I made my own laundry soap and was surprised to find it actually works better than the many name brand varieties I’ve tried. I have a high efficiency washing machine and was a little reluctant to put my concoction of borax, soap shavings, and washing soda into its detergent receptacle, but after doing some research online I just went for it. Now I feel like I’ve been totally scammed by all these manufacturers and their fancy HE detergents. My clothes look and smell cleaner! Who would ever have thought? (Now, will there be any long term damage to my washer? Will I pay for my green and thrifty ways? I’ll keep you posted.)
Here’s the recipe I used (from diyNatural):
1 cup shaved bar soap (I used Fels- Naptha, in the laundry aisle)
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
I mixed it all together in a big Ziploc and used just 1 tablespoon for a medium load. The most time-consuming part was grating the Fels-Naptha, and that only took 5 minutes. Getting in my car to buy detergent when I run out takes way longer.
How much money does this really save?
I didn’t run the exact numbers, but I do know that I didn’t spend any more for the borax, washing soda, and soap combined than I would have on one bottle of “premium” HE detergent, and I can do way more loads with what I purchased. Most of the sites I checked worked out that homemade soap costs about $.01-$.02/load. Some sites estimate savings of $75/year. The potential for savings and cleaning power of homemade laundry soap are strong arguments for switching over to all homemade all the time, but what really makes me happy is knowing exactly what’s in my soap. Environmentally, I think this would have a positive impact, too, considering all the empty detergent bottles I’ve disposed of over the years.
I’ll let you know if I discover any drawbacks (like if my laundry starts shredding).
Bonus Borax Tip: It works really well as a “booster” for your dishwasher detergent. Just put 1/4 cup in the bottom of your dishwasher. This stuff is great and I can’t believe I just discovered it! Check http://www.20muleteamlaundry.com/about for more tips.
More resources for homemade laundry soap: