Monday, April 23, 2012

The Duped Project 10/50: Powdered Laundry Detergent

This project isn't as big as I would like it. I planned a huge scheme, including 3 recipes, each tested by 5 households and rated on a predetermined scale. I bought all of the ingredients I could find, but in the end, I was missing one ingredient, and I ran out of time. And my old detergent.

On the up side, I see a plus to making your own: you will not run out. You may run out of ingredients after, I estimate, about 2 years, but when the container is empty, it will take all of about 5 minutes to refill with a fresh mix. Very important when your kid's uniforms are ALL dirty, or your puppy peed on his dog bed that he won't sleep without. Dogs crying are worse than kids. Seriously.

I've been using this recipe for about a month. So far, awesome. I'm super pleased with it's cleaning ability. No fancy smell, but it's economic, space-saving eco-friendliness will make up for that. (Still want scented laundry? There's DIY Febreeze in the works. Just you wait.) But I digress - this recipe, like many others I have heard about, performs like the stuff in the store, but costs less than a fourth of the price. Bonus: It's also free of some of the ingredients that I'm not too fond of in commercial detergents:

Find out how to make this little gem after the jump!

Thanks for jumping. Did you do hurdling in high school? While you're here, if you were wondering how that tree hugging detergent you bought at Whole Foods (or the store-brand goo you bought at Wally world) holds up to this test, you'll find a clear chart of some of the most popular commercially-available detergents at, including each offending ingredient and a rating.

There are a lot of homemade recipes out there, but I ultimately went with this one from "Elisa Loves"because it is:

  • Borax-free (less likely to burn sensitive skin)
  • Approved for cloth diapers and clothes alike
  • Powdered (takes up less space than liquid)
  • HE approved*
  • Takes no additional tools (i.e., 5 gallon bucket, food processor, turkish peasant with stone mill)
  • Contains ingredients available at most supermarkets
  • About 3.5 cents per load (7 cents in non-HE waser)

That's right. 3.5 cents. My old detergent for clothes (I won't say, but it rhymes with Tall Brie and Queer) was about 12 cents a load, and my beloved cloth diaper detergent was 14 cents a load. Savings!

Here's the super easy recipe. If you like, be sure to stop back at the source and thank Elisa for her hard work. And if you love nifty things, use some of the money you'll save to get a magnetic scoop from Rockin' Green. Sticks to the side of your washer and measures perfect, every time.

Ingredients and other paraphenalia, including the oft-coveted magnetic scoop

Powdered Laundry Detergent 
Combine equal parts in an airtight container:
  • Super Washing Soda
  • Baking Soda
  • Oxygen Cleaner
Shake well to mix. Use 1 tbsp for HE, 2 tbsp for normal machines. 
*As with every one of my projects, try at your own risk. A washer is a terrible thing to lose.

Like this project? You might also like these other "Duped" projects:

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