One five gallon bucket and lid to dedicate to detergent making/storage = $3.88
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda = $3.24
Borax = $2.98
Bar of Fels-Naptha soap = $0.97
Bar of Ivory soap = $1.00
Total to get started = $12.07
(Note: You will get quite a few batches out of the Borax and the washing soda, plus the bucket is a one-time expense. So the cost per batch is around $3.50)
- Grate the Ivory & Fels-Naptha soap and add to saucepan with 4 cups of water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
- Fill 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add the melted soap mixture, plus 1 cup of the washing soda and 1/2 cup of Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
- Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of the way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
- Optional: you can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. (I didn't do this)
- Yields 10 gallons of laundry soap
This is what ours looks like, all done. It has a thick, gel-like consistency. Remember, you use a smaller, everyday use bottle with a mix of half this stuff, and half water... so this should last a long time.
And here are before and after pics of one of Shane's dirtiest, grubbiest work/garage shirts. The before pic was taken AFTER the shirt had been laundered in our old store-bought soap - I pulled it from the clean clothes basket to see if there was any noticeable difference with the new homemade stuff.
Oh, and one more benefit of the new soap - I really like the smell of it. I did not choose to add any essential oils, so it just has a nice clean soapy smell (which came from the Ivory & Fels-Naptha) rather than the overly perfume-y smell of the store bought stuff. So there you go: $3.50 for 10 gallons of laundry detergent, that works BETTER and smells nicer than what you buy at the store. Everyone should be doing this!