- 1 box of Borax (I use 20 Mule Team...costs appx. $3.29)
- 1 box washing soda (NOT baking soda...it's found in the laundry aisle usually...cost is appx. $2.99)
- about 4 bars of soap (whatever brand works best in your water...cost varies depending on brand. Ivory is a cheap soap if it works well in your water. I use Coast quite often...and it's inexpensive too.)
Start by grating your bars of soap very finely. Personally, I use my food processor. After all, you're only chopping up soap...soap is made to clean things...just wash your processor well after you're done. No one will ever know you've been chopping up soap! :O) Before I go any further, let me mention that I *always* save those little slivers of soap that are too small to use easily anymore. I let them dry out, then just pop them into a ziploc bag and save them up until I'm ready to make a batch of this detergent. I probably have enough saved up right now that I won't be using a full new bar of soap next time I make it...I've got enough "soap slivers" to do the job.
Anyway, once you get your soap finely chopped, just mix your washing soda, borax, and soap in one BIG container. You're done. How easy is that?
I normally wash about 11 or 12 loads of laundry each week for my family of five. I use about 3 tablespoons of detergent per load. If you have good soft water, you could probably get by with using 2 tablespoons per load. One batch of detergent lasts me 2 1/2 or 3 months. The cost? If I am purchasing soap to make this recipe, it costs me about $7-$8, depending on which brand of soap I use. If I don't have to purchase soap, then the most it cost is $7. Compare that with what you're currently spending on laundry detergent. That's quite a bit of savings!
The one and only drawback I can think of that comes from making my own detergent is that you don't have that good smell like you would if you had used a bottle of Gain. :) In fact, laundry washed in this detergent simply has no smell....which just goes to tell you that your clothes are clean. If you're bothered by that lack of smell, you could always use a bit of liquid fabric softener, if you like. It's not enough of a drawback to keep me from making it.
I've been making my own laundry detergent for years now. I don't even keep up with the prices of commercial detergents anymore, but I'd say spending $7-$8 every 2 1/2 to 3 months for laundry isn't too bad. It's easily made. It's very inexpensive. That's enough motivation for me to continue doing it. Give it a try. It's one of the most frugal tips I can give ya, if it works for your family.
(This is a re-post from January 2009)