Thursday, December 6, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

I have dabbled off and on with making my own laundry detergent for years.  The liquid stuff was fun, but a bother to make.  Last year I came across a powdered alternative using the same ingredients and gave it a try.  I just was not as happy with how clean the clothes were coming out though compared to the Tide I was using.  Thanks to Pinterest I am back on the DIY wagon.

I while back I came across a "Pin" for this DIY Laundry Detergent.  The time was fast approaching when I would have to pay another 30 bucks for a box of detergent, so instead I rounded up the ingredients for this homemade version.

Here is what you need if you want to try it for yourself:
1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax
1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda  (Note this not baking soda- there is a difference.)
1 (3 lb) Container of OxiClean- Opt. ( I used the Sun alternative because I like to to save money-leaves more for quilt fabric you know!)
2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap
1 (4 lb) Box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda- (I always get the the big bag from Sam's so measured mine out with the kitchen scale)
1-2 (55 oz)Bottle of Purex Crystals Laundry Enhancer. (I chose the Lavendar scent and used one bottle)

I found everything I needed at the superstore except for the Zote bars.  Our store only carries Fels-Naptha which is what I have always used in the past.  Having done a good bit of research it seems that over time the Fels starts to dull the colors on clothes.  I still love it as a pre-treater though.  The Zote bars I had to order from Amazon-but I am on the lookout for a local supplier as some find them at dollar type stores for around 90 cents rather that the 3.00 dollars a bar I paid.

You will need a large bucket- five gallon would work well.  I used one of my recycling bins.  The hardest part is preparing the Zote.  We are on a septic and I need the soap to be very fine so that it dissolves easily in the water.  My process was to open the bars and let them air dry for a couple of days.  Then I zapped them in the microwave for about 90 seconds.  If you do this watch very closely and do not leave the microwave unattended.  The science person in me loves how this makes the bars a pink oozing blob.  Next I popped those blobs into my extra coffee grinder to give me a very fine powder.  A lot of people use a grater rather than the microwave method, some even put it into a food processor or blender- do what works best for you and your situation.

Next I started mixing everything together.  I added about a third of all of my ingredients and mixed them thoroughly, then added another third of each ingredient, mixed, and then added the last of the ingredients and mixed it all up until I was satisfied that it was all well blended.

At this point I have to mention the house smelled like a field of flowers, which lasted for several days.  Fine by me and the men did not complain.  I refilled the Purex Crystals container, two 48 oz containers I had in the laundry room, and 2 1/2 gallon size Ziploc bags with my detergent.  I feel like this pink and lavender concoction needs a prettier jar- something like this perhaps:

Now for the really hard to believe part.  I use just 1-2 Tablespoons of detergent per load in my HE machine!!!  I may have enough detergent made to last me for a year doing 5-7 loads a week.  And I paid less for all of my supplies than one box of Tide that does apprx. 80 loads.

It is probably just my imagination but the whites seem whiter.  What is not my imagination is that I no longer have to add a dryer sheet to my loads, even as we enter the time of year where that static cling seems to worsen.  I was totally won over however, when I forgot about a load over the weekend.  Usually I have to run it through a time or two to get that musty smell out, but this load smelled just as fresh and clean as if they had just completed the wash cycle.

I think I finally found a DIY detergent that I can love.


No comments: