I love saving money in easy ways and one of my favorite things that I make from scratch that saves me a good amount of money is making my own laundry detergent. Its easy, the recipe makes 5 gallons so I only make it about 5 times a year and it works! This DIY liquid laundry detergent recipe has proven so great, I've been using it for over 2 years now and i'll never go back to store bought. Another new favorite cleaning item in my house is my Shark Pro Steam & Spray, I was lucky enough to be given one to review and after using it for a few months I am totally in love. It makes cleaning my main floor (which is all hardwood) faster and cleaner than I was getting it before, who doesn't want a cleaner floor in half the time?!
So the Shark Pro Steam & Spray can be used on three different settings (although I'm kind of addicted to the most intense setting-scrub) and has a cool function where you stick the cleaner into the mop and then click a button to spray. My favorite part about the Steam & Spray is that I no longer have to squirt out my cleaner as I mop or wring out my mop head and get it wet again. I can just mop away without any of those steps that make the process longer and it literally takes me half the time it did before to mop my entire main floor. I'm totally converted, can you tell?
You may be thinking, Make my own laundry detergent?! But seriously you can totally do it, its easy and cheap and lasts forever and I'm telling you there is no reason to pay for store-bought again. It takes 3 ingredients that are all found at walmart (I've looked at other stores and some ingredients are found at other retailers but walmart is the only place that I've found all 3) and after you make your first batch the only thing you'll need to buy subsequent batches is a Fels-Naptha bar that is like $2. Because the recipe takes such little amounts of the borax and washing sodas they last forever.
The first step is to grate the Fels-Naptha bar and melt it in a pan with 4 cups of water. After creating your first batch you're going to see just how much of your laundry detergent is water! While its melting you fill up a 5 gallon bucket half way with hot water. I bought a bucket at home depot and then using my sprayer from my sink I turn my tap water as hot as it can go and fill it up halfway. Add the washing soda, borax and melted fels-naptha to the water and mix to dissolve and combine everything. Fill up the rest of the way with water and then it sit overnight to congeal.
I've made a free printable of the recipe that you can download HERE
The only thing thats a little abnormal is that it will gel up and you have to shake it before pouring it. Its a small simple step but without shaking your container it might not pour out. I use 1 gallon containers (pitchers that I got at walmart) to keep it in. I have 2 that I keep at the washing machine and then leave the remaining 3 gallons in the bucket in the garage and refill as needed.
4 Cups - hot tap water, plus almost 5 gallons
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda!)
1⁄2 Cup Borax
- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with 4 cups of water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. * Tip* if you put the bar of soap in the freezer before hand it's easier to grate, i found the soap bar at walmart for $1.97 in the laundry soap isle next to the borax and washing soda.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-I used a plastic pitcher to keep in the laundry room and store the bucket with the rest of the recipe in the garage. This soap does settle so when you go to do laundry you have to shake it once or twice before use. The initial investment is around $10 to buy all the ingredients and the bucket, but once you have the borax and washing soda you only have to re-purchase the fels-naptha bar for the next time since you use so little of the other ingredients.
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil. ** i use the gain scent booster pellets with this laundry soap because I like a really strong scent with my laundry- however others I know don't use anything and its just fine.
-I have been using this soap now for years and i love it. It works, its so inexpensive and it makes me feel good that I made it :)
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 5 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 1/4-3/8 Cup per load -Front Load Machines- 1⁄8 Cup per load