Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Is this on anyone's list? I have wanted to do this for a long time and I finally did it today. About a month or so ago we went for a shopping trip in the Sacramento area where we stopped at a Winco and stocked up on food supplies. I was excited to find everything I needed to make my own laundry detergent there. We normally buy a big thing of powder detergent at Costco and since I was running low on it Today I figured it was a good time to whip this up. I followed my SIL's tutorial found here. Here is the recipe:

1 bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap (grated, then food-processed)
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda
1/4 C Baking Soda

After grating the bar soap (the kids called it soap cheese) I pulled out my trusty Magic Bullet to get it as fine as I could then I mixed it all  together in my big Costco laundry detergent bucket. I also wrote the recipe on the lid so I can find it easily the next time I make it and I also wrote down how much to use 2 TB/load.

I filled my bucket about quarter of the way (which was about 4x the recipe) and I think it will last at least twice as long as my big costco bucket and probably longer. I had originally bought 4 bars of soap 2 boxes of Borax and 2 boxes of Washing Soda. I ended up only using about half a box of the Borax and Washing Soda. So really this is WAY cheaper than buying laundry soap.

The "cheese soap" (pre-food-processed)

The kids loved helping with the whole process

Here is what it looks like all mixed together

Here is the bucket with the recipe written on it (also makes a nice drum)

Oh, and Buddy and Bella also insisted that I write on the bucket that it was made by us - so I wrote all of our names on it - just so we don't forget :)


  1. Lol. This has NEVER been on my "I want to try that" list, but neither were cloth diapers. Deterget's a good thing to know how to make, though, and 2 TB/load is pretty appealing. Tell us how you like it!

  2. So have you used it yet? Does it clean as well?

  3. Ha ha Celia! I'm surprised this hasn't come across your radar before. So here is the scoop. I did one load tonight and I think it works just as well as what I usually use. The smell is not super strong, so if you like having a distinct smell, you might not like it(I like the smell of it but it isn't Gain, if you know what I mean). Although, I normally use fabric softner and I didn't with that load. I will still use fabric softner when I do my loads.

    Also, I just recieved a recipe Scott's aunt uses (she lives in Alpine and runs an emergency preparedness business). I wish I had gotten this before I made mine. Here it is:

    1 box 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz)
    1 box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (55 oz)
    3 bars Fels-Naptha

    In a separate container mix the entire 55 oz box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and six cups of Borax (you'll have about 4 cups of Borax left over). Unwrap 3 bars of Fels-Naptha. They need to be finely grated and added to the mixture. (They'll grate more easily if you let them dry out for a day or two.) They can be grated by hand or by using an electric grater. it should be the consistency of cornmeal. Once you add the finely grated soap to the Borax and Washing Soda mixture, mix thoroughly.

    I think I might try to add more washing soda and borax to my mix to give it a little more oompf. This recipe uses less of the bar soap than the one that I used and doesn't call for regular baking soda.

    According to my aunt this amount of detergent will last for one year doing 5 bucket loads/week (she sells emergency laundry bucket/plunger things). She tried it on some towels that had been outside all winter long and thus were very dirty and she only used 1 or 2TBs and they came out nice and clean.

    This is great for your emergency preparedness/food storage especially since you only need a little bit to clean your clothes. You can make a small batch and put it in a jar and have it with your 72 hour kit and if you ever had to evacuate you could grab it and take it with you and not have to worry about how you are going to wash your clothes. And for the frugally conscience, it comes out to pennies a load.

    My verdict: LIKE! (And as cheap as it is, it is at least worth a try right?)

  4. Oh, I've known people to make their own laundry detergent, I've just never cared to.