Laundry detergent is EXPENSIVE! Even the "cheap" laundry detergent that barely works is still pricey! Since I don't see myself breaking out the lye and washboard any time soon, I did what any good Betty would do. I searched out a recipe on Pinterest. (****if you are not on Pinterest.com, you need to be!)**** I found another domestic blog with the recipe and instructions. I've been plotting to do this for a few weeks now, and finally got the nerve up to try! Success!
Here is the original blog post: Why Not Sew? How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent
Out of my new found experience, I would recommend using 1/2 the recipe. Two gallons is a LOT of detergent. I didn't have a big enough pot! Also, I would use more like 1/3 a bar of soap, not the whole thing. It gets WAY to thick! The new recipe is as follows:
1/3 Bar Soap (I used Ivory)
1/2 Cup Borax
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1 Gallon Cold Water
Grate the soap into a large (very large) pot. This isn't much harder than grating cheddar cheese. Pour in 1/2 a gallon of the water. Cook the soapy water until all of the flakes melt. Stir in the borax and washing soda and bring to a boil. This is the longest part of the process! Be careful to not leave the mix too unattended though, it will lather up and spill over if you let it boil too long. ***Here is where the original recipe leaves out a few details. Namely, boiling soap is hottt! And, as I found out, it is a royal pain to try and empty over-thickened soap back in to the pot to melt again. Therefore, I would suggest letting the soap mixture cool in the pot over night. This will let you see if it is the right consistency and save you from some nasty scalds. If the soap turns out to be too thick - just reheat, add more water and bring back to a boil. Once you are satisfied, use a funnel (seriously, use the funnel) to pour the homemade laundry detergent into the containers of your choice. Milk jugs, orange juice containers, etc. Once you get the hang of it, this whole process should take less than an hour.
With Borax and Washing Soda coming in at less than $4 for a big box, and a bar of soap costing practically nothing, this recipe is extremely cheap! Also, after trying out a test load of laundry, I can confirm it works really well too!
The process can be a little messy when you get around to pouring. On the bright side, you will have never seen your kitchen counters cleaner!
How did this recipe work for you? What kind of scents might you add?