Homemade Laundry Detergent

Note to reader:  I have changed how I make my detergent.  That post can be seen here with detailed instructions and a cost breakdown: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Gets and Upgrade


I pretty much love all things homemade!  I love the feeling of industry and resourcefulness that comes from making something myself for cheaper than I could have bought it at the store.

Many years ago, my mom bought me the Reader’s Digest Homemade book (mine is the older version of the one in the link).  That’s where my homemade hand soap recipe came from.  There is a laundry detergent recipe in there as well, but it tells you to use 1/2 a cup per load which just doesn’t seem economical to me.

After searching for a more economical laundry soap, I came across a recipe from TheFamilyHomestead.com. (she has an excellent cost breakdown on there too!) For years this was the recipe I used:
1/3 bar of pure soap
1/2 c. washing soda
1/2 c. borax
(& sometimes I added a few drops of essential oil as well)
1.5 – 2 gallon container with lid (I used a plastic tub)

Grate the soap. (I use my Bosch Slicer/Shredder and do the entire bar or more on a fine shred.)

Put 1/3 of a bar into a saucepan.  Add 6 c. of water and heat on low until soap melts.

Add washing soda & borax.  Stir until dissolved.  Remove from heat.

Add your essential oil here if you like.

Pour 4 c. hot water into the 2 gallon container, add soap mixture, and stir.  Now add 1 gallon + 6 cups (22 cups) of water and stir.

Let sit for 24 hours to gel.  Can be poured into an old liquid detergent container and used the same way you would your usual liquid detergent.

**However, there are some drawbacks to this recipe**

1. It’s not ready right away.
2. It can get messy because it is liquid.
3. I often didn’t feel like my clothes were really getting clean. (not that they weren’t, but I often felt like the soap had too much water in it.)

So, recently via Twitter, I came across the Dugger family’s recipe for powder laundry detergent and decided to give that a go.  So far, I am quite pleased!  Here’s that recipe:

1 bar pure soap (Fels-Naptha, castille, etc)
1 c. washing soda
1/2 c. borax
medium-sized container with lid

Grate soap (as shown in previous recipe).

Place soap in container.  Add washing soda & borax.  Mix well.

Use 1 Tbsp per load or 2 Tbsp per load for heavily soiled clothing.

**Things I like about this recipe**

1. No wait time.  I ran out of soap this morning.  I made some up and could use it right away.
2. No mess.
3. Psychologically, *I* feel as though my clothes are really getting clean. 😉

Looking for more laundry detergent recipes?  Head over to MamasLaundryTalk.com (she’s hosting a link up on Friday…don’t miss it!)

Enjoyed this tutorial?  Perhaps you’d like to make your own Baby Wipes Solution?  Or maybe some Playdough for the kiddos?  Or maybe you just want to know more about Laundry in a larger-than-average family!  Whatever you’re looking for, enjoy your visit!