Monday, May 23, 2011

A Penny A Load!

I have a great post I'm working on, but the laundry soap got brought up this week - and since we are dogsitting this weekend, - I think I'm going to take the opportunity to make this be the weekly post!  I feel like I'm cheating a bit, but I hope this will be useful for you, especially in these economic times.

I've been making my own detergent for about 2 or 3 years now.  I can afford laundry detergent.  I don't know why I keep doing this!  I guess because I can.  I also can my own beans, but I could buy them at the store too.  I like being self-reliant.  I can make yogurt, too, but I don't really think I save money on that one, so I don't do it.  But I could if I had to! And I love that feeling, of knowing I am resourceful.

I posted on my Facebook page this week that I make my own detergent and promised I'd post my recipe here. 

3.1 oz bar Ivory soap
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (found at Kroger)

5 gallon container
Cheese grater
small bowl
stove pot
long stirring spoon (I got mine at a restaurant supply store.)

Pour 5 cups of water in the stove pot and heat it just shy of boiling.  You want the water hot enough to be able to melt the soap, but not hot enough to boil over.  While the water is warming up, use the cheese grater to shred the bar of soap.  Add the shredded soap to the pot of heater water and stir the mixture until the soap is completely melted.

Once the soap is melted, pour 3 gallons of hot water into in 5-gallon bucket.  To the 3 gallons of hot water, stir in the melted soap mixture.  Once it's mixed, add the 1/2 cup super washing soda and stir until it's dissolved.  Pour in 1 cup borax and stir again until dissolved.  Lots of stirring!

You can add essential oils to your laundry detergent to make it smell good, but I never have.

Cover the container and place it somewhere it won't be disturbed.  Let it cool overnight.  It will begin to gel as it cools.  You'll want to put it in smaller containers.  I stir mine once it is "set" though because it does better in my new washer.  There will not be suds in your washer using homemade laundry detergent.  This was hard for me to get used to.  I don't like to pour it directly on my clothes either, as it has left white "residue."  I put the soap in the washer and let it run for a bit and then add the clothes.  Works great that way.

Use 4 oz, or 1/2 cup, per load.  One recipe yields 442 oz which should get you through 110 loads of laundry!  The breakdown, price-wise, is about a penny per load.  Not bad.


Cristen said...

How does this soap work in a front load washer. I live in an apartment complex and all we have is the coin front loaders.

Donna Ryan said...

Ah, the front loader question... I don't know. The soap is not just pure liquid, and I think the front loaders need that. I do stir mine up though so that it's not total gel. I get it pretty liquidy. I'm sorry I'm not more help on that one. I'd be curious though, if someone knows the answer.

Melissa said...

Do you think this works better for cloth diapers?

Maggie said...

Okay, I have a question. I made a huge batch of this for my cloth diapers and was so excited about the cost and ease of making this. However, I found that my white prefolds didn't get really white. I'm from Buffalo so we only hang laundry two months out of the year, otherwise I'm sure the sun would have helped with bleaching. But do you find that the detergent doesn't leave them as white as they could be?

speedymom said...

I can answer the cloth dipe question- soap of any kind can cause build-up and stinky dipes. I use a similar recipe for my dipes, but you omit the soap and use Oxyclean free. I use one cup each of borax, super washing soda, and oxyclean free. I mix the powders all together and use 1-2 TB per load. I think donnas recipe is cheaper because the Oxyclean is pricey. My dipes got pretty white, but then I am not particular about that, as long as they are clean I'm good. :)Now that my girl is in undies, I use the same recipe but grate a tablespoon or so of soap straight into the washer. I love making my own laundry soap! Its so cheap and I know it has less "junk" in it.

Mama Birth said...

I use this in a front loader, and it is pretty liquidy and is working fine for me. I also use it on cloth diapers. Mine are just unbleached prefolds. I do a stain wash (which is a much longer wash cycle) and I always put a bunch of vinegar in the bleach dispenser. My diapers come out clean, don't smell (as long as I do a long wash or in a regular machine, an extra rinse) and are not stained. I think it works great and is cheaper for me than when I tried a dry recipe and I prefer the gel over a powdered soap.
I think no matter what you wash cloth in you need to rinse with vinegar to strip stuff out or they will start to get gross-

Donna Ryan said...

You know, whites are the only load that I use regular soap on. Most of the whites do fine, too, but some do not. I was fine to keep using my homemade soap on the whites, but my husband wasn't. Everything else is great. Sarah, my mom uses vinegar too, and gets all worked up that I don't. Do you just pour it on the laundry? Let it run in the water as the washer fills? You said "rinse" with vinegar. What does that mean?

Mama Birth said...

I just got a front loader, and I put vinegar in the bleach dispenser. When I was using a regular washer, I would pour in vinegar for an extra rinse.
What is wrong with using the soap on the whites? Does it make them dingy? Mine are kind of dingy....

Angie said...

I use this soap recipe but instead of just using ivory soap I do 1/2 ivory 1/3 bar of phelsnapthsa or any laundry soap bar. It gets the stains out great and I do use it for my whites. I also use that soap to petreat any stains. I sent Donna a word document with a whole lot more home made soaps I do and how I launder my cloth diapers. I'm not sure how to attach a document here so hopefully she will share it with you all. And to the few that asked about using it with a front loader: Yes it works great. I use the wood spoon that I use to make the soap to mix it up once I've put my 1/2 cup in the soap dispenser. I did use this with my cloth diapers for about 6 months until my diapers stopped working. They literally repelled the pee :( I researched it and found out you should not used soap based detergents on cloth diapers. Like someone else mentioned it clogs the diaper material up. If you've done that no worries. Your diapers are still good. You just have to strip them and then they will be as good as new. Just look on a box of borax for instructions to strip diapers. And yes you really need to rinse them 7 times to get all the soap biuld up out. Now that I know better for normal washing I use 1 Tbl Borax + 1 Tbl Super washing soda + 1 tsp liquid Dawn to wash my cloth diapers and it works fabulous. Thanks Donna for spreading the good soap news. Love it!

RuthPhy said...

Would this work for whites if I used just this recipe and then a scoop of oxyclean?