Absolutely everyone has to do laundry, and those of us with children know that either you’re doing it every day, or like me, you are faced with a mountain of it each and every weekend. With the price of laundry detergent being insane, and my having SOO much of it, I switched to homemade about a year ago, and I am never looking back. I love it! It’s gentle for tender little skin, and it works great! I found my inspiration at DIY Natural, where they break down the cost and savings in making your own, and have very minimally tweaked the recipe for my family. I do also use vinegar as my fabric softener, and it works fabulously – I had to quit using the commercial softeners when I started doing DH’s laundry as it has something in it that made his man flesh very very angry at me, so I was thrilled to find how well vinegar works without agitating him.
1 bar of soap – I prefer Fels Naptha (0.97/bar), but have used Ivory and Dove before – any bar of soap will do.
2 gallon containers
1 1/2 c. Borax
1 1/2 c. Washing Soda
Large Pot that will hold 2 gallons OR 2 large pots that will hold a gallon each
Start off by grating your soap into your pot (grate the whole
bar into one pot; even if you’re using two separate ones you’ll be cooking everything up in one). Add a gallon of water and heat over medium high heat stirring occasionally until all of the soap has dissolved. The finer you grate your soap, the faster you’ll get through this. You’ll have what resembles and is soapy water at this point. Stir in your Borax and Washing soda. I heat mine to a boil stirring almost constantly, I don’t think boiling is necessary, but you need to heat it long enough to make sure the Borax and Soda dissolve, otherwise you will have gritty detergent – I’ve had this experience and it works fine, but it does have a tendency to not rinse out as well if it’s gritty.
Once you have everything cooked down, (you’ll want to divide your detergent equally between your two pots if you need to use that method) add in your second gallon of water and stir it all together well. (Divide the water equally between your pots). Once it’s all mixed, remove from the heat and let stand over night or at least for a couple of hours. The reason behind this being, that as you can see, the mix is going to solidify, and if you bottle it right away, you’re going to have a heck of a time shaking a gallon of solid gel and squeezing it out. Once set, I just run my hand mixer through it for a minute or two on medium speed and then bottle it.
I use the recommended 1/2 c. per load in my high capacity for an extra large load.
* A note on bottles – I used to use milk jugs, but they are thinner, and since you will eventually have to give these guys a shake, I have switched over to the thicker vinegar jugs whose handles won’t crack when you shake them 🙂