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Tightwad Assignment – Make laundry detergent at home

Tightwad Assignment – Make laundry detergent at home thumbnail

(February 26, 2009) – I  have a sensitivity to perfumes.  Doctors say it’s not an allergy – I think they call allergies only those things they can treat.

A lot of laundry detergent is so perfumed, it makes me sick, so I began to experiment with making my own detergent.  Here’s a formula I found, and what you need to make it:

  • A bar of soap – I use unscented.

  • A container of sodium carbonate.  Some grocery stores sell this as Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (Washing soda – not baking soda – the washing soda comes in a much larger box).  A lot of pool supply places sell sodium carbonate as a chemical to increase ph.   Look on the label and be sure it’s sodium carbonate.

  • A box of borax.  Again, the grocery store sells 20-Mule Team Borax.  This is NOT Boraxo.

  • A big bucket with a lid.  You can find 5-gallon buckets at a hardware store, or you may be able to find one free from a painter.  Commercial paint comes in 5-gallon buckets.

  • A knife, a big spoon or paint stirrer,  tap water and a large cooking pot.

Put about a quart of water in the pot and heat it up on the stove.  Use the knife to carve thin slices from the bar of soap and put them into the heating water.  Carve up the entire bar.  Heat the water until the soap is dissolved.

While the water is heating, put three gallons of water from your hot water tap into the big bucket.  When the soap is dissolved, add the soapy water to the bucket and stir.   Add a cup of sodium carbonate and a half-cup of borax.  Stir for a few minutes, then allow it to sit overnight.

After cooling,  your detergent is kind of a gel.  Use about a cup in a large load of clothes.  Dump it in the washer and let the washer fill to mix it.

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