Making your own laundry detergent is not for everyone. However, if you are interested in significantly reducing your laundry expenses and are up for a bit of a challenge, you might want to consider at least trying it.
There are many recipes and information available online for hard-core laundry detergent “cooks”. However, it can be difficult to sift through that information. Exactly what works and what doesn’t? Here is a recipe that I have used successfully over the years along with some tips I have found helpful. If this doesn’t work the way you like, consider doubling the first two ingredients or “tweaking” the recipe until you get the results that you want. This is part of the fun of making your own laundry soap!
In order to make the recipe, you will need a large 10 gallon bucket with a lid. You can check at your stores locally to see if you can buy such an item. You may also be able to get used buckets from a local restaurant. This part of the process may actually be the most difficult!
You will also need Fels Naptha soap, washing soda and Borax in order to make your own laundry detergent. All of these items can be found in the laundry aisle at most stores. Some places do not carry washing soda. If you find this to be the case, simply go to another store or ask the manager if he can order it for you. Note that washing soda is NOT baking soda! The brand I have used with most success if Arm and Hammer washing soda. I use 20 Mule Team Borax.
Once you have assembled your ingredients, you are ready to make your detergent. First, grate a bar of soap into an old large pot. Add some hot water to the pot and then stir over low heat until the soap is melted. You may want to designate a pot just for this purpose.
Then, fill a 10 gallon pail half full of water. Add the melted soap, ½ cup of Borax and 1 cup of the washing soda. Still the mixture well until everything is dissolved. Note that the shredded soap will not completely dissolve, but it will look more like egg drop soup! After this is done, fill up the pail with hot water. Make sure that you store the bucket in a safe place, especially if you have young children. I keep my soap in the garage where the kids do not venture without strict supervision. I then simply put some of the solution into an empty laundry detergent container to keep in the house. When I need more detergent, I go into the garage and refill the container.
I use about ¾ of a cup of this when doing laundry. However, we have very soft water. If you have hard water, you can use 1 ½ cups to start. You may actually need to use 2 cups of laundry soap.
If you do not like the smell of the soap, you can add essential oils to the mix. I use about 5 drops of oil per gallon. Again, you can add more or less depending upon your tastes. Some people like to add lavender oil, while others like tea tree oil. Use whatever type of oil you like.
Finally, you may be wondering if this stuff really works. Why waste your time and your effort to find that it doesn’t work! I can tell you that I found that it worked well to keep the clothes that my 6 children wear very clean. I think that fact alone means that the stuff really works.