Homemade Laundry Detergent – Liquid or Powdered

by Michael on November 15, 2010 · 1 comment

Have you ever considered making your own laundry detergent? If so, then you’ve come to the right place… What follows is a quick rundown of how to make your own powdered or liquid laundry detergent and save a bunch of money.


Powdered laundry detergent

For homemade powdered laundry detergent, you’ll need:

  • Fels Naptha, Zote, or Ivory soap
  • Borax (20 Mule Team)
  • Washing soda (Arm & Hammer or similar)

Pretty much all of these items can be found in the laundry aisle of a decent grocery store, or even online at Amazon or a similar retailer.

To make your laundry detergent, simply combine:

  • 1 cup soap shavings
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup borax

Note that you’ll want relatively fine (granular) soap shavings, so use a fine grater to grind it up. Once that’s done, simply combine the ingredients in a suitable (and sealable!) container and mix thoroughly.

Once you’ve tested it out and are confident that you like it, I’d recommend making a double, triple, quadruple (or more!) batch the next time around. This recipe scales very well.

How to use your homemade laundry detergent: You’ll need to add somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-2 tablespoons per load. Stick to the low end for a light load, but feel free to move toward the high end for a big or especially dirty load.

Liquid laundry detergent

If you’d prefer to make your own liquid laundry detergent, the ingredients will be the same as above, though the amounts will vary.

  • Fels Naptha, Zote, or Ivory soap
  • Borax (20 Mule Team)
  • Washing soda (Arm & Hammer or similar)

If grating your soap is to much work, just cut it into long, thin strips – or use a vegetable peeler! While you’re reducing your bar of soap to a pile of shavings, bring four cups of water to a boil on the stove.

Once you’ve chopped/sliced/ground your bar of soap, start dropping it into the boiling water. Stir as you go along, and be sure it dissolves.

Next, fill a large bucket with three gallons of tap water. Add one cup of washing soda and the “soap soup” that you made, above. Finally, add a half cup of borax and stir until you achieve an even consistency.

Now put the lid back on your bucket and let it “set up” overnight. When you remove the lid, you’ll be greeted with a gelatinous sludge, but don’t worry… It’ll work great. Just be sure to stir it up before you use it.

How to use your homemade laundry detergent: For the liquid laundry detergent, you’ll need to use roughly one cup per load. As above, feel free to experiment and adjust for the load size and condition of the clothes.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mr Steamy December 6, 2010 at 11:35 am

Thanks for giving instructions pertaining to homemade laundry detergent. Adding a fragrance oil of your choice seems like a great way to aid in making your clothes smell great.

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