When James was 2 and Gideon was a baby I read a blog about making your own homemade laundry detergent. And I wanted to do this so badly. It was supposed to save you money, smell great, and make you oh so happy. Just before Thanksgiving this year I finally FINALLY made it. It only took me two years to get done. 🙂 After running out of regular laundry soap at the end of Oct I ended up using dish soap for the next 3 weeks while trying to get all the stuff together to make my own. Titus wanted to just buy more, but I put my foot down! I. was. going. to. make. it!! I read blogs, I researched, I looked at prices. And I got discouraged. For me the two main reasons to make homemade things or things from scratch is a. to save money and b. it should be healthier or more natural than the store bought kind. After reading countless blogs I was convinced that the some of the main ingredients that were in ALL the recipes I was looking at, weren’t all that healthy. But if you got “natural” soap to use it was going to drive the price up. At this point I may have just quite and went to Sams where I have found a pretty nice natural laundry soap that was pretty cheap. Except I had already bought some borax and figured I had to use it. (It wasn’t until later that I found out that borax can be used in many ways all over your house and I really didn’t need to make the laundry soap anyway).
Almost every recipe for laundry detergent will have the following ingredients. Some recipes will add things like oxyclean or essential oils but these are the basic 4 things you need:
- 1 (4 lb) Box of Borax- Found in the detergent aisle
- 1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the detergent aisle
- 2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap- Found in the detergent aisle (You can also use Fels Naptha)
- 1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda- Found in the cooking aisle.
However I CAN NOT FIND super washing soda ANYWHERE! I looked at Wal-Mart, Target, K-mart, even at grocery stores. I asked employees of stores who blinked their eyes and said, “What are you looking for again?” I swear all you people are just lying about using it. After looking for weeks (remember I am washing all my clothes with dish soap these weeks) I finally had had enough. Below is my own recipe for all you people that can’t find washing soda! You are welcome!
Borax is easy to find, I used one 4 lb box.
Zote soap is also easy to find. I used two bars
Baking soda, well yes that is also easy to find. I used 4 lbs of baking soda (4 1 pound boxes)
I needed something to replace the washing soda, so I picked up a bag of blanca nieves detergent. This is actually detergent that can be used by its self. I picked it because a. it was close to the 4 lb size of washing soda (it was just a little bit bigger), b. it was very cheap, and c. I like Mexico and mexican products, so why not! ha ha
First I cut the bar soap and put it in the blender to get small pieces. This soap is pretty soft, I cut it with one hand while holding a baby with the other. One blog I read said that if you put some baking soda in the blender with the bar soap it cuts up the soap better. This is ABSOLUTELY true! I tried it both ways. But you need to put the baking soda in first and the soap on top. Putting in the soap and then the soda doesn’t do anything. I was very excited at the pretty color of the soap! 😀
Cutting and blending the soap is the most time consuming part of this whole project. After you are done dump everything into a big container and mix. I started off with a big bucket, but that is not the way to do it. You need to mix it in a wide container, not a deep narrow container. Believe me, your arms will thank you.
The blanca nieves detergent ended up having pink flakes of soap in it so the pink bar soap I used looked so great! It’s the little things people.
So the question is, does it get clothes clean? One of the first things I washed was my daughter’s dress that had a several day old spaghetti (or pizza?? can’t remember) stain.
It did not get out the stain. However, because this was so many days old I wasn’t surprised, and honestly would any detergent have gotten it out? I did take some of the pink flakes of soap out of the detergent I had just made and rubbed that on the stain and soaked it with some other stain remover and low and behold the stain came out! Now that made me happy!
I really wish I would have taken a before and after picture of my son’s p.j. because wow oh wow did they turn white! I’ve never been one that had a desire to get my whites really white, and let’s be honest we don’t have a lot of white clothes around here (and if you need a reason for that then you don’t have little kids). But WOW are they white! Not sure if it was the blanca nieves detergent that did that, but I did something right!
I didn’t know how much to use, so the first load I think I used about 3/4 cup. Then I looked up what everyone else was using and I guess that was a bit much. But check out the suds!!
After reading that everyone else was using 1 T or 2 T at the very most, I tried that. I wasn’t very impressed.
So I have settled on about 3 to 4 T. That seems to get the clothes clean without using excess.
Now everyone probably wants to know if it was cheaper. I really REALLY wanted to answer that for you, and I really did keep the receipts for a long time. But I’ve looked everywhere and can only find one.
Borax – $3.99 (I have this receipt so I know that one is right)
Baking soda – 4 boxes at .79 (It was on sale and I am pretty sure that was what I paid)
Blanca Nieves Detergent – $4.00 (I know it was under $4)
Zote soap – This is the one I really can’t remember, but I think they were just under $2 a bar. So maybe about $4 total.
This totals to $15.15. Even if I am off a few dollars this is still drastically cheaper then buying the store stuff. I will update you on how long it lasts when I run out, but I have tons of it so it might be awhile!
While this isn’t as natural as I would like (the Zote soap and blanca nieves are mostly what I am concerned about) I have to say I am really really happy with how this turned out. I may or may not try to substitute in more natural soaps next time around. But for now I am happy. 😀