December 15, 2011

Let's Talk Laundry

I will admit that the first time I heard of making your own laundry soap, I cringed a little. I am particular about my laundry soap. It must clean extremely well and it also has to smell good. Gain Apple Mango Tango has been my detergent of choice for the last 4-5 years. I love the way it cleans and the smell is AMAZING! It met my every requirement with the exception of the price tag. We usually buy the size that says it contains 48 loads for $10.97 (Wal-Mart price). Now, one might think that $10.97 is not that expensive but let’s add in fabric softener. I liked the coordinating Gain Fabric Softener for $4.47 for 52 loads. Both lasted us around 3 months so the approximate cost per year is $60-65. You might not think that’s too bad but I could use all the extra money I can get (gotta pay for my craft addiction somehow). 



So when I discovered the price of homemade laundry detergent, I couldn’t NOT try it. It is INSANELY cheap! Try approximately $28…A YEAR! That’s based on 6 loads of laundry a week (It’s just me and Mr. Awesome at home so we normally only do around 4 which means this will last around 18 months!How is that not the best news you have heard all day...maybe even all week. Trust me, Mr. Awesome was beyond excited and totally on board when he found out the price.


Once it was decided that I would give this a go, it was a must for me to do some research. I looked up a ton of recipes. I tried a small batch of one, wasn’t as impressed as I had hoped so I went back and did more research and even more after that until I finally settled on the recipe that I thought would be best. I mentioned it to Courtney and she decided to give it a try also so we went to Wal-Mart to buy our supplies and then headed over to my house to make us some soap.


Alright, are you ready for the recipe?

You will need

1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax- Found in the detergent aisle

1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the detergent aisle

1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean- Found in the detergent aisle. (This is optional but I recommend adding it)

2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap- Found in the detergent aisle (we chose to do pink for the scent but the white would be just fine. You can also use Fels Naptha)

2 (2 lb) Boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda- Found in the cooking aisle (You could also get 1 4 lb box, we just couldn’t find it when we went)

1-2 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener- Found in the detergent aisle (This is 100% optional. Like I said, my laundry detergent must smell good and I really like soft towels)

This is such an easy recipe. The hardest part is grating the soap so let’s get that out of the way. We used just a regular cheese grater and grated into a large mixing bowl. I have read that some people use food processors and have good luck. Just for kicks, we attempted it in the blender…it does not work. I’m hoping to have a food processor before I have to make my next batch. The soap does seem to dissolve just fine, even in cold water. Now the hard part is over.
We used a large bucket that we got from my Father-in-law (Courtney’s Dad…did you know we are sister-in-laws?) All that is left is to mix everything together. We took a layering approach to the mixing. We put in a little of everything, mixed it up, then put in some more, mixed it up, then added the rest and mixed it up really well.


Now, you can either keep it in the bucket and dish it out from that each time you do a load, or you can refill a smaller container. I opted for the smaller container and in a stroke of geniusness, we discovered that the Purex Bottles were 1.) The perfect size and 2.) The caps that come on the bottles have measuring lines and the middle line is just the perfect amount (you want to use 1-2 Tablespoons per load depending on size…I usually always opt for 2 though)
That’s all there is to it. Pretty easy right? We thought so.

I thought that it would be a good idea to get some opinions and do some reviews so I have given some samples to some people and will post their reviews as they come in. I would also LOVE to hear from you and get your reviews on it. You can email us at ourdiydiaries@gmail.com (and I’ll publish some of them) or you can leave your review in the comments section.


I’ll (Jen) start…I LOVE THIS STUFF! I think it cleans well and I really like the addition of the Purex Fabric softener. I did decide to add a second bottle to my batch for extra softness and smell though and would recommend it to those who want a stronger scent. Minus the Fabric softener, it is extremely mild in scent. It did take a little while to get used to the fact that it doesn’t suds (I kept thinking that I didn’t add enough, but trust me, you did) It just isn’t a sudsy soap. It works so well though and Mr. Awesome thinks so as well. We will definitely be using this from now on!


Courtney: So far so good. Besides the time consuming of the cutting the cheese, I mean soap, it was easy to make. I have never been a high quality type of girl so it not being a brand name doesn’t bug me at all. I was worried about the hub’s sensitive nose, but he has no problems with it. I am so surprised by how much is needed. I often find myself having to pour some back in the container.


Marla (Jen's awesome Mom): I used it on a couple batches of laundry and it seems to clean very well and it didn't have a perfumey smell that would bother my sensitive nose. So far so good! I will continue to use it. 

