Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Own Detergent and Re-Ordering Aion

Frugal Dreamer's last post about making your own laundry detergent finally convinced me to try it for myself. I would rate the project as a moderate success.

I used the recipe she gave here. For my soap, I used Irish Spring , Reviving with Mint, because I failed to look at the website from which Frugal Dreamer took her recipe, which recommends that you not use heavily perfumed soap, lest it stain your clothing.

I think I ended up spending about as much as Frugal Dreamer did, but differently. I couldn't find any place in my area that sold washing soda, so I ordered some from ebay from this person (she was the cheapest at the time, and she delivered within 5 days, so I'd recommend her). The Borax was lying around the house from a failed project by Mr. Goat, but would have cost about $3 at Wal-Mart. I didn't have to buy a bucket, though, because I had a kitty litter bucket lying around. I save them because they are so so useful around the house, and they proved so this time as well. The soap came as part of a package; it's what we use here at Chez Goat normally.

The actual detergent-making process was quite simple, and it looked like it came out really well. The next morning, it had hardened to a scary jello-like consistency. A vigorous stir yielded a light green sludgy mess.

I have a high energy front loader washing machine, and the detergent did not dissolve in the little tray. However, when I put it directly into the drum, it dissolved fine and cleaned clothing fairly well. After two loads, I have not noticed any staining. The only thing that did not come clean was one pair of muddy white socks, but I washed them on normal with no bleach, so I don't think commercial detergent would have done any better.

I am using about half a cup of detergent per load, so figure 40 loads per batch. It looks like the borax will make 3 batches, so ~ $1 a batch; the washing soda will make 2 batches, so ~ $4.23 a batch, and the soap was ~ $1 bar. So $6.23 per batch, or almost 16 cents a load. Arm & Hammer Detergent, my usual brand, costs about the same amount, tax included, for 31 loads, or a little more that 20 cents a load. The detergent website has a recipe (#8) that uses baking soda instead of washing soda, which I might try next time, as that would bring the cost down for me significantly.

On a different note, Amazon canceled my Aion pre-order. When I pre-ordered, it was $3 cheaper than it is now, but when I called them and complained, they gave me a $3 credit on my new pre-order. So if you had the same problem, it's worth giving them a call to get your $3 back.


  1. I really should read the whole post before jumping to conclusions based on the photo! I seriously was looking at the photo and wondering how one could make detergent that contained kitty litter! (It's been a long day!) Every time laundry detergent ends up on my shopping list I wonder about making it myself. The good stuff is expensive. I'm thinking about trying this.

  2. Ohhh!! I am SO glad you tried it. Yes, I noticed that you shouldn't use perfume soap, but like you, I did it anyway and haven't had any staining!

    That's crazy that washing soda wasn't sold in your area! But at least you could get your hands on some! :D

  3. @Hustler - Thanks your comment gave both me and Mr. Goat a good chuckle.

    @FD - There must be several areas where it is not available, since there are a bunch of people selling it on ebay by the cup. I'll be curious to see how the detergent with baking soda (which is available here:) stacks up.

  4. I want to try making my own laundry detergent, but we have really hard water in our area. I've heard that it will make clothes dingy due to the hard water. Don't want that! And the gelatinous stuff.... heard its normal (occording to wisebread).

  5. sounds great and i want to try it. a couple of questions (elementary questions but unknown to me nonetheless) ...

    1. how do you grate bar soap?
    2. how do you know if you have hard water?

  6. scratch question #1, i read the FAQ page on the homemade laundry detergent's link.

  7. @ Ms. Money - I have no idea, sry. Maybe FD or MF can help us out?