Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Home Made Laundry Detergent Recipe For People On Well Water

I've tried a couple of different liquid laundry detergent recipes, but they never seem to come out right.   They always gel up well, but never stay gelled.  It ends up looking a lot like egg drop soup.  (The crazy hot, humid weather we have probably has something to do with that as well.)

So this last batch I tried, I used distilled water and that seemed to be the magic fix.

Supplies you will need:
A large stock pot and a small stock pot
A long spoon (Metal or plastic if you plan on using it for something other than detergent making. I personally use a wooden paint stir stick, meant for 5 gallon buckets.  It cost about 28 cents.)
A 5 gallon bucket with a lid
4 Gallons of Distilled Water (If you are on a well like me.)
1 Bar of your favorite soap
1 Cup of Borax
1 Cup of Washing Soda (NOT baking soda, these are 2 different products.)

**If you are having a hard time locating Washing Soda, check smaller or locally owned grocery stores.  This is where I've had the best luck finding it.  Target carries Borax.

In the large stock pot, start heating 3 of the gallons of distilled water.  It does not need to be boiling, but it does need to be hot when its ready to be mixed up.

Grate the bar of soap.  (I use Coast.  I've tried and liked Fels Naptha.  I did not care for the detergent that Ivory created.)

(If you use Fels Naptha, it looks strikingly like grated cheese!)

In the small stock pot start heating 4 cups of the remaining 1 gallon of distilled water.  As the water starts warming, slowly add the grated soap and stir almost constantly until all of the soap is totally dissolved.  I stir slowly as not to foam it up too much, but soap bubbles are pretty normal.

Once the grated soap is all dissolved, pour the 3 gallons of hot water into the clean bucket. 
Add the 1 Cup of Borax and start stirring.
Then add the 1 Cup of washing soda and keep stirring.
(I stir this step for at least 2 solid minutes.)
Then add the melted soap mixture to the 5 gallon bucket and stir some more.
(I stir this step for no less than 3 minutes.)

Store in a cool place over night to give the mixture time to cool and gel.  (This is where my problem lies, there is NO cool place here!  lol)  It is normal to have some water that doesn't gel with this mixture. 
This is what mine looked like when it was done gelling up:

I use an old laundry detergent bottle to keep small amounts of this on the washer and refill from the 5 gallon bucket as needed. 

If you like, you may add a few drops of essential oil or fragrance oil to scent your detergent.  I add that to my small bottle, instead of the large bucket.
I also shake well before I pour it out.
I use between 1/4 and 3/4 cup of detergent per load depending on the size of the load.

The nice thing about home made laundry detergent is that it is a low sudsing soap, so it has worked really well in my HE machine.

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