A few months ago I read a post on StoneGable blog about homemade laundry soap. I still had some bottles of bought soap put back that I had bought cheap with coupons, so didnt do anything with the information. A couple of weeks ago, i started buying a few of the ingredients each time I went shopping. I thought about making half a batch to see if I liked it, but after dumping one whole box of the washing soda in my bag without thinking, I figured I would cut down on cost, till I see how it goes.
I have made liquid laundry detergent before but it was too much of a pain in the butt to make. Now I have an HE machine and didnt think I could use powder detergent. So I did a little research online and found that the Duggers used a homemade powder detergent. I have to admit, I have only seen the show once or twice, but I figure if it works for them, why not try it. I also read comments by several that this was safe to use in an HE machine. Most advised to just throw the soap directly into the tub. From what I understand the reason for special detergent with HE is because the regular detergents suds up too much for these machines. I found that out once the hard way,lol. These ingredients also do not suds up. Even so, I have read 100's of comments about how great this stuff cleans. Some have said it helps with the odor buildup in the HE machines. (that and keeping the door open when not in use). Some have commented that their clothes had begun to have a smell because of the HE machine, but this detergent has stopped that problem.
Since I hadnt gotten quite all the ingredients, I also researched other recipes. Only one I have read (on Stonegable) called for Downey Unstoppables or similar product. I liked this idea so wanted to keep it. However I only had one bottle, but figured if others were having such good results without, one bottle should be fine and help keep the expense down. StoneGable also had Oxyclean in hers. another fantastic idea which I didnt find anywhere else. But again, I only had half of the recommended amount. So same as before, if it worked well without, I used half.
I also borrowed the label that Stonegable found and used.
Here is the recipe that I adapted:
4 bars fels Naptha soap.........97 cents each at Walmart
Note: I have since found Zote soap at Big Lots for around the same price, but it is twice
the size, and a pretty pink, with a nice smell.
2 jars Downey Unstoppables.......$4.76 at Walmart
1 Box 4 lb, 12 oz Borax.............$3.38 at Walmart
1 box 4lb baking soda.......$2.12 at Walmart
Note: I have read that Walmart has this in the pool section in large boxes cheaper
1 jar approx 1.5 lb jar of Oxyclean........$3.86 at Walmart
Note: i have since found a "Sun" brand knock-off at Big Lots for only 2.50
1 box 3 lb 7 oz Super washing soda.....$3.24 at Walmart
Grate bars of soap. I used by hand grater since I couldnt find a part to my food processor. Then dump all ingredients into a garbage bag to mix thoroughly. Then pour into your special container.
total cost for materials was $21.24. i didnt figure up actual cost per load but someone on Stonegable using all the ingredients in her original recipe stated it worked out to .07 cents per load. a bottle of 27 load Gain detergent from Walmart costs $9.97. This works out to LESS than (with my recipe) $1.89 (costs for other recipe) for same number of loads. I have already washed a load, and brought a handful of the towels in for my husband to smell. With the HE washer we occasionally have problems with a musty odor. I didnt tell him why I wanted him to smell them. he commented they smelled very fresh. THEN I told him why.
By the way, I use 2 tablespoons per load. you gotta give this a try.
Another poster also mentioned that if you have hard water, add some epsom salts, or kosher salt to mix to soften water and help the detergent work better.
I am also going to use vinegar for fabric softener. once clothes are dry there is no vinegar odor. I also want to get some essential oils to add a little to the vinegar. Maybe even make my own by soaking some vanilla beans in the vinegar, or even lemon rinds.
UPDATE: I recently found Zote, laundry soap at Big Lots for .90 a bar, and these bars are twice the size as the other. Also, i found Sun brand oxyxlean for $2.50 a tub at the same place.