Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DIY Detergent

In our quest to become more organic and save money we have arrived at that place.  You know that place where may people snicker behind your back, give you shocked looks when you tell them and sub-label you 'hippie', 'trying to hard', 'must have too much time on your hands' type of person.  Bah!  Whatever.  I've made our own laundry detergent. 

It was very easy and actually kind of fun.  It's cheap, is more organic than the harsh chemicalized ones and I feel good about it.  I got the idea and recipe from Danielle here.  There are many ideas and concoctions out there on the web but I just stuck with this one.  We obviously had none of the ingredients already.   (HEY we do use soap in our house - had that.  jeez.  okay, no I had to buy that too since we use body wash :/ ). I halved the recipe since I was nervous beginner [true story]. 
I know this is a ridiculous effect but why pay for pro Picnik and NOT use this?!? 
The cleaning powers are going to blind you.  right?
  • 1/2 bar of soap.  I used Ivory but you can use any bar soap.  Fels Naptha or Zote are common (wait what? I know right).  [for some reason] Heavily perfumed soaps aren't recommended.  Not sure about ones that include lots of dyes, chemicals or added stuff - like oatmeal or flavor crystals?
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 1/2 cup of Washing Soda
  • 1/4 cup of Borax
  • 1 1/2 gallons of hot water
  • bucket or large vessel.
Use food processor or box grater to chop your bar soap.

Add soap shavings to 2 cups of boiling water on the stove.  Stir gently until melted.  Turn off heat and stir in washing soda and borax. 

Add 1 1/2 gallons of hot water to bucket. 
I used regular tap water that was hot (aka scalding since ours is turned up too high and we can't figure out how to adjust it - need to put in a ticket for that someday)

Add mixture from pot to bucket o' water.  Stir, cover & let sit for 24 hours.  It becomes a mixed gel/water solution but it's ready to go!  Use 1/2 cup per large laundry load. 

The low down: Total price for all ingredients: $10.20.  That included the bucket and bars of soap.  This batch has has the potential to last 3 months and will break down to 2 pennies per load.  Compared to about 20 cents per traditional detergent load.  That's a huge savings!  I can make about 14 more batches before I need to go out and buy more ingredients. 

Truth is I had to go to 7 stores before I was able to find Arm & Hammer Washing Soda.  Turns out it was at my local grocery store but I managed to go to every other store just to waste gas.  Guess you could factor that into the price.

Also it works great!!!!


  1. This is a gret idea to not only save money on detergent, but also cut back on all the weird fragrances and additives they put into it. Thanks for posting this!

    P.S. – I just kicked off my Spring Shape Up Challenge this week and there is a giveaway for a $10 iTunes card! The contest ends tonight at midnight, so come on over and enter!

  2. Isn't it great? I love it! I'll never buy store detergent again. Like the pictures!

  3. wow, i have never heard of this before, but might try!

  4. The saddest part is.. I can totally see myself doing this if I move away for grad school.

  5. Great recipe! Can't wait to try it (I did a mixture using Dr. Bronner's for awhile, but Dr. Bronner's isn't cheap)

    Couple of questions;

    a) How natural is Ivory soap? I've seen it mentioned a lot as the soap to add to ingredients like that have never done the research. Just wondered if you had.
    b) How do you suppose adding essential oils would work for this to make it scented?


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