Saturday, June 9, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

I first saw the idea for this on a nifty little blog I follow called “How Does She?” I pretty much love and want to try all of their ideas. Here is my personal experience with the DIY laundry detergent.

When I first saw the blog post about DIY laundry detergent, I vowed to try it when we ran out of our box of Tide. Why you ask? It’s simple really…I’m cheap. I would rather pay less for laundry detergent -- even if I have to make it myself. 

Alas, the day arrived when I used the last scoop of Tide and realized (gasp) we didn’t have a back up box! Then I remembered my big idea to make my own detergent. I had already purchased the necessary materials (total cost $28), so I gathered them up and began the process. You might be wondering how I saved money if I had to buy all that stuff. Just keep reading and you will see!

DIY Laundry Detergent Ingredients

*Ingredients I Used: 

1 Box Borax (4lb 12oz) 

1 Box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (3lb 7oz)

1 Container OxiClean (3lbs)

2 Bars Fels Naptha Soap

2 Boxes Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (2lbs each) 

1 Bottle Purex Crystals Fabric Softener (55oz)

*I found all the ingredients on the laundry detergent aisle at Walmart except the baking soda. It was in the baking section.

I spent the next 12 minutes grating the Fels Naptha soap which looks so much like cheese that I almost forgot it was soap. This part was definitely not my favorite. Next time I nominate the hubby to do the grating.


After the soap was grated up nicely I realized that I needed something really big so I could mix all my ingredients. A quick search concluded that my only option was the mop bucket, but it worked! I opened all the boxes and grabbed a really sturdy and BIG metal spoon. I added a layer of each of the ingredients and then mixed it up really well. Then I added another layer of each of the ingredients and mixed it up with what I had already mixed up. This process took some time because I wanted to make sure that it was mixed really well. In the end, my mop bucket was almost overflowing, and I had 20 pounds of laundry soap!!!!! I was honestly very shocked by how much this recipe made!

20 Pounds!!! Wow!!!
 From start to finish (clean empty kitchen counter to clean empty kitchen counter) the entire process took 42 minutes. (If you want to be really technical it probably only took 40 minutes because I spent at least two minutes hefting the mop bucket to the scale and gawking at the fact that it weighed 20 pounds!!!)
We have been using this DIY detergent since March 22, 2012, and we have only used about half the batch! I couldn't be more impressed! I must admit that I was skeptical at first, but it really does work, and it smells great! Even the hubby who is a brand-name-only-kind-of-fellow is happy with this new, cheap alternative.  

As for the cost savings here is what you want to know (probably more than you want to know):
A 20oz box of Tide Ultra costs about $5.59 and does 15 loads (cheapest price I could find online). That is a cost of about 37¢ per load of laundry. A batch of the DIY laundry detergent costs about $28 and does about 320 loads (there are 32 tablespoons in one pound of powder, and you need 2 tablespoons per load of laundry). That is a cost of about 9¢  per load of laundry.

So if we were to compare apples to apples it would look like this:
320 loads of Tide Ultra = about $118
320 loads of DIY Laundry Detergent = about $28

Are you inspired to try it yourself? Here are some things you might want to know:

  • Buy a 5 gallon bucket with a lid for storage – remember it makes 20 pounds!!!
  • You must have a really big and really sturdy solid metal spoon for mixing. I feel sure a plastic spoon will break.
  • Mix the ingredients outside to avoid getting detergent “dust” on everything in the kitchen and to avoid getting the detergent “dust” up your nose. It’s not very pleasant. Trust me…I know.  
  • It only takes 2 tablespoons per load of laundry!
  • Don’t be alarmed when you wash your first load of clothes and there are little to no bubbles. The detergent really doesn’t make suds like you expect to see, but it still cleans really well and leaves your clothes smelling great.
  • Save the Purex Crystals container. You can use it as the functional and pretty dispenser for your new detergent. The little dome lid has measuring lines on it, and the first one is about 2 tablespoons! 

    Repurposed Purex Crystals Bottle