Monday, July 8, 2013

DIY: Laundry Soap

Being unemployed surprisingly has its perks. One of those is having the time to do the things I've always said I wanted to do. An example is making my own household cleaners. I hate using chemicals to clean for a few reasons. I have a very sensitive nose, so even the smallest amount of bleach can send me running for the Kleenex. Also, we live in a cabin in the woods, and we have well water - anything that gets put into our sinks or toilets or bathtubs or washer basically goes right back into our water supply. The more I can do to reduce the amount of chemicals we are exposed to, the better.

The first DIY cleaner I wanted to make was laundry soap. I normally buy the dye-free, scent-free version of whatever brand is on sale, so I wanted to stick pretty close to that. I put an all-call out on Facebook to my other DIY-ing friends, to see if anyone had made laundry soap and what kind of bar soap they had used.

My friend Marissa, domestic goddess and all-around amazing person, gave me her recipe for powdered laundry soap. It even included a cost breakdown, comparing the homemade version to Tide. In her recipe, she uses OxyClean and Purex Crystals. Since I wanted to stay as close to scent free as possible, I left those two ingredients out. Here's what I used to make the powdered goodness:

  • 38 ounces of Borax (Cost = $1.52)
  • 27.5 ounces of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (Cost = $1.65)
  • 32 ounces of Baking Soda (Cost = $1.28)
  • 2.75 ounces of Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar, grated ($0.50)
(Note: Since this was my first batch of soap, I didn't want to commit to a full recipe, so I halved Marissa's original ingredients. All measurements above are half of the regular size boxes/bar and all were purchased at Wal-Mart.)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Store in a lidded container.

The total cost of a half batch is $4.95. Each load of laundry uses 1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) of the powder. This equals a cost of $0.05 per load. According to Marissa's calculations, the average cost of one load of laundry done using Tide is $0.27 per load. Granted, there are only two people in my house, but I do a LOT of laundry. At a $0.22 per load savings, I think I'll continue to make my own soap.

I've already done about 6 loads using this mixture and I like it. A lot. The clothes smell clean and they look clean, too.

One word of warning: if in your brain, Soap Suds = Clean, you need to know that this mixture does not make any suds. Let me assure you, this is OK. Seriously.

ETA: Marissa wanted me to point out that the original recipe for this soap comes from Give credit where credit is due. :-)

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