We would love to hear from you! Tell us if you give this recipe a try and how you like it or let us know if you have a different favorite recipe. 

33 comments:

  1. Sounds fabulous! I like using BIZ as my extra strength whitener, so I think I would sub that for the oxy-clean in mine. May give this a try!

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  2. You should totally try it! If you change out the Oxy for BIZ, let us know how it works!

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  3. I make a 'slime' detergent and LOOOOVVVVEEE it. The ingredients are the same, you just melt the soap shavings in boiling water and then dissolve all of the ingredients in a bucket of water. It comes out like white slime; I use Ivory soap as my bar soap. I think it gets my clothes cleaner than store bought detergent.

    The other 'new' thing I have found is using white vinegar as fabric softener. You just add the same amount you would use of the fabric softener to a Downy Ball and it rinses your clothes CLEAN.

    I have been craving the nice clean scent that you get from using store bought softener. So, I bought some essential oils from Whole Foods...way expensive. So, if anyone has any ideas of how to add a fragrance to my wash w/o chemicals and expense I am all ears.

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  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE this "recipe". I put it all toghether on Friday and have not stopped doing laundry since. I love that you only have to use a little bit to get good smelling clean clothes.

    I will have a link to your blog and ditty on my blog tomorrow (Monday, Feb 6), www.c-hampe.blogspot.com

    Thank you for sharing!!!

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  5. My total for about 17 lbs of detergent ended up being $29.77 before tax. I used Downy Unstoppables (scent pellets) instead of Purex softener beads. The Downy pellets were $5 (after a $2 coupon), and the OxyClean was $7.50. Those two ingredients drove the price up a little in my opinion. If the detergent lasts 6 months, I'll be satisfied at approx. $5 for laundry detergent per month. I have washed several loads, the scent is pleasant, and it removed set-in stains from my husbands work clothes. The next time I make this, I'll skip the scented Downy beads, and rely on my liquid fabric softener for the scent. Also, I needed to cover my face with a bandana and open the window while I was mixing all of the powdered ingredients (very choke-y!).

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  6. Oh I love comments and reviews!

    Camie, I have tried the white vinegar as a fabric softener before. It does a good job, I just happen to be a sucker for good smelling things hehe.

    Carrie, I'm so glad you love it! We love it also! Thanks so much for sharing it on your blog!

    Julie, I'm not sure why your came out to be more expensive than ours. Ours came in around $27.66 if I remember right. I know it was $27 something. Maybe different stores price differently? Did you decide on using the Downy Unstoppables because the price was cheaper than Purex or was there a different reason? I'm not sure how much our detergent weighed but it certainly made a ton. I've barely put a dent in the bucket and I've given out at least 75 loads to friends and family as well as done about 45 on my own. I calculated it to last us around 18 months based on our typical 4 loads a week. It does have a pretty strong smell while mixing and I could see opening a window being a good idea. I just tried to not stick my face in the bucket.

    Thanks for taking the time to try the soap, comment and review everyone! We really appreciate it!

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  7. I just chose the Downy Unstoppables because I prefer to keep the softener separate. I think next time I'll buy the "Sun" brand oxyclean and leave out the Unstoppables. I hope mine lasts as long as yours! I'm still in the experimental stage of how much to use. I filled the empty OxyClean carton with some detergent and use the scoop that was included. I have an HE machine and softened water.

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  8. Hi! I can't wait to try your recipe. For a while I was making my own, but like you, I want my laundry to smell good. Super excited to start making it again. I would love for you to share your DIY projects at my Fabulous Friday link parties each week. If you can make it, I would love to see you there! Hope the rest of your week is excellent and Happy Valentines Day!

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  9. I was so excited to find this recipe after trying the icky "slime" stuff once before. I ran out and found everything in my local walmart marketplace (a smaller groceries only walmart). Everything totaled about $23. Zote was $0.97 a bar!! Yay! I used two smaller bottles of the purex crystals in the "blue fragrance" and the pink Zote. Then I started doing laundry. I haven't stopped yet! I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS STUFF! It works great and smells wonderful. I have a regular washer (not HE) and was concerned about it dissolving. I ran the water a little, add the soap, gave it a little swish and then added the clothes. It dissolves just fine. Second time around I didn't even swish. I did add some downy I had left to one load. It wasn't necessary but you can add it if you like. I cannot thank you enough for this recipe! Blessings~Molly

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  10. I am excited about trying this. Has anyone with super sensitive skin tried using this?

