Homemade Laundry Detergent

You've heard me reference my homemade laundry detergent before. Many of you have asked for my recipe. Your wish is (finally) my command.

The ingredients are fairly simple. You only need 3: Borax (1/2 cup to 1 cup), Washing Soda (1/2 cup to 1 cup), and 1 bar of Ivory (or Fels Naptha) soap.

Utilizing these 3 ingredients, you can make a dry or a liquid version. I have not yet tried the liquid version, but intend to in the future. I have been using the dry for two years now with excellent results.

Here’s what you do:
  1. Grate the bar of soap. (I would recommend buying a separate grater for this as it will be very hard to clean it sufficiently enough to use with food again after using it for grating soap. I got mine for 25¢ at a local thrift store. You didn’t really think I would have paid full price, did you?)
  2. Add grated soap to the Borax and Washing Soda.
  3. You can make as big a batch as you like and add it to a suitable container.
  4. You use 1-2 tbs of the mix for each load of laundry.
Here are some things to remember:
  1. The soap will not suds a lot. Don’t expect it to.
  2. You can use either ½ cup or 1 cup of the Borax and Washing Soda. The amount you use will be totally dependent on your needs. I usually use a mixture with ½ cup each, but I keep a mixture with 1 cup each in a mason jar in my big container for heavier loads (like when my son walks in the door covered in mud).
  3. If you don’t want to bother with 2 separate mixes, you can always just add a little extra Borax to the load. It is a natural laundry booster that many use even with the regular laundry detergent.
  4. Yes. You really only use 1-2 tbs with each load. I know it seems like an incredibly small amount. But your clothes WILL be clean. I promise. 
When I do the liquid version (sometime in the ever-elusive future), I will get back to you and let you know how it goes. You will save more money if you use the liquid version, but for me, I needed convenience. I’m still saving money by utilizing the dry version, just not as much.

If you try it, please let me know how it goes for you. Good luck!

P.S.-(Okay. Not really “post”, but work with me here. Anyway, back to the previously-scheduled P.S.) The kids really love grating soap so if you don’t feel like grating soap today, call a family project…and let your kids do the “dirty” work!

P.P.S.-(Again, please work with me here.) The extra bar you see in the pic above is a laundry bar I buy at the local health food store. It works wonders at getting tough stains out.


Kim V. said...

I have found that it is easier to grate the soap if you keep it in your freezer. The soap does not get all clumped up on the grater if it is frozen. Personally, I mix my dry parts together first and then as I am grating the soap I mix it in with the dry part. That also helps keep the soap from sticking together in clumps. :)
I have been using homemade laundry detergent for over a year now and we love it! It cleans as well or better than store bought detergents and at 3cents per load, how can you beat that! I hope your readers try this and report back. You made me a believer!

Crafty Mom said...

I've been using homemade laundry detergent - the liquid version with the same ingredients you list - for several months and I don't think I'll ever go back to store-bought detergent. I was skeptical at first, but I agree that the homemade detergent works just as well as the store-bought.

Thoughts of THAT mom said...

Thanks for your words, Kim.

I don't personally find it necessary to freeze the soap. I've never had any problems with the soap clumping. That's a good word for anyone who does, though. Thanks!

Crafty Mom-The liquid actually saves you more money than the dry version. I'm glad to hear you're happy with it. I'm excited to try it myself in a couple of months.

Anonymous said...

i have been using the liquid version for many years now. i have 4 sons, and my husband is a painter/carpenter, so you can just imagine how much laundry i do! i make a 5-gal bucket about once a month at my house, and i make one about once every 2 or 3 months for my mom and stepfather. they have very sensitive skin, so i tried using 3 bars of the plain white dove beauty bar, which is the only soap my mother can use on her skin. they loved the result, and i found that the texture of the detergent was more like that of the store-bought version, much smoother that the fels-naptha that i make for my family. and using dove, which is 1/4 moisturizer, they no longer have the need for fabric softener.

i also add 1/2 to 1 cup of lemon joy dish detergent to my own batch of laundry detergent, to help with grease removal and boost sudsing (i am one of those neurotic people that believes bubbles=clean!).

i also use my own home-made fabrioc softener recipe: 1-2 fluid ounces of inexpensive (think suave, white rain, vo5) moisturizing hair conditioner mixed with 1 quart of hot water in a canning jar. i had a plain rectangle dish sponge that i cut in half, and they stay in the liquid. when i put my clothes into the dryer, i squeeze out a sponge so it is no longer dripping, and toss it in. clothes come out smelling great and are as soft as could be. a jar lasts about 2 weeks.