Tuesday, April 26, 2011

~Homemade Laundry Detergent~

I have no idea why it took me so long 
to start making my own laundry detergent.
  It was extremely easy and really fun. :-)

These are the ingredients you need.
They are not at all hard to find.
In fact they were all on the same shelf at my Wal-Mart!

Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
20 Mule Team Borax
Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap
(You can use other bar soap,
but I really like the smell and color 
of the Fels-Naptha.)

You can make powdered or liquid detergent.
I chose to make the liquid because,
one, it is the best value,
and two, liquid detergent is best for our septic system.

The steps are very simple.
First you grate your bar of soap.
Simmer 4 cups of water on the stove,
add the soap a little at a time 
and stir until it is dissolved.

Pour 3 gallons of warm tap water into a five gallon bucket.
Add your soapy water from the stove.
Then add 1 cup of washing soda
and 1/2 cup of borax.
Stir well until it is all combined.

Put the lid on your bucket and let it sit 
for 24 hours.

And then...
I was so excited to do the first load.
I used one cup of detergent.

It came out great and I thought the towels
smelled very fresh.

But now for the fun details!  Let's talk cost break down.

For this first batch I used 

1 cup of washing soda
1/2 cup of borax
1 bar of soap

and made 52 cups of detergent = 52 loads

In my busy household I wash, on average, 1 to 2 loads of laundry a day, 7 days a week.  That would be between 31 to 62 loads a month.  So I am figuring that this one batch (52 cups/loads) will last me about a month.  Therefore I will probably need to make a batch each month, or 12 batches (624 cups/loads) per year.  How much will this cost?

I will need 12 cups of washing soda for the year.  A box of washing soda contains about 6 cups, so I will need 2 boxes.
I will need 6 cups of borax for the year.  The one box I already bought will be more than enough.
And I will need 12 bars of soap.

Here are the costs:

washing soda $2.77 per box X 2 boxes = $5.54 total
borax $2.98 per box X 1 box = $2.98 total
bar soap $0.97 per bar X 12 bars = $11.64 total

Total cost for a years worth of ingredients (including tax) $21.82

Divide that by 624 loads and you get a cost of 

$0.035 per load

Ok, so how much would I spend for a year's worth of commercial detergent??

I looked up Tide with Bleach at Wal-Mart.

A 100 ounce jug washes 52 loads.  So I would need 12 jugs each year.  

The cost:

Tide with Bleach $11.97 X 12 jugs = $143.64

Total cost for a years worth of detergent (including tax) $155.49

Divide that by 624 loads and you get a cost of 

$0.25 per load

A difference of $0.215 per load or $133.67 per year!  

If that wasn't neat enough,
think of this.
At the end of 12 months
I will have three cardboard containers
and 12 paper wrappers to dispose off -
easily burned with our trash.

Contrast that with adding 12 of these every year to a land fill.

If you are interested in trying this out for yourself, here are three posts that I found very helpful.

This is wonderful step-by-step post that includes a stain fighting comparison of homemade detergent and Tide with Bleach.

You'll have to scroll down a bit to get to the detergent recipe.

Simple directions for homemade powdered detergent.

This is a year's worth of washing soda and borax 
and six months worth of laundry bar soap. :-)

Linked to A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
From the Farm Blog Hop #34

Bible Quiz Day 73

Answer to question 72 - Lazarus (John 11)

Question 73 - In his teaching, Jesus often used simple illustrations called __________.