Thursday, April 29, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I got the original recipe from Keri, but modified it a little bit when I made my own.
Here's what you need:

A 5 gallon bucket
1/2 bar Ivory soap, grated
1/2 bar Fels Naptha, grated
3 pints water
1 cup baking soda
1 cup Borax
2 gallons hot water
2 gallons cold water
dish soap
rubbing alcohol
Containters for storing (milk jugs, plastic juice containers, old detergent bottles, etc.)

Now let me put a disclaimer out there about Fels Naptha before I continue. There's debate about whether or not it is toxic. It's an old, old cleaner that's been around for forever but some people claim it has toxic ingredients. I did my research so I could make an educated decision before using it, as I would recommend anyone to do. When it was first formulated, it contained Naphthalene, which IS toxic, however it was reformulated in the 90's and the Naphthalene was removed. It even says right on the bar "Contains no naphthalene." And as far as the other ingredients, I'm sure they're no more toxic than regular detergent you buy at the store. You can go to to see the list of them. Here's a picture of it so you know what you're looking for if you decide to use it. It did take me 8 grocery stores to find it, also. I finally found it as Harris Teeter, if you have one around you. If not, just check local grocery stores. You can buy it online at Ace Hardware and have it shipped (free) to your local store, but that means buying a 24 pack for $30. You can also buy it per bar on amazon. If you DON'T want to use it (to each his own) you can just substitute the other half of the Ivory soap. Just use a full bar of Ivory instead. I decided to use the Fels Naptha because it will help cut through grease, and any dirt my 2 year old loves to get on his clothes. Ok, moving on...
Once your soaps are grated, melt the soap over the stovetop in the 3 pints (or 6 cups) of water over low-medium heat. If you have the heat close to medium, watch it closely because mine almost boiled over! Simmer until all the soap is melted. Remove from heat and add Borax and baking soda. Mix thoroughly then transfer to your bucket.
Add the 2 gallons of hot water to your soap mixture first and mix well. If you add the cold, the soap will start to solidify again. Once the hot gallons are added and everything is mixed well, then add the cold water, and a squirt of dish soap (to help with degreasing) and a little rubbing alcohol for killing germs. Mix the soap realllyyyy well, then let sit for 24 hours.
After the 24 hours, mix the soap once again. It will have formed a thick skin on the top, so just try to mix that in as best you can. Mine never fully mixed in. It almost looks like egg drop soup. After mixing, just bottle it in whatever containers you've decided on. Leave a little room at the top because you want to give the soap a good shake before each use.
Use 1 cup per load (maybe closer to 1.5 cups if you have a high capacity washer.)

And voila! $1.75 for almost 5 gallons of detergent! Take that, Tide!

1 comment:

  1. Have you used it yet? I'm curious about the stain removing properties.