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10/9/09

How To Make Your Own Laundry Detergent


Here’s what you need:
- 1 bar of soap (whatever kind you like; I used Lever 2000 because we have tons of bars of it from a case we bought a while back)
- 1 box of washing soda (look for it in the laundry detergent aisle at your local department store - it comes in an Arm & Hammer box and will contain enough for six batches of this stuff)
- 1 box of borax- this is not necessary, but I’ve found it really kicks the cleaning up a notch - one box of borax will contain more than enough for tons of batches of this homemade detergent - if you decide to use this, be careful.
- A five gallon bucket with a lid (or a bucket that will hold more than 15 liters - ask around - these aren’t too tough to acquire)
- Three gallons of tap water
- A big spoon to stir the mixture with
- A measuring cup
- A knife

Step One: Put about four cups of water into a pan on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. While you’re waiting, whip out a knife and start shaving strips off of the bar of soap into the water, whittling it down. Keep the heat below a boil and keep shaving the soap. Eventually, you’ll shave up the whole bar, and then stir the hot water until the soap is dissolved and you have some highly soapy water.

Step Two: Put three gallons of hot water (11 liters or so) into the five gallon bucket - the easiest way is to fill up three gallon milk jugs worth of it. Then mix in the hot soapy water from step one, stir it for a while, and then add a cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two, and then add a half cup of borax if you are using borax. Stir for another couple of minutes, then let the stuff sit overnight to cool. And you’re done. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a bucket of gelatinous slime that’s a paler shade of the soap that you used. One measuring cup full of this slime will be roughly what you need to do a load of laundry.
The ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent. Thus, out of three gallons, you’ll get about 48 loads of laundry. If you do this six times, you’ll have used six bars of soap ($0.99 each), one box of washing soda ($2.49 at our store), and about half a box of borax ($2.49 at our store, so $1.25) and make 288 loads of laundry. This comes up to a cost of right around three cents a gallon, or a savings of $70

For those of you who are unable to find Washing Soda:

You can heat baking soda to convert it to baking soda.  It must be heated above 140*, though the higher the temperature the faster the conversion. You need to preheat the oven to 400F and it's about two hours. Just spread it thin on a Pyrex baking dish.

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