Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's the fuss about detergent?

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Well, it's cheaper by comparison and fun to make!

I read up on the different recipes out there, and ended up kinda mixing things up here and there. Here's my recipe: (no photos though, I forgot!)

1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 bar of Fels Naptha laundry soap, can substitute with Ivory or any bar soap you like
A big pail with lid (i used an 18liter pail)
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, then turn down the heat to a bare simmer.
  2. Add in the grated soap bit by bit, stir til no more soap particles left. Make sure its not too hot or it will bubble over the pot sides.
  3. When all is melted, turn off the heat. Add in the Borax and washing soda. Stir til smooth (no more gritty crystals).
  4. Fill the pail slightly more than halfway full of the hottest tap water (cos i'm making 3 gallons = 11 liters). I did this in the bathroom, using the water heater at almost maximum.
  5. Pour the soap mixture into the water, stir well. 
  6. I'm not a fan of the smell this detergent gives, so i added about 15 drops of essential oil (bergamot) per gallon.
  7. Let it sit for 8 hours or overnight. 
  8. After that it would have set into a jelly like consistency, so just stir again to whip it up into a nice liquid.
It is now ready! Just add 1/2 cup to your normal wash, 1 cup for extra soiled wash.

I however would prefer to keep it in a smaller container, and hide this big pail under the sink. So i've added an extra step to this, which is to take out as much as i need to fill a large Ikea glass jar 3/4 full, whip it up in my mixer (also can use the blender for this) and fill the jar with the whipped cream like substance. Add a nice label and i'm done!

If you want to know the technicalities of how much it will save me per year, it continues after the jump.

Here's where it gets technical:
The process (minus the 8 hours resting time) takes about half an hour. Some would say its a waste of time, and would rather buy the stuff in the store, but wait! Let me cost this for you, i'm basing it on the fact that i do one load per day (give or take 260 loads per year).

You can get Borax and washing soda in Ace Hardware.
Borax (1 box contains 10 cups) - RM31.90 / 10 = RM3.19 per cup
Washing soda (1 box contains 6 cups) - RM23.90 / 6 = RM3.98 per cup
Soap (i used Fels Naptha) - RM7.90 per bar
15ml Essential oil (optional, but i used it so i'll add it in, 1 bottle for 3 batches)- RM21.90

1 bottle of Dynamo from Tesco costs RM27.90 for 4.4kg does roughly 70 loads. I'll need 3.71 bottles of this per year which costs RM103 in total.

So one batch of the homemade laundry detergent makes 11 liters which makes about 88 loads.
Which means i would need to make 2.95 batches to accomodate my 260 loads per year, which comes up to a cost of RM66 per year.

So this process, saves me about RM40 per year.

To save even more money, apparently you don't need to use Fels Naptha, and can substitute it with any bar soap you like. I've got tons lying around in my bathroom and i've been collecting hotel room soap bars anyway. I hear Ivory is a good substitute too, 3 bars for RM8.90.


I've found this alternative recipe for a concentrate that i might try after this:
2 cups Borax
2 cups washing soda
2 bars of soap
1 Tablespoon per wash makes 256 loads, which costs RM37.50 per year. Saves me RM70 per year.


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