Good laundry detergent is expensive as hell. Even the mid-prices brands are kind of pricey in my area. So figuring out how to make my own was a no-brainer for me. Not only is homemade detergent cheaper, but it’s also not loaded with tons of chemicals, fragrances, sulfates and other grossness. So it can be way greener too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The best part is, unlike making regular soap (more on that later), laundry soap is both quick and relatively painless (metaphorically and literally). You pretty much only need three main ingredients to make liquid or powdered laundry soap:
Arm and Hammer is pretty good and can be found in the grocery store occasionally, and definitely on online. Washing soda is also known as sodium carbonate or sometimes soda ash and is made from regular old limestone or salt.
You can usually find this stuff in your local grocery store. They even sell it at the Rite Aid up the block from me. Side note: every time I buy this my husband makes a Borat joke. Because his references are as dated as Carrot Top’s jokes.
Dr. Bronner’s or Ivory are both good and can be found almost anywhere. I prefer Dr. Bronner’s because they have a few nice naturally scented ones. Lavender is my fave, and I think they have peppermint and almond too.
Optional: Baking Soda
This can be used on occasion to help freshen your clothes, but it isn’t necessary.
Like I said before, these ingredients are a lot less chemically than what you see in store bought soaps, and are super cheap individually. You often find these same ingredients in fancy shmancy natural detergents. But making it yourself costs a fraction of the price.
Instructions for cheap powdery goodness (and not the thing Rob Ford does)
Start by grating the bar soap until finely ground. You can also use a food processor, because ain’t nobody got time for that.
Next, in a large bowl you need to mix two parts washing soda, two parts borax and one part grated soap. This is where you would add a teaspoon or so of baking soda if you wanted to.
That’s it! you can store this in a closed container and you only need about 1/8 to 1/3 a cup per load, depending on how dirty your clothes are.
Instructions on how to make liquid
Start out the same by grating or processing the bar of soap. Then you put your soap into a pan with two quarts of water and slowly heat up (stirring your brains out) until it’s totally dissolved.
Next, put four and a half gallons of super hot tap water (no need to go the extra mile and boil it) into a bucket (you’ll need a five gallon or larger, which you can usually get for free from a bakery or grocery store, or you can buy one cheap online), and stir in one cup of borax and one cup of washing soda until dissolved.
After that, pour the mixture from the pan into your bucket and stir it up really well. Here comes the hard part. Leave it the hell alone for at least 12 hours.
After 12 hours, you can stir until it;s smooth and then pour it into whatever containers you want to keep it in. With this stuff you use 1/2 to one cup per load. It might seem like a lot compared to the super concentrated versions on store shelves, but it’s way cheaper.
* I have to ad a disclaimer to this post. Originally I intended on writing about making regular old soap (with lye), which is very new to me. As you can imagine, that whole fiasco turned out to be a hot mess, so here we are. Take two will be next week, unless I burn my hands off and can’t type. *