Monday, January 27, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

One day while browsing Pinterest and looking at things that are helpful, useless, and sometimes hilarious... I found this post about making homemade laundry detergent.  I thought that it looked easy enough to try and if it happened to be cheaper than buying my Gain once a month I would try it!  It ended up being super easy, much cheaper than store bought detergent, and it has saved our family $120 a year!

I modified the original recipe a little bit.  I have two little ones and they make quite a mess with clothing.  And let's face it, sometimes I have dirty clothes that sit for a week before they make it to the washing machine.  I also have a little one who has terrible excema, and this has been wonderful for her sensitive skin!  I use the ingredients pictured below:

  • Borax 
  • Washing Soda (not to be confused with baking soda)
  • Oxi Clean (again with the stains and the little ones)
  • Dawn or any other good dish soap
Most of these are available at Target, Walmart, Publix, and most other stores where laundry products are sold.  They all retail for about $3-5 each, except Oxiclean.  It is a little more expensive, but y'all know I use a coupon and I can usually get $6!

I'm so cheap frugal that I don't even have a special container for it.  I just recycled my old detergent bottles and use those!  The spout on those containers made it really tricky to mix all the ingredients without making a mess, so I also use a funnel.  

The original recipe called for  weaker detergent that I prefer, so I use 1/3 of a cup of EACH of the dry ingredients (washing soda, Borax, and Oxiclean) and I use about 2 TBSP of the Dawn.  Sometimes I buy scented dish detergent for an extra kick, but most of the time I just use the blue stuff.  The notes on the original website make you aware that the detergent is thinner than the traditional store bought stuff, and it is much thinner.  I usually add an entire detergent lid full to each load I wash.  I also pre-treat nasty stains with Oxi-Clean spray because my children are gross.  If I could figure out how to make that and save money, I would!  

I fill each bottle about halfway full with hot water and mix it gently until blended.  Since you are mixing with HOT water it works best to leave it vented by opening the lid after mixing.  I place each bottle on a towel in the kitchen and wait about 20-30 minutes before I fill it up to the top with cold water.  I follow the directions on the website except for adding my own smelly stuff after I mix the other ingredients.  I add a cap full of this to every bottle of homemade detergent.  I rotate smells just so I don't get bored.  

Each of the containers I have last my family of 4 about a month.  This means I make detergent about 3-4 times a year, depending on the season and how busy we are.  I'm sure to some people my process seems crazy and compulsive, but it works for us and it saves us money.  The ingredients usually last us about 18 months, so I usually spend about $20 every 18 months to clean our clothes!  Plus, it smells wonderful and I actually like making the detergent!  

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