Thursday, August 30, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent & DIY Stain Remover

Welcome to another Thrifty Thursday.  This week I want to share with you yet another way I keep things thrifty as a stay at home mom.  I make my own laundry detergent and stain remover....what was, I am not clinically insane....I make my own laundry detergent and stain remover. 

At first, I couldn't see where it would possibly be worth the savings to make my own detergent.  Boy was I mistaken.  It is actually quite simple and saves you a ton of money.  I actually made my most recent batch of detergent quite some time ago, so this post is not going to have pictures.  I'll update you with pictures of the process the next time I have to make detergent.

My seven year old and I had a blast doing this project together.  She loved grating the soap.  If you do allow your children to help you, make sure that they do not handle the borax or washing soda and then touch their eyes.

This detergent is typically thinner than average detergent.  It leaves virtually no scent on your clothing.  If you are someone who needs to have the smell associated with clean, you will need to add essential oil or use fabric softener of some sort.

Here's what you will need:
6 c. hot water

1 Fels-Naptha or other lightly scented soap bar (Ivory, etc)
1c. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 c. borax
essential oil (optional and of your choice)
5 gallon bucket
empty, clean laundry detergent container

Note: Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" may be purchased in the cleaning aisle at some stores or purchased online. My local Walmart started carrying it about six months ago. Ace Hardware typically carries it though if you have one nearby. Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent.  It must be sodium carbonate!!

Now that you have gathered all of your supplies, let's get started!

Start by grating your soap. 
Heat your water in a medium to large saucepan, then add the grated soap and stir until soap is completely dissolved.
Run hot tap water to the halfway point of your 5 gallon bucket.
Add soap solution, borax, and washing soda.
Stir until all powder is dissolved.
Fill the remainder of the bucket with more hot tap water.
Let rest overnight.
Stir your detergent.
Fill laundry detergent bottle to the half way point.
Fill remainder of bottle with hot tap water.
If you wish to add some additional scent to your detergent, add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice (example: lavender)

How do I use it?
For a top load machine you will use1/2 c. per load
For a front load machine you will use 1/4 c. per load
Give the bottle a quick shake before using the detergent each time to keep the detergent from gelling together.

So How Much am I Actually Saving?
On average, buying laundry detergent costs around 60 cents per load.  On average, making your own laundry detergent costs around 3.5 cents per load.  Basically, if you do one load of laundry per day, you save around $204 per year.  I know that doesn't sound like a whole lot for the entire year, but every little bit counts.

Stain Remover
Here's what you'll need:
3-5 Tbsp Borax
Hot water
Spray Bottle

Put Borax into bottom of spray bottle...exact amount depends on the size of your spray bottle...for the one shown, I used 4 Tbsp.
Fill remainder of bottle with hot water.
Shake to dissolve
Use on stains

Use as you regularly would a prewash stain aid.
Extra Tips:

Vinegar makes an excellent deodorizer and fabric softener. Throw 1/4 c. into the softener cup of your machine. This also serves to keep your washing machine nice and fresh.
If you really desperately need to have a scented laundry experience, you can always cut up sponges, soak them in diluted fabric softener, and dry them with the clothes as you would dryer sheets.

Did you try this recipe or have a recipe of your own for liquid laundry detergent?  Post pics or comments and let me know about it.

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