Since the birth of my son Jackson, I have been purchasing every sensitive skin product available seems like. His skin is so sensitive that even fragrance in my laundry detergent, lotion, and toiletries must be unscented or he will have a visible breakout at the point of contact.
Before the realization of making my own detergent I was spending $25 (including taxes) every month and a half. Imagine how elated I was to find that I could put that extra $50 dollars ($200 per year) into my savings account or use it to buy diapers. No it isn’t as convenient as that jug of Tide or Gain purchased at the grocer. But it is much cheaper, lasts longer, and very environmentally friendly.
Here is the cost breakdown of homemade detergent:
$5.00 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz.; sodium borate … not Borat)
$3.50 Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (55 oz.; sodium carbonate)
$3.00 Dr. Bronner’s Castille or Fels-Naptha bar soap (I purchase 3 at a time)
$17.50 Total + tax
So, for $17.50 + taxes I can make 12 lbs. of laundry detergent (average cost of $2.50 per 3 lbs.) which will last up to 4 months. That equals $10; $30 a year spent on detergent instead of hundreds. I forgot to mention it only takes between 15 – 30 minutes to make the detergent whether powder or liquid.
To make this miraculous money saving detergent you will need the following:
- 1 box – Borax
- 1 box – Super Washing Soda
- 1 bar – All-natural soap bar
- 1 – Large mixing bowl
- 1 – Cheese Grater (I purchased mine from the dollar store)
- 1 – Measuring cup
Since I have a 2 year old that is a magnet for stains I use Fels-Naptha bar soap. If you don’t need as much stain power or prefer a fragrant detergent I recommend using Dr. Bronner’s Castille bar soap. All of Dr. Bronner’s products are 100% all natural and essential oil based. You can find liquid and bar soap scents in tea tree, almond, lavender, peppermint and more in the natural products area of your grocer.
Since some prefer liquid over powder detergent, or vice versa, I will provide the recipes for both.
In a large bowl, mix 2 cups Super Washing Soda, 2 cups Borax and the grated bar of soap (of your choice) until evenly distributed. If you are concerned about odors you can add 2 – 4 tablespoons of baking soda.
Once all ingredients are mixed pour the mixture into an airtight container. I use an old Oxi Clean container but you can use a Mason Jar or Tupperware as well. If you are using a large enough storage container, you can just put all of the ingredients in the container shake.
Use 1/4 cup per load of laundry or as needed.
Place 2 quarts of water into a pot and bring to a boil. Grate one bar of soap with cheese grater. Gradually pour grated soap into pot, stirring constantly until soap is completely liquefied. In a 5-gallon bucket (available for free in your grocers bakery, just ask the manager or clerk on duty) add 4.5 gallons of really hot water (tap is fine). While stirring, add 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Super Washing Soda until completely dissolved then add the soap mixture from pot into 5-gallon bucket. Stir very well.
Cover and leave overnight. Stir mixture the following morning until smooth. Transfer liquid detergent into gallon jugs or other containers (old liquid detergent bottles work perfect) or leave in 5-gallon bucket.
Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry or as needed.
BMWK – What are you spending each year on laundry detergent? Have you ever thought of making your own? Would saving up to $200 or more per year be worth 2 hours of your time? Let me know. Let’s talk about it.
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