Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wash, dry, fold....repeat

I just made my own laundry detergent!
10 gallons of it - phew!  And you know what? It was pretty darn easy!

Yesterday afternoon while I was out running errands I picked up the ingredients. I was able to find them all at Hannaford, that store never lets me down. I did however need to run over to WalMart to get a 5 gallon bucket to mix it up in. All totaled I spent a whopping $10.38 (not including tax). About the amount I would have spent on ONE 50 oz. bottle of Tide.

The best part about this recipe? The next 10 gallon batch I make will only cost me $0.97 since I will only have to purchase the Fells Naptha or Kirks bar. A little more if I decide to scent it with an essential oil.

If you are going to try this here is what you will need and what I spent for it....

1 Fells Naptha or Kirks Castile (for hard water) soap bar ($0.97)

Borax ($2.99)

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda ($2.98)

Essential Oils for scent (I skipped it this time around to see what the soap would smell like).
       For example: Tea Tree, Rosemary, Orange, Lavender

5 gallon bucket with a cover ($2.44 for the bucket and $1 for the lid)

And now for the recipe:

It took us about 35 minutes to make - well, if you cut out all the goofing around it really took about 20!

Grate the Fells Naptha (or Kirks Castile) bar.

Add the grated soap to a sauce pan with 4 cups of water, heat over medium to medium-low heat, constantly stirring until all the soap has melted. There should be no pieces of soap left (even little ones!). This takes about 10 minutes and is the lengthiest part of the process.

Fill the 5 gallon bucket half way with hot water and then add the melted soap mixture.

Mix in 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and 1/2 cup of Borax. You can also add in 10 to 15 drops of essential oils at this point if you want to scent your detergent.

Stir well. If you have a drill with a paint stirrer attachment it works very well! We also used a long handled wooden spoon to make sure everything had dissolved.

Fill the rest of the bucket with hot water and stir again, making sure everything is well mixed.

Cover and let sit at least 12 hours to thicken. When you take off the cover it will look like this:

After it sits it will have thickened up nicely. Stir again as there will be some pockets of liquid within the gel that need to be mixed in.

Fill a small bottle half full of detergent, fill the other half with warm water and shake well.. I used a couple of empty detergent bottles I had saved.

Congratulations! You now have your very own homemade detergent!

If you are like me and normally use Tide you just saved yourself about $150/year by making this one batch. Money that can be put to MUCH better use elsewhere!

To use:

5/8 cup in a top load washing machine, 1/2 cup in a front loader. Adjust the amount if needed.

I did try it out on two loads of laundry today, my initial review is pretty good. I was impressed that none of the "soapy" scent of the Fells Naptha bar was left on the laundry. I did still use Downey as a fabric softener and was worried the two scents would collide and not be a great mix.

I washed a pile of kitchen towels the Hubs had used to clean up homemade beer he was brewing last night - they were pretty dingy since he is making a dark beer, and very stinky (homemade beer DOES NOT smell the best in its beginning stages!). I think a little bit of dinner may have been wiped up with it as well.


Here is a plug for my Darling Husbands newest beer creation. It still needs another month to set up and then have carbonation added, so don't go drooling over his concoction yet. He needs a lot of this to survive life with me :)

Back to laundry...
The detergent did a great job at removing the majority of the stains on the towel, I didn't use bleach or a stain spray as I normally would. I wanted to "test" the detergent. There is no smell to the towel at all (beer, or soap), actually it smells rather fresh and clean! The towel was not fresh and white to begin with (even before the beer incident), it did have a few stains from previous use, so all in all I think it did a decent job. Next time I will definitely use the stain spray though.


So there you have it! My wash, dry, fold, and repeat review!

UPDATE! I have since made 2 more batches of this detergent and scented it with lavender essential oil. The result was outstanding. I used about 15 drops for the entire 10 gallons. Your clothes will not be overly scented. They come out of the dry with a very light and refreshing scent. I will definitely do this again!


Billie's Scrappetique said...

Hi, me again! Yes, I'm still here. ;o)

I wanted to say thanks for the recipe for laundry detergent. I am getting low on the stockpile I've had for several years, so this will come in handy very soon. One thing I've been doing lately is saving our gallon milk jugs with screw on lids. Now I know exactly what I'll do with them! Woohoo!!

Katie said...

Lol!! You're very welcome! Glad to be of service :)
I use milk jugs for it too! Or old gallon vinegar bottles, ball canning jars (Im a mason jar freakazoid!).
Glad someone else out there is a little like me - makes me feel kind of "normal"! :)

a girl with a smile said...

this is great!

Care to Share?