I've had this recipe for a YEAR, courtesy of my friend, Steph, and I'm kicking myself for not trying it earlier because it seriously took 8 minutes of active time to create five GALLONS of concentrated laundry detergent.
Here's the cost breakdown:
$1.49 Fels-Naptha Soap (does one batch)
$3.49 Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (does many batches)
$3.74 20 Mule Team Borax (does many batches)
$2.44 5 gallon bucket
$0.97 bucket lid
Total cost to get started : $12.13. The only thing you'll need to re-buy is the bar of soap. Doesn't it make you a LITTLE steamed to know Tide charges about that for ONE gallon of soap? Yeah, me too.
1 Bar Fels-Naptha soap (or Sunshine, Ivory, Zote, Kirk's Hardwater Castle)
1/2 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
The hardest part was finding washing soda, but I called around and found a Basha's that carries it.
Grate the bar of soap and add to four cups hot tap water you already put in a pan on the stove, because you were smart and knew I was going to have you use 4 cups hot water.
Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full with hot tap water. Add the powders and stir while your soap is melting on the stove. Add melted soap/water mixture to the powder/water mixture in the bucket and stir. Then fill the bucket up the rest of the way with hot water and stir again. If you want, you can add 10-15 drops of essential oil. Let it set overnight to gel up and give it a shake before you use it.
I was totally planning on adding citrus oil and maybe anise, but I can't find my essential oils since we moved back into our house. Sigh. I also can't find a can opener, but that's another story.
Back to the soap. Oh wait, we're totally done. That's it! For a top-load machine, use 1/3 cup to 5/8 cup per load and 1/4 cup for front loaders. I'm guessing all HE machines use the 1/4 cup measure.
I bet this 5 gallons of soap lasts me until July, at least. I'll keep you posted.
PS This soap doesn't sud much. That's a GOOD thing, since it doesn't contain sodium laurel sulfate, an added chemical in most liquid soaps whose purpose is to foam, but actually does stuff like kill babies and small animals. Or something.
Next week we're going to make our own baby wipes! YAY!
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