So I had an interest in making my own laundry detergent. I like the idea of saving some money and I'm a DIY-er at heart. But here's the thing: it has to work at least as good as the cheap stuff I was using and it had to be easy to make. I have a full-time job, an Etsy shop and a Ravelry shop and a toddler and I can't spend a lot of time making detergent.
I gave it a shot and I am hooked! It's cheaper, easy, fast and I swear it gets my clothes cleaner than anything I have used. (Keep in mind, I usually only use the cheap stuff.) My mother and my grandmother have both started using my detergent recipe (at first it was probably just to shut me up) and they LOVE it. My grandmother agrees that it gets her clothes incredibly clean.
So here goes...
These are the ingredients:
Washing Soda (washing not baking)
laundry bar soap
scent crystals (optional)
You should be able to find all of these things on the laundry aisle. I usually use Fels Naptha instead of Zote. I like the scent of the Fels Naptha, but I got a really good deal on the Zote and it doesn't make a lot of difference. I also usually use Downy Scent Booster instead of Purex, but the Purex was much cheaper. I miss the lavender Downy smell, but the Purex was such a good price I couldn't pass it up. It still smells good, I just like lavender. If it wasn't for my husband, I probably wouldn't add anything for scent at all. It's not necessary. Without it my clothes are clean and they don't smell bad, the scent crystals just make it smell good. My husband doesn't really think things are clean unless they smell like cleaner.
First of all, grate the soap.
I just use my cheese grater with the smallest holes. Usually, I use the whole bar, but the Zote bar is so big I just used half and bagged the rest to use next time.
Next, add 2 cups of borax, 2 cups of washing soda & 2 cups of scent crystals.
And stir. The thing about borax, well all these ingredients really, is you have to keep it dry. Really dry. When borax gets damp, it tends to clump. You can see in the pic below that my borax has clumped a little, but they are little clumps, so it's okay.
I pour mine back into the scent crystals bottle. I do like the Purex bottle better than the Downy one. It's got a handy spout. They both have caps that are very handy for measuring the detergent and it's convenient for sitting by the washing machine. You can use any container you like as long as it's clean, dry and air-tight. My grandmother uses an old plastic snack mix tub. My grandmother also has a front-load washing matching and says this detergent looks great. She doesn't add it to the soap dispenser, but right into the barrel before she runs the water. I don't have any experience with front-loaders, though, so don't take my word for it.
With this detergent, you only need to use 1/8 of a cup for large loads. I'm serious. Usually, I use less. When washing my husbands filthy sweaty work clothes, I use a little more. It doesn't look like you are using enough detergent until you get used to it. But think about it-how much of commercial detergent is filler. Besides that, who puts the lines on the measuring cup...the company who makes the detergent! So, the more you use gives more profit to....the company who makes the detergent!
This detergent is soap mixed with soap mixed with soap, so you don't need very much to clean a whole load. This batch of detergent will last my family of 3 for a little over 3 months. Really, I'm serious.
And the bonus is making this entire batch, including taking the photos and being periodically interrupted by my daughter, took less than 20 minutes.
I love it and I hope you love it too!