Oct 17, 2013

DIY Laundry Detergent - Homemade Detergent

I made DIY laundry detergent this week, at a friend’s request, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever do that again.

Happy Homemakers across the globe said this was a great homemade laundry detergent recipe and would save around $30/year.  Sounds great until you do the math.  That’s around $2.50/month.  It’s too much work and too messy for me to consider it worth saving $2.50 a month.  I’d rather give up one coffee beverage per month and earn my savings that way.

However, if you’re doing it for other reasons, it might be worth it.....

I just spent two hours going to four stores because I was trying to avoid Walmart.  Had I simply gone to Walmart, I could have gotten all ingredients in one stop, but I hate Walmart.  I spent another hour destroying my kitchen in an at attempt to shave two bars of soap into tiny flakes.   My microwave smells like soap.  My counters are slimy from soapy residue......

The comments under the laundry detergent recipe blog post say that flaking the soap isn’t as difficult as I found it to be.  So maybe you would enjoy it.  I didn’t.  I tried using the cheese grater, but it just gummed up on the small grating size and while the larger shredding size worked great, I think that size shred is too big to dissolve in the washer. 

 (microwaved 1/4 bar ~ it quadruples in size when heated)

I also tried microwaving the bar soap and it worked better than grating it.  However, I don’t know the best quantity or duration for the perfect melt.  I often used too big of a chunk of soap which resulted in the top layer melting just fine, but the bottom layer needing more melting time.  Or I over cooked it and burned it.

Yes, you can burn soap.
Rather, I can.
I’m convinced that there is a magical number of both quantity and duration at which your soap would flake apart perfectly, but I only hit that magic number one time and I couldn’t duplicate it.

I now have a year’s supply of powder laundry detergent that I have to store in my house.  The same house that already has too much clutter. Consider if you have space before making a 50lb chlorine container's worth.  (This recipe only fills half that 50 lb. container.)

Also?  One more thing?  I seriously think this home-made laundry detergent will gum up and jam my clothes washer unless I use hot water.  Who does their laundry using hot water?

One week later, after I’ve had time to rest and get my kitchen back to normal, I’ve used the homemade laundry detergent and I think I like it.  I love the scent.  I love the look of it in my fake vintage glass container. 

I’m still concerned it might be gumming up my washer, but it seems to be dissolving.  I use a bit of hot water at first to dissolve it.  Then I switch to warm or cold water as needed.

I have a growing concern that while it smells great when I’m using it, the clothes actually may not smell so great after drying.  I have to investigate this hypothesis and get back to you.

Click the links above or here to see the recipe in full.

Here's my sister-in-law's recipe to make your own liquid detergent:

When I make my liquid det., I use 1/2 c. Borax, 1/2 c Arm and Hammer super washing soda, and 1/3 bar of Zote. I grate the soap and melt it in 6 cups of water and add the arm and hammer and Borax. I stir until dissolved. I then put it in a 5 gallon bucket and add 1 gallon of water plus 6 cups of water. Let it sit overnight, but stir it every once in a while because it will congeal. I usually add more water later to thin it out. I love using mine, and it seems to do great on our clothes. 

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