I am a frugal person by nature. And I have been a die-hard Dave Ramsey follower for 3.5 years now. These two facts, in combination with my perception that my family of three produces a ridiculous amount of dirty laundry, led me to jump on the homemade laundry detergent bandwagon just over a year ago. Supposedly it's cheaper and better.
Well, guess what. That's true! We LOVE our homemade detergent. I just can't imagine having to use the store bought stuff ever again.
I have been using this recipe. It offers some choices, so I'm going to go ahead and tell you how I do it. Here's what you'll need:
- 5-gallon bucket, or a container of a similar size [note: it doesn't make five gallons... probably three]
- cheese grater
- 4 lb 12 oz box of Borax
- 3 lb 7 ox box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- 3 lb container of OxiClean
- 28.2 oz of Zote Soap (Fels Naptha is an acceptable substitute) [note: different scents are available]
- 4 lb box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
- 56 oz of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener [note: different scents are available]
Here are my ingredients. They're all found on the laundry aisle of a grocery store.
The hardest part of this little project is grating the soap. Once that part is over, it's smooth, money-saving sailing. Simply put a small portion of each ingredient into the bucket and mix it all up. Repeat until it's all in the bucket.
Being that we're in the middle of a home renovation, we recently had to mix up some floor leveler in a bucket. Chasen bought a "mud mixer" that fits onto the end of a regular hand drill (see below). I suggested we use that for the detergent and it was much easier.
Even if you only use this for detergent, it's worth it to purchase one.
Once it's all mixed up, using a mud mixer or a large spoon, you'll need a small funnel of sorts to put the detergent into the fabric softener containers for easy day-to-day use.
We use an oil funnel that can be found, for free, at most gas stations.
The black line on the inside of the fabric softener lid denotes 2 tablespoons. That's all each load requires! Isn't that amazing? We think so. One bucket lasts us between 5-7 months. The ingredients (not counting the bucket, grater, etc.) cost me $32.85 last time. So that's approximately $5-$7 per month. That's a huge savings for us, especially since I seem to be constantly washing sweaty running clothes.
We truly love how well this works AND smells. The two ingredients that determine the scent, as indicated above, are the fabric softener and the bars of soap. The fabric softener comes in three or four choices, and the soap comes in two or three. I don't think you can go wrong with any combination.
Happy Laundry Day!