As promised, here is my first attempt at making homemade laundry detergent.
Again, here are the ingredients.
Laundry Detergent (from the family homestead.com)
1/3 bar (is about ¾ cup when grated) fels naptha or laundry soap (I found Colgate Octagon Soap at Bi-Lo)
½ cup washing soda
½ cup Borax
2 at least 2 gallon, buckets (I used Ice Cream buckets and an old empty 1 gallon liquid detergent bottle
Essential Oil of Choice, for scent
1 gallon sized drink container, to measure additional water
First, I cut the bar of soap into thirds. Despite the name, it was a rectangle, not an octagon. One-third of a bar made about ¾ cup of grated soap.
Grate Soap and put it in saucepan.
I saved the remaining grated soap for the next 2 times I make the detergent.
Add six cups of water and heat (I did this on medium heat) until the soap melts(this is also when I heated the 4 cups of water needed, in a kettle, while cooking the first three ingredients in the saucepan).
I stirred until all the last bits of soap melted, about 20 minutes on medium heat. It was pretty foamy so I had to look carefully to see if the soap had indeed completely melted.
Add the ½ cup washing soda and the ½ cup Borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.
Poor 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. This is when I had to separate the mixture by half into 2 different containers- the 1 gallon ice cream bucket and the empty 1 gallon laundry detergent bottle. The smaller ice cream bucket in the picture was too small, it was only ½ gallon size. But I poured it into this first as it would be difficult to stir in the bottle. Next time, I will use a bigger bucket first.
Here, Kelly holds the funnel so I can pour the heavy ice cream bucket without spilling.
Add 1 gallon plus six cups of water and stir. This is also the time to add the essential oil. Let the mixture "gel" for 24 hours before using.
Use ½ cup of the detergent per each load of laundry. I marked the measuring cup lid to the old bottle with a sharpie at the ½ cup line, since it was only marked for concentrate. It took me almost an hour to make this. Now I should be all set!
My lower back was a bit sore, but I am hoping my efforts pay off. The cost of this detergent is only one cent a load! This will save us at least $8 a month, as we usually buy the “clear and free” laundry detergent because we have sensitive skin and exzema. This is naturally “clear and free”.
This makes 2 gallons for 64 loads. I use oxyclean with my whites and extra dirty loads anyway, so I will continue doing that.
I also wrote detergent on the ice cream bucket lid and I am storing that in my laundry room.
So, we have been using the detergent for 4 days, and I really like it. It cleaned ketchup without pre-treating, and even though the low-sudsing formula made me nervous, it cleans great. Even urine on crib bedding. It didn’t gel thickly like I thought it would, but that doesn’t bother me. I would like to try to use the Fels Naptha next time and see if that makes it thicker. I will post more updates as I use the detergent, but so far, I really am satisfied. It was totally worth the effort.