Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rub A Dub Dub

Our laundry detergent ran out yesterday! Yay!!

OK, that might not be exciting to many people, but I've been waiting for the detergent to run out so I could try making my own. I've read about it on other blogs and wanted to try for awhile. This morning I put my food processor to good use and whipped up some powdered detergent. There are lots and lots of liquid detergent "recipes" out there but they are generally for huge batches and look pretty messy. I didn't want to use a ton of materials without knowing if it works, and we make enough messes without a laundry detergent factory in the kitchen. Therefore, I am a homemade powdered detergent kind of girl.

This is the recipe I found on both TipNut and Intructables:
2 cups of grated bar soap (Ivory, Fels-Naptha or Zote)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Soda

I figured if it was used by more than one site, it would probably be trustworthy. No fact-checking here, just blind trust.

For the bar soap I used Ivory. Washing Soda is an Arm & Hammer product that is hard to find and I wasn't about to special order it. Other sites mentioned that Oxi-Clean is essentially the same thing as Washing Soda but with peroxide added for whitening. Because I'm a little lazy and too trusting, I again did no fact-checking on this but instead ran with it. I already had Borax and Oxi-Clean so I only had to buy a 3-pack of Ivory for less than $2.

I shredded the Ivory in the food processor. If you try this, just put 2 1/2 bars in rather than measuring it after the fact because I found out the messy way that 2 cups of packed grated soap is equal to about 2 1/2 bars. You can take my word on this and avoid the mess. Then I poured in the Borax and Oxi-Clean and ran the processor to combine it all. I have to say the finished product is a wonderfully uniform, fluffy powder that smells awesome (if you like the smell of Ivory).

The best part? You use 1 tablespoon per load or 2 tablespoons for heavily soiled loads and it works! I ran a load right away to check if it got the clothes clean and it did!

So I just made up to 64 loads of detergent for about $1.80 or for about 3 cents a load. Holy Cow!

As an added bonus, my food processor has never been so clean as after this little project.

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  1. I don't have a food processor but would love to try this! Any suggestions on alternatives?

  2. You could just as easily use a cheese grater to shred the soap and then stir it all together. I imagine the soap would dissolve just fine in the wash. Good luck!

  3. I've wanted to try this, but I couldn't find the washing soda either. I'll try OxiClean the next time our detergent runs out. We're liquid folks, though. I found a good recipe for a liquid that's essentially the same as what you had plus water. The good news for your friend is that she could probably just chop the soap into chunks and then dissolve them into the liquid if she wanted to do that.

  4. Oh, let me know if the liquid version of this works when you try it. And if I find washing soda somewhere, I'll pass it on.

  5. I've been waiting for our detergent to run out for the same reason! Glad yours worked...:)

  6. Can you use this for HE washers?

  7. re: HE washers...I don't have one but I know this detergent hardly suds at all which would be good for a high efficiency machine and lots of comments online say it's fine. Check your manual though just in case the ingredients aren't recommended. Good luck!


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