Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pioneer Wife 101--Homemade Laundry Detergent

(Note: This is the second draft of this post. My first one was witty and awesome. My Blogger app on my tablet deleted it. If this post is lacking, blame Blogger, not me. I'm hilarious and awesome...remember that.)

As Mr. Incredible can tell you, I really like to do things myself. There are three reasons for this: 1. I am a controlling nut-bag. 2. I am one of the cheapest people alive. 3. I just like to prove that I CAN whether it makes practical sense or not. These fine qualities extend to many areas of my life and the only thing that balances them out is the major fact that I am kind of lazy. For example, I am adamant about cleaning my own house versus having a cleaning person, but it often takes me a stupidly long time to get around to cleaning everything.  I refused for YEARS to get a pedicure because I could paint my own toenails for free, but then spent the first six weeks of summer in high top sneakers because my feet looked like Frodo Baggins' feet. (Lord of the Rings reference for you non-nerds out there)

Imagine my glee when I saw this recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent. Like many of you, I do crazy amounts of laundry every Monday and so we have been spending a lot on detergent.  (Monday is Laundry Day here...not sure what day yours is...everyday? Twice a month? Whatever.) The kicker is that both The Hulk and Mr. Incredible have sensitive skin, so I can't use anything except Tide Free & Gentle.  Awesome. So I just kept hunting for coupons and going about my business.  But, when I saw this recipe, I decided to try it. There is Borax, Fels-Naptha, and Washing Soda in it which are not necessarily known for their sensitive skin attributes, BUT there are no added perfumes and you use a ton of water, so I got to work.

 A couple of things to note:
1. You have to melt the grated soap flakes in hot water on the stove.  Please keep an eye on it. Faster than you think, it will start bubbling and may, perhaps, boil over sending suds pouring all over your stove.  This COULD happen to you. Though it would force you to clean your burners, it could also cause you to bobble your wine and say several swear words. IT COULD.
2. This recipe calls for A LOT of water. Use a good sized bucket and do not attempt to use your tiny kitchen funnel to pour the finished product into the bottles. It won't work and you will have a big ol' mess.
3. This batch made 187 oz. of detergent.  Good thing I had an extra bottle laying around from when I forgot the recycling.
(Please do not look at the dirty grout in my is literally the bane of my cleaning existence much like my glass shower doors.)

Verdict? I would totally do this again.  It took me about 15 minutes to make the stuff.  I poured it into the bottles, let it gel up overnight, and started doing laundry in the morning.  Some people have said that their whites are not as white with this stuff, but mine are fine.  The "fragrance" is minimal, in fact, I was considering adding some lemon essential oil to the next batch.

You want the math? Of course you do!
Fels-Naptha soap: 99 cents at Wal-Mart (only use 1/3 per batch)
Washing Soda: $2.99 (used 1/2 cup which is 1/14th of the box)
Borax: $4.49 (used 1/2 cup which is 1/19th of the box)

Total cost for this batch: 78 cents.

Yes, you read that correctly...78 FREAKIN' CENTS! To give you some perspective, I would have spent $26.50 on a comparable amount of Tide Free and Gentle. (75 oz bottle for HE machines)

I took my savings and cackled joyfully as I bought myself two bottles of my favorite Sav Blanc. (It was on day just got better and better!)


  1. I'll pay you a dollar for one of those bottles ;)

  2. How is this working with their skin? I haven't made any homemade detergent yet because I was worried about that.

  3. I have used this same formula and agree that the whites aren't as white as normal detergent and I also agree that it doesn't make a huge difference to me. The clothes are clean. However, I have found that if you add 1/4 cup or so of hydrogen peroxide, the whites are whiter. Hydrogen peroxide is safe on colored loads, too (check ingredients of "color safe bleach" and you'll see it's mostly peroxide).

  4. How much of the laundry detergent do you add to your wash?


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