At $20 for a little over 1 gallon, I'd been wanting to try out some less expensive options than the Original Tide I've always used for our laundry. When I began researching and experimenting, I found it difficult to find something that worked for my sensitive-skinned family. All of the bar soaps that recipes call for are too harsh for us to use. Plus the work of grating does not at all appeal to me.
I stumbled across this recipe for liquid soap, and I couldn't wait to test it out. I bought all of the ingredients and did the math. For the amount equal to the $20 Tide, this soap costs $0.36. That's not a typo! Tide is approximately 56 times more expensive than this recipe! I was also a little concerned because, while the recipe says it is safe for HE washers, I couldn't find a single review of someone who had actually used it in one. I'm happy to report that there is no more sudsing with this recipe than with my old standby Tide. It is just fine.
I've been using this soap for several weeks now, and I've changed it up a bit to better suit us. Here is my updated recipe:
Liquid Laundry Detergent
4 cups boiling water
4 tablespoons borax
4 tablespoons washing soda
3 tablespoons Dawn dish soap
1 gallon cold water
Fill a gallon jug with cold water. Then, measure 4 cups of that water to boil (so you'll end up with 1 gallon minus 4 cups of cold water in the jug). When the water is boiling, take it off the heat, and add the borax, washing soda, and dish soap, and stir until everything's dissolved. Let cool, then pour into the gallon jug shaking lightly to combine. Use 1/2 cup per load.
Some Notes: This soap is not nearly as heavily-scented as Tide. If you're looking for something that will make your laundry smell fresh, here are a few ideas. You can use dryer sheets (something I always do anyway). I also have used a tablespoon or so of Tide along with my 1/2 cup of homemade detergent, and it is almost exactly the same scent as Tide alone. Or you can add scent beads to the laundry. My favorite are these.