Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Pinterest is deadly.  I saw homemade laundry detergent and fell in love. I decided to mix up a batch yesterday and today I put it to the test.  The recipe calls to use 1 -  1 1/2 tablespoons in the drum of the washer.

Round one: dirty cloth diapers.  The ultimate test.  I have been soaking my cloth diapers in a mix of Dreft and oxyclean and then washing them in more Dreft.  Dreft is way expensive, and the only reason I was using Dreft was because my mother-in-law had bought it for me when Kaelyn was born. I actually ran out of Dreft and have been using the normal laundry detergent on her diapers.  I soaked the diapers in water mixed with 1 tablespoon of this laundry detergent.  When I was ready to wash them I dumped the diapers (and the soaking water) in the washer and added another tablespoon detergent on top of the clothes.  They came out smelling delicious.  Yes. Her diapers are delicious.  They are clean and I didn't notice any stains either.  Now, I felt this was unfair since I use the sanitary feature on my washer.  Maybe the washer did the work and not the detergent.

Round two: darks.  Darks are tricky because I wash them in cold water.  Is this detergent going to work in cold water?  Will the grated soap dissolve?  I put 1 1/2 tablespoons of the detergent in the drum of the washer before filling it with clothes. It worked wonderfully.  It cleaned the clothes and it smells great.  However, these clothes are dark.  Won't the stains be covered up?

Round three: towels.  Yes!  Good test. I have kitchen towels stained with food, washcloths stained with children goo, and many colors that might bleed.  Once again, I put 1 1/2 tablespoons of the detergent in the washing machine before loading it and the towels came out great. Stains are gone, and it smells like a Hawaiian luau. I guess I am a convert. This stuff works wonderfully!

Here is the recipe:
4 pounds Borax (detergent aisle)
4 pounds baking soda (baking aisle)
3 pounds Super Washing Soda (detergent aisle.  Mine was right next to the borax)
3 bars Fels-Naptha soap (detergent aisle.  Mine was just above the borax and washing soda)
3 pounds Oxyclean (optional)
2 containers Purex Crystals (optional)

In a 5 pound bucket, lined with a trash bag, I dumped the borax, baking soda, washing soda, and Oxyclean.  I then took the Fels-Naptha soap and grated it using my mixer and grater attachment.  I added that to the bucket.  I mixed all that up and then added one of the containers of Purex Crystals.  I decided to add the second because I thought it could use more, but you could use less or none at all.  This is to replace the use of any fabric softener. Use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons in the drum of your washer for each load. I think this recipe is going to last me a very long time since I am using so little to get my clothes clean.  *Note* I have an HE washer, so I am not sure how this would work for you if you do not.

Price break down:
$3.99 Borax
$6.48 Purex Crystals (On sale this week for $3.99 each and I had a $1.50 off 2 coupon)
$2.39 Arm and Hammer washing soda
$1.98 baking soda (2 at $.99)
$2.85 Fels-Naptha soap (3 @ $.95)
$17.69 + $1.06 tax = $18.75 total

I had Oxyclean on hand, so I didn't have to buy it.  I get the 15lb tub at Costco when they are on sale for $13.  You could just add a couple cups of it to the mix, or keep a 3lb tub (like I did) and measure it out that way.  At the store it was $8 for a 3 lb tub, but I did see a coupon on the lid for $3 off, so it would have been about $23 if I had bought the Oxyclean at the store.  There was also a cheaper option available, but I don't remember how much it would have been.  You could also not get the crystals OR oxyclean and it would be about $12.  I like the oxyclean since I use cloth diapers and I have a 4 year old son. They are messy beasts.

The original post I saw on Pinterest was from Being Creative.

UPDATE:  This recipe lasted me well over a year. I made another batch (without the Purex Crystals because my daughter has very sensitive skin) and I am not even 1/3 of the way through it, and I made the second batch 6 months ago. Also, I no longer put the detergent in the drum before I put in the clothes because I found out that I am supposed to take out the liquid dispenser on my washing machine and put powdered detergent in the same place (just without the liquid thingy)... if that makes any sense. Read your washing machine manual and it will tell you what to do.  Final update: if you can't find Fels-Naptha soap you can use Ivory bars. ENJOY!

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