Since many of you at the Savvy Saving Class asked for this tonight - here it is!!!
A month ago I wrote a few articles regarding homemade laundry detergent. I have to admit a few years ago I really thought people that made their own laundry detergent needed to get a life! Why would you want to do this? Well, more recently I have realized that laundry detergent can be a BIG expense! So why not give it a try?
The first post that I wrote included a video by Trent at The Simple Dollar showing how to make your own liquid laundry detergent. It didn't look too hard, but the thought of a large bucket of liquid in my house with a new and not so steady walker did not seem safe (and possibly very messy) to me.
I decided to research the possibility of homemade powdered laundry detergent. The second post included a recipe for powdered laundry detergent from Felicia at Blulow. This seemed like a more reasonable approach for our lifestyle - so I decided to give it a try.
Okay, so I'm a month into my experiment. I spent about $7.00 on supplies and that will probably be enough for a very long time - I'll let you know! So far, I have been very pleased with the cleanliness of my laundry, I have had no trouble washing my whites with bleach and actually they look better than ever.
Here is what I used:
4 Bars - soap - (I hate to admit I actually used Irish Springs bar soap because I had some in the closet that would never get used otherwise - I'm not necessarily recommending this - but it seemed to work fine for me. However, the scent was a bit strong at first!)
3 Cups - 20 Mule Team Borax
3 Cups - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.
First I grated each bar of soap in the food processor one at a time. After the bar was grated I switched out the blade to the chopper blade and ran it through again with that to make a fine powder. Then I added around 1 cup of the Borax and 1 cup Soda and pulsed to mix. I put in a large bowl and repeated the process. At the end I did the extra soap and worked it into the rest.
This made a nice amount - about what you would get in a box of laundry detergent. I have found that 1 Coffee Scoop (about 1 TBS) is just the right amount for my washer. I have a regular top loader that runs a very large load. I think this will last me for many, many months. I put it in a plastic container and it is keeping very nicely.
What will I do differently next time?
1. I will do this outside on the back patio with one of those funny doctor looking paper respirator things over my nose! The soap makes a fine dust and I could not get the smell out of my head for about 3 days!
2. I still want to use up that Irish Spring soap! - but I think I will only use 1 bar of that and 3 bars of either Ivory or Pure and Natural (which is sold in a 3 pack for only $1 at the Dollar Tree) This should cut down on the strong scent - although I do not smell a strong scent on the clothes after they are washed. If I smell like Irish Spring - someone please tell me!
What did I do right?
1. I tried something new - and it worked!
2. The food processor is definitely the way to go! Made a nice fine powder - I have not had any trouble with residue on my clothing!
3. I made a BIG batch. I figured while I have the food processor out - why not keep going? It didn't really take very long to make a quadruple batch - about 45 minutes max.
1. If you have sensitive skin- use a fragrance free soap!
2. DO NOT use a food processor if you decide to use Fels Naptha laundry soap. I have heard many people say they ruined their food processor that way! That soap MUST be grated by hand.
3. Add the laundry soap first in the bottom of the washer with a bit of warm or hot water to let it dissolve and then you can turn the water to cold or whatever temperature you want - (doing this has worked very well for me!) Add the clothes after you have dissolved the soap powder - literally just takes about 30 seconds or so!
4. Don't be afraid to try something new! - It was really easy to do. And I am actually pleasantly surprised with the results. (I was not expecting nice white whites!)
5. MAKE SURE to tell your husband to only use 1 SCOOP!!! Thankfully I caught him after only 1 load! He had put in 4 scoops! He said 1 didn't seem like much - (and it doesn't seem like much) but my laundry is just as clean as before so I'm sticking with 1 scoop! By the way - this soap will not make bubbles like you might be used to - that's fine it will still work.
I will let you know the next time I make laundry soap and how long this batch lasted. I would love to hear from you if you give this a try. Next time I will take pictures and show you how I did it!