Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DYI Laundry Detergent

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I know all of my followers and friends will probably roll their eyes when they see this post... Yes... I'm talking about the DYI Laundry Detergent again! Bare with me...

I can't get off my soap box with this product! (hahaha... sorry, that pun was a little too cheesy) I made my first batch in January this year and have been using it for EVERY LOAD since. And I still LOVE it. So much so, I have made two batches since, to bottle and share with others (note... I'm still using the first batch for my laundry). I wish I could take full credit for this wonderful concoction, but, I found it on Pinterest. You can find the original recipe here.

Here are the products and tools needed to get started:

1/3 bar of Fels Naptha grated
1/2 cup Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax powder

Grate the Fels Naptha Soap  (I found a cheese grater with container attached. Works like a charm!) I suggest doing this ahead of time. It's a great thing to do while watching your favorite show... it takes about 10-20 minuets to grate the whole bar. I grate the whole thing and put the extra in zip lock bags for later. Put grated soap in a large soup pot. Add 6 cups of water and heat on low until soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens. The original recipe said it would get almost as thick as honey. well, mine never has, so, I stir until it is thicker than when I started.(about 10-20 minuets) Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into soap mixture. Pour this into a 2-5 gallon bucket. Now add 22 cups (1 gallon plus 6 cups) of water and stir. Let sit about 24 hours with the lid off and it will gel. After 24 hours, you will need to mix it up to blend in the gel and the liquid bottom. I use my emulsion blender. Works great. I then add my essential oil and blend one more time. 20-25 drops. I then pour into my containers. I found some cheap ones that have great lids that close tight. You will have to shake up your soap before using each time.

I was so happy to find most of my product at one store. I didn't have to travel several different places to pick it all up. I did have to look around for the essential oils. You wanna make sure you are using the real thing when it comes to these. I picked up three different scents and have been using "Creative Juices" for my laundry smell. The name fit the project and the smell is fresh and a little spunky. ;)

I use this detergent to soak clothes that maybe a little dirtier than others. I soak them for 2 hours in our sink with 1/4 cup of detergent. If you have a nasty stain, you can take the Fels-naptha bar and rub it directly on the stain before soaking. Works great! the soap is also delicate enough for our little furry friends (not to be mistaken with LIVE furry friends!) I have a since of ease knowing my little boy will be snuggling up to he best pal, chemical free. ;)

When I first realized how much money this DYI detergent was going to save me, I was a little skeptical of the quality. It must be "too good to be true"... right? If it's this cheap to make, all natural, and works... how can these brand name products stay in business?! (but that's another discussion I'll save for later...)

Laundry Detergent Ingredients: TOTAL - $9.53
You will need Super Washing Soda (make sure you get the washing and not baking soda) - $3.24 55oz
Borax - $4.29 4lb box
Fels-Naptha Soap - $2.00 for a bar

(Optional) Essential Oil - prices vary on flavor. I paid $10.00 for one bottle which will last a LONG time and I bought local, so, the price is going to be higher. I found a bottle of the same stuff online for $6.00... Here is the fine print for this essential oil: No synthetic preservatives, colors or fragrances. Inspire and nurture your creativity with this energizing and uplifting blend of citrus, spice, and mint aromas. Creative Juice Essential Oil Ingredients: Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Bergaptene-Free Oil, Citrus X Limon (Lemon) Oil, Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardamom) Seed Oil.

Not sure how many batches this will make since I haven't used it all yet. BUT, I've made three batches so far (1 batch = 2 gallons of soap) and one gallon of this soap = 120 loads if I use a 1/4 cup per load. (if you use a top loader washer, you may want to use 1/2 cup due to the amount of water used per load). I have a front loader washer! just in case you were wondering. :)

So, I figured it up, a 1.17 gallon bottle of a brand name laundry soap (in a red bottle and starts with a T) costs $20.46 and gives you 96 loads. I have made 6 gallons of soap so far (still have lots of product left to make more) for roughly the same price (I'm including the cost of essential oils), giving me 720 loads... 96 loads VS 720+ loads AND I'm doing it with natural products....

WOW. This post is getting longer and longer. LOL

I'll be posting later today on a clever trick I found on another lovely lady's blog on how to save money when using the dryer. ;)  It works and is also helping us get laundry DONE and put away quicker! Bonus!


  1. I've been curious to know how it's working, so thanks for the update! My daughter and I have very sensitive skin, so I'm hoping this will work ok for us too. Right now we use ALL Free & Clear for all her clothes, and Gain for ours.

  2. Melissa, if you have sensitive skin, I would suggest not adding the essential oils. Or maybe add the oil to a small jar and do a test run before adding it to the batch. :) Hope you like it!