I have several friends who make their own laundry detergent. I was fascinated by this, especially since they are (for the most part) normal friends. Not super crazy granola type friends. It sounded so easy, and they all swore by its effectiveness. Given that they are all families with young kids like mine, I knew they had similar laundry piles full of mud, spilled food and drink, and other nastiness. I decided to try it. What was there to lose?
There are a bajillion make-your-own laundry detergent tutorials online, both powder and liquid varieties. The vast majority make use of the same handful of ingredients, in slightly different proportions. I decided to go with making a powder for my first attempt (liquid involves cooking, and I was interested in simplicity), and I followed the proportions my friend Milli suggested, so I'd have someone to blame if I hated it (kidding!).
Ingredients, all purchased at Wal-Mart.
The trip to Wal-Mart was by far the most painful part of this process. I looked at Target first, since I am often there more than once a week, but they didn't have Fels-Naptha or Super Washing Soda. I hear that Ivory (in the people soap aisle) or Zote (also on my Wal-Mart laundry soap aisle) are also good soaps for this process. I chose Fels because I liked the way it smelled better than Zote. Zote is pink though, which I admit appeals to me. It would be nice to have pink flecks in my laundry soap.
Process: I grated one bar of Fels-Naptha in my food processor, and then dumped it in a bucket with 2 cups of Super Washing Soda, 2 cups of Borax, 1/2 cup of salt, and then I decided at the end to throw in a cup of Oxi-clean powder that was sitting on my laundry room shelf. I figured it couldn't hurt.
I put the lid on my bucket and shook vigorously to mix it all up. Ta-da! Looks (and smells!) like laundry detergent.