Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thrifty Tip Tuesday: DIY One Cent Laundry Detergent

Now that we are a family of four, I've noticed that we blow through laundry detergent like it's going out of style.  This is a huge bummer because laundry detergent is expensive!  I had initially resisted making my own laundry detergent because I had bought into the idea that making homemade would never be as efficient as the store-bought stuff.

I was so wrong.  The detergent is equally as effective.  The only difference I have to make is putting the detergent in the bottom of the washing machine before I put the clothes in (versus pouring it on top of the clothes once they're in the washer).  And once I calculated the cost (it costs a whoppin' one cent per load), I was hooked.

I also love that making it up front is cheap (about $10 for the first batch, then $2-5 for subsequent batches) and lasts for months and months.  I am just finishing up the original batch I made on October 13th!  Wow!

We used to purchase All Free and Clear which was about $.11 a load, so dropping that to a penny a load is great.  Also, because I only have to make it three times a year, I'm not always sending my husband to the store to pick up more laundry detergent.

So here you go!

diy one cent liquid laundry detergent


1/2 bar of Fels Naptha Bar Soap
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Soda
A big stock pot, big spoon, several gallon jugs (this recipe made a little over 4 gallons)

1. Grate half of the bar of soap.  You can set aside the rest and use it later.

diy one cent liquid laundry detergent
It's not cheese...just soap.

2. Put the soap in a giant (I mean, GIANT) stockpot and pour in one gallon of water.

diy one cent liquid laundry detergent

3. Cook until the soap is dissolved.  This took about 10 minutes.  Add in 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of washing soda.

diy one cent liquid laundry detergent

4. Bring to a boil (about five minutes), then turn off the heat.  Add 1 1/2 gallons of cold water.

diy one cent liquid laundry detergent
Seriously folks.  Use a BIG stockpot.

5. Set your containers in the sink and using a funnel, fill them with the detergent.  You can use milk jugs, but me and Jessica really like using the giant vinegar containers.  The plastic is thicker and sturdier and you can reuse it over and over, whereas the milk jugs definitely start to break down.  You can also save your store-bought detergent container and refill it (*ahem* I won't tell the company you did that).

The detergent is really liquid-y when its warm.  It doesn't congeal until it cools, so don't freak out if its super thin at first.

diy one cent liquid laundry detergent
That's a lot of detergent.

Every few loads, I shake the container SUPER good, then use about 1/4 or 1/3 cup per load.  And four months later, I still have part of a gallon left after two kids, a husband, two dogs and a cat's worth of laundry (we wash the pet blankets so they are part of my laundry cycle).

Enjoy! ~ Hilary

12 comments:

  1. I've seen this recipe floating around and I wonder if you could use a blender to whip the detergent so you don't have to shake it.
    Good post though, I found you via Not Just a Housewife linky.

    Angela

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  2. Great tips!

    Would love for you to link it up at my new Empty Your Archive link party which is a chance to dust off great posts from your archive - there is a focus this week on laundry - would really love to see you there, Alice @ Mums Make Lists x

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  3. Camille RichardsJune 22, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Any idea if this can be used in front loader "HE" washing machines? Unfortunately, the racket for HE detergents is expensive!!

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    Replies
    1. It works great in top load HE machines! I would assume it it works equally well in the front load machines too, since it is really low sudsing detergent and that's what's important for the HE machines.

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    2. I use the dry version in my front loader. all the same ingredients you just leave then dry , I use 1/8 cup and it works great :)

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  4. Where do you find the Fels Naptha soap?

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    Replies
    1. Wal-Mart carries it you will find it in the laundry section , I also found it at Shop-Rite

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  5. I got mine at Fred Meyer, Walk Mart has Zote soap which also is the same price and works just as well!

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  6. Hi is the bar of soap scentless? I strongly dislike detergent with any kind of smell...... Great article and I'm looking forward to trying it!

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Why is Washing Soda and where do you buy it?

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  9. Why is Washing Soda and where do you buy it?

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