Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Which I Play Ma Ingalls

Like just about every person out there that does laundry, I hate how much I spend on laundry detergent.  I hated it more when we bought a high efficiency washer and had to pay more for the special detergent.  Even buying in bulk at Costco (with coupons!) was still expensive.  Considering how much laundry I do, I was annoyed at this.

People, I do a lot of laundry.

Two or three months ago I ran across a recipe for making your own detergent and all reports were that it worked well and left your laundry smelling clean and fresh.  I was hooked, I had to try it.  Unfortunately, I had a vat of Tide to get through before I could try it.

I finally got to do so this week.  So, first, the recipe.  Here's what you need:

1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap, finely grated (the whole bar)
1 cup Super Washing Soda (this is not baking soda)
1 cup Borax

Thoroughly mix together all ingredients in a container.  Use 1 tablespoon for a regular size load, 2 tablespoons for a large/heavily soiled load.

It's safe for high efficiency washers because it doesn't produce a lot of suds.  One batch of detergent will last for months because of how little you use per load.  When you consider that I spent around $10 for all the ingredients and that the box of borax and the box of washing soda were fairly large and will last me through several more rounds of soap making, this beats Tide hands down.  Also, I switched to dryer sheets instead of liquid fabric softener and the combination of cheap homemade soap and cheap dryer sheets has cut my laundry budget down by two-thirds.

Even better, I did my first load of laundry with it and I couldn't be happier - the clothes are clean and smell lovely and fresh.

Give it a try - see what you think!

UPDATE: (11/29/10) I've been using the soap for about a month now.  I'm just about to run out of the first batch I made - I think I ran out faster that most folks because, no lie, I do 7 loads of laundry a week on average.  So, I got something around 30 loads of laundry out of the batch of soap and I was using the larger measurement on several occasions.  Anyway, it's working pretty well and I'm going to stick with it.  I have found that I do have to be more careful about pre-treating the kids clothes for any stains they have than I have done in the past (I used to be religious about it and then I got to a point where I just threw things in the washer with no pretreatment).  But a little bit of extra work is worth the money I'm saving.


  1. Oooh, Cari, I'm a little late to the party, but I am totally bookmarking this post. :) I feel like I spend a crap ton on laundry stuff.

  2. I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and I am really happy with it!