My family has sensitive skin, my son the worst of us all. I’m the type of person who can’t put any form of chemicals on my legs for at least a full day after shaving. This includes swimming in a pool, hot tub, lotion, get a pedicure, etc. And back when my husband and I were newlyweds he worked two jobs, one of which required his face be clean shaven. Him shaving that often shredded his poor skin. And my son had an eczema outbreak that was so bad it looked like he had hives all over his entire body. The poor baby’s first birthday pictures had his skin all red and bumpy from his chest to his knees. (Looks like my daughter has escaped the sensitivity so far!)
Because of the sensitive skin in my household we stick to detergents that have no fragrances or dyes (free & clear). I hate paying so much for name brands, yet the cheaper brands were just that: cheaper. I felt like I had to use more of the cheap soap, which lessens the numbers of loads in each container, which defeats the purpose of it being “cheap.”
Entering now, the purpose of this post: Homemade Laundry Detergent. I browsed online, hunted and hunted, and finally found this recipe I wanted to try.
1. One box (76 oz.) Borax
2. 1 Box (55 oz.) Super Washing Soda
3. 1 box (4 lbs) Baking Soda
4. 2 (400 g) bars of Zote Soap (or 3 bars of Fels Naptha Soap) (.97 ea.)
5. 1 tub of OxyClean (I used the kind without dyes with the green lid)
6. Optional for scent: 1 container of Downy Unstoppables. I left this out. It’s about $5.
1. One 5 gallon bucket and lid to mix this all up inside.
2. Cheese grater or grater blade as well as a multipurpose blade in a food processor.
3. Large bowl to set shredded soap aside in.
4. Airtight container to store your detergent in.
5. 2 Tablespoon scoop (or a coffee scoop. I found one for $1, or you can use the scoop from the OxyClean tub but you’ll have to keep an eye on scooping the correct amount.)
Start out by grating your Zote (or Fels Naptha). I used the medium grade, not the itty bitty, not the regular size. Once that is completed, put a couple cups of that in your food processor, add a bit of the baking soda (less than a cup or so?), then grate until its a powdery pink mixture. Continue this until you’re out of Zote then pour it all into the 5 gallon bucket or trash bag.
Add the rest of your ingredients. Snap the lid on tight (or twist the bag shut) and shake it all together. If you are using the Downy Unstoppables, do so now so they’re mixed in, too.
Fill your airtight container and leave the scoop inside. Voila! You’re done. Leave the rest of the detergent sealed up in your laundry room or garage, or give it away if you like!
To use, just add one scoop (2T) to your wash. I have a front loader and I have read you can either put it in the little tray up top or inside the drum and both work just fine. I usually put it in the drum because sometimes it gets gelled up in the dispenser tray, which eventually flushes clean but that bothers me so I just toss it in with the clothes.
My only complaint was that I do not have the grater blade for my food processor and the grating was a pain.
Otherwise, this was a fun little project! It made my kitchen smell good and with all the costs it comes to $0.10 per load! I’m seriously considering giving this in mason jars as gifts to my neighbors at Christmas but I can’t decide if that’s lame or not. Ha ha! (Edit: I totally forgot to do this. Maybe next year? Ha!)
Have you made detergent before? What variations in your “recipe” did you have?
Update: It’s now January (6 months or so since I made this) and I have yet to refill my jar on my washer. I have had zero problems whatsoever with this recipe. No weird clumps of powder or residue or discoloration on the clothes. My HE front loader has been working just fine, too. I love this stuff. To make this once a year (or less, at this rate) is fantastic to me.