Friday, September 25, 2009

A Different Kind of Recipe: DIY Laundry Detergent

I know that this technically does not belong on a food blog--but this is for home/kitchen use any way, and I felt that this is too valuable to not share with you.

In an effort to remain always frugal, stretching my dollar as far as it will go, I have been making my own laundry detergent.

What a difference.

I start with four ingredients:

- 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap. Zote is another brand that could be used. I've heard about people using an Ivory bar, but I think a laundry bar is better for this purpose.

- 20 Mule Team Borax

- Washing Soda. This is different from baking soda, but also made by Arm & Hammer. I'm sure there are other brands.

- Optional: Baking Soda. This is an additive that I particularly like as a deodorizer.

Simply grate the bar of soap. I use the smallest holes on my box grater by hand. For me, this is a therapeutic process done while watching television. You could, of course, use your food processor for a quicker effect.

One bar of soap yields three cups of grated soap. To this I add 1-1/2 cups each Borax and Washing Soda, and an entire 16-ounce box of baking soda.

Mix it all up, and you have a great laundry detergent. But the best thing is this:


That's right. 1 or 2 tablespoons. You'll have to try it and see for yourself what measure will be right for your family. But it is low-sudsing, which means you'll see no suds (safer for the environment and better for your septic tank), and although the fels naptha bar does have a fragrance, it does not come through in the finished laundry. At all. And I quite like that. I'd rather smell like my lotion or purfume--not the laundry detergent.

Oh, and before I close, I must give credit where credit is due. I first read about this over at Frugal Upstate--thanks, Jenn!

So if this has any interest to you whatsoever, give it a try. It's changed my life!


Rebecca said...

Does this stuff really save the money? I do around 10 loads a week (eek!) and I'd take the time to make this if it really made the difference. I do like the smell of laundry detergent.. but yow it's pricey. Where did you find the laundry bar?

Amanda said...

I feel that it does save money for us. You might find differently, I don't know. I got the laundry bar at Wegman's in Syracuse on one of my jaunts there. It might be worth a try--the overall layout for the ingredients is around $6, and you can always use borax! Washing soda has a bunch of uses, too. I got those at Walmart and P&C.

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