In the spirit of homemade and crafting, I just finished my first batch of chlorine and bleach-free laundry detergent. Mostly I thought it would be entertaining and something to fill my creative itch, but hello, affordable. I will explain cost-effectiveness in more detail in a moment, but the ten gallon yield of suds would cost around eighty dollars, conservatively, if using ready-made detergent.
Yes, sign me up please. Twice.

Ingredients: Borax, Washing Soda, Fels-Naptha Soap, Water
Top to right: Melting Fels-Naptha, Stirring in Borax & Washing Soda, Finished Product (thickens overnight)
Love it. And it works… even on poopy cloth diapers.
I will have to say that I am a little embarrassed about where I found the recipe… You know the family on TLC that has a bajillion children and counting? Yes, I admit, I swiped this recipe from their family website. Probably the only thing that I will “borrow” from their approach at life, but for the soap, I am thankful.
So here is the cost breakdown:
20 Mule Team Borax                                            $6.75
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda         $3.79
Fels-Naptha Soap                                                  $.99

5 Gallon Bucket w/ Lid                                          $4.00
Essential Oil (optional)                                          $7.00
Water                                                                     FREE
10 Gallons of Laundry Suds                                $22.53

So when you compare that each gallon costs about $2.25 each of homemade suds versus most basic suds (conservatively) range anywhere from $6-14 for the same amount of soap. Also, it’s natural and “free & clear” as far as chlorine and bleaches are concerned.  I win.  And the only thing that I will have to buy more of each time, for a while, is the Fels-Naptha soap. The other ingredients will last several batches…but it will take me a while to even go through the first batch, and we do a ton of laundry around here! I win again.

Chris questions why we use soap at all after listening to the folks on NPR tell us that it’s unnecessary, it only makes your clothes smell good. If you don’t mind the smell of water, suds are just bonus.


4 responses

  1. I've thought about making homemade detergent before using a "recipe" similar to this one. The only reason I haven't is because I've read that Borax is toxic for babies (although I'm sure a lot of detergents are). I've even read that you can use it to kill ants. I haven't really done any in depth research on it myself so I'm not sure if it is true or not. Obviously it hasn't hurt the Duggars 🙂

  2. I wonder if this can be used in the HE machines- which is creeping into most homes. They operate on very little water and detergent in the first place. I got a "raise" when my last child was potty trained and when I got new machines last summer (doesn't take much suds to get clean clothes)!

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