Tag Archives: borax

Homemade Laundry Detergent 101

So here lately (aka approx. 6 months) we’ve been broke.  The husband would probably not appreciate me airing our finance issues, but I’m cool with it because I know we’re by far not the only ones, and I’m praying to sweet baby Jesus that it’s only a temporary set-back.  Anyway…being broke forces you into doing things & trying things you never have before, such as making your own laundry detergent because you’ve run out but there are zero dollars to buy more yet everyone still needs clean clothes because the world doesn’t stop turning & clothes don’t stop getting dirty just because you’re broke.  Right?  Right.

I have quite a few packages of bar soap…it used to be a ton & I acquired them during my coupon heyday.  I googled a recipe for homemade laundry detergent (found one that I almost had all the necessary ingredients) & got to work.  Let me tell ya…do not be daunted by the sound of this activity.  It’s very simple & cost effective & even better (as far as I can tell anyway): it actually works!  So whether you’re currently broke like myself (by the way…I don’t mean the kind of broke that some assholes claim they are yet they have all their basic needs met & then some, which in my opinion is not truly broke, it’s just lying for sympathy(?) or attention (?)) or just curious or trying to save a few bucks or maybe you’re just a Crafty Little McCraftster….try the recipe out & let me know what ya think!!

Broke People’s Detergent

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You Need:
3 bars of soap (I used Ivory; you can use any kind on hand)
6 cups water
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup washing soda (Can be found with the laundry junk at the store; I had just run out so I upped my Borax to 1 cup as a substitute)
6 cups warm water
Large pot
Bucket (I used a 3 gallon-I think-plastic mop bucket)

You Do:
Add 6 cups of water to a large pot.  Stir in grated (I only chopped my soap & some of it didn’t melt completely so I’d definitely take the time to grate) bar soap; heat over medium high until melted.  Add borax & washing soda; stir well until dissolved.  Add 6 cups of warm water, mix well with a whisk.  Add 1 gallon (I used a freshly emptied milk jug) cool water, mix well.  Stir with the whisk every 30 minutes until completely cool (I bolded this because I was lazy & did not do this because it felt “cool enough” to me; I think that’s why I ended up with some chunkiness in the end. Don’t let laziness mess up your results!).  Cover & let it sit undisturbed overnight. 

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In the morning you may have to break up some solidified soap on the top & stir well for a little bit just to mix it all up good. 

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After that the mixture should resemble thinned hair conditioner

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(aka Dollar Tree conditioner; aka you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever experienced true broke-ness) & you can pour it into containers for storage & distribution (I used the freshly emptied laundry detergent bottle+the milk jug).  When ready to use just give it a couple good shakes, use 2 oz. for small loads/4 oz. for large loads (or just fill the detergent bottle cap up like myself) & you’re off!  See how clean your clothes can get & truly at a fraction of the price of commercial detergent.

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Pinterest post #3: DIY Dishwasher detergent

I was so excited to come across this pin & immediately added it to my list of “Pinterest stuff I want to actually do ASAP”, and made sure to get the ingredients-which happened to be required by a couple other pins I was trying.  I had just run out of Cascade (perfect timing) & I was super hopeful about this pin because dishwasher detergent is ridiculously expensive.  So I made a batch of the DIY exactly as it stated (very simple…all it takes is borax + washing soda, then some white vinegar when you actually run the dishwasher) & used it, exactly as it stated.

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-Insert drumroll here-
The dishes all came out amazingly, sparkling clean!  There was no particular scent other than clean-ness but I overlooked that (I’m a “smells” person…if it smells clean then I feel like it’s clean) because the dishes came out beautifully clean using a pennies-on-the-dollar mixture!  Here was my pros list:

•worked excellently
•ingredients were relatively cheap
•ingredients could multi-task for other pins
•very simple to make
•very quick to make
•would most likely have ingredients on hand to make more when I ran out as opposed to having to go to the store

The cons were:

•no awesome Gain-like smell

Happy as a clam I started using this DIY mix regularly.  Never once did I change my typical “dish habits”, even with the first run.  I will usually rinse really dirty dishes off under scalding hot water before putting them in the dishwasher; the rest just go straight in.  I don’t hand wash them then put them in or anything like that.  I kept an eye on my rinse agent level too because that’s where you put the vinegar.  Now, after a few weeks of using this mix, I’ve begun to notice there is always a film on my dishes when they’re finished.  I’m very displeased & disappointed with this latest development.  Is it some sort of build up from the borax and/or washing soda??  Should I be running some sort of cleaning cycle periodically??  I’ve tried troubleshooting this problem…I’ve made sure I filled the rinse agent with vinegar; I’ve added extra vinegar to the bottom; I’ve cut back the recommended amount (2 Tbsp) of mix; I’ve added a tiny bit more mix; I’ve rinsed the dishes off a little more than usual; I’ve run a second rinse cycle after the regular cycle.  Nothing is working.  No matter what I try I simply cannot bring back the glory I first experienced.

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It is not from food, or me being lazy & throwing in dishes with sandwiches & the like still on them.  It is a soap type residue.  If I take a damp towel or rag (which I’ve been having to do unless I want to hand wash every single dish) it buffs right off.  Maybe I need to “splurge” and get some actual rinse agent?  I guess I’d still be saving money on the detergent but it would be counteracted by having to purchase the $4-$5 rinse agent!

I’m not sure whether to classify this as a scam or not…I don’t know if it’s just my experience…it does work-in the beginning-so it’s technically not a scam.  You can find the original pin & instructions HERE, until I decide whether or not to move it to my Bullsnit Pinterest Scams board.  Go try it (borax & washing soda are each $3-$4 per box) and PLEASE share your results with me!!  This is obviously driving me nuts.