A few months ago I mentioned on twitter that I was interested in learning more about homesteading including: canning, and making my own detergent. A friend replied back saying that she made her own detergent all the time, and it was super duper easy. Of course this was all of the encouragement that I needed.
According to her you’ll need: ivory bar soap, a cheese grater, plastic bag/container, 1 cup of borax, and 1 cup of washing soda. The directions are super simple. Grate the bar of soap, add 1 cup of each item into the plastic bag, and mix.. To wash use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.
For my first batch I actually used a regular bar of soap, because I thought it was ivory because the box was ivory. When I grated it, it turned into a very fine powder. Also, my wrist was sore, but it only took about 5 mins or less to grate. However, when I experimented with a few loads of blankets and it seemed to work fine.
By the end of the night I’d gotten melted chocolate from a s’more onto my green and pink sweatshirt, it was time to put the detergent’s stain fighting power to the test.
The first round I placed it in the washer with about half a tablespoon of detergent since I was washing it by itself. After drying it I realized the stain was still there. Then, sprayed it with spray and wash, used 2 full tablespoons, and the stain was pretty much gone! I think if I would have used the spray and wash and more detergent first there would be no faint dark spot at all.
Later, I did end up purchasing ivory soap bars to make a bigger batch.
I’d read that the ivory soap you can zap in the microwave then simply mash up with your fingers. I zapped it for about 15 seconds, and it was very mashable (which was also kind of messy). It was more difficult to get it into the smaller powder.
For the second bar I decided to use the cheese grater, since I knew this bar of soap was very soft. It grated like cheese, and easy pressed together when I grated too much on top of each other! (At least though when you’re messy with soap you’re also cleaning, right ;0) )
In the end, when I mixed all of the cups of materials together the earlier chunks from the microwaved ivory bar soap became very powdery like the rest of the mix. So, next time I think I’d skip the cheese grater since that also involved making a mess.
As far as saving goes. I compared the cost of this to our usual brand of laundry detergent: Xtra which according to the label will wash 166 loads and costs about $7.98.
Ivory bars (3oz each) came in a pack of three for $1.24, Borax (76 oz) is about $12.09 or $0.16/oz, Washing soda (55oz) is about $9.30 or $0.17/oz so for 3 cups of each item this batch cost approximately $9.16 and will wash 72-144 loads depending if 1 or 2 Tablespoons are used per load. However, I’ve no idea if our liquid detergent is actually washing 166 loads, you could save more by making bigger batches at once, you save in gas if you keep the materials on hand, this detergent is cleaner and potentially better for young children with sensitive skin, and I’ve seen other recipes where only 1/2 of borax or washing soda is used per 1 cup of ivory bar soap.
Update!! I’ve recently learned that you can purchase these items in large quantities from places like Amazon. If you subscribe to have regular deliveries of said item every 2-6 months you can save even more. The price of 16 bars of ivory soap is $3.79 this way!!
Anyways, now I know how to make my own detergent, you know if case of zombie Apocalypse, Derechos, Snow, or Hurricanes. ;0)
Feel free to post any questions or tips!