The ingredients are:
2 bars grated Zote soap (or Ivory, or something called Fels Naptha)
Washing Soda (aka Oxy Clean or Sodium Carbonate, not to be confused with Baking Soda which is Sodium Bicarbonate)
I followed the recipe from the aforementioned website and changed the quantities to use what I had. Here's the updated recipe:
2 bars (12 cups) grated Zote (using a food processor would be better because the soap would be finer)
6 cups Washing Soda
6 cups Borax
Essential oil (optional, just for a scent)
One normal-sized load is 1 tablespoon, and the Washing Soda came with a little 2-tablespoon scoop for easy measuring. Since clothes get pretty dirty around here thanks to messy eating habits, snot explosions and walking in the rain, I use 2-tablespoons per load.
But does it really work? So far I've done about 5 loads and the clothes come out smelling fresh and clean and the dirt is gone. It also works on cloth diapers! I'm actually excited to do laundry now, because it's part of the whole experiment.
Does it really cost less? Yes, even when I factor in the time it took to make. Making it took less than 15 minutes! I spend that much time at the grocery store figuring out the best deal on detergent while managing the yelling children. Here's the breakdown of the costs:
Washing Soda= $5.99
Zote= $2.54 ($1.27/bar)
Borax= $1.49 (half of a $2.98 box)
The recipe made 24 cups, which is 384 tablespoons. 2 tablespoons per large load is 192 loads. 1 tablespoon per small/medium load is 384 loads.
Cost per (2 tbsp) load: $0.05
Cost per (1tbsp) load: $0.02
Compare that to buying a brand name detergent such as this. All Ultra makes 140 loads for $32.33. That's about $0.23 per load! Of course detergents may be found cheaper depending on where they're bought, this is just an illustration of how frugal making homemade detergent can be. Am I ever going to buy detergent again? Probably yes, but it's nice to know that there are other options.
Hmm, what are we going to spend all that extra money on??? ;)