Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

First of all, I feel like I have been run over by a mac truck today. There was some terrible aweful weather in our region last night and I couldn't sleep because of it. It never got bad here but I certainly couldn't sleep for worrying that it would. I have a NOAA radio and it goes off for any kind of weather upset, and it scares me to death when it goes off! I just know it will go off in the night one time and I will lose my cool- weather, I'm so fascinated with it, but I have a great respect for what mother nature can do. My heart goes out to those that were affected by the weather last night, trapped in their homes by it, or just plain terrified.

Anyways, I made some more of my homemade laundry detergent yesterday! This is so simple to do, there is no reason why anyone should pay for commercial detergent again. This cleans just as well and is Dirt.CHeap.

I'll show you how to make it!

What you will need:
1 bar of soap
washing soda (not baking soda)
2 gallons plus 1 quart of water
5 gallon bucket

First, you need to get a big pot, grater and spoon and designate them for laundry soap making. Trust me, you will never get all the soap off of it and you won't really want to boil your pasta in slightly soapy water now will you?

So get your pot, grater and spoon and your favorite bar of soap. I use an organic all natural soap ( but you didn't need to be told that did you?) made by Dr. Bronner's. You can buy Dr. Bronners bar soaps at Walgreens here in Columbia or you can get them at All Health in Hattiesburg or order it online. They have a variety of scents, but the peppermint is my favorite! THis recipe will work with regular bar soap. I must warn you, though, that bar soaps with moisturizers in them like Dove and Caress can leave oily spots on your clothes. You need to use a soap like Ivory or even try the Fels Naptha soap that is for laundry use. It smells like cleaner and breaks out my kids so I don't use it. But it works good.

mmmmm... smells great!

So get your bar of soap and your grater and get to grating. Or you can shred it like cheese. You'll be melting it down anyway and shredding is less work. Shred or grate every last bit of that soap.

Make pretty little soap curlies :)

Now add a quart or 8 cups of water to your soap curlies and set it on the stove to medium heat and leave it there until every last bit of the soap is dissolved. This won't take long. Give it a stir now and then.

Make sure you are not cooking something at the same time and then accidentally pick up the soap spoon to stir your food. Ew.

Meanwhile, You will need to get 2 cups of Washing Soda and 2 cups of 20 Mule Borax poured out into a container. (washing soda and borax can both be found at Walmart or any hardware store that is worth it's salt. Right there in the laundry soap aisle.) You can mix it together, it's all going to the same place.

Once all of your soap is dissolved it will look like this. Just clear liquid.

Pour your liquid soap into a clean 5 gallon bucket.

Now pour in your washing soda and borax.

Stir until it is dissolved. Seriously. If you don't it will clump. It still may clump but this way it's less likely to.

This is a one person job, but for picture taking sake, the huz helped.

Now pour in your 2 gallons of water and stir constantly until it is all completely dissolved. It will look like a big bucket of soapy water but it will gel in about 24 hours.

You can leave it in the 5 gallon bucket or transfer it to empty detergent bottles. If you leave it in your bucket, use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of detergent per load of clothes.

If you put it in bottles and it gets too thick in them, shake it well before you use it. You can also add a little more water to it to thin it out if you need to.

This detergent is safe for all the new fancy washing machines, front loaders and top loaders alike.

This detergent costs literally pennies per load to make. I buy a box of borax and washing soda probably twice a year and I buy a bar of soap every time I have to make more which I think is probably ever couple of months. This recipe gives me 3 regular sized jugs of laundry detergent, and I paid for the bar of soap each time to make it and the boxes of borax and washing soda have way more than 2 cups of product inside, like I said I buy that probably twice a year. So if I pay $4.50 for my bar of soap (yea I know, but it's my fave) and I get 3 jugs of detergent out of it, I'm paying around $1.5o a jug of detergent. I won't even factor in the costs of the powders and divide that out over the recipes, it's too early for that, but if you wanted to, it would not be much more than that. That is cheap, folks. I have 3 boys- I have a lot of laundry.

I really hope you all make your own detergent! It's so much better for the environment, without all those chemicals and harsh cleaners and fragrances. Your clothes will thank you and your skin will too!



  1. Does it smell like the peppermint soap? I like my clothes to ave a good strong smell cuz my ole man comes in smellin like oil grease dirt trees and sweat. And does it work well on very dirty messes?

  2. the soap I use does not give it a strong smell, but you could probably find a soap that would. The fels Naptha soap for sure will give it a clean smell. I use a Gain dryer bar and that gives my clothes a good smell. My huz works construction and comes home stinkin' and our clothes smell good. Dylan plays in the mud a lot. A lot. I spray his pants with