Monday, June 6, 2011

Making Laundry Detergent

     I have always wanted to try my hand at making my own detergent.   Having read those laundry detergent labels makes me feel like they are hiding something, and the ingredients they do list, I have no clue what they are.  Makes me think I should have gotten an advanced degree in Chemistry.

     I searched around the internet and found that most recipes are the same.  I found several sites that show you step by step for making the liquid version.  I liked the the simple dollar 's directions.  He gave a great tutorial and included stats about how much he spent and how well it cleans compared to a commercial brand.

Here is the words of advice from fellow laundry soap makers:

  • If you are making liquid soap, it can separate from the water.  There is nothing wrong with detergent, you just need to shake before using to mix it back together.
  • The smaller the soap particles the easier it is to melt or use in a powdered version.  People use a blender or magic bullet to get fine soap.
  • People reported that it can be used in HE washers, use half the amount of soap.  
  • If you don't want to purchase a 5 gallon bucket to mix it in, try asking in the bakery section of your grocery store to see if they have a left over (dough) bucket.

Every recipes uses essentially the same three base ingredients :
  •  some people use one whole bar of soap (Pure and Natural, Ivory) or a  1/2 bar to whole bar of soap of  Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap or Zote because it is specifically laundry soap.  
Feel free to play around with it and use what you like or what you think gets your clothes the cleanest.

Powdered Soap
I used the following for powdered (it takes up less space):
 To use :  2 Tablespoons per load of laundry.
Shredded Fels Napath

  • I have been using the above mixture now for two weeks and even with their size, I have not had a problem with them dissolving.
  • A little off topic here  - When I place the damp clothes in the dryer,  I use a damp sponge, with a little distilled vinegar and a few drops of essential oil to give the clothes a faint scent.   This replaces the dryer sheets. 

For liquid detergent I used simply dollars recipe of :
  1. In a pot, add 4 cups of water.  Bring water to medium high heat. (You don't want the water to boil, just really hot.)
  2. Add your soap a little at a time.  Stir until dissolved.  Repeat this process until all your soap is gone and you have a very soapy mixture.
  3. Using hot tap water, fill your 1 gallon jug.  Add to your five gallon bucket.  Do this two more times, equalling a total of 3 gallons of hot water.
  4. Add your soapy water and stir until blended.  
  5. Add your washing soda.  Stir well.
  6. Add borax.  Stir well.
  7. Let sit overnight and cool down.
  8. Tomorrow it is ready to use.  
  9. Use about 1 cup or detergent in your load. 
Remember that your liquid detergent can separate over night.  It can also end up gelationous, or can be just like the soap you buy.  All of that mostly depends on the amount of water you add and the bar of soap that you use.  Color varies as well according to your bar of soap.  Don't worry so much about how it looks, it still works great.

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