As a “couponer”, I would always look for sales and coupons on any laundry detergent, softener, and dryer sheets I could find. First off, you never have enough, you always need it, and it is stupid expensive! My mom actually found this recipe, but there are many others out there you can use as well. Either way, I used this one and it smells fantastic. You can also make your own softener, but I have not done that one yet. About too though, so I will share once I do it! These products show below are all found at Wal-Mart, and I have seen some at HEB. They are all inexpensive and you use very small portions of these (except the bar soap) so they will give you A LOT OF CHEAP DETERGENT!! I made one of these batches 4 months ago and I am only half done with the batch. Family of 4, hard working and always outside= super dirty laundry and lots of loads. Oh, and I use this on my HE washer and it works great!
*Start Saving your Laundry Detergent bottles, or have your family and friends save you some. The ones with the push button dispenser are not great for this since the consistency is a little off for the drain. I use the smaller bottles with the handle to help pour.
Start off with:
- 4 Cups hot water
- 1 Bar of Fels-Naptha Soap
- 1 Cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (no normal baking soda, must be sodium carbonate)
- 1/2 Cup Borax
- 5 Gallon Bucket** (optional and can be found at home depot for $4)
- Grate the Fels-Naptha into a large pot with the water
- Continuously stir over medium heat until soap dissolves. It takes a while, so make your grated pieces small to speed up the process.
- **For using the bucket: Fill the 5 Gallon Bucket half full of hot tap water.
- Add melted soap, super washing soda, and borax and stir thoroughly.
- Fill bucket to top with hot water
- Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken
- Stir and fill the laundry soap dispenser half full of soap and the other half with water.
- SHAKE BEFORE EACH USE!
You will probably get a better mix doing it with a 5 gallon bucket. However, if you do not have a bucket to use, this is how I did it:
- After melting the soap, add the washing soap and borax to the pot, along with enough water to fill your large pot.
- Stir and let cool
- Pour into each container 1/4 to a half full, and then fill the rest with hot water.
- This gave me 3 containers of detergent and the solution thickened in the container. I only needed to add more hot water to one container to loosen it up a bit, but for the most part it gave me a gel consistency and I have been very happy with it.
*Experiment with this recipe! I have been told you can add any bar soap you want for the smell you like. Fels-Naptha is just a really good stain fighter and all of the ingredients are found in the laundry detergent aisle. You can also add essential oils (REAL ESSENTIAL OILS!) to your mix for an even better smell:)
Hopefully this is a good place to start! Good luck!