Experiment: Can I make a powder laundry detergent that will clean well, not break out my family, and be cheaper?
Experiment Taken From: Notebook 03.08.2007
Materials Needed: (See Instructables for their directions)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda Powder (not baking soda)
1 bar Fels Naptha soap (you can use other soaps like Zote used by instructables, but I could not find that soap, others also use Ivory, Pure & Natural etc)
Food Processor or cheese grater
Use the cheese grater on your food processor and put your soap in to grate. Then take out the grated soap and put in the chopping blade on your food processor add the grated soap and the rest of the ingredients and process until powdery. I like to put a wet dish towel on top of my processor during the chopping stage. Add to container and use 1 tablespoon for small loads and 2 tablespoons for large loads.~
Note: You can use a grater instead of a food processor and mix all the ingredients with your hands, but I find that harder to dissolve in the washer if it is not more of a powder like substance.~
I put my washing powder in a 5 gallon bucket that I got at Walmart for about $5. I also tied a long string to the bucket with my tablespoon attached, so I would never lose it. (see above picture)
Results: I was worried about whether this powder form would dissolve as I had read others having this problem. I just turned on the hot water and swished the soap around before putting in my clothes and I have not had any problems with my powder soap dissolving. I made 10 batches of the laundry powder to save more time later and it really did not take that long to finish all of the batches. My clothes seem clean. One big difference is that this soap does not make bubbles and people worry that it will not work, but it does work fine. Nobody seemed to break out from the detergent and several in my family have broken out when I have changed detergents. I figured out that this soap cost about 5 cents a load. I was using Sun detergent and it was about 8-10 cents a load depending on where I got it from. So, while the powder detergent does not save as much as the liquid homemade laundry detergent, which is more like 1 cents a load. I am still saving money. Most tide detergents are about 20 cents a load. Personally, I was really happy with the results. I would like to mention that you really do not want to wash your food processor in the dishwasher after you have made your detergent because it will leave a soapy residue on your dishes. Instead hand wash it. Also, I have read a lot of articles saying that this type of detergent is harder on your washing machine. I read that adding some vinegar to your fabric softener dispenser every now and then will help with this problem, so I plan to do that. I also learned that vinegar works really well as a fabric softener, so I may be switching for fabric softener sheets to a homemade fabric softener soon.
Conclusion: This homemade powder laundry detergent is easy to make, if you have a food processor, and cleans well. It also did not break anyone out in my family. So, I think it is a keeper for my house.
For more experiments go to Mom Advise.