Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Making laundry detergent

Earlier this year, I blogged about making things.  One of the things I like to make is laundry detergent.  It's great!!!  This saves us lots of money, and has fewer additives than store bought detergent.  The recipe involves three ingredients and water.  Borax can be found pretty much anywhere in the laundry aisle.  Washing soda can be a bit more difficult to come by.  I found mine in the laundry aisle at Market Street.  You can really use any old bar of soap, but I like Dr. Bronner's hemp castile soap for a couple of reasons.  First, it's made from natural, fair trade ingredients, second, because it has essential oils in it that smell yummy.  :)

To begin with, put 4 cups of water in a pot to boil.  While water is coming to a boil, grate your bar of soap.  This is the most labour intensive step of making the detergent, and takes a little under ten minutes.  I really thought grating soap would be much more difficult, but it's not at all.

Once the water is boiling, add the grated soap a bit at a time, and stir until it's dissolved.

You'll end up with soapy soup!

Add 3 gallons of warm water to a large bucket with a lid, 2 cups washing soda, 2 cups borax, and your soap soup.  Stir well, put the lid on your bucket and let it sit for 24 hours.

Here is the last little bit of detergent I poured out of my bucket before I made the new detergent.  As you can see, it sort of congeals and has some clumps in it.

I keep a long spoon on top of my bucket to stir the detergent with each use because it will separate, as well as a 1/4 cup to measure it.  This recipe lasted us for six whole months!  It's SO much less expensive than the 7th Generation laundry detergent that we were buying, and no one's skin has had a reaction to it, which is always questionable around here when we switch detergents or soaps.  :)  This whole process takes me a grand total of about thirty minutes.  Twice a year?  To save a TON on laundry detergent?  I'll take it!  :)


Cristi said...

Interesting. Will you wash Zachariah's baby clothes in that too

M J said...

Yes. Everything but the diapers. :)

lindsay_2181 said...

I make the powder version, have always used Zote, but I love Dr. Bronner's liquid soap. I may have to try the bars for making detergent. Thanks for sharing!

Oh, and have you found anything homemade for washing diapers? So far I haven't been able to find anything that would be considered okay for washing diapers. But if I could, I'd like to!