Monday, July 13, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent (Bulk Recipe)

A few people have asked for directions on how I make my own laundry detergent. This is a "bulk" recipe for making the homemade laundry detergent I use, and it last about 2 1/2 to 3 months. We have hard well water and this works well for me. Here are the directions:
  • 1 box of Borax (I use 20 Mule Team...costs appx. $3.29)
  • 1 box washing soda (NOT baking soda...it's found in the laundry aisle usually...cost is appx. $2.99)
  • about 4 bars of soap (whatever brand works best in your water...cost varies depending on brand. Ivory is a cheap soap if it works well in your water. I use Coast quite often...and it's inexpensive too.)

Start by grating your bars of soap very finely. Personally, I use my food processor. After all, you're only chopping up soap...soap is made to clean things...just wash your processor well after you're done. No one will ever know you've been chopping up soap! :O) Before I go any further, let me mention that I *always* save those little slivers of soap that are too small to use easily anymore. I let them dry out, then just pop them into a ziploc bag and save them up until I'm ready to make a batch of this detergent. I probably have enough saved up right now that I won't be using a full new bar of soap next time I make it...I've got enough "soap slivers" to do the job.
Anyway, once you get your soap finely chopped, just mix your washing soda, borax, and soap in one BIG container. You're done. How easy is that?

I normally wash about 11 or 12 loads of laundry each week for my family of five. I use about 3 tablespoons of detergent per load. If you have good soft water, you could probably get by with using 2 tablespoons per load. One batch of detergent lasts me 2 1/2 or 3 months. The cost? If I am purchasing soap to make this recipe, it costs me about $7-$8, depending on which brand of soap I use. If I don't have to purchase soap, then the most it cost is $7. Compare that with what you're currently spending on laundry detergent. That's quite a bit of savings!

The one and only drawback I can think of that comes from making my own detergent is that you don't have that good smell like you would if you had used a bottle of Gain. :) In fact, laundry washed in this detergent simply has no smell....which just goes to tell you that your clothes are clean. If you're bothered by that lack of smell, you could always use a bit of liquid fabric softener, if you like. It's not enough of a drawback to keep me from making it.

I've been making my own laundry detergent for years now. I don't even keep up with the prices of commercial detergents anymore, but I'd say spending $7-$8 every 2 1/2 to 3 months for laundry isn't too bad. It's easily made. It's very inexpensive. That's enough motivation for me to continue doing it. Give it a try. It's one of the most frugal tips I can give ya, if it works for your family.

(This is a re-post from January 2009)

13 comments:

Pam B said...

Thank you for posting this! I tried the homemade fabric softener and I am a total convert, so I look forward to trying this and saving some money. We have a ton of excess soap at home (lots of little hotel soaps and such) so this'll be a fun project.

Joy said...

I have been trying to find washing sodas for a long time now and I can't find it anywhere around here. Where do you get yours?
Joy

~~Deby said...

about a month or so ago..my sister and I made the cook version of this..kind of like the Duggar's recipe.....this seems easier...less time consuming...I like the smell of our clothes now...they just smell cleaner..you are right...
deby

Sandra said...

I LOVE the cute picture!

DarcyLee said...

Joy,

Arm and Hammer makes a washing soda. I find it in my grocery store usually in the detergent aisle. And make sure you buy washing soda, not baking soda. I've been using this recipe for about 8 months now and would never go back to regular laundry soap unless I just wasn't able to make it. I like the bulk recipe, too.

Keeper of our Home said...

I make my own laundry detergent as well. I have made both the powdered as well as liquid/gel version and I love it. Hubby says he really likes how little you use but clean your clothes get; including his really dirty work clothes.

~Mrs. M

TammyLee said...

Thank you Lori for posting this.

Brook said...

Just like Joy, I had a hard time finding the washing soda. When I was at Kroger that week they had a huge sale and I had a coupon on Arm and Hammer detergent. I haven't even opened it yet, but hope that by the time that's almost gone in 4-5 months, I can find the washing soda and try this recipe out. :)

FYI: check out my post about the McDonald's mochas :)

Mrs. Doug said...

This winter a good friend of mine had this on her blog. I made a batch, but at first had trouble with the little soap flakes dissolving. We only use cold water wash, no hot water yet. I then figured out that if I take a measure of what I will need for the day and begin by dissolving that in some hot water I can have a liquid laundry detergent for the day. I love the smell when I use Fels Naphta soap (sure I didn't spell that correctly), but its too harsh on our skin. I love the idea of using the soap slivers because I use a very mild soap at the bathroom sink and the bars seem to shrink quickly, which means I'll have lots of slivers of mild soap to use next time.

Have a wonderful day in the Lord!!!

Mrs. Doug

Samantha said...

I have never made my own, but hope to try this very soon, thanks for sharing !

Pam B said...

I just wanted to add that I live in a pretty decent size city (close to 3/4 million people) and I only found the washing soda available at 1 grocery store - a smaller neighborhood type store. None of the larger stores carried it. It was right next to the laundry soaps and it was $2.75/box. If you can't find it, you can go to a pool supply store or the pool supply section of Wal-Mart, and find pure sodium carbonate (a popular brand is pH Up), which is what washing soda is.

Lori said...

PamB...thank you so much for sharing such helpful information about the Washing Soda! Wow, I didn't know that! Do you have a blog??? I need to come visit! :)

Pam B said...

Nope, no blog! I'm a "hold-out." I don't even use Myspace or Facebook. Haha! I just like to read everyone else's blogs and fantasize about a little homestead in the country. If I ever start a blog, though, you will be the first to know. :)