Tired of spending money on laundry detergent? I was too. That stuff is really expensive! Instead of spending $20 plus on some detergent that will maybe last a month (two at tops), why not spend $20 on detergent that will last you one to two YEARS!
I started making my own laundry soap three years ago and will never go back. It's great because it's cheap, lasts forever, very strong (but not hard on clothes) and it's powder! Since it's powder, it's very portable. When I take a long trip-- like an ILP semester abroad --where i'm gonna need to wash my clothes, I bring a Ziploc bag of this stuff and it lasts for months! **hint hint ILP volunteers**
In case you're wondering (because I know you are), here's what a day in the life of ILP Ukraine volunteers looks like!
Making this soap is just as easy as using it (that's pretty easy)! So, first things first... You need to gather the supplies.
Here's what you need:
- 4 lb box of Borax
- 4 lb box of Arm and Hammer baking soda
- 3 lb box of Arm and Hammer super was
- 3 bars of Fels-Naptha (or 2 bars of Zote) bar soap
- 3.5 lbs of Oxy Clean (you may have to get two small containers)
You should be able to find all of these items in the detergent aisle of Wal-Mart. To make the soap, you'll also need these handy:
- Cheese grater
- Food processor (optional)
- 5 gallon bucket (or something similar)
- 2 gallon storage container
- Big spoon
How to make it:
Start by grabbing your cheese grater and grating all your bars of soap. I do this on a plate to make it easier to move later.
If you have an HE washer, I would recommend once you have it all grated, run it through your food processor to make the soap even finer (it will help it dissolve a little better in cold water).
If you don't have a food processor or don't care to make it finer, you can't omit this step -- I've never had issues with the soap dissolving in cold water without being run through the processor.
Dump the rest of the ingredients in your five gallon bucket then add the grated soap. Grab your big spoon and mix it up until it's very well incorporated. I usually try and stir it for a full minute or two.
Now that your soap is made, you will just need to transfer it to an air tight container. This recipe makes about two gallons worth of laundry soap, so make sure your container can hold that much!
**ONLY USE ONE TO TWO TABLESPOONS OF DETERGENT PER LOAD**
This detergent is strong enough (and doesn't have any of the fillers like the store bought detergent does), so you don't need much to get your clothes super clean.
If you're volunteering for a semester in Europe, Central America or China (or really where ever), don't forget to bring a little extra for your ILP group...They will thank you when they can save money and not have to buy detergent. Look at it this way, you can use the money you're saving from making/bringing homemade detergent and use it to buy the best souvenirs in Moscow, go to the Shanghai Wild Animal Park or see the Los Tres Ojos National Park!
Interested in volunteering with the International Language Programs, but need just a little more convincing? Check out the ILP Instagram and try not to get pumped about going! When you're ready to apply, go ahead and click below!