Monday, July 29, 2013

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Ok, so I know that there are TONS of recipes/tutorials all over the internet for making homemade laundry detergent, but I thought I'd share my own experience with making some.

You may be wondering why someone would want to make their own laundry detergent.  One of the main reasons is cost.  It cost me around $10 for the ingredients and the bucket to make this and I only used a small portion of the borax and washing soda.  The only thing I have to buy for another batch is the soap.  I have been using this for a few weeks and have even given some away and still have a lot left, so it is definitely cheaper than store bought.  Another reason is that you know what is in your detergent.  You can choose what soap you use and make this detergent completely natural or even scented the way you like.  Some people even add essential oils to their detergent. 



I have made laundry detergent in the past, and it didn't go so well, but I decided to try again.  Thank goodness I did cause it worked out sooooo much better this time!  The first time I made powdered detergent.  Grating the soap was the worst part, and then the soap never fully dissolved in the wash.  Needless to say I was less than happy with the results.

After that Mama gave me her old food processor, I read that they are better than grating the soap.  I ended up not even using it, or the grater, because I made liquid detergent this time which was way better.

Here's what I used:
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Soda
1 bar of soap (I used Fels Naptha)
knife
5 gal bucket
pot/sauce pan
metal spoon
long handled spoon
hand mixer (optional)
mask (optional)

I want to start off by saying that I have asthma and terrible sinuses.  I am very sensitive to smells, so I chose to wear a mask.  I've never seen this issue mentioned on other blogs, so it must not be an issue for most people, but for me, I knew within minutes of putting this soap on the stove that I needed a mask.  Thank the good Lord I happened to have some.  If you tend to have the same sensitivity you might want to wear a mask as well.

First, I started off by cutting up my soap.  I know every tutorial out there says to grate your soap, but that's a pain.  We're gonna dissolve this soap on the stove, so it doesn't have to be grated, just small.  Here's what mine looked like after cutting it up.  It was MUCH quicker than grating.

Next, I filled the 5 gal bucket about a third of the way full with hot water and set it aside.  That way it was ready when I was done dissolving the soap.  Then, I filled my pot about 3/4 full with hot water and added in my soap.  I put it on the stove on med to med-high and slowly brought it to a boil.  I wanted the soap good and dissolved but I didn't want a huge mess either so I went slow to avoid a boil over.  I don't know if there was really a risk of that, but I've never boiled soap before so I didn't want to take any chances!  I also stirred it almost constantly with a metal spoon.  I wouldn't use wood unless you're going to use it just for soap.  They are so porous I figured it would absorb a lot of soap so I used a large metal spoon.

 After you bring it to a boil and all the soap has dissolved, pour the soapy water into the bucket.


Next, add in your cup of borax and your cup of washing soda.  Using a long handled spoon, stir all of this together really well so that everything is dissolved and blended together.


Then, fill your bucket the rest of the way full with water.  I have read to fill it with hot water, but I used cold.  I wanted to speed up the next step, but you have to really stir everything good before you add in cold water or the borax and washing soda will not dissolve completely.  It really didn't speed up things by using cold water anyway though, so it's probably best to just go ahead and use hot water.


The next step is to wait. (Now you see why I wanted to speed it up!) Put the lid on your bucket and let it sit till the next day.

I have no more pictures past this point.  Becca-Lynn took all the pics while I was making the soap, but by the next day she had lost interest and I don't have 3 hands so, you'll just have to take my word on how the next part works. :)

The soap becomes a kind of gel that sits on the top of the water.  You have to break up this gel and mix it back into the water.  Trust me, this is easier said than done.  One of those paddle mixers you put on a drill to mix cement would be perfect here, but I don't even have a drill, so that doesn't help me any.  I ended up breaking up the gel as much as possible with my long handled spoon and then blending the top with my hand mixer.  I had to kind of use the spoon to feed the large clumps of soap into the mixer.  One of those stick blenders would have worked great too, but I don't have one of those either. lol  As bad as this sounds, it really wasn't that bad.  I did get the soap pretty well blended.

After you get that all blended you're done.  You use 1 cup of detergent for a full load of laundry.  Instead of getting the detergent out of the bucket for every wash, I keep a smaller amount on the shelf above my washer in a plastic bottle that had tea in it.  The soap still separates from the water, but I just give the bottle a shake before pouring it.
Here's a picture I just took of the bottle after it has set a while.  You can see how the soap separates and rises to the top.
 Here's after shaking the bottle just a little bit.  It blends together pretty well.


So, you're probably wondering how well it works.  It works great!  Just as good as store bought detergent, which, to be honest, I wasn't expecting.  And, yes, this is safe for HE washers as it has little to no suds.  Don't think because there are no suds that there is something wrong.  It's not supposed to make suds.  I will definitely be making more, but I'm gonna make some changes next time. 

Here's what I want to do different.

I don't like that I have to use a whole cup of detergent per load.  I want to make a batch that is more concentrated. I would love to get it down to 1/4 cup per load.  Just think how long 5 gallons of that would last!

Also, I'd like to use a different soap, one that's all natural, like castile.

And lastly, I'd like to try liquid soap.  I think the blending/mixing step would be easier if I just used a liquid soap to begin with.  This would also eliminate the boiling step and, I imagine, the detergent would be ready right away, no waiting!

When this batch is used up I'll try a new batch with those changes and let y'all know how it works out.  If you have any questions ask in the comments and I'll try to answer them.  Just remember that I'm pretty new to this too!

*UPDATE* I've made a new batch with the changes listed above!  You can check out the new post here.

Thanks for reading and God bless!

Don't mean to scare y'all! Here's a picture Becca-Lynn took of me with my mask.  I obviously didn't plan on making this detergent that day, or I would have put more effort into my appearance since I knew I was gonna blog about it.  Just thought I'd keep it real and share the pic anyway! lol  Big thanks to Becca-Lynn for helping me out by taking the pictures, you did a great job!

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