Thursday, March 3, 2011

March 3, 2011: Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

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Have you seen the price of laundry detergent in the grocery store? Yikes! You’ll pay over $10 for a large size box or bottle and if you’ve got a medium- or large-sized family, that’s not likely to last very long. Think about it – your kids will be playing baseball soon and you’re bound to have lots of grass-stained uniforms to wash!

I use the following recipe to make my own laundry soap and because it’s so concentrated, it lasts for months! Another advantage of this recipe is that it doesn’t have any added dyes or perfumes so it’s perfect for washing baby clothes. And honestly? It works just as good, if not better, than most commercial formulas.

You can easily find the ingredients in most hardware stores, like Ace or True Value; some grocery stores also carry these ingredients. And if you live in a rural location and prefer the convenience of ordering by mail, you can call Arm & Hammer at 1-800-524-1328 and give them the UPC code 33200-03020 to find out where washing soda is sold in your area, or have it delivered to your home. I called them about two years ago and they had a great deal where you could buy two and get one free, which made up for the cost of shipping – plus I didn’t have to pay sales tax.

Homemade Laundry Soap

1 bar Fels Naptha, Ivory, or Zote soap (Fels Naptha preferred)
1 c. borax
1 c. washing soda
9 c. water
Few drops tea tree oil (for disinfectant purposes) or other essential oil (for fragrance), optional

Take a large stock pot and grate the soap, using a fine cheese grater, into the pot. Add the borax and washing soda and mix well. Slowly add the water, stirring continually. Heat slowly to boiling over medium heat, continuing to stir occasionally until all the soap and powders are dissolved.

When cool, pour into one large or several small containers (when you use up your current jug of laundry detergent, just rinse it out and use that). The longer the soap sits, the thicker it will get.

Per load of laundry, use one to two tablespoons of soap.

Tips: This soap works best with warm or hot water in your washing machine during cold weather. It tends to get very thick in cold temperatures so set the container out near a heater to warm up before using in the winter.

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