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  11. I live in the middle of nowhere in Idaho. There is no place nearby that carries the washing soda. I thought about ordering it online, but the boxes are heavy and shipping costs are crazy. We have a Walmart nearby (about an hour drive away), but they don't carry it here. Wish they did. This sounds like something I can use.

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  12. walmart carries the washing soda

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  13. The Purex crystals I get don't say fabric softener. The say fabric enhancer (for smell only) so I still have to buy softener I think I'm gonna try vinegar....

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    1. Check our the blog onegoodthingbyjillee.com She has a recipe for Fabric Softener Crystals that are comparable to Purex Crystals. (I read the label in the store for Purex and it is mostly salt!) According to her it works as fabric softener. Really a good blog!

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  14. I found zote soap flakes at Walmart last night. They were a few cents more but NO GRATING. Love this recipe this will be my secound time to make it. THank you

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  15. I went to walmart today. It cost me $27.18. I can't wait to try it.

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  16. Vinegar is a great fabric softener.

    I am so going to be on the hunt for Zote Flakes next time! That is awesome.


    Yay! I can't wait for you to try it either. Make sure to come tell us how you like it!

    Thanks for all the comment love!

    Jen

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  17. I just made this last night and I must say I am super stoked!! I am impressed at how easy it was to make and how cheap all the ingredients were!! (I think my complete total was around $35, only because I bought totes to store the detergent in!) Since I just recently graduated from college, I have to start paying back my student loans, so I am super excited when I can save money any which way I can :) I was just wondering, do you have to use a specific water temperature since it's a dry detergent? Do you have to use hot? Or can you use cold? Thank you for sharing this marvelous recipe!! :)

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  18. I made this yesterday and I am in love! I washed some whites in cold and they haven't been this white since they were new! I also washed our sheets in it and they came out white and soft! Thanks so much for posting this! This should last us over a year since there is only 3 of us in the household. Goodbye Tide!

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  19. I just got everything to try this recipe, and I am so excited! I can't find the Zote soap here in Ohio, but I did find the Fels Naptha. However, the it is in 5 ounce bars as opposed to the 14 ounces of the Zote. Do I stil just use two bars of it, or do I need to try to get closer to the 28 ounces you use with the Zote? Thanks!

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  21. Tiffany, I ran into the same problem!! I actually used 5 bars of the Fels Naptha (should be 6 to get to the right # of ounces but I held back on grating that last bar), not sure if it's right but its a laundry booster so I wouldn't think it would hurt!!

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    1. I am wondering the same about the amount of Fels Naptha. In my first batch I think I stopped after grating just 3 bars. I thought the smell of the Fels Naptha was too overwhelming. My batch cleans very well, so I am wondering what the proper substitute is for the zote soap? A 14.1oz bar of soap seems huge, is this really the correct amount?

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  22. I'm thinking of trying your recipe and adding TSP. Apparently that is the magic bullet that is no longer used in commercial products. Maybe your homemade recipe plus TSP will be not only superior, but far superior to other laundry soaps?
    You might enjoy the information here;

    http://mises.org/daily/5267/Why-Everything-Is-Dirtier

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  23. I was wondering if you have tried the Sun brand of Oxyclean.

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  25. Do you know if this works in a HE washer?

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  26. Has anyone used this recipe have people with sensitive skin? I want to make this recipe but my hubby breaks out with almost every laundry detergent we have used. My kids have eczema so he don't want to spend the money and make the recipe and not be able to use it... he wanted me to ask if no one has an answer to this question is there a way to cut the recipe and make a smaller batch to give it a test run?

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    1. My 5 month old has Eczema and it hasn't made his skin any worse. I even found baby friendly fabric crystals. Hope that helps

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  27. I use LA's totally Awesome Oxygen from Dollar General, $1 isle, it has a nice sent.

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  28. Hi, I love this recipe but I was wondering if you can use something else for the borax? Thanks!

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  29. I made this for the first time on Saturday. I only made 1/2 a batch to see if I liked it. (Plus, I had just a partial box of washing soda, borax and baking soda. I didn't want to go buy more since I already had them.) I used it for the first time today. So far I love it, and I was very surprised by how well just a little amount cleaned so well! I really scrutinized and looked at my clothes too! I figure I spent $18.93 for making a half a batch. What drove up the price was the Downy Unstoppables (I used one and half cans), without them it would been $11.43. I put a date on the canister that I stored the detergent in and I will see how long this lasts me. I do about 8-10 loads a week for my family of 4.

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