So. It’s not Monday. For two weeks in a row.
Maybe it’s better if I promise a simplicity post as my first of the week, whatever day it happens to be, rather than on Mondays. You guys copacetic with that?? Cool.
One aspect of simplicity that I really love is the fact that it’s drastically reduced the amount of stress in my life. Things are much calmer and more relaxed around here, partly due to the fact that through our exploration of simplicity (the becoming self-reliant part), we’ve started making our own detergents in addition to foods we used to buy processed. It’s very freeing knowing that when I run out of laundry soap or dishwasher detergent, I’m only minutes away from a huge batch that will last me a really long time. Especially in the case of the laundry soap. A single batch of that makes 5 gallons, which lasts our family about 4 months, and costs less than $5. You can’t get commercial detergent for that price, and the homemade stuff works just as well.
Similar story with dishwasher detergent. Using products I always have on hand anyway, I can make a nice big batch of it that will last 2-3 weeks (and we run the dishwasher a lot – at least once a day, sometimes twice). I love never having to worry about a) scrubbing my dishes with chemicals, and b) running out of dishwasher detergent and not being able to get more quickly enough. By making my own, it’s always a no-stress situation. And the method couldn’t be simpler.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
1 box baking soda (2 cups)
2 cups borax
1 cup salt
There are two ways to make this. The first way is to mix your dry ingredients, then stir in about 4 tablespoons of lemon juice. The chemical reaction will cause quite a fizz, so make sure you’re working in a big bowl. When all the ingredients are well combined, divvy the mixture up into an old ice cube tray and leave it somewhere to dry for about 24 hours. Pop the cubes out and use them like you would the dishwasher tabs you buy from the grocery store. If they don’t fit in your detergent cup, just put one on the bottom of your dishwasher with each load.
The second option, and the one I use, is to combine the dry ingredients in a bowl with an airtight lid. When you run the dishwasher, put a small scoop (1-2 tablespoons) of the dry stuff into your detergent cup, add a few drops of lemon juice (you’ll still get that fizzing action), close your trap door, and run as usual. You go through more lemon juice this way, but I like it better anyway, because you don’t have to wait for the cubes to harden and the powder is easier to store than the cubes.
Cool! We’ve never done homemade dishwasher detergent, though we’ve talked about it. I REALLY want to know how you are making your laundry detergent. (Wait, maybe you emailed me that.) I only made it once because it wasn’t cost effective. It cost me $12 to make a large box. It also costs $12 to BUY the same box.
Okay, for my laundry detergent, I use one bar of Fels Naptha ($1.33), one cup of borax, one cup of washing soda (each of those boxes costs about $4, but it makes WAY more than one batch of detergent), and tap water to fill the bucket (5 gallons). Say you calculate the borax & washing soda at $1 apiece (which is high, because those boxes would make more than 4 batches, too, but I’m not sure exactly how many), and the water at 50 cents a gallon (again, WAY overestimating – you could bottled water for that price, lol!), it comes in at $5. Since those are overestimates, I can comfortably say it costs less than $5 for a 4-month supply 🙂
The method is simple. Grate the Fels Naptha. Combine it, the borax, soda, and about a gallon of water in a large pot. Cook over high heat to melt the soap and dissolve the powders. Take the time to be thorough here. Once you think it’s all melted, let it simmer another 3-5 minutes to be sure. Carefully pour the soapy water into a 5-gallon bucket and add enough HOT water to fill the bucket. Let sit for 24 hours.
This soap isn’t as “smooth” as commercial detergents, but it gets our clothes clean, and that’s all that matters 🙂
Awesome! I am going to get the items I need to make your dishwasher detergent and I would like to make your laundry detergent also…but not sure what some of the ingredients are and where I would get them. Fels Naptha? And what is ‘washing soda?’ Also, how do you store the detergent? In the 5 gallon bucket?
Thank you so much for the info
Looks like I’ll need to do a thorough post on this next week! 🙂 In the meantime, let me answer your questions. Fels Naptha is a laundry bar. Just like a regular bar of soap, but on the laundry aisle of the store. In my store, it’s on the top shelf. Washing soda is in the same general area. You can also make washing by cooking baking soda in the oven @ 400 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. Come back next week for a full tutorial with pictures! It’s just about time for me to make another batch anyway 😉 . (The last time I made it was in mid-October.) And yes, I store it in a 5-gallon bucket that I got from Home Depot.