I guess I am a little crunchy--you know, granola? Hippie? Make your own stuff-kinda-girl? Maybe it's my obsession over cloth diapers, who knows?
Anyways, I finally got up the courage to make some Homemade Laundry Detergent!
Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda)
Maybe you have never heard or seen Borax and Washing Soda. They are actually really easy to find--I bought mine in the laundry aisle at Kroger. Amazing! And you can find Ivory soap anywhere. Ivory is good for this because it is pretty much pure soap--no fancy extra stuff.
Stay pure, my friends.
Grate soap with hand grater. If you had a food processor, I'm sure this would go much faster, but, alas, I do not have one. It really only took 3-4 minutes.
Admire your pretty pile of soap shavings.
Then dump them into your container
Add one cup of Borax. Add one cup of Washing Soda.
(I doubled my batch today so I grated 2 bars of soap and added 2 cups of both Borax and Washing Soda)
Stir for a few minutes (yes, minutes) with a wooden spoon. It takes a bit of stirring to combine everything completely. Smash any lumps up with the back of your spoon--the Borax tends to clump.
When you are done stirring (2-4 minutes), it should look like this: Nice and smooth/crumbly
Add a Tablespoon to your mix. Cover.
To use: Add one-two level tablespoons per load. We have an HE washer and this is perfect because it produces very low suds.
This is the second time I have made this (I didn't want to advise others to use it until I had used it myself for a while). One batch makes 32-64 loads, depending on how much you use. I have found that I need 2 TBS per load, as I like to cram as much in my washer as I can and I live with 3 stinky boys. I have also found that a warm/cold wash works better than cold/cold but this detergent works fine in cold water too.
As there are no added fragrances, the clothes come out of the washer smelling slightly of soap--a nice fresh, clean smell.
Also, there are no brighteners or stain lifters. To compensate for that, because I live with 3 boys, I add one scoop of generic oxyclean to the drum of my washer (on the clothes, not in the dispenser). This seems to really help with stains and odors. Of course, pretreat really bad stains as you normally would.
The really, really nice thing about this detergent is it is so cost effective. I bought the Ivory soap (3 bars), Borax and Washing Soda for a little over $14. After making three batches, I still have over half a box of both Borax and Washing Soda left. I will need to buy more Ivory next time I make some (which will be in a few months since I made a double batch today) but three bars at Walgreens cost less than $2. Math has never been my strong suit but I believe the final tally comes out to 3-4c per load. I would always cringe when I shelled out $20+ bucks for HE laundry detergent. Now, I have found something that is super cheap and works really well!
So go ahead, be crunchy. Make your own laundry detergent.
It really works.