Thursday, July 28, 2011

We made laundry detergent! And I love it!

I've thought about making homemade laundry detergent for quite some time now.  It seems so simple and I keep hearing about what a money saver it is.  So with Grace's help, I finally decided to attempt it!
It's quite simple, really.  1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of washing soda (baking soda is not the same thing) and 1 bar of grated soap.   It makes about 32 ounces of detergent which fits perfectly inside a small yogurt container.  We had an empty glass container that we're using.  Then when you go to do a load of laundry, 1 Tablespoon of detergent is all you need.  Sounds too good to be true, I know.  But we decided to test it out as an experiment.
We used Fels-Naptha soap.  It was in the grocery aisle just past all the Tide.  And let me just say:  Oh.  My.  Goodness!  This soap smells so refreshingly clean!   Not wash-your-body-clean but more like the smell of freshly washed linens hanging from a clothesline out in the sunshine to dry kind of clean.  It has a faint undertone of a light citrus which smells just heavenly to my nostrils.  There's just something about the scent of lemons and oranges that I love.
Anyway.  That soap was much harder to grate than I had anticipated.  So I broke out my chef's knife and went to chopping. 
 Then we decided to move on the food processor.  That was was really hard soap, I tell ya!
 And really noisy in the food processor.  But our little Cuisinart did the job!
This was our end result.  Tiny little yellow balls of soap mixed in with the washing soda and Borax.  The surprising thing about this homemade laundry detergent (other than the fabulous smell) is it only takes 1 tablespoon of detergent per load.  Yes, you heard me right.  ONE TABLESPOON.  Of course, we have an extraordinarily large washer and dryer and I really like my clothes and linens to smell like laundry detergent so I used 3 tablespoons.  What was my verdict you ask? 

Our sheets came out wonderfully clean with the faintest scent of citrusy blossoms.  They felt wonderfully soft and smelled oh-so-clean.  Just the way I like them.  Honestly, I think I could have used just the 1 tablespoon but I probably won't unless I'm doing a small load because I really like the smell of laundry detergent. 

On top of that this was such a bargain!  I spent less than $5 on all the supplies and made enough detergent to do at least 30 loads of laundry and I have enough Borax and washing soda left over for at least another 5 batches of detergent.  That equates to a rough total of 180 loads of laundry (using 1 TBS per load).  Of course I'll probably only get about 1/3 of the loads because of my mild obsession with clean laundry smells, but that's fine by me.  It still comes out a good bit cheaper than buying the big brands at the store - it's even cheaper than I typically get buying other detergents on sale with coupons!

My final thoughts?  In spite of the hard time we had getting started with the soap, I think we will stick to the homemade detergent in the future.  I was honestly quite suprised to see how much I like it.  And it's much more economical than using big name brands that I typically buy.  And it takes up less space in my laundry room.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

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