March 8, 2014

diy diaries: laundry detergent

anyone who's been in my house recently (the last 3 years or so), knows that i love a good diy project. i'm not a super creative person, but i love simplifying, organizing, and saving money. i've discovered that a lot of diy projects check all three of those boxes. i've tried my fair share over the last few years, and my goal is to share my favorites with you on the blog from time to time. the first one is my all time favorite...laundry detergent.

i found the recipe here, so don't give me credit for that by any means. i'm just spreading the love. here's what you'll need:
  • 1 box baking soda (4lb)
  • 1 box borax (4lb 12oz)
  • 3 bars fels naptha soap
  • 1 tub oxiclean (3lb)
  • 1 box super washing soda (3lb 7oz)

you should be able to find everything at your grocery store. it's all on the laundry aisle except for the baking soda, which you'll find on the baking aisle. obviously. if you want it to smell yummy, you can add laundry crystals to the mix as well. i don't care that much, so i leave it out of mine.

once you have everything, start by grating the 3 bars of soap as small as possible. i used a hand grater and grated them into a small metal bowl (while sitting on my couch watching college gameday coverage for my beloved tar heels).

then i put it into my magic bullet to turn it into a powder. you don't have to do the extra step of turning it into a powder, but i like my detergent to be the same consistency. i don't care for soap chunks, though i'm told it works just fine that way too.

after i grate and grind the soap, i set it to the side. then i combine all the other ingredients in a large metal bowl (enough to comfortably hold 2 gallons). metal is key unless you want to have a plastic bowl devoted to this...plastic will smell like soap no matter how many times you wash it. i learned that the hard way. add your grated soap to the big bowl of everything else.

mix until everything is well combined and make sure you crumble any remaining chunks to create a soft powder.

then all i do is put it in a large glass jar with fun stickers for a label. labels and glass jars make my heart happy, but put it in whatever container you want. i store mine on top of my dryer with a few other laundry supplies.

total time: 1 hour
total cost: $27.96
lasts: 12-24 months depending on how often you do laundry (i went through 1/3 of the jar in 10 months by myself and then my sister and i finished off the remaining 2/3 in 10 months of living together).

use 1-2 tablespoons per load. i typically use 1 tbsp for small or lightly soiled loads and i use 2 tbsp for larger or dirtier loads. i've been extremely pleased with the cleanliness of my clothes.

i also bought a fun wooden scoop from this little shop on etsy. it's 1.5 tbsp, so it takes the guess work out for me and looks cute with my jar. win-win!

notes about the detergent:
  • it will not bubble like others with fillers, but it still cleans your clothes
  • not safe for cloth diapers due to the baking soda affecting how the diaper absorbs liquid
  • safe for HE washers (you'll need to make your soap into a powder though); add to the barrel, not the dispenser
  • lots of other bloggers and commenters have said this detergent is safe for septic systems; i haven't had any trouble with mine
  • safe for sensitive skin

happy laundering!


live unashamedly :: laugh uncontrollably :: love unconditionally.

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