Our Blessed Life

Monday, October 05, 2009

MIY Monday: Laundry Detergent

Welcome back to Make-It-Yourself Monday!

Monday seems to come pretty quickly these days... it's keeping me creative. Well, I've been making our own laundry detergent for months now, and today, I will share with you how you can do it too.

There are a number of various recipes to be found in books and online, but here's the simple recipe I use:

Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
2- gallon size bucket (I use a 5 gallon size in case I want to double the recipe)

Here's how it's done:
Cut the bar of soap in 1/3 pieces. Sometimes the Fels Naptha can be found at stores like Whole Foods, but I ordered mine from soapsgonebuy.com for 99 cents a bar, which is the best price I have found. This is a sale price, but it's very often on sale (I happen to know that it is right now, actually.) One more note about this soap: It is a heavy duty laundry soap, and works very well as a stain stick. I keep a 1/3 bar in a mesh bag next to my washer and I rub it right onto stains (wetting the fabric first) - it works great!

Grate the 1/3 piece of soap into a pot on the stove. (I used a regular cheese grater.)

Add 6 cups of water and heat on low/medium until the soap melts.

Add the 1/2 cup washing soda (note: NOT baking soda)...

... and 1/2 cup Borax...

...and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.

Pour 4 cups of HOT water into your empty bucket. Now add your soap mixture, and stir.
Add 1 gallon + 6 cups water and stir.

Let the soap sit for 24 hours to gel. Use 1/2 cup to 1 cup per load.

A few things to note about this detergent: the bar of soap has a strong, clean fragrance, which is much less noticeable once mixed with so much water. In fact, when we wash our clothes, they come out with no fragrance at all. So if you want your clothes to have a fragrance, you'll have to add that with the fabric softener.

Also, you CAN use this as soon as you make it, before letting it sit - I always have. And the finished detergent will not be a solid gel. It will be more like egg noodle soup.

Edit: I forgot to mention this tip... when I'm done making the detergent, I just have a soapy pot to wash. So I usually take advantage of it by filling the pot part-way with hot water, dipping a rag in it, and using the rag to wash my stovetop and countertops. :)

This is an extremely frugal detergent, a great way to cut some spending. Let me know if you try it.

If you would like to participate in Make-It-Yourself-Monday, please do! Leave a comment telling us about something you've made recently. You may link to a post on your blog so we can marvel at your work. Happy Monday!


  • At 6:52 AM, Blogger Hugh & Hollie Carson said…

    I'm WAY impressed. How come I didn't know that about you? Love it!! I will have to try it!

  • At 6:54 AM, Blogger Hugh & Hollie Carson said…

    Oh and I have to ask: why? Why do you make your detergent? To avoid the additives in regular detergent? To use on cloth diapering? Or mainly to save $? Just curious.

  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger Shannon said…

    I do like that this detergent is gentle, but I have to say, it's mainly because it's so frugal. I estimate that it takes less than $1 to make this recipe. You just can't beat that.

    As we are looking to replace our entire cloth diaper stash before the baby comes, I will have to research whether the borax and washing soda will be okay for the diapers. I would think so, b/c it's such a small amount and so diluted. But I'll change to a different recipe if I need to.

  • At 8:47 PM, Blogger Crystal, wife, mom, and friend said…

    Do you buy all your products from soapsgonebuy?
    Thanks so much for the tips. We are going to try it.

  • At 6:35 AM, Blogger Shannon said…

    I only buy the Fels Naptha soap at soapsgonebuy... You can find the Borax at Walmart and the washing soda at the "big" H.E.B. in Beaumont. :)

  • At 8:03 AM, Blogger Jo said…

    This is impressive!! I never even thought about making detergent before. How many loads does a batch make?


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