Thursday, October 24, 2013

Making Laundry Detergent - Everything You Need to Know, and More!

My sister Kimberlee has taught me a lot of money managing strategies since I got married. I recently decided to try out her homemade laundry detergent recipe since it is so much cheaper than Tide and her family's clothes always look and smell so nice. Good news is that her recipe saves a significant amount of money and was super easy to do. It took me 30 minutes from start to finish, although that does include asking Kimberlee tons of questions and chatting with Melinda. I did take J up on the offer to finish grating the last 1/4 of the second bar of soap, too. And even better news: you will get a great upper body workout from making this soap - exercise while saving money!

76 oz box of Borax
64 oz box of Baking Soda
55 oz box of Super Washing Soda
2 bars of Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar and Stain Remover

Large storage container with lid (my 6 gallon one is way too big)
Large metal kitchen spoon

Grate both bars of soap into your container. I ended up using the smaller holes on my grater since the big holes gave huge curlies of soap. Mix together the grated soap and the contents of all the boxes. I put about half of each box into my container, grated one bar, mixed that together, and then grated the second bar and added the remaining powders. It was a bit difficult for me to reach all the way down to the bottom to mix when all the ingredients were in the container. The final product will look like white powder mixed with little curlies of yellow soap. Use one tablespoon per load of laundry.

Ok, let's talk about cost. I linked to the products on Amazon up in my ingredients list, but they are far more expensive online than they were in my local Walmart.

Here is my price breakdown:
Borax $3.38
Baking Soda $2.24
Super Washing Soda $3.24
Fels Naptha Bars $1.94 (97 cents each)
Total cost: $10.80

I paid $11.97 for my last 100 floz bottle of Tide which advertises as 64 loads, so $0.19 per load. I (under) estimated that my homemade laundry detergent will wash at least 270 loads of laundry, so $0.04 per load. Does 15 cents savings per load does not sound like much? On average, I do 7 loads of laundry a week (no kids, just a very messy husband). By switching from Tide to this homemade recipe, I save about $55 a year by putting in less than an hour of grating and stirring each year. I would much rather spend $55 extra on shoes/clothes/purses than on boring laundry. And the savings will be even better for families who do far more laundry than I do. For example, if you do 12 loads of laundry a week, you will save $93 per year by making your own laundry detergent.

Alright, while I was typing up this post I was also testing out the laundry detergent for myself(multitasking!). I gave it a really hard test, too. My mother's bad (but very sweet) dog just peed on my white bath mat. At least she had good timing with the blog schedule. Anyway, I am washing that bath mat along with a set of darker colored towels. Here is my report on the cleanliness factor of this laundry detergent:

Yay! The mat passed the look and smell test. I could not tell that Princess had taken revenge on it earlier. I am really not interested in testing if Princess can smell it or not, so I do not recommend this detergent as the way to deal with puppies, but it clearly can handle some soiled laundry.

Please don't think that I actually accomplished all this to post by 10 am. I actually did all the work yesterday. If you are reading this before 1 pm, I am probably still in my nightgown.