks so much

  3. I just made my second batch of this today. The first batch worked great and lasted me and my husband 4+ months. It is easy to make and I like the way it smells without anything extra added. I just use a funnel and fill up two gallon water bottles, which are perfect to shake and pour from for each use.

  4. Since I first saw this post, I have made at least a half dozen batches. I am so sensitive to fragrances, wanted a soap that would not leave a residue and wanted to see if I could save money on detergent instead of buying by $100/
    2 year supply of Charlies Soap. This probably costs $20 per year.... My sister warned me after my first batch that I would eventually realize it does not clean as well as store bought detergent, but I have NOT found that to be true!!! I love this detergent and we put it to the test mucking out chicken coops, gardening, camping laundering 5 and 6 year olds clothes after playing in the mud. Our clothes are quite clean and it has a nice fresh subtle smell unlike the perfumes in other detergents. No problems with my HE frontloader so I will keep making it for many years!

  5. I have been using this recipe for almost 4 years now. We are a family of 4 and it works awesomely. We always do a cup of vinegar on the rinse cycle. I would never go back to using store bought laundry soap.

  6. I made a similar version, but left it in a clear plastic cheese puff "barrel". After 2-3 days I gently ladeled out the "gel" and poured out that inch or so of water that had separated. Viola! Seperation problem solved. Since I don't have a hand mixer or immersion blender I used my big whisk and whipped like crazy so now it's creamy. I use 1 coffee scoop with my HE wash and this cleans clothes like a charm. I also toss in about 2 coffee scoops of rock salt and diy hair conditioner-vinegar-water fabric softener in the dispenser. Even towels come out fairly soft.

  7. I luv this whole kit kaboodle idea!Was just browsing PT for the recipe for a powder or liquid detergent to save on money.I wash so much if i didnt have anything id probably pull stuff out of the closets caz im never caught up.I just dont know what container you used to store your liquid with all the doodads on it.Plus where'd you find it at?Its so nice to take something you dont enjoy an make it pleasant.Esp saving on the expensive Tide which is what i used.Hope to hear your reply an thanks for all the details.only this 1 question...Donna

    1. Donna, those containers with the spout can be found at WalMart for under $10 and there is a few sizes too, they even have huge glass drink dispensers. For long term use I'd suggest finding stainless steel spouts and replacing the plastic spouts, especially if you add essential oils to your products. I've heard the insides of the plastic spout "rots" and leakage happens. The hooks are like the Command hooks you can find anywhere. If all else fails and you can't find what you want, try Amazon. For a great fabric softener try 5 cups water, 2 cups hair conditioner, & 3 cups vinegar. Any conditioner, cheap works great. If you have hard water you can do what I do, toss in rock salt which is in baking aisle in any store, 4 pound box for under $2. Try this detergent recipe, it does work and I have yet to find an issue with it. You might have to try a few loads of wash until you get the "right" amount of soap that you find cleans your clothes the best with your water type. I'm no expert on the diy laundry, but works for me is what I'll be sticking to now. :)