Yesterday Kristi and I were hanging out in the kitchen making dinner and pie, talking about making household and body products and we were amazed at how many things you can make yourself. We felt silly being amazed because of course you can make them yourself, at some point, before the big companies fed us the lie that we need them to make all our products, people all over were hand making their soaps, deodorants, detergents, make up, and more! And the cool part is that you don't have to wonder what's in your products when you make them yourself, you just made it! While I haven't personally dealt with allergies from store bought soaps and detergents, I know that plenty of people have had problems with skin irritation and allergies due to chemicals in home products. Commercially made detergents contain many synthetic chemicals such as chlorine bleach and EDTA that are harmful.
It's awesome how easy it is to make your own detergent, and another bonus? It's cheap! If you make a large batch it comes out to about 19 cups of detergent, and since you use 1 tablespoon of detergent per load, that means you get over 300 loads of laundry out of your detergent! After researching different price per load break downs comparing homemade vs. store bought I was pretty happy about saving money on top of everything else:
Arm & Hammer® liquid 100 ounce detergent – $6.79 = $0.21 per load
Ultra Tide powder 143 oz. detergent = $17.97 = $0.12 per load
Tide with Bleach powder 267 ounce detergent – $20.32 = $0.21 per load
Homemade powder 32 ounce detergent – $2.98 = $0.05 per load
2.5 cups Borax
2.5 cups Super Washing Soda
1 5.5oz bar Fels Naptha, grated
30 drops essential oils (I get mine here)
Using a cheese grater, grate the Fels Naptha bar. Once you grate the Fels Naptha, you can either mix all the ingredients together, or if you want a finer texture, throw it in a food processor. I only have a small food processor so I did mine in batches.
Once everything was processed and mixed I put in my essential oils. I wanted a zesty, fresh scent so I used Lemon and Orange, and then Purification (an essential oil blend of citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, melaleuca, lavandin, and myrtle. It helps remove odors and freshen your clothes). You could also use other oils depending on the scents you enjoy, such as lavender, cedar, pine, geranium, jasmine, or peppermint. I'm not big into floral scents, but I do love woodsy scents so for my next batch I might try using some cedar, pine, and spruce oils!
Use 1 Tbsp per load (or 2 -3 Tbsp for large or heavily soiled loads).
This recipe makes about 6-ish cups, but you could also make a large batch using the entire box of borax and super washing soda and a few bars of Fels Naptha. I want to try some different scents, though, so I just made a small batch for this first time. I tested it on a load of laundry and it seemed to work great! I haven't tried it on a load of really dirty laundry yet, but after reading other people's reviews of their homemade laundry soap, I'm pretty confident I'll have no desire to go back to the store bought stuff.
Since this soap is a low-suds type of detergent it can also work in HE front loading washers, so you don't need to buy fancy soap for those washers either!
It's really easy to make your own detergent (and if you prefer liquid detergent there are plenty of recipes for that as well, if you do a quick google search), but if you're not up to it, you can always buy an unscented organic, non-toxic detergent and add your own essential oils for a personalized scent!