1/31/13

DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent


Once I quit my job, I knew we needed to tighten our belts on some things.

We downsized our cell phone plans.  We don't eat out nearly as much.  We instantly saved money on daycare (hello!).  I pay for almost everything with my cash budget that is allowed to me between paychecks - the only exception is gas.  Not sure why, but it just is.

It's kinda nice paying for everything with cash.  Much more visual.  And therefore, much more depressing when it goes away.  But it's helped.  I've stayed on the mark more often than I've missed.  Christmas was a killer, but we've recovered and so we move on.

In an effort to skimp where I can, and to make a project for myself (because I'm super bored during the day) I researched some options to make your own laundry detergent at home.  The stuff is expensive, heavy to lug in a cart with too kids and frankly, I thought I could give it a try and give my honest feedback so you all would know if it was worth your effort of if Tide really knew what they were doing.

The hardest part was, well two things, really.
One: finding Washing Soda.  My Target didn't have it, so I had to go to scary Wal-Mart.
Two: I had to face my fear of hand graters.  I just always envision losing the tips of my fingers when I use one.  Hate hate hate it.

Gather up:

  • 2 empty milk jugs (or other gallon containers)
  • 1 huge pot - I bought a 12-qt one for $7 at scary Wal-mart (so I could just use it for this and not cook food in my soapy pot)
  • 1 bar of soap, your choice
  • Scary hand grater
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soap
All told, you'll get 2 gallons of goo.  At 1/2 cup per load, that's 64 loads of laundry you'll have on your hands.  We'll do the breakdown on cost at the end - big finale.

Here's how you get there:
1. Grate your soap bar into your pot.  Watch those fingers.
2. All 1 gallon water to pot and "cook" at med-high to high heat until soap is dissolved, stirring occasionally.  This took me about 15 minutes or so to achieve.
3. Once soap is dissolved stir in 1 cup each of Borax and Washing Soda and bring liquid to a boil.  You'll instantly feel that the liquid is starting to thicken.  As you boil, it will get thicker.
4. Once you're at a boil, turn off heat and add 2nd gallon of water.
5. Let cool.  
6. Use funnel to pour detergent into your two empty jugs.  
7. Get to washin' lady.

And if you're like me, you'll have kept one of those Tide jobies with the little push-button spout on the side to help with dispensary later.

Always thinkin'

Some notes:
The liquid will continue to thicken as it cools.  Some bloggers have posted that they split this recipe into THREE gallons to thin things out.  My family is messy, and I don't mind rinsing the cup in water to get excess out into the washing machine.

This soap will not suds.  The suds you see with your Tide is merely cosmetic (same with your shampoo)  It's getting clean, even if there aren't a ton of bubbles there.

Ready for the grand total (and somewhat subjective because while the price is split out over different batches, I still had to shell out the cash initially to make the stuff in the first place!)  The cost will vary depending on the type of bar soap you use (I guestimated a buck) and I'm calling water free because I'm not about to sift through bills to come up with a better estimate than that!

From my local Target, you can buy a 32-load jug of Tide for $9.04 - times two = $18.08
My makings for one batch of goo (minus my need to have a separate pot that won't ever cook food in) - $2.84

Two dollars.  Eight-four cents.
About 4 cents a load.
Not that I'm all about counting pennies, but that's pretty damn good if you ask me!


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1 comment:

MeetTheBrowns said...

This is neat, I might try!

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