I liked the idea of making my own eco-friendly detergent without nasty additives and I'd read that it was easy and much cheaper than buying it. On top of that I was sick of dragging home heavy bottles of detergent and hated the packaging waste.
And is it good?
Truth is I haven't bought any premade detergents since February last year and I figure I've saved myself a lot of money in that time. (To see how much I've made a price comparison for you below between bought and home made.) I also love that when I run out (invariably on the weekend) its a simple thing to pull out the ingredients and make another batch rather than having to drive to the shops and buy more.
All the recipes are very similar but I think I based my measurements initially on this one. This batch makes a bucket full, about nine litres. You can also make dry powder but I've always found that makes my sensitive skin itch.
1 and a half litres of water
1 cup soap flakes or grated soap (I use Lux flakes because its quick and easy.)
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda
10mls eucalyptus oil (optional but I love the smell and I guess I'm used to scented detergent)
Bucket, containers for finished soap, pot, wooden spoon, measuring cup, funnel if you have one. I keep my ingredients together in the pantry and in the washing soda container a copy of the recipe so its there when I need it.
Put one and a half litres of warm water in a pot and put on the stove on medium to high heat.
Add 1 cup soap flakes or grated soap and stir till it dissolves (above).
Add 1/2 cup borax and 1/2 cup washing soda and stir to combine until the mixture thickens (below).
Pour mixture into a bucket and fill with warm water.
Stir to combine.
As it cools the mixture thickens so keep stirring or the top will harden and you'll have to stir it to break it up again. I keep the bucket in the bath and stir it when I walk past.
When the detergent is cold decant it into bottles. A jug or a funnel makes this process easier because the mixture is quite thick by this time.
And that's it! How easy is that? Once you get into the routine its a pinch and much easier than dragging it home from the shops, paying ten times as much and now you know exactly what goes into it, all eco friendly ingredients.
The other day I was in Woollies and noticed the price of the detergent we'd been using (photo below). It was a nice reminder of the money we are saving. The five of us go through a lot of washing detergent, what with sport and school and work and everything.
I sat down and made a price comparison based over ten litres for the basic ingredients. And even I was pleasantly surprised. My homemade detergent is 15% of the price, each two litre bottle saves me over $8. Times that by two or three bottles a month and the savings mount up.
Homemade per 9L
Lux flakes ($7.19/700g) - 1 cup, 123g = $1.26
Borax - Glitz Green ($7.98/kg) - 1/2 cup, 107g = $0.85
Washing Soda Lectric $3.86/kg - 1/2 cup, 133g = $0.51
Hurricane Top Loader ($8.99/2L) $4.50/L or $45/10L
Homemade ($2.62/9L) 29c/L or $2.91/10L
Edited to add
* according to Lisa on instagram you can even lower the amount of borax, which helps make it friendlier for her husband with psoriasis.
* there are no foaming agents so it is initially quite disconcerting because it doesn't foam.
* I have been meaning to further thin it because it can come out in a bit of a glob because its quite thick.
* All the ingredients I found in the soap powder aisle at my local supermarket.