Also, I have a family of four and this recipe usually makes enough detergent for us for six months. I have never had it mold or go bad. If you won’t use as much as we do or are concerned at all about this, you can add Teatree oil to each jug. Ten drops per jug should keep it fresh. With that said, let’s get started.For this project you will need:
Hot tap water
1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap
1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup of borax
Medium sized sauce pan
Long handled spoon
5 gallon bucket with lid
Empty detergent bottles.
Please note- you must use Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda. Arm and Hammer baking soda will not work. Nor will Arm and Hammer detergent. It must be sodium carbonate.
Once you have your materials together, you will start by grating your bar of Fels-Naptha with the cheese grater into the saucepan. A vegetable peeler may take longer but will work in a pinch.
It should look like this when you are finished…
Add 4 cups of hot water to the saucepan.
Stir continually over med-low heat, stirring continuously until the soap is dissolved. Do not whisk or you will cause sudsing.
Fill your 5 gal bucket half full of hot tap water.
Stir melted soap.
1 cup washing soda.
And 1/2 cup borax.
Continue stirring until all powder is dissolved.
Finish filling the bucket with hot water, give it one last good stir and then…
Slap a lid on it and let it sit overnight.
Day 2: this is how it should look.
It should be a combination of large gelled clumps and liquid. The cooler your house, the more gelling.
The original instructions tell you to stir at this point but I find it much more effective to roll up my sleeves, shove my arms in and start squishing it through my fingers until it is of a consistency that it will easily flow through a funnel. More fun too!
This is the part where I tend to make a bit of a mess. So, unless you just like to mop, I would suggest tossing a towel down on the floor.
I use 2 gal bleach jugs because they fit better on the shelving in my laundry room but any jug with a screw on lid will work. Bleach jugs, detergent jugs, even milk jugs. Just make sure to rinse them out well before filling. If you haven’t thought to save jugs before starting, check your local laundromat. If you are not opposed to digging through their trash, there are usually more empty jugs than you can carry. I have found from experience, that friends and family are willing to save their old jugs for you, as well, if you only ask.
Fill each jug half-full with the detergent. If you are particular like me, you can measure the exact amount. If you are like everyone else, you can just “eyeball” it.
Once your jugs are all half full of detergent, add hot tap water to each jug until they are almost full. Leave just enough room at the top to make shaking effective for mixing. Then, screw the lid on and shake away!
Your new homemade detergent is now ready to use. I hope you love it as much as we do!
For top load washers, use 1/2 cup per load.
For front load washers, use 1/4 cup per load.