Let’s face it, keeping up with laundry is nobody’s favorite chore. It’s time consuming, it’s tedious and most of all it can be expensive. But whether or not you have in home laundry or you need to head on down to the laundromat every week, here is a great way to save some cash by making your own laundry detergent. Following this step by step guide will provide you with 2 gallons of detergent that in the end will only cost about 2 cents a wash!
1.Gather The Ingredients
Here is a list of what you need to get started.
2 bars of plain unscented soap. The more basic the soap the better, don’t buy any soaps with tons of added fragrance or strong colors. Just plain white bar soap is all you need, and it is typically the cheapest.
2 cups of Borax. This can be found just about in every supermarket and usually is located in the laundry detergent section.
2 cups of Washing Soda. Washing soda can be a little more difficult to find, so I would call ahead to your local supermarket first to check if they have any in stock. The most commonly stocked brand is Arm & Hammer, and DO NOT confuse this with baking soda. If you are unable to locate any in nearby stores, you can purchase it online very cheaply for $2-3 dollars a box.
1 quart of boiling water, and a medium sized pot for melting the soap.
A Grater, to grate the soap into small fragments.
A Bucket that can hold at least two gallons and has a lid that seals tight.
2. Grate the Soap
Using any standard cheese grater take a bar of soap and grate it until you have produced two cups of finely grated soap. In my experience this normally takes about 1 and a half bars to produce two full cups. Be sure to use the soap on the finest side of the grater to produce the smallest sized soap fragments as possible. This will help in the melting process coming up next.
3. Melt The Soap
Take any standard pan that is at least 2 quarts and fill it with one quart of water. You will need excess room in the pan due to soap suds and to prevent possible boil over. Once the water is boiling add the 2 cups of grated soap into the water little by little and stir with a whisk until the soap is evenly melted. Once completely melted you should not see any soap fragments left in the pot and the mixture should be only slightly thicker than that of water. If the mixture is too thick, too much water has evaporated and you may need to add extra.
4. Mix In The Borax And Washing Soda
Once you have melted the soap, pour the soapy water into a clean plastic bucket. Make sure the bucket you choose is fairly rigid and not too thin. Using too thin of a bucket could result in the plastic melting from the hot water you just poured in. Be very careful while pouring in the water and it is good practice to wear eye protection in case of any splashing that occurs during the process.
Once you have transferred the soap into the bucket, start adding in 2 cups of Borax, followed by 2 cups of Washing Soda. Add each little by little but also quickly while the water is still hot. Stir the bucket with a whisk until all ingredients have adequately mixed. The consistency should now be that of very thick detergent. Make sure there are no clumps of borax or washing soda left and don’t be afraid to stir vigorously.
5. Add Two Gallons Of Water And Stir.
Once you have thoroughly mixed together the soap, borax and washing soda add two gallons of clean water into the bucket and mix gently for one minute. Once the water has been mixed, the detergent is now finished! It is important to know that the mixture will gel together and will need to be stirred each time before use.
To use the detergent simply stir beforehand and add 1/4th cup to your laundry as you would any other liquid laundry soap. I have seen some variations of this detergent recipe that suggest adding several drops of scented oil into the detergent once mixed, however I have yet to try this. This formula as is will leave your clothes with a simple clean/soap smelling scent.
The two gallons of laundry soap will last for about 128 washes! And depending on how frugal you are with your purchases each use of the detergent is only costing me .02 cents per wash! Not a bad deal for a project that can be completed in less than 10 minutes.
Do you have any experience with making laundry detergent? Comment below and let us know about it.