For some odd reason, I saw a lot of Tide detergent commercials when I was growing up. Perhaps they were sandwiched between kid shows in the hope that desperate new parents would see it as a solution to at least one of their many challenges. These commercials claimed that Tide would get clothes cleaner and keep them more vibrant. We couldn’t afford Tide, so I added this item to my ever-growing checklist of what it meant to live the dream of suburbia.
Then one day, I tried the fancy, bright orange bottle that promised to make all of my dreams come true. Eventually, I admitted that I didn’t enjoy the way it made my clothes—and therefore me—smell. And later, as I became more environmentally conscientious, I began buying brands such as Seventh Generation, which cost even more but didn’t make me stink. The liquid was also clear, as opposed to radioactive blue.
Even more than cost-saving, however, I relish being able to make my own detergent. It’s one item I never have to add to my grocery list again, and each batch makes a year’s supply. Added bonus: the bumps on the back of my arms have disappeared.
- Half of a grated bar of ZOTE soap
- 1/2 C Borax 20 mule team powder
- 1/2 C Arm & Hammer (or other brand) Super Washing Soda
- Hot water
Other items needed:
- A large pot
- A large stirring spoon
- A funnel
- 5-gallon bucket
- Containers in which to store the detergent (old detergent containers or plastic cat litter containers such as Tidy Cats) Note: the Tidy Cats containers can become very heavy, so I fill them halfway.
What to do:
- Fill a very large pot (at least 4 quart) 3/4 full of water.
- Bring to a boil.
- Add grated Zote and stir until dissolved.
- Add 1/2 C Borax and stir until dissolved.
- Add 1/2 C Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and stir until dissolved
- Fill a 5-gallon bucket 3/4 full with hot water (it is easiest to do this under a tub faucet).
- Pour the contents of the pot into the bucket. Add more hot water to fill 2″ from top.
- Cover with lid and let sit 24 hours.
- Stir and pour into containers using a measuring cup (for the pour spout) and a funnel. It will be the consistency of Jello.
- Use a capful from your regular liquid laundry detergent. Some recipes boast that only 1/4 C is necessary, but I usually use 1/3-1/2 C. Note: sometimes I have to shake the containers if the mixture separates.
You can add drops of your favorite essential oil if you would like a scent. Otherwise, the detergent is ready to go!