Frugal Tip: Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have been making our laundry detergent for nearly 10 years, so I am amazed at how many people still haven't heard of this EASY money-saving tip. I am also amazed at how many people assume that it is a difficult process. I assure you that this tip is SUPER-EASY and saves a TON of $$!
I'm not even sure what laundry detergent costs anymore, but assuming you spent only $12/month on store-bought detergent, you would spend $144/year. I believe you could make your own detergent at home for a WHOLE year for LESS than $20!!!

You only need these three simple ingredients: Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap, Arm & Hammer Super Wash Soda, and 20 Mule Team Borax. These items can be found locally where I live for less, but if they're not available where you are, Amazon is a great option.

There are several different laundry detergent recipes available on the internet. I found at least one I had never seen before in the reviews for the Fels Naptha Soap. Here is the recipe I have used for about 10 years now:

1/3 bar of Fels Naptha
1 C borax
1 C washing soda

 1/3 grated Fels Naptha, looks like cheese... but don't try it... Place this in a small boiler and add enough water to cover.
 Heat on medium heat and stir frequently until all soap is melted. Remove from heat.

 1 cup each of borax and washing soda

 Add to melted soap and stir until mostly dissolved.
 I bought this bucket for $1 from a local bakery back when I first started making homemade laundry detergent. It's a frosting bucket and has a nice tight fitting lid to keep little ones OUT of it! (This is a 3.5 or 4 gallon bucket, can't remember)
 Pour mixture into bucket. Add hot water until the bucket is full.
 Stir! (AC4 loves this job.)

Total time invested: LESS than 15 minutes! Total cost: Since I use only portions of all the ingredients, less than $2!  (That's calculating according to our local costs.)

The laundry detergent is ready to use as soon as it is mixed. I use 1/4 cup per load. This batch will last our family of two adults and four children about 3-4 months.

Take note of two important things. #1-It will NOT make suds like normal detergent. It is the aggitation of the machine that does the cleaning anyway, not the bubbles. If you must have bubbles, add a little glycerin. #2-The detergent will gel as it cools. Mine never has the exact same consistency twice. This batch gelled nicely, having the consistency of jello.

Also, some of my friends really like for their laundry to have a fragrance. You could add pure essential oils, but I would only do that after the detergent is cooled. I prefer adding eucalyptus oil to the rinse cycle, not for the smell but for the disinfecting properties.

So...have you made homemade laundry detergent before? Or did you try this recipe? Let me know what you think!

Labels: ,