Update: Homemade Laundry Detergent

How does it work?
I decided that my first load would be towels. They are usually stinky (as nothing ever seems to fully dry here in Portland) and any kitchen towels are usually pretty soiled. I wanted my detergent going against the "beast" in my laundry schedule and not just my delicates.

When I put a mere 1/8 cup of my detergent into the washing machine, I got really nervous. It doesn't have that strong "detergent" smell and my soap bar gratings didn't seem to be dissolving. But as we all know, "a watched pot never boils." So, I shut the lid and let her ride.

Taking the laundry out - again, no smell (good or bad). Probably because I didn't add scent and Ivory soap doesn't have a strong smell. Side note: some suggest adding a few drops of essential oil if you like yummy-smelling laundry, but EOs have also been sited for breaking down the fibers in your clothing more quickly.

Price comparison between homemade and store bought detergents:
Store bought laundry detergent (TIDE 26oz.) costs $7.00 per box that claims to yield 15 loads. That breaks down to $0.47 per load. I got this information online - so, feel free to do your own price comparison using your preferred brand of store bought detergent.

Price per load (using half-batch measurements):
Borax $ 1.83
Ivory Bar Soap $1.25
Baking Soda $1.08
Washing Soda $1.60

Total Cost: $5.76 yields 18 cups of detergent
1 cup yields 8 loads.

Total Cost per Load: $0.04

*And I still have leftovers of Borax (4 cups), Ivory (7 bars), Baking Soda (4 cups), and Washing Soda (3-4 cups). This will get me well on my way to my next half-batch.

For HE Machines (or front loading machines), Troy from TipNut suggests:

"3 bars Fels Naptha
3 cups Borax
3 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda.

Grate the Fels Naptha, then put in a food processor with a chopping blade and chop until fine. Pour into a large bowl with the Borax and Washing Soda and stir until combined. Use 1/4 cup in a HE front loader, use 1/2 cup in a top loader. In my HE front loader, it dissolves perfectly.

Best of Luck!

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