Monday, April 26, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've wanted to do this for a while now...make my own homemade laundry detergent. Not only do we have laundry from four people (three of them who like getting VERY DIRTY), a home, baby chicks, and a dog, ... we wash all of our diapers. This means that we can go through quite a bit of laundry soap. However, we do own a HE washer which does cut down on the soap needed.

I've seen friends do this and I've read in countless blogs that more and more people are trying to make more of what they use themselves...I guess you can equate it with becoming more sustainable.

SO, I finally decided to give it a try. You only need three ingredients.
1) Fels-Naptha soap (you can use Zote or Ivory too)
2) Washing Sosa (NOT TO BE CONFUSED with Baking Soda. You really do need Washing Soda.
3) Borax

That's it.

Grate 1 c. of the bar of soap with any 'ol cheese grater or food processor. I used my handy-dandy microplane which I consider a NECESSARY kitchen tool.

1/2 c. Washing Soda

1/2 c. Borax

Mix it all together, put in any old container and YOU'RE DONE!

There are many recipes online for making a liquid detergent too. I like the ease and simplicity of the powdered...but maybe when I go through this, I will try the liquid detergent.

And...for those penny pinchers out there..


The recipe yields 2 cups of laundry detergent. If you use 1 tablespoon per load, you will be able to wash 32 loads of clothes

20 Mule Team Borax: $2.50 for 70 oz. – Cost per batch: .14 (4 oz needed for recipe)
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda: $2.50 for 55 oz. Cost per batch .18.(4 oz needed for recipe)
Fels Naphtha: $1.24 per bar. Cost per batch: .83 (2/3 bar of soap needed for recipe) *

Total cost to make: $1.15 Yields 2 cups which translates to 3.5 cents per load


Sean and Lindsey Thomas said...

Awesome! Have you heard of that ball you can just put in your washer and you don't even need soap?...saw one at Earth Day Celebration yesterday,

TnT said...

I've seen it in a magazine Linds, but I've never tried it. I've also seen something in Lehman's catalog that is some kind of soap balls...just put the ball in the washer and it lasts for several loads. Hmmm....if you try it, let me know how it goes.

April said...

That's awesome Tracy! Thanks for sharing. BTW, you can get the lunch box at Target on line. :)

the mom~ said...

And this is ok for a HE washer???

katie said...

What do you think of the stain removal ability of the soap? Does it get all those tough dirt stains out? I have so many clothes that are so stained... Girls playing hard. Does this work well for tough stains or what do you do about that? My problem is that so many girls clothes are light colored and show any stains.

TnT said...

Salena- Yes! It is perfect for an HE washer since the homemade soap is so low sudsing...which is what most commonly causes a problem in HE washers.

Katie- I am new to this concoction so I will have to get back to you on how it does on bad stains. However, the Fels-Naptha soap is a stain treater-- that what it is made for-- so based on internet and friend reviews, the Fels-Naptha makes things come out very clean. I will let you I have three boys in this family who have lots of stains on everything too!

Meal Planning Made Simple said...

I've been wanting to do this for a while too...thanks for the info. Were you able to find all ingredients at a grocery store?

Lindsey G said...

Tracy~ so cool! I'm gathering my own supplies to make laundry soap too! I had to order the Fels-Naptha bar and washing soda online (couldn't find them in any grocery store), and I'm looking forward to making my first batch!

Kim said...

This recipe come just in time for us to make some up instead of buying a jug at Costco on Saturday!