Friday, September 9, 2011

Laundry Detergent

I get these "ideas" at time. They don't always make a great deal of sense, but that doesn't seem to matter.  I seem to become "obsessed" or "possessed" by an idea. One of my recent "wild ideas" was to make our laundry detergent. Several years ago,  Lori had photos on her blog of making her own laundry detergent. I had never heard of anyone doing this nor had it ever occurred to me that this could be done. So the first step was to "Google" homemade laundry detergent. The site that interested me the most was "10 Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes. " There are recipes for liquid soap and powdered soap. Liquid soap tends to make a mess all over my laundry area (couldn't be that I make the mess:) so I choose one of the powdered soap recipes. 

Powdered Laundry Detergent – Recipe #4
Picture of Cup Of Powdered Laundry Detergent - Tipnut.com2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated – you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
  • Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
  • Use 2 tablespoons per full load.
Recipe #4 seemed to fit my needs. All three ingredients that I needed were located at my local grocery store. I wasn't able to find the Fels Naptha Soap so I substituted Ivory Soap.



We own a cheese grated, but I thought it might be a good idea to purchase one just for my soap making. I could hear my DH and son commenting that the Parmesan cheese tasted like soap:)
These are the tools that I used. The cheese grater to grate the bar of soap, the one cup measuring cup to measure the Borax and Washing Soda, the 2 cup measuring cup to measure the grated soap and a large metal mixing bowl.




Perhaps the most difficult part was finding a container for the freshly made laundry soap. This jug was originally purchased  for lemonade. When I was cleaning the basement, I purchased cat litter for the paint cans I needed to put in the trash. I purchased this one because it had such a nice bucket that I could recycle. It may work when I make bigger batches, but it was too big for the 3 batches I recently made.
Instead, I'm using it to store the opened boxes for borax and washing soda.
My "boys" have approved of our new detergent.  Our clothes are clean and smell good. I haven't done a cost analysis, but plan to the next time I purchase supplies. This "wild idea" has been a successful one for us. I most definitely will continue making our own "homemade laundry detergent."

11 comments:

Diane said...

I'd love to hear the cost comparison. It looks like something I'd do if the price were right.

Erica said...

My best friend does this all the time! I keep saying I'm going to try it, but haven't yet. I look forward to seeing your cost analysis.

She blogged about her laundry soap making here...http://kasilou.blogspot.com/2011/06/laundry-detergent.html

Phyllis in Minnesota said...

I sang the praises of Fels Naptha soap for many yrs. when kids were playing baseball/softball. For those horrible dirt stains from sliding into base I would grate the Fels into a container of water, add those dirty uniform pants and let soap over night. The following day I would put them into washing machine with that same water and the end result would be a snow white uniform.

pirate said...

My husband started making our own powdered laundry detergent several years ago. We were just astonished at how clean our clothes were with so LITTLE detergent. We really couldn't believe that just 2 tablespoons per load was sufficient so we each (separately) decided to add just at pinch more. :-) We laughed at each other when we both confessed. :-)

Instead of the Fels Naptha soap, my husband uses Zote brand soap that he gets at a local Hispanic grocery store. Dead cheap and very effective.

Two of our daughters who are in college make trips back to the old homestead to get new supplies of Dad's laundry soap. They won't use any other. :-)

sally said...

I've been making our laundry soap for several years now. I have to say that the only time I have not been satisfied is when I used Ivory. I do really like Octagon, but my locally owned grocery store that stocked it went out of business due to Wal-Mart moving into town. I couldn't find anything but Ivory for a while, so I looked up the ingredients in Fels Naptha and Kirk's Castile (two other good options, but when I could find them I thought it too pricy) and made my own. I used 16 oz. lye dissolved in 32 oz. water, palm oil (aka Spectrum's Organic shortening) and cocoanut oil. I grind up 63 oz. (= 9, 7 oz bars) of the resulting soap, and add it to one whole box of Borax plus one box of Washing Soda (that way there aren't any leftovers to spill or store.) My homemade soap is not less expensive than the no-longer-readily-avaialable-to-me Octagon, but less than the too-pricy Naptha and Castile. The Octagon has several oil-based ingredients, and mine is completely vegetable based, which I like.

All this to say when you can't find what you want, think outside the box and make it yourself! I now know my laundry soap is more than safe for our ground, and since that ground grows our produce, it is in my best interest to be careful.

I don't use any fabric softener either. Instead I use white vinegar in the rinse which treats bad smells and helps soap wash out (softens.)

sally said...

I've been making our laundry soap for several years now. I have to say that the only time I have not been satisfied is when I used Ivory. I do really like Octagon, but my locally owned grocery store that stocked it went out of business due to Wal-Mart moving into town. I couldn't find anything but Ivory for a while, so I looked up the ingredients in Fels Naptha and Kirk's Castile (two other good options, but when I could find them I thought it too pricy) and made my own. I used 16 oz. lye dissolved in 32 oz. water, palm oil (aka Spectrum's Organic shortening) and cocoanut oil. I grind up 63 oz. (= 9, 7 oz bars) of the resulting soap, and add it to one whole box of Borax plus one box of Washing Soda (that way there aren't any leftovers to spill or store.) My homemade soap is not less expensive than the no-longer-readily-avaialable-to-me Octagon, but less than the too-pricy Naptha and Castile. The Octagon has several oil-based ingredients, and mine is completely vegetable based, which I like.

All this to say when you can't find what you want, think outside the box and make it yourself! I now know my laundry soap is more than safe for our ground, and since that ground grows our produce, it is in my best interest to be careful.

I don't use any fabric softener either. Instead I use white vinegar in the rinse which treats bad smells and helps soap wash out (softens.)

Sewing Junkie said...

I make my own soap. 4 bars of Fels and 4# box of the washing soda, 4# box of the 20 Mule Team Borax, 4# box of Baking soda. Mix it all together and I have learned to sell half for the amount I have in cost. Walmart has the ingredients and it is always available. If I need to spot treat something I use the generic liquid soap for Dawn. We have allergies and this works for us. Chris

Pattilou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pattilou said...

We made powdered laundry detergent in the early 80's when I could get the grease from the local bakery. It was quite a project! We loved the smell of the laundry though.

Haven't yet tried the laundry detergent as we are using the liquid and I love my homemade soap! The part I like best is that I've found I don't now need fabric softener! I have added some melaleuca oil to the mix and it smells wonderful. We tried using our bath soap once rather than the Fels Naptha and didn't like that--so now it's Fels Naptha all the time!

Your recipe looks so much easier than the lye, grease mixture I used to use! Kudos to you for stepping out of the Tide paradigm!

Brenda said...

I think I will just buy mine.

Lori said...

my Walmart has free buckets in the bakery department--3 sizes with lids. I do like homemade soup.