Friday, April 15, 2016

A Win Win Idea: Make Your Own Liquid Laundry Detergent

It is so easy to make your own laundry detergent and you will save hundreds of dollars, plus it helps the environment.  A win, win, win situation!  Before we get to the tutorial, I need to get on my soap box for a minute.

Earth Day is a few days away and I've got good news and bad news. First the bad. Our oceans are suffering and it's our fault. 

"Over the last decade humans have thrown away far more plastic than previous years. Scientists support the idea that reducing the amount of plastic that is used in everyday items will help reduce the problem." Kristen Silven  

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the central North Pacific Ocean and is larger than the state of Texas. There are also garbage patches in the Indian and Atlantic ocean. The patches are defined as containing a higher amount of plastic as compared to surrounding oceans. To date, five patches in total have been discovered. Rubbish soup?!

And for my sushi loving friends.

Scientist found that plastics break down in the ocean much faster than we previously thought. That's good news right? Nope. Plastic contains toxins and are not biodegradable. They brake up into tiny toxic pieces that are consumed by fish, sea mammals and birds, thus entering the food chain. Sorry, my sushi loving friends. Read more about it here: Plastics In the Ocean Affecting Human Health.

So enough gloom and doom! I am here to help you save lots of money AND help save the oceans, one plastic container at a time! I've been making my own laundry detergent for years now and came up with a way that is fast and easy, works great in my (front load) washer, and does a great job cleaning my clothes. I've also realized that in doing so, I've stopped buying dozens of plastic containers of Tide. Lots of people ask me how I make it, so I though I'd put together a short tutorial.  

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent 
Yield: 1.5 gallons
Cost:  $3.06


1 cup Borax

1 cup Washing Soda

1/2 bar Dr. Bronner's Bar Soap (I use lavender scented)


Large Pot

Storage Jars


Step 1
Fill a large pot with 1 and a half gallons of water and turn on the burner to medium/high. Tip: save a gallon jug for measuring.

Step 2
Add 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda and stir.  

Step 3
Grate 1/2 bar of Dr. Bronners Soap.  This is the hardest part.  I use my Pampered Chef cheese grater and it makes it super easier.  Add it to the pot and stir.

This is how it looks before it starts to simmer.

Step 4
The trick to making this detergent is to bring the solution to a simmer and stir occasionally until the grated soap is completely dissolved. This helps to break down the bar soap and makes it dissolve better in the washer. As it cools, it becomes more gel-like. It should look clear while it's hot, like this picture.

Turn the burner off and let the solution cool.  

Step 5
Using a small pitcher or measuring bowl with a spout, scoop out the detergent and put into containers.  A funnel helps for narrow mouth jars. I use glass jars that are easy to pour that I purchased at TJ Maxx for $1.99 each and put the excess in large, wide mouth mason jars.  You can also recycle a couple of gallon jugs or detergent containers.  

Note: As the detergent cools, it has a gel-like consistency and becomes cloudy and separates a bit.  It's important to shake the container before using. 

To use: Shake! Use 1/4 cup per load. 

Stay tuned for my next blog post on how I made the artsy labels.

Cost Comparison 
note: 128 oz. = 1 gallon, 8 oz = 1 cup

Borax 76 oz.                              $4.21     
Washing Soda  55 oz                $3.97     
4 bars Dr. Bronner's Bar Soap  $16.16    (1 bar of soap costs $4.04)             

Total, 1,320 fluid oz.                $24.34  
Tide, 100 fluid oz.:                   $10.77   

I can make 1,320 ozs. (over 10 gallons!) of homemade detergent for $24.34  If I bought 1,320 ozs of Tide, it would cost me $142.16.  (1.320 ÷ 100 = 13.2 x $10.77) 

That is a savings of $142.16 - 24.34 = $117.82

Since I make this detergent in 1.5 gallon batches, I will break it down per batch.

Homemade per 1.5 gallons:

Cost per cup = $0.56
Cost per cup = $0.46
1/2 bar          = $2.02

Total             = $3.04 

Tide per 1.5 gallons = $16.16 

That is a savings of $13.12!

Other benefits:

  • Less musty smell in front load washers. I don't know why, but it is true!
  • Customize the scent. Dr. Bronners soap comes in lavender, citrus, peppermint, almond and unscented.  I use lavender because it has a fresh scent that even the men in my family are okay with. You can even get more creative and add essential oils to the detergent. Try peppermint soap with eucalyptus oil.  
  • Say goodbye to unexplained rashes and the doctor bills that go with them!
  • Since the homemade detergent is very concentrated, use only 1/4 cup of detergent per load. I'm not sure how much Tide I used per load, but it's either the same or more. So chances are, you will save even more money!
  • Save more money and use a cheaper bar soap. Zote costs under $2.00 per bar! (I use Dr. Bronners because I know that is won't make me break out!) 
  • Your kitchen will smell heavenly!
Thanks for visiting! Now, go make some homemade detergent!


See Kathy's art work on Pinterest:

More links:

National Geographic News

Plastics In the Ocean Affecting Human Health

Fortune Magazine Report: Plastic pollution in the ocean are reaching crisis levels 

10 Ways to Reduce Plastics

No comments:

Post a Comment