My family and friends all know I am frugal. They also know that I am not very crafty when it comes to do-it-yourself projects and I usually end up making a mess to clean up. Nonetheless, I decided to experiment with making my own laundry detergent to reduce my household expenses. There are many versions of homemade laundry detergent on YouTube and do-it-yourself websites and I selected the easiest recipes and the ones that require the least amount of time. After all, when I am not sitting in this miserable cubicle I have tons of chores and not enough free time on my hands. Today I have nothing to do in my cubicle, so I will describe how I made homemade laundry detergent last summer.
Step 1: Organize the material – two 5 gallon buckets, containers, wooden spoon, food grater, bowl, saucepan, measuring cups, funnel, 1 bar of Ivory soap, 1 cup of Arm & Hammer super washing soda, and ½ cup of 20 Mule borax. (funnel, sauce pan and second bucket are missing from photo)
Step 2: Grate the bar of Ivory soap using a food grater.
Step 3: Put the grated Ivory and four cups of hot water in a sauce pan.
Stir continually over medium-low heat until the soap is completely melted.
Step 4: Add 1.5 gallons of hot water to a 5 gallon bucket. Use a wooden spoon to stir the melted soap from step 3, washing soda and Borax until all ingredients are dissolved.
Step 5: Add another 1.5 gallons of hot water to the bucket and stir again. (Golden Tips helped by watching and not getting involved.)
Step 6: Place a lid on the bucket and let sit overnight to thicken. (I couldn’t find the proper lid so I used a plastic bag and a lid from another bucket.)
By the next day the mixture will be a gel-like substance.
Close-up of the mixture.
Step 7: Pour half of the mixture into another bucket and add 1.5 gallons of hot water to each bucket.
Step 8: Stir the mixture and use a funnel to put the soap into containers. (I made a funnel using a plastic bottle.)
This recipe makes almost 8 gallons of liquid detergent – enough to last me months. However, I did not have enough bottles, so I left the extra soap in the bucket, put the lid on it and stored it in the garage for the winter. Hopefully, it didn’t freeze and will still be usable.
Generally, I use one cup of detergent for a normal load of laundry. This laundry does not produce many suds, but it cleans the clothes. If the laundry is really dirty I will add some extra or a tablespoon of dry laundry detergent which is much easier to make and requires a lot less storage space.
Step 1: Prepare the material – 1 bar of Ivory soap, Arm & Hammer super washing soda, 20 Mule borax, container, bottle, grater, wooden spoon, bowl and measuring cups.
Step 2: Mix the grated Ivory (see step 2 above) with 1 cup of washing soda and ½ cup of borax in a large container.
Step 4: Use your hands to mix everything together. It takes about 15 or 20 minutes of continuous mixing until you have a fine powder.
Step 5: Store in an airtight container.
Overall, this laundry detergent works as well as commercial products, but costs a lot less money. If you have some free time then this is an easy do-it-yourself project.