homemade laundry detergent

In the interest of spending less on something boring and consumable, I started making my own laundry detergent.

At first I thought it sounded a little crazy, but now I can't imagine handing over $10 in exchange for jug of soap. What a rip off! Especially when you can make your own for less than $.25/gallon :)

You will need:

1/2 - 1 bar of soap
1 cup washing soda (it's in the laundry aisle)
1/2 cup borax
hot water
5 gallon bucket with a lid
stirring stick

Pretty much any bar of soap will work; I use Ivory, Fels Naptha, or Zote. Fels Naptha and Zote are bar laundry soaps found in the laundry aisle. I prefer Zote because it's pink and the bars are giant so I can make 2 batches!

I'm super frugal, so I reused this cat litter bucket instead of buying one, and I raided the stirring stick from my husband's scrap wood pile:

Here's how you can save the money you were blindly handing over to Proctor & Gamble, for something a little more exciting...

Grate the soap (I use my food processor). You'll need a full bar for each batch (half a bar if you're using Zote).

In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a near boil. Add the grated soap and stir until it's completely dissolved:

While the soap is dissolving, measure 48 cups of hot water into the bucket (if you have a milk jug handy, that's about 3 gallons). I marked the water level on the bucket with a Sharpie so I don't have to measure anymore.

Add the hot, soapy water to the bucket and stir it for a few minutes, then add the washing soda and stir for a few more minutes, then add the Borax and stir for a few more minutes (about 5-6 minutes total stirring time). When you're done with all that stirring it should look something like this:

Put the lid on it, and let it cool overnight. The next morning, it should have congealed. Give it a good stir and it should look something like this:

Use 1/2 to 1 cup per load. This is a low sudsing soap and should be fine in HE machines.

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