Monday, May 17, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent!

I'm very into saving lots of money lately, especially since I started couponing heavily. One of those ways I wanted to save was to make homemade laundry detergent. Until now, I didn't because I had 2 of those mega sized jugs from Sam's Club I had to use up first. I'm nearly at the end of my 2nd one so today I decided to make my homemade concoction. I was able to get these 3 ingredients at my local grocery store in the laundry section. Here's the recipe:

2 cups grated bar soap such as Ivory, Zote or Fels-Naptha (I used 1 bar of Fels. Grated, it was exactly 2 cups)
2 cups A & H Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
1 quart boiling water
2 gallons water

After grating the Fels-Naptha with a cheese grater, I added it to the 1 quart of boiling water. I have to say, it took much longer for the soap to melt than I had expected. I got out my wisk to help it along.

Once it was completely melted, it was quite foamy. It's now poured into a large bucket, or in my case, a canning pot. I might add that my house smelled lovely from the melting soap!

Next you add your washing soda and borax and mix until there are no lumps. It makes a pretty yellow paste.

Once your powders are well mixed into the soap mixture, you can add your 2 gallons of water. I added 2 quarts at a time and mixed very well in between. Within an hour, it was gelling, which is what it's supposed to do.

The goal is for it to be goopy, lumpy and runny. I used a funnel and poured it into orange juice bottles that I had saved for this very purpose. For large loads you can use 1/2-3/4 cup of the detergent. It should be shaken or stirred before using.

And Luke gave me the perfect opportunity to test it out today when he got a hold of a decorating bag full of buttercream. Greasy, green buttercream. I didn't pre-treat the jeans at all, on purpose. I always wash in cold water and I used 1/2 cup for my large load. At first, it was like little gelatenous lumps mixing around in the wash water but it did mix in once it had a chance to agitate. I was pleasantly surprised to see the jeans come out of the wash sans said buttercream! Just take a look---->

Not only is this a cheaper method for cleaning clothes, it's much better for the environment. Commercially made laundry detergents contain a "laundry list" (pun intended) of chemicals that are harmful to humans and animals. I was gonna go into this long post on the dangers of commercially made laundry soap but instead I'll add a link for you to read that's very informative. Click HERE to read.
If you enjoy the scent laundry soap leaves on your clothes, you can add essential oil to your detergent. I, however, am still using commercially made fabric softener. Once I'm done with my dozens of bottles of that, I want to try making that as well.
I encourage you to try making your own. It's not hard or time consuming at all. Who doesn't wanna save money? And being eco-friendly is an added bonus!


  1. I've been using the powder version of homemade detergent for about a year now and Love it! One word of caution though-I had really bad fading with Fels Naptha and have read that its a common complaint of this soap (it also has really nasty chemicals in it)-I use Zotes or Kirks and have had much better results!

  2. Thanks for that tip. I read that after I had purchased the Fels. I'll for sure use a different variety next time. Hopefully it won't cause too much damage with only one batch.