Although I still have plenty of homemade powdered laundry detergent to use, I was in the mood to make a batch of homemade liquid laundry detergent.
The measurements in this particular recipe will yield you 5 gallons of detergent. I don't know about you, but this will keep our family clean for quite awhile. It's so much cheaper to make your detergent than it is to buy it.
One box of borax and one box of washing soda will last for several recipes so let me break it down on the cost. I had the borax & washing soda on hand so all I bought was the ZOTE bar for $.77 cents. So deducting the amount of powder used from the original cost of the products and adding in the ZOTE bar, this double recipe cost me $2.49 for 5 gallons of liquid detergent. Now, how much per load does this break down to...let's see...at 1/4 c. per load you should be able to get an easy 400 wash loads out this batch. So that makes each load cost us $0.006225. Yes, you read correctly...that's less than a penny per load!
Here's what you'll need...
1 bar Zote soap
1 c. borax
1 c. washing soda
5 gallon bucket with lid
Cut ZOTE into large chunks.
Then using the grating blade of your food processor, grate soap. If you don't have a food processor, you can always grate the soap by hand.
Place grated soap into a heavy stock pot.
Pour in 12 cups of hot water. Heat mixture over med-high heat until soap dissolves.
Stir often using a long handle mixing spoon or whisk to keep soap from clumping on you.
Measure out your washing powder & borax powders.
Once ZOTE is completely dissolved, pour in borax and washing powder. Stir well as powder is added to soap water.
The mixture will become "tight" feeling and heavy. This is normal. Stir continuously allowing heat to dissolve powders. Remove pot from heat.
To your bucket, pour in 8 cups of hot tap water.
Slowly pour in hot soap mixture. Be careful not to splatter and burn yourself. Stir vigorously to mix well.
Continue adding 40 cups more of hot tap water to your bucket as you stir mixture.
Let soap cool completely. During the cooling process you can come back and stir the mixture every so often if you care to, but it's not necessary.
As the soap cools it will begin to coagulate and become more gel like. If your mixture is partially gel and partial water consistency after it cools completely, this is ok. Just stir before each laundry application if you care to. Soap will dissolve in the laundry water just as would store bought detergent.
To use: For lightly soiled laundry, use 1/4 cup or less of detergent per wash load. For heavily soiled laundry, use 1/3 - 1/2 cup of detergent per wash load.
Cook's Note: The second time I made this (almost 5 months later, as it lasted that long) we used a mixing attachment for the drill to stir the detergent in the bucket. This is a very inexpensive attachment piece that you would use for stirring tile grout for application, mixing cement, etc. Since this gives it a more mechanically stirred effect than hand mixing it seems to have a better holding ratio (meaning, it will still gel up regardless of what stirring/mixing method you use, but the gel will need to be stirred more often it seems if it is hand mixed versus electrically mixed.) You do not need this mechanism to make the product, but I wanted to let you know the result we had with it.
(I really think this was a ploy by Mr. M to be able to use his power tools in the kitchen...it's a guy thing. But hey it really did work!)
Click HERE for printable recipe