Various recipes for homemade laundry detergent were floating around pinterest like crazy last November, so I decided to give it a whirl. Before I tried it, I did quite a bit of research on each of the ingredients and decided to try the following powder recipe first:
1/3 bar FelsNaptha soap, grated $.35
1 C washing soda $.54
1 C borax $.35
Mix ingredients together and use 1 T per load.
Total cost for 1 batch (approximately 36 loads): $1.24
The verdict: This combination only worked well when I was doing a load on the hot cycle. Not great since I primarily use the cold cycle. My husband guesses it'd work better without an HE washer
Next I tried a liquid recipe.
10 gallons was a bit much for me to commit to, so I split the recipe found here in half
1/2 Fels Naptha bar
1/2 C washing soda
1/4 C 20 mule borax
and proceeded as follows:
Use 1/4 C for front load or HE machines (about 320 loads). According to this site, 5/8 C is needed for a regular top load machine (about 90 loads).
Total cost for 1 batch of liquid detergent: $.89 (that's less than half a penny per load with my washer- totally worth the effort of making it)
The verdict: So far, I have zero complaints about the cleaning power of the detergent. Also, even though it seems like a long process, it only took roughly 30 minutes of work, the rest is just waiting for it to set.
I have a top loading HE washer and due to the low sudsing nature of this combination, it is perfectly safe to use.
About the cost:
notice the recipe calls for a partial bar and partial cups out of several from
each box, so the above prices are a reflected accordingly (before tax).
I paid full retail for each item and after tax only paid $7.94 (purchased 12/5/11).
Final verdict: The powder is easier to throw together, but due to the better cleaning power and cheaper price, I say the liquid version is the better option.