Last weekend, I bought supplies for the detergent. Less than ten dollars (US) for all! The first time I ever experimented with making this was the end of March. Yesterday was July 2. That's how long my first batch lasted! Now granted it is just my son and I here, but on average I do about 3-4 loads of laundry a week - towels and whites, bed linens, dark and mid-ranged colors. A batch of this homemade detergent could easily last a larger family a month or so, and again, it's all natural, and less than $10 to make! Here's the recipe I follow, which was given to me by a friend.
First you need Borax, Baking Soda, and a bar of Fels Naptha or Zote. I found Zote laundry flakes so that's what I used!
I also throw in some essential oils, for scent and antibacterial properties. My favorite to use is lemon but lavender is also nice option!
The recipe is as follows:
1 1/2 cups of Borax powder
1 1/2 cups of Baking Soda
1 bar Fels Naptha or Zote (I use about a cup and a half of the Zote flakes)
A few drops of the essential oil of your choice
I don't want to accept anything less than the words on this on the label! It makes me feel so much better about what I'm using to clean our clothes, bed linens, and towels - things that are close to our skin - with!
After combining all ingredients, simply mix together in a lidded container. I usually make several batches in one container, which means I use the recipe five times to have a large amount pre-mixed. So simple and easy! It will take all of the box of Zote Flakes (or bar of Fels Naptha) and the entire box of Baking Soda, but you'll have bit of Borax left over to use for other cleaning purposes.
After it's all mixed up, it will smell so nice and fresh! I use a few teaspoons per load and it works wonderfully!
An example - a few weeks ago, my son and I were at a festival watching a leather-smith make belts. My son wanted a belt so we were waiting around when he accidentally bumped against a place on the cash register podium where there was some leather oil/polish residue. Icky black stuff. The craftsman apologized but explained it would not come out and might even transfer to other clothes in the wash. My son was really bummed because it was a favorite outfit. I'm delighted to say, washed in this homemade detergent blend, the icky black stuff all came out! I was amazed myself!
So give it a whirl and make your home a little more phosphate and chemical free! It takes maybe 10 minutes to mix it up! So simple and yet such a wonderful step towards being more eco-friendly, not to mention saving money on overpriced commercial detergents!