Sooooo, I don't know about the rest of y'all, but I have this tendency to swear the next time I have to buy something will be the time I switch over and make it myself. And then somehow I find myself in some weird laundry emergency (read: out of underwear) and scamper to the store to buy another bottle of overpriced green detergent. But NOT THIS TIME. This time, I finally made detergent. And it couldn't. Be. Easier. Plus you get about twice the amount for half the price - and you know exactly what's in it. AND you can pick/customize your scent! Win, win, win!
Ok, so here's what you'll need to buy to make this happen (all available at your average grocery establishment): Borax, Washing Soda (they should be near one another in the laundry aisle) and two bars of natural, magic smelling soap - we went with Dr. Bronner's, one peppermint and one lavender.
Now, a note on these ingredients. One of the main reasons to make your own products is to know exactly what's going into them and keeping them as toxin-free as possible. Most of these ingredients are pretty universally accepted as harmless. Dr. Bronner's soaps proudly lists all the simple ingredients on the front, and there's nothing questionable there. Washing Soda is simply soda ash made from common salt and limestone. Basically, if you put baking soda in the oven at a high enough temperature, it would become soda ash. Borax is the sticky wicket here. Some folks think it's a great natural cleaning choice and some of the negative research has been misleading, others think it's not as lovely as it may seem and could even be a hormone disruptor. I simply suggest you do your research and make an educated decision for yourself. I personally think it's perfectly fine for washing my clothes but wouldn't eat it as a breakfast cereal (at which it would become boric acid...good to note the differences).
OK! Ready to get going? It's so simple I can't believe I waited so long. First, grab your soaps and either grate them or throw them into a food processor to grind them up small. I personally used a box grater and then crumbled the pieces even smaller between my hands. You should end up with 2.5ish cups of soap crumbles. The magic equation is one part soap to two parts borax and two parts washing soda equals super awesome detergent. That means you'll need to add in (in this case) 5 cups of both borax and washing soda for a total amount of 12-14 cups of detergent. Wanna get all Pinterest on that action? Store it in a half-gallon mason jar and attach a 1/4 cup measure with twine. Put a pretty label on it announcing your creation to the world (or at least your stanky laundry) and you're in business.
Is it cost efficient? You bet! It only takes 1/4 c for a large load of laundry and the recipe made about 13 cups of detergent. All the ingredients cost around $13 but I still have abt half of each of the powders left over, bringing the cost down to around $8-9 total per batch. That means each load costs around $0.15, far less than Tide and without all the mystery chemicals!
Add this simple addition to your cleaning routine to save money and keep your home healthy. You could even make a bunch and print the recipe on a card as a holiday gift - just make sure your recipients don't think you're trying to be passive aggressive regarding their cleanliness. More updates on the road to sustainable living to come!