Why moving back to the US has suddenly turned me slightly granola, I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s because I’m a little freaked out by how common cancer seems. Maybe it’s because I’m starting to discover that cutting a little processing out of the process can be both health-conscious and budget-conscious. Maybe it’s because I like trying new things and taking pictures. Perhaps it’s because I can still remember how much smaller the chicken breasts were in South Africa, and I just find the difference worrisome. Who knows.

But after hearing some rave reviews from friends and reading a few online, I decided to give making my own laundry detergent a try, just to see how difficult it was, and to see if it actually worked. I consistently read that you could save a significant amount of money by doing it yourself — and I sure do like that idea.

I found a bunch of recipes online that involved melting soap and mixing stuff and it all seemed like a lot of work. And I wasn’t really interested in adding a really time-consuming task to my chore list just to save a few bob. So when I found the recipe that I thought I’d already heard a bit about and it involved three ingredients and three simple steps, I jumped in as fast as I could get my Mom to watch the kids so I could go to Walmart alone and get the stuff. I pretend it’s a mini-vacation and stroll those aisles in a rather leisurely fashion.

These were the magical ingredients I needed, which I turned into a little image for you to pin on pinterest if you like. Even though I think I should’ve tweaked it a little more, I decided I was spending too much time on this and I promised a friend I’d share this recipe a gabillion years ago. Or three weeks, same diff.

Ahem, the ingredients:

  1. 20 Mule Team Borax (that brand is recommended, and boric acid is NOT.)
  2. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, which the Bear calls Washington Soda, and which is NOT baking soda. Capish?
  3. Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar OR a bar of Ivory soap 

{I was given a heap of Ivory soap when we arrived back in the States and my Dad’s church blessed us with a huge box of pantry-stuffers. Which was awesome and I might’ve forgotten to tell you about that. But being a Dove girl, I sat that Ivory aside, knowing it would serve a purpose in its own good time. This is that time. Also note: The Fels-Naptha Bar is AWESOME for stain treatment. I wet stains, scrub with that bar and a toothbrush and launder, and it has worked a LOT!}

Here are the Three Special Steps: {and if you are the parent of a kid who watches special agent Oso, you appreciated that wording}

1. Grate a whole bar of Ivory soap OR a half bar of Fels-Naptha into a big pot. {Not both!}

2. Let your kid feel special, by allowing him to pour in one cup of Borax and one cup of Washing(ton) Soda.

{That’s face paint from preschool, and this is a horrible picture because my Hubs is a photographer. And I am not. And I was using the wrong lens and standing in a chair… it’s a long story, okay?}

3. Stir like you mean it. Really. Stir and stir some more, until a nice powdery mixture results. This will all take less time than an episode of Little Einsteins.

{Yes, the Kool-aid spoon does handle a lot of work around here, and yes I do wash it throughly when switching between this job and making granola.}

And, drumroll please…that’s it! You just use 1 TBSP (yes, one lil’ ol’ tablespoon) for normal loads and 1 – 2 TBSP for heavily soiled loads. I have been pretty generous with it because I like the way it makes the clothes smell, but really, it works great and that’s all you need!

So far I’ve used this simple recipe for regular clothes and delicates, pretty soiled loads (Tigers and Bears, ya know) and smaller/shorter wash loads, and it has done very, very well. I occasionally stain treat with the Fels-Naptha bar (or good ol’ Shout) before washing.

I keep it in an applesauce jar, like the granola. Just not the same jar.

I will probably make two batches next time, just to make the little mess a little less often.

But that’s the whole she-bang! Let me know if you try it. And if you want to see the original post where I found this recipe, which was awesome because they also did a cost breakdown analysis which takes the time to tell you just how much you’ll be saving if you decide to start making your own laundry detergent, you can click right here! You forgive me for not wanting to do all that math all over again myself right? The Little Einsteins are singing in my ears as I type…




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