Laundry Day ... (Making Your Own Laundry Detergent)

I love clothes. I love to mix and match and make all kinds of exciting and fun outfits. My problem is, that I always seem to have tons of washing to do at the end of the week (it appears the more you wear the more you have to wash ... whodda thunk???)  Actually that’s not the real problem.  The problem is … well I hate washing the clothes.  Okay there I said it. And besides, how many have you heard say "oh, yay its wash day"?

Maybe it’s the process of taking the clothes out of the washer, putting them into the dryer to take the dampness out of them and then hanging them to air dry. Who knows?laundry

But there is something I hate more than laundry and that is paying those unbelievable high prices for laundry detergent. Have you priced some of that stuff out lately? 

So … like with everything else I started searching for alternatives, wondering what they used in the good-old-days. And let me tell you I found tons of "homemade" laundry recipes out there. Tons. (that’s a lot by the way.)

After scouring the better part of all of them, I settled on one and decided to try it.  I have to say its a winner!   I am very particular about my clothes! i.e. just letting them damp dry and then hanging them to air dry so they stay crisp and wrinkle free. The ingredients I used were grated soap (I used a 4.5 oz bar of Ivory), Borax and Washing Soda (not baking soda) and a five gallon bucket with lid.  Oh and by the way, I learned the hard way after taking a trip and never leaving the store, that borax is usually found in the cleaning aisle of most grocery stores (Borax 20 Mule Team Detergent Booster, 65 Oz. is what I used) and, washing soda is found in the laundry aisle (I used Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, 55 oz (Pack of 2))

I started the process by grating the bar of Ivory soap, and grating and grating (yes, this does take a while and a little skin off the knuckles if your not careful!) Then I put the grated soap pieces into a sauce pan; covering them with water, and slowly heated them until the soap pieces melted (this will take a while).

Next, I poured the mixture from the sauce pan into the five-gallon bucket and added one cup of washing soda and a half-cup of borax. Then, I filled the bucket up with hot water. I stirred the concoction until everything dissolved and then let it sit for about 24 hours. (This is also a bicep strengthener when you go to move the bucket!)  And viola!  The soap turned to a gel just like the store-bought detergent!  And, whadda ya know?  It worked like it too! 

The only differences I saw between the store-bought detergent and this stuff is there is no flowery standing on a mountain top freshness smell to your clothes after washing. (If you want that you will need to add whatever essential oil suits your fancy – as for me I don’t particularly care to smell like a rose garden, so I opted out for this step), then there's the difference in cost of course and, that it doesn't suds up – but I learned that the detergent manufactures actually put a sudsing agent in their detergent because people think if there are suds it cleans better!  Go figure?!

As for usage, I use about 1/2 cup per load give or take (sometimes I even watered it down a little more when something just needed a little freshening-up). 

Now, don't be surprised if the mixture separates (it usually does after sitting for a while.) If this happens, all you need to do is stir the detergent and it’s good to go! (Remember bicep strengthening - anything we can do to tone up those arms!)

moneyThis is the part I love.  The detergent only costs about $1 or so to make a five-gallon bucket of detergent - which will usually last for about 160 loads (again depending on the size of the loads etc.)  Compared this to my 'other' laundry detergent?   Well you do the maths it’s not my strong suit. 

What what I do know, less is definitely more!  Just sayin'.

- Survivor Jane

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