homemade laundry detergent

Yeah, I know the picture on this post isn't pretty at all.  But this stuff has worked great for the two loads of laundry I've done so far!

I whipped up a batch of this stuff last night in about half an hour, following the directions I found here.  I also added some tea tree oil to give it a nice scent.  After letting it sit overnight, I got kind of nervous since it was still runny but had big clumps in it.  But according to the directions, this is pretty much normal, and depending on where you live and the consistency of your water, you can expect pretty much anything.  My main concern was, does it clean??

So I tested it on probably the stinkiest specimens in our house...a load of clothes belonging to my son (who still leaks at night sometimes), and our bathroom towels that were starting to smell musty after being used for several days.  The verdict?  They came out really clean!  You don't smell that tell-tale scent that you get from store-bought detergent, but the clothes just smell CLEAN.  I didn't smell anything musty on our clean towels or anything, ahem, bathroom-related from my son's clothes.  So I'm very pleased, especially because using 1/2 cup of this stuff per load means it will last a long time.  And when I need to make another batch, I have all the ingredients on hand still.

Price breakdown:  I had to buy a 5-gallon bucket and lid to store this in (the finished product makes around 2 gallons or so, but I didn't want it to slosh around), which were $3.97 and $1.17, respectively (I will admit I paid a dollar extra for a pretty turquoise bucket as opposed to the boring white variety...don't judge!).  Then the washing soda was $3.24, the borax was $2.98, and the laundry soap (Fels-Naptha) was 97 cents.  You only use a third of the bar of laundry soap, so I have enough ingredients to make two more batches after this one, and even when I have to buy another bar I still have more of the other ingredients.  I didn't do any math on this one, but the blog I got the recipe from says this detergent breaks down to 1 cent per load!  Can't beat that.  I hear it's good for sensitive skin too; my kid doesn't have that but it's nice to know what's going into our detergent (as well as not paying a bunch of money for it!).  I have heard some complaints that this homemade stuff doesn't get your clothes as clean...next time my kid gets his clothes real dirty or something, I might try adding an extra bit of Borax to the load since that might boost the cleaning power.

The only thing I'll do differently next time is add more tea tree oil to it...I love the smell!  :o)  I'm going to track down a funnel and put some of the detergent in an old Purex bottle too; that way it'll be easier than scooping it out of the bucket, and I can shake it up right before I pour it in since it does tend to clump up a little.  The cap on my Purex bottle is exactly 1/2 cup so that works out well too!

Just thought I'd share.  :o)

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