I can’t take the credit for this one, Callie told me about this detergent, which she found on a blog (http://beingcreativetokeepmysanity.blogspot.com/2010/11/homemade-laundry-soap.html) but we love this soap.
To summarize what you need:
a 5 Gallon plastic bucket
(optional) plastic bag to line the bucket
Box of Borax (4lb12oz)
Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (4lb)
Box of Arm & Hammer Super Wash Soda (3lb7oz)
3 bars of soap (Callie and I use Dr. Bronners- its organic)
Oxyclean (3.5 lbs)
All you do is use a cheese shredder on the bar soap, dump all the ingredients in the plastic bucket, mix them up. Then simply use 1-2 Tbsp per load… (yes this is safe for HE washing machines)
We have a 2.6 qt (2.4L) container that I have refilled once since we made this detergent batch February 10th, 2012.
To give an idea of pricing, we spent about $3 on the plastic bucket,$3.50 for the Borax, a little over $2 on the Baking Soda, $3 for the Super Wash Soda, $20 for 6 bars of Dr. Bronners soap, and about $6.50 for the Oxyclean. Overall we spent $38 in February to get this started up. Based on the current laundry consumption this should probably last through Fall 2012, at which point, we’ll only need to buy the Borax, Sodas and the Oxyclean for “round 2″ an ancillary cost of probably $15 (since the plastic bucket will be reused, and I already have 3 bars of Dr. Bronners in storage)
So for $53 I will have 2 buckets of laundry soap that will last me fairly close to 1 year, and I do laundry about 3-5 times a week since we are cloth diapering as well.
Based on the following current market prices:
Liquid detergent: $9-15 for a 32 load/50 oz bottles depending on the brand
Powder detergent: $12-20 for around 45oz of (lasting anywhere from 45-90 loads)
If I use the 3x a week model, that is 159 loads of laundry a year (we’d need 5- 32 load bottles of liquid detergent costing us between $45-75 or 3.5 boxes of powder detergent costing us between $42-$70). However if I use a 5x a week model, that is 260 loads of laundry (this is 8- 32 load bottles $72-$120 or 6 boxes of 45 load powder detergent $$72-$120).
This isn’t to say that making your own detergent is for everyone, but it sure made the house smell good when we mixed it up, I haven’t had to buy detergent for the last 4 months, I still have well over 1/2 of my first mixture left, it cleans the clothes great, and it made me feel good about doing something for the family myself, instead of just buying more detergent