Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Update

 **Update**  Since writing this post the detergent has gotten MUCH thicker.  I use a stick blender to blend it in my bucket before pouring it into the smaller bottle.  Then, I just shake it well before using it.  It still works great, in fact I even tried it on my hubby's work clothes and they came clean, so it's passed my test! 
 Here's a pic of how much thicker it has gotten.

Hi!  So I've got some pretty good news!  I finally got around to making a second batch of homemade laundry detergent.  If you haven't read my previous post about making liquid laundry detergent you can read it here.  The last batch of detergent lasted a while and it continued to work great.  I mentioned in my last post that I would like to do a few things differently the next time though.

First of all, I wanted my next batch to be completely natural.  I used Fels Naptha soap in my last batch and since I'm pretty sure it's not all natural I decided to go with Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby Mild this time.  I also decided to go with the liquid soap to avoid having to boil the soap on the stove and hopefully solve some of the separation issues.  The third thing I did was to make the detergent more concentrated.  I figured the more concentrated I make this stuff the less often I have to make it.  So I quadrupled the recipe.  Instead of having to use 1 cup you only have to use 1/4 cup.

All these changes make the detergent more expensive.  It's still cheaper than store bought, however.  I won't bore you with the math, but here is the cost comparison:

1st home made recipe          $0.02 per load
New home made recipe       $0.06 per load
Low end national brand        $0.08 per load
High end national brand        $0.23 per load
Popular natural brand           $0.23 per load

I actually enjoyed figuring that out, but I'm a math dork. lol  So, this new version is a bit more expensive than the first version, but it's all natural, fragrance free, more convenient to make, and will not have to be made as often.  Those changes are worth the extra cost to me, plus it's still $.02 cheaper than the cheapest national brand I could think of.

The Recipe

4 cups liquid castile soap  (the 32 oz bottle of Dr. Bronner's has exactly the amount for this recipe)
4 cups washing soda
4 cups borax
5 gallon bucket
long handled spoon

Makes 5 gallons or 320 loads

1. The first step is to fill your bucket about halfway full with hot water.  My tap water gets very hot so I just used that but you may want to heat some water in the microwave or on the stove to add to your bucket.  It doesn't have to be boiling hot, just enough to dissolve your washing soda and borax.

2. Next, add in your washing soda and borax.  With a long handled spoon, stir until they are dissolved in the water.  This may take a few  minutes.

3. Once the washing soda and borax have fully dissolved add in your liquid soap.

4. Now you need to add more water until you bucket is full.  Do not do this directly from a spigot or hose because that will create suds.  It's best to fill a bowl or pot and slowly pour it into the bucket.  Also, be careful not to over fill the bucket.  You need room at the top so it doesn't spill when you're stirring it.

Stir the whole thing for a few minutes and you are done.  You can use it right away and you can separate it into smaller containers if you wish (I recommend doing this cause it makes it easier to dispense when you need it).

Use 1/4 cup per load, but more can be used for heavily soiled loads.  I'd suggest as much as 1/2 cup but only for very dirty loads.

 Here is what it will look like when it's first finished.


 The Results

I washed three loads of laundry yesterday with this and it all came clean, even Meadow's socks and that's saying something!  I have yet to use it on the hubby's work clothes, though.  That will be the ultimate test.  I'll try to update this post when I see how that goes.

This morning I noticed that the detergent had separated some, but not nearly as bad as the old recipe did. The detergent I put in my small bottle looked like a science experiment.  Pretty cool huh?

All you have to do is shake it up before using it. Here's a comparison of this batch and the last batch.

This is the first batch after it's been shaken up.

 This is the new batch shaken up.
You can really see the difference in using liquid soap.  You certainly wouldn't think the bottom picture is the one that's more concentrated.  I was even skeptical myself, that's one reason why I waited until I tried it out to do this post.

 I'd like to add that using the unscented soap makes it possible to add essential oils to customize your detergent if you prefer scented.  Or, you could use a scented soap to begin with.  I'm looking forward to trying some unique scents that you can't get in store bought detergents, like gardenia (my favorite!).

 I hope y'all enjoy this recipe and if you give it a try let me know what you think!  God bless!

*This should be safe with HE machines as well.  Dr. Bronner's is safe to use in HE washers and in much larger amounts than what you'd be getting in this recipe.  If you use a different soap, however, that may not be the case.
  **Update**  I recently made a batch of this using dish liquid.  I was trying to save some money and had read that this worked well on another blog.  I had bad results with it and it produced much more suds than with Dr. Bronner's.  I would not recommend it, especially with and HE washer.

*I used the lowest Amazon or online prices for each product to figure out the cost per load.  For the home made versions I broke down the cost of the borax and the washing  soda to the ounce and only accounted for the amount actually used because you don't use an entire box of either.

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