I make my own laundry detergent.
I've been doing it for about a year now and love it! I save tons of money and I don't notice a difference in my clothes ... they don't seem to be dirtier or cleaner than they were when I was using store-bought detergent. So, I thought I would share the recipe with all of you, in case you're interested! It's really, really easy.
You will need: A large bucket with a cover (something that can hold at least 3 gallons of water - I use an old kitty litter container), Borax, Washing Soda, and Ivory Soap (you can also use a soap called Fels Naptha, which is probably available at a Health Food store). I also use Odoban, but that's optional. I started using it to get out the nasty smell that comes with dirty football gear and have just continued to use it ever since.
I buy both Borax and Ivory soap at Walmart. I can't remember the price, but I want to say the soap was like $5 for 10 bars and the Borax is around $7 (?) ... I can't remember for sure though. I buy the Washing Soda at Kroger (a local grocery chain), because I can't find it at Walmart. It's around $5. I've only been able to find Odoban at Sams Club and it's around $10 for a huge jug.
First, grate up the entire bar of soap - if you're using Fels Naptha I don't think you use the whole bar, so you'll need to google it. Boil 4 cups of water and gradually add the grated soap until it dissolves. Then, fill your large bucket with 3 gallons of warm water (there are 16 cups in a gallon). Add 1 cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of Borax to the 3 gallons of warm water. Stir to dissolve. Add the soapy water you just boiled into the bucket and stir everything. Now, put a cover over it and let it sit for 24 hours! ** If you're planning to add Odoban, I'm not sure if there's a particular time you should add it. I always forgot to add it initially and just end up adding it later. I use about 1-2 cups in the 3 gallon bucket. ** The consistency of my detergent always seems to vary. Sometimes it is very gelled together, while other times it's more liquidy with pieces of gel in it. Either way, it always works fine for me.
There you have it, folks. Your very own laundry detergent! There are several different recipes online you can use, so if you no likey this one just google to find something else. In the year since I started making my own detergent, I have only had to re-supply the Washing Soda. So, all in all, I've spent about $32 bucks on ingredients this year and won't need to buy refills anytime soon! I usually need to make more detergent about every 2 months. Oh - And I use roughly the same amount of homemade detergent per load that I used with store-bought detergent ... maybe a little bit less.
FYI - This detergent doesn't sud, so don't freak if you don't see any. It's OK. This detergent also works well in front-loading washers (FLW) that require a special and pricey detergent. Basically, with FLW you need a detergent that doesn't sud up so this is perfect!!!