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May 9, 2013

DIY Laundry Detergent

I've been a huge fan of powder laundry detergent since Jake's Oma gave us a huge box of Amway laundry detergent for Christmas a few years ago. The box lasted me a whole year and was great for our sensitive skin. So of course, I asked for the same thing the following Christmas.

It just so happens that I ran out and forgot to ask Oma for another box this year.
I've been scraping the bottom of this last box and cutting my scoops each time I do laundry.
It's embarrassing to have stooped to not doing laundry until someone runs out of underwear.
It's true.
And usually me.

But no more! 
I refuse to skimp on detergent ever again!

Thank you Pinterest!!!

It was a really simple product list.
{Last minute I decided to not add Oxiclean into the mixture and continue to use it as a booster.}
The mixture ratio is 2 cups of super washing soda: 2 cups of Borax: 1 bar of soap (I chose Ivory. others recommend Fels-Naptha).

The easiest way to shred the Ivory soap was to microwave it. When you do, it blows up like a balloon and becomes very brittle.
{microwaved Ivory soap bar.}
This makes for easy breaking and mixing.
My microwave was kinda whimpy, so I ended up microwaving for 1 minute, then for 45 seconds every time after until the whole bar was done.

No blender. No grating.
(Fel-Naptha does NOT do this. Instead, use a grater, then a food processor to mix it into the Borax/Washing soda combo.)

I just sifted through my mixture by hand and broke up any pieces of soap that I felt were too large.

I offered my family up as guinea pigs. 
Well, really this just means my eczema prone husband and my sensitive skin all around self.

I made the mixture and tested it on a batch of towels first.
My main idea was, 'Well, towels get wet and touch all of everyone. I'll know soonest with them.' 
A thought of  'maybe if this doesn't work I'll get new towels!' may have crossed my mind.

My biggest concerns:
Are Borox and Oxiclean basically the same thing?
Evidently, from what I can gather online, Borox is a natural mineral and works as a detergent and water softener where Oxiclean is a non chlorine bleach.

Will Ivory/any bar soap mess with the texture of the fabrics?
I chose Ivory bar soap because I've used it off and on for a while and it hasn't caused my skin any issues. However, I do know that it leaves and 'interesting' feeling when cleansing... Would this happen to my clothing/towels and leave a weird residue? (If so, I'm getting new towels, dangit!)

My answer: No.
I felt no difference between the detergent I used prior and my homemade mixture.
Well, really that's not true.
If anything my towels were softer.

Will the mixture cause any skin reactions?
So far, there have been no issues. Everything is soft and the towels are fine (unfortunately). That's good enough for me!

To add baking soda, or not to add baking soda?
Most of what I read stated that the baking soda was mainly to help with those with hard water. I tried the mixture first without the baking soda.
I'm glad that I did because after researching I found that Borox works as a water softener.
So baking soda on top of Borox seems to be unnecessary.

Is it safe for HE washing machines?
After reading through all the comments from the original post and other recipes, yes, it is safe to use in front loaders and HE washers. If you still aren't sure if you should/want to use a homemade recipe, call your manufacturer and ask them about the ingredient list for the detergent.

Is the recipe safe for cloth diapers?
It looks like Oxy Clean offers an 'oxy clean free' tub that is safe for babies.
I would also remove the Ivory soap, which seems to be just a fragrant additive for this recipe.

How much is recommended to use?
1 table spoon.
Baking soda is very harsh, if you use too much.
Have fun and get a cute scoop like this, this, or this!

Pin I found the recipe from.

{Final product. The container was $16 from Marshall's}
After a whole cycle of laundry I officially love this mixture.
Do you make your own laundry detergent?


Prices of products (rounded up)
Borax, $9 for 76 oz
Washing soda, $5 for 55 oz
Soap, $2 for 3 bars at 3 oz a piece

This first batch took me about an hour to make, due to me not knowing what I was doing and my microwave being completely stupid.
My guess is that next time I will have a FAR better process and it will take me half the time.

This mixture made around 110-ish oz of detergent at the price of $16.
My former powder detergent, from amaway, was 160 oz and lasted me 16 months at $69 (amazon price).
*not all of the powder was used. If it had been, the mixture would have been around 155 oz.


Shaina Brainard said...

What was the price difference between this and store bought? And how does it do with stains? I've thought about doing it but wasn't sure it if its worth time and cost. And if it gets same results.

Rachel said...

I've thought about doing this at some point in the future (like you, when we get to the point of running out of the large stash of laundry soap that we already have!)