Monday, August 15, 2011

Mile High Momday: DIY Laundry Detergent

I'm starting up a new weekly feature called Mile High Momday.  Every Monday I'll post about a DIY project, a money saving tip, recipes, crafts, activities for kids or really anything I'm loving at the moment that I think you might love too. 

I'm starting off my very first Momday with a recipe for making your own laundry detergent.  I'm in no way a laundry snob.  I'm not picky at all about my detergent.  As long as it gets the clothes clean and they smell good (or at least don't smell bad) I'm game.  What I am a snob about is paying an arm and a leg for detergent each month.  The average cost per load for name brand laundry detergent is about 20 cents (and higher).  With this recipe, the average cost per load is about 1 cent.  ONE PENNY!  Yes, please!  The other great thing about this recipe is how fast and easy it is.  You only need three ingredients, a couple household items and about five minutes.

What you'll need:
*1 bar laundry soap like Fels Naptha, Zote or Ivory (I've read that you can use a variety of soaps not listed above as well)
*1 Cup Borax - found in the laundry aisle
*1 Cup Washing Soda  (Note:  This is washing soda, NOT baking soda.  I found it in the laundry aisle at my grocery store)

First you grate or shave the bar of soap.  My food processor has this neat grater built right in, so that made it even easier.  You can just use a hand grater too.   
Put the grated soap in a food processor along with the Borax and Washing Soda and blend until it's a powdery detergent.  
That's it!  You only need to use 1 Tablespoon for average loads, but you can use 2 if your laundry is especially soiled.  I doubled the recipe and it fit perfectly into this glass container.  
Okay, I know what you are thinking.  That's great Michele, but does it work?  Well, I just made this for the first time last night, and have only done one load of laundry, but from what I've seen (and read on numerous other websites) yes.  It totally works.  I did a big load of whites last night and it got our clothes just as clean as the name brand detergent I have been using.  Although the Zote soap has a kind of lemony smell to it, I didn't think the clothes had any smell at all when I took them out of the dryer.  (And as I mentioned in my Steam and Sweep post, no smell = truly clean) I even gave underwear, socks and shirt armpits a sniff and didn't smell anything.  I also used my name brand fabric softener in the washer still, so I don't know how that effected it.  But I promise you, if I end up not liking this home made detergent after using it for a while, or think it doesn't clean as well as it should, I'll tell you.

What about a High Efficiency washer?  We do have an HE front loader and were told we HAD to use special HE detergent in it.  From what I understand, the reason behind it is suds.  HE washers can't have detergents that suds up a lot, which makes this home made detergent even better.  It is low suds.  For those of you with regular washing machines, don't be fooled by the fact that this detergent doesn't suds up.  It can still clean your clothes without the suds. 

Let me know if you decide to try this at home and what you think of the results!

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