Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Laundry Detergent

A big expense at our house is laundry detergent. For 3 years we used the Tide HE detergent. Last spring I read in the "Urban Homemaker" catalog about their very concentrated powder detergent and I ordered it. It has actually worked great. I spent $22 for a box of detergent and it lasted for 6 months. That was a huge savings from the Tide. I only had to use a teaspoon per load. And yes, it cleaned the clothes well. Then, I read on different blogs and saw on different tv shows about people making their own detergent. So, last week we gave this a try.

Here is our recipe...

1 bar Ivory soap
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing soda
1/2 cup Borax

Grate soap and put in saucepan. Add 6 cups water and heat till the soap melts. Add the washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into a 3-4 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and stir. Then add 2 additional gallons of water and stir. Let the soap sit for 24 hours to gel. You use 1/2 cup per load.

We have modified this in that we use 1/4 cup per load and it works great.

I got this recipe from www.thefamilyhomestead.com.

My cost for this batch of laundry detergent is...
.21 borax
.22 washing soda
.33 ivory soap
?? 2 gallons + 10 cups of water

Thats .76 for a big bucket of laundry detergent. We are keeping track of how many loads of laundry we get out of this bucket to figure our cost per load.

I had read on several blogs about getting buckets from bakeries or grocery stores. I asked at Kroger in the bakery and they gave me a bucket that icing came in, for free. It did take 2 trips to Kroger for the bucket, but I am at Kroger once or twice per week so I didn't make a special trip.

The kids enjoyed helping. I took pictures and helped stir. We will do this again! I will be able to get 18 more 1/2 cups of borax and 13 more batches of washing soda from the boxes I bought last week.


  1. Please follow up on this and let me know how it works out. We get the dye and fragrance free kind because of itchiness. And it sounds like this is what you are making, dye and fragrance free. Is it gentle enough on you clothes? Does it rinse out good? Ok... I will email later.

  2. Yes, it rinses out great. Slight smell of Ivory Soap but not overpowering. We have done 7 loads of laundry so far and no problems. It even cleaned the mud out of one of Greg's jackets.