Substantive Education

January 15, 2010

Making your own Laundry Detergent

We’ve been using this detergent for a while now and it’s great.  Nice clean fresh smell (I didn’t add any fragrances) and our clothes are clean.  I think i will not dilute it as much as called for next time and use less.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

So, I decided to give making my own laundry detergent a try. (Steve suggested this quite some time ago, not sure what took me so long.)  I looked through many recipes and finally settled on this one.  I got the recipe off of the Duggars website.  They had one for liquid and one for powdered detergent.  I made the liquid.  It makes 10 gallons, enough for over 640 loads in a front loading machine which only uses 1/4 cup per load.  If you have a top loader you will need to add a little over 1/2 cup.

Now on to the really complicated process, (said with a great deal of sarcasm)  gather you’re ingredients.  A bar of washing soap (details below), Borax, and Sodium Carbonate.

First the soap, all of the websites I looked at felt that Fels-Naptha was the best, but you can also use Ivory, Sunlight, and a few others.  These are bars of soap on the laundry aisle…not the ones for personal hygiene. Our Stater Bros. had a bar for 1.49 and Winco had it for $1.05, or you can order it by the case online, which would probably be enough for a lifetime supply of laundry detergent, so I just got the bar.

You will also need a box of sodium carbonate.  The most common variety would be Arm and Hammers Super Washing Soda.  NOTE:  You cannot use Arm and Hammer laundry detergent or the baking soda you find on the baking aisle…which is Sodium bicarbonate. ( Which, by the way, is also what we add to our pool when the PH gets off.)  All you chemist out there know that bicarbonate has two carbons while carbonate has only one….and it makes a difference, so purchase the correct box.  I found that Winco carries the Super Washing Soda.

You will also need a box of Borax, not nearly as complicated a purchase nor is it difficult to find.  All of these items should be on your laundry aisle, or if all else fails, they can be ordered online.

Lastly, you will need a 5 gallon bucket with lid.  If you don’t happen to have one floating around in your garage, they can be purchased at Home Depot for $2.50.  Also, don’t throw away the bottle that contained your last purchase of laundry detergent.  You can use that to mix smaller amounts to keep by the washing machine.  As you might have noticed, I said that you need a 5 gal. bucket, but we are making 10 gal. of detergent.  Confused?  Don’t be.  Once your detergent is made and is in your 5 gal bucket you will mix what you need into a smaller (leftover container) to keep by the machine.  As you need it, just fill the container 1/2 full of hot water and 1/2 with the solution from your bucket.  Shake well before each use. (And stir the bucket if the soap appears to seperate.) 

Grate up your soap bar, don’t cut any fingers.  Put a sauce pan on the stove with about 4-5 cups of water and heat and dissolve the soap in the water.

Next, fill your 5 gal. container half full with hot tap water.  Mix in 1/2 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda until it is dissolved.  Mix in the soap mixture from the stove.  Stir.  Add hot water until the container is full.  Stir.  Let sit overnight, or until cool, it should thicken up.  At this point you can add essential oils for fragrance if you wish.  That’s it.  Just remember to dilute the mixture before using as described above.

If you want to try the powdered detergent here is the link. You will have to scroll down to it.

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