Thursday, March 17, 2011

Making Laundry Detergent

We have been making our own laundry detergent for the last few months.  I love not having to lug home large containers of detergent from Sam's and I love keeping the ingredients on hand to whip up a large batch that will last for a while.  There are MANY recipes for laundry detergent and you can look here to find some.

I have made laundry detergent with several kids of soap.  Most people use the Fels Naptha soap and that is what we used in this batch.  It is designed specifically as a laundry soap, but to me it is heavily scented and I generally stick to unscented things as we have some who are sensitive to smells.  I have used Dr. Bronner's soaps that I can purchase at my local health food store.  They are made from all-natural materials and you can find unscented and those scented with essential oils.  I have also made some with my own homemade soap that was a plain unscented soap.  This is the method that I would normally choose, but I am out of my plain soap (will be making some soon and that will be another post!) so here we are.  The Fels Naptha soap runs about $1. 38 a bar.  Two bars grated will make three cups.

Kaelan grates the soap.

We also use Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda and 20 Mule Team Borax.  If you are local, the Barnes Crossing Kroger stocks all three of these ingredients in the laundry aisle.

Two bars of grated soap=3 cups

It looks like grated cheese!

To mix all the ingredients up thoroughly I add one cup of washing soda

to my VitaMix Blender.

Then I add a cup of grated soap.

Then I add a cup of Borax.


I run this through for a minute or two.

And it then looks like this!  Using the blender breaks up the larger chunks of soap.

I pour that into my large plastic container I use to store the detergent.
And then I repeat two more times using up all the grated soap.  When I use my homemade soaps I add several drops of essential oils at this point and stir thoroughly.  I love using tea tree, but my husband thinks it smells like a nursing home.  I have also used peppermint and lavender essential oils.  I probably use about 25 drops for this triple batch.

As I said there are many different recipes  out there.  You just have to find one that works for you.  I like this because I just use the same amount of all three ingredients.  I don't have to think about it and neither do my helpers.

I use a heaping tablespoon in my front loader.  A top loader would take more.  Because we have horrible water here I also add a scoop of Oxyclean and a scoop of baking soda to most loads.  I also use vinegar in the rinse cycle to keep away static and soften the clothes.

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