Monday, January 13, 2014

Store-bought vs. Homemade Laundry Detergent

Today's post comes to us from DIYNatural. I knew I had to eventually try this out - making laundry detergent vs. using store-bought detergent - however I wanted to try and be as methodical and scientific as possible. I bought two brand new white socks, got them equally dirty, and put them in two separate white-only loads - one with the store-bought detergent and one with the homemade detergent. There is one thing that I should have done, just to be completely thorough, that I didn't do: I used store-bought liquid detergent instead of dry but in my defense, it's Arm & Hammer and so is the washing soda for the homemade detergent, so at least it's the same company!

Making the homemade detergent isn't hard at all. All you need is:

1. 1 cup of borax
2. 1 cup of washing soda
3. 1 bar of soap (I used Fels-Naptha but you could also use Ivory, Dr. Bronner's, etc.)
4. A grater, a bowl, and a mixing spoon

First, grate the entire bar of soap into a bowl. This might take you a while so be prepared to work your arms!

Next, pour in one cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax and mix together.

The original post said to use 1 tablespoon per load or 2-3 for larger loads but I would think 1 Tablespoon for a small load, 2 for a medium, and 3 for a large would suffice. I used 2 Tablespoons this time around. I found there was some floating to the top of the water but none of it stuck to the clothes, in case you're worried about that.

Make sure to keep in an air-tight container and properly label so your kids don't accidentally eat it!

Then came the moment of truth: did the homemade detergent do just as well as the store-bought?

Can you guess which sock used which detergent?

In the second photo, the sock on the left was washed with the homemade detergent and the sock on the right used the liquid store-bought detergent. The photo puts in some shadows that aren't there unfortunately because to the naked eye, they look like they were washed in the same load! I definitely plan on using this homemade detergent - it's cheap and super easy and believe it or not, it works!

TOTAL COSTS: Almost $20 (and supposedly makes 10 gallons worth)
$4.25 for Fels-Naptha bar of soap on Amazon (currently listing it as $4.41 but I think you can get it cheaper at stores like Target, Walmart, etc.)
$9.16 for Arm & Hammer super washing soda (for 55 oz. worth) on Amazon
$5.46 for 20 Mule Team Borax for 76 oz. worth on Amazon (currently listing as $5.26 but you can also buy this at your grocery store in the aisle with the detergent)

9 minutes to grate a bar of soap
1 minute to mix in ingredients

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 1 out of 5
Unless you're not good at grating things, then this will be very easy for you to do in between commercial breaks or while you're waiting for the next load of laundry to be done!

1 comment:

  1. We have been using a variation of this since last summer - works very nicely. I cut the Fels Naphtha bars (the recipe we use uses three) into chunks with a knife and then run them through the food processor - much easier than all that grating. the recipe also adds oxyclean, which seems to help too.