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Monday, September 19, 2011

Homemade Detergents

I've been intrigued by detergent recipes for the past year (both laundry and dishwasher), but they just intimidated me so much that I never had the nerve to try them.

And then we ran out of money.

Yes, that's my inner drama queen speaking since we're not really out of money (per se), but babies and toddlers (and husbands for that matter) create a lot of laundry and dirty dishes. The store-bought stuff is just plain expensive, so I just sucked up my fear and decided to try to make my own laundry soap and dish detergent.

Go big or go home, right?

I picked a couple tutorials from Pinterest and sent Matt to Walmart for supplies. Just for the record, I hate Walmart.

All of the needed supplies for both detergents totaled $14.85, and we hardly put a dent in most of it! (All we'll need to buy again when we run out of detergent is the Fels Naptha soap for the laundry and the citric acid for the dishes.)

This isn't an official tutorial, but I figured I could at least list the instructions on here so you don't have to go back to their original sources.

Avery is at the age that she wants her hands in everything I'm doing, so of course she had to help! It took us about an hour to make both detergents with her help, but she had a blast!

(Matt called while we were grating, and she was so into helping that she wouldn't even stop what she was doing to talk on the phone. She's already a little multi-tasker.)

I used this blog tutorial, and it was so easy. I'm a little annoyed with how intimidated I was because it was a piece of cake. If you click on the link, you can take a look at her step-by-step pictures, but sometimes it's just easier to see it all written together.

You'll Need:
1 bar Fels-Naptha bar soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup Baking Soda
1. Finely grate the entire Fels-Naptha bar soap.  I grated mine first using a hand grater, then put it in a food processor to finish it off. I didn't grate it as finely as I should've, so make sure you keep it in your processor for long enough.
2. Add 1 cup Borax.
3. Add 1 cup washing soda.
4. Add 1/4 cup baking soda.
5. Stir well.
6. Place in an airtight container.  Use 2 tablespoons per regular load of laundry.

See how easy that was?!? We've been using our new laundry soap for a couple weeks now, and our clothes look and smell so clean! I really can't tell a difference from the store bought stuff.


The tutorial I used for this one was really simple, too.

You'll Need:
1 cup Borax
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup citric acid*

*Theoretically you can find straight up citric acid in the vitamin section of your store, but Matt said he couldn't find any at Walmart. Stupid Walmart. So as a substitution, you can use either "Fresh Fruit" from the canning aisle or 15 packets of lemon Kool-aid. We used store brand Kool-aid packets.

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Place in an airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon per load.
3. We've also been putting white vinegar in the rinse aid holder of the dishwasher.

We've actually been looking at new dishwashers for awhile now because our dishes just hadn't been coming out clean for the past year. Matt tried all sorts of dishwasher cleaning tricks, and I tried multiple brands and types of detergent, but nothing helped so we assumed our dishwasher was just crappy. The first load we ran with this stuff turned out spotless. So did the second and third and fourth, and well, you get it. I highly recommend giving it a try. It doesn't look like it makes all the much, but when you only use a tablespoon per load, this stuff will last you forever.

And there you have it, folks! It's gotta be the easiest way I know of to save a few bucks around the house, AND you'll know exactly what's going on your dishes and clothes. Try it!


Kati said...

I am SO gonna try this! We started using the gel packs when the liquid wasn't cutting it but those are $$! Thanks for the easy directions :>

April said...

Okay - off to make laundry detergent!