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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent vs. Tide - recipe and price breakdown

Did you know you can make your own laundry detergent at home? It works great and it's super cheap. Here's the recipe I use.

6 cups borax
4 cups baking soda
4 cups washing soda
4 cups grated soap
Mix thoroughly and store in an air-tight container. I put mine in a 6 quart sterilite plastic shoe box with lock n lock lid.

I use Kirk's coco-castile soap. For this recipe you'll use your cheese grater to shred the soap up in really small bits. Three 4 ounce bars will equal 4 unpacked cups, plus a few tablespoons. I just put it all in.
Cost so far: $3.00

2 small boxes of baking soda (16 oz size) equal four cups. Right now, these are on sale, two for a dollar.
Cost so far: $4.00

You can get approximately 14 cups of Borax from one box. It's $4.00 a box, so that means its about $2.34 to make one batch (since you only need 6 cups.)
Cost so far: $6.34

A box of washing soda costs $3. You need about half a box for one batch, which puts your washing soda cost at $1.50.

Grand total, for one batch of homemade laundry detergent, is $7.84, not counting tax. (With 6% sales tax, the total is $8.31.)

This makes 20 cups of detergent.

For softened water, you'll use 1/8 cup of detergent per load. That means that for less than eight dollars, you can wash 160 loads of laundry, at just 5 cents a load!

If you have hard water, like me, you'll use 1/4 cup of detergent per load, so you'll get 80 loads from one batch, with a cost of ten cents a load.

Compare this with Tide. I found the cheapest Tide online, 211 ounces for $24.00. That's just over 26 cups of detergent. Tide says that you can get 120 loads from 26 cups of detergent. That's twenty cents a load - two to four times the cost of homemade detergent!

The homemade detergent works just as well as the Tide and is safe for sensitive skin, since it has no added "sudsing agents" or fragrances or colors. (If you like scented clothes, add a few drops of essential oil to the main batch.) When this is washing, you won't see nearly as many suds as you do with commercial detergent, since this doesn't have phosphates (which make it suds up.) Don't worry though, it cleans like a charm!

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