economy · recipes

Homemade

For my Pinterest challenge this week, I decided to give the homemade laundry detergent recipe a try.  There are several versions floating around the internet, some with or without varying amounts of water, but they all have the same basic ingredients: Borax, Washing Soda, and Fels Naptha Laundry Soap. I found all of these on the same shelf in the laundry section at Wal Mart.

Begin by grating 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha into a pot with 6 Cups water. Heat and stir until soap is melted.  Then add 1/2 Cup Borax and 1/2 cup washing soda and stir until dissolved. Some of the recipes call for up to 1 cup of each of these, according to whether or not you want a more heavy duty detergent. Use whatever you feel is best.  Pour 4 cups hot water into a large bucket. I used an old kitty litter container.

Then, stir in the melted soaps and stir.  Next add one gallon of water plus another 6 cups.  You now have 2 gallons of mixture.  Stir the mixture, replace the lid and let this sit for a few hours. Mine turned to a watery, stringy gel within a couple hours, just as it is supposed to be.  
 
I washed a load of Jeans and towels with this mixture and it cleaned very well.  I am happy with it. Now, when I crunch the numbers, I’m more pleased.  I’ll detail my costs here. 
I should note that I used this website’s weight/per cup of the dry ingredients. My numbers are assuming her weight of 4.2 oz for 1/2 cup of washing soda is correct. 
My cost for each item is as follows:
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 oz box) $3.24 so .06 cents/oz and .25 cents/half cup
Mule Team Borax (76oz)  $5.95 or .08 cents/oz and .34 cents/half cup
Fels Naptha Soap (5.5oz Bar)  $1.99 divided into 3rds, .66 cents
I am not adding cost for water or the bucket.  Therefore the total cost of ingredients for one batch comes out to $1.25. Each batch makes 2 gallons.  16 cups to one gallon X 2 is 32 cups. Since each large load uses 1/2 cup of the mixture, that means each batch does 64 loads of laundry.  So now, if I divide $1.25 by 64 loads, that comes to .02 cents per load of laundry.  Pretty big savings, and I have enough ingredients to make 2 more batches before I have to buy more Fels Naptha. 
I have an empty liquid detergent bottle I plan to fill with my homemade gel to make dosing easier.  

3 thoughts on “Homemade

  1. I Deb! I don't have an HE Machine, but I will tell you that this does not suds at all and I would think that you could use it, but less than you would use in a machine that uses more water. I read on the above mentioned blog that people with HE machines did use it with success, but check for yourself. Near the bottom of the blog page, the lady who shared her recipe answered some common questions and the HE Machines was one of them. I checked the ingredients and they are basically the same thing that is in Mrs Meyers Clean Day laundry detergent, but hers has essential oils added, which you could totally do if you wanted some fragrance. Anyway, I am happy with what I made and the way that it cleans.

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