DIY Laundry Detergent for the Not-So-Inclined

So I have experimented over the last two maternity leaves with ways I can save a penny here or there. Some things save a lot of money, BUT are a lot of work….while others don’t save a lot of money, but are easy to do….it has to be a personal choice and you have to experiment a little bit to find what works for you.

One of the ways I found was easy to save both money and did not require a ton of work was to make my own laundry detergent. I tried a few different recipes and methods, but below is my personal adaptation of one recipe I found. I also have included an actual pricing of ingredients so you can decide and see for yourself how much money you save versus how much work is involved!

Since Canada does not carry certain ingredients, I have adapted a recipe called Super Laundry Sauce for Dummies from a great website called Budget101.com (you can find the original recipe here: http://www.budget101.com/myo-household-items/super-laundry-sauce-dummies-4075.html

Canadian version of Super Laundry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Entire 130 g (4.5 oz) Sunlight Laundry Bar
1 1/2 cups tap water
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Just a little under 1 cup (85%) 20 Mule Team Borax Powder (you can find this at Walmart in the laundry aisle)
Just a little under 1 cup (85%) Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not Baking Soda) (you can find this at most Home Hardware stores, or you can order online at Well.ca)

2 (1 qt) Mason JarsIMG_20160314_150903

Instructions
1.  Unwrap the bar of Sunlight laundry soap and cut it into chunks. Place those chunks in a Ziploc bag and add 1.5 cups of tap water. Remove as much of the air as possible from the bag and seal it shut. 
Set is aside for 48 hours.

2. Once the Sunlight laundry bar chunks have set for 48 hours (or more- it’s fine if you forget it for a few days) gently massage the bag until there are no big lumps.

3. In a Medium size bowl combine borax and washing soda powder. Add 1.5 cups of boiling water and stir well to combine.

 

4. Snip the corner of the baggie off and squeeze the sunlight laundry bar chunks into the mixing bowl containing the dissolved borax/washing soda. Mix well with a spoon/spatula/whisk.

5. Pour the mixture evenly into 2 ( One Quart) mason jars. Add enough water to bring the contents of each jar up to the “shoulder” of the jar.

6. Unscrew the blade and bottom from your blender and carefully put on the gasket and blade on the jar, then screw on the bottom piece (be careful to align everything properly so you don’t damage your blender blades etc) 

7. Put the jar onto the blender and whip until smooth and creamy throughout (about 25 seconds per jar).  The detergent is Smooth and creamy with the same look and consistency of mayonnaise**.

8. Unscrew the blender blade, attach a canning jar lid and cover. You’re done!

**By the way, it is smooth and creamy like mayonnaise after it is freshly whipped, but will thicken as it sets and must be stored with a cover on. 

Special Tips:

  • Use 1 tbsp for a large load of laundry
  • Add the detergent to the bottom of your laundry machine (before the laundry) if it is a top-loading machine
  • Ensure the lid is put tightly back on the jar after each use, otherwise it will lose some of its effectiveness
  • If you have a time-delay option on your washing machine, I would not suggest using it when using this detergent, as it will lose its effectiveness the longer it sits in the washing machine

The original website claims that this recipe will make enough detergent “to wash 128 loads of laundry for about $1.76,” but here are the actual costs for the Canadian version:


Canadian Cost Breakdown:

  • 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster 2 kg = $5.58 (about 9 cups) = $0.62 per recipe
  • Simply Clean Pure Washing Soda 2 kg $7.79 (about 9 cups) = $0.87 per recipe
  • 2 Pack 130g Laundry Detergent Bars $1.99 = $1.00 per recipe
  • (optional if you can’t reuse a jar you have) Bernardin Regular Mason Jar with Standard Lid – 1 L (x12) $12.87 = $1.07 each

= $2.81 (including tax) to make one recipe (two jars) of detergent (which holds approximately 67 tbsp/load each = 134 loads of laundry total)


When I weigh the pros and cons of DIY cleaning products, I also take into account not only cost, but also:

  • how the DIY product is going to affect the environment,
  • how safe it is around my kids, and
  • how effective it is vs commercial.

I can honestly tell you that this is one DIY product that I can promote: it is environmentally responsible and friendly, safe around kids, effectively removes stains and cleans just like any other detergent! And to only spend about 30 minutes in total to make it, and then have it last the entire year, it is a win-win in my books!

Do you have a DIY laundry recipe you would like to share? If you try the recipe above, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

One laundry hamper at a time,

Ashley xo

One thought on “DIY Laundry Detergent for the Not-So-Inclined

  • Awesome!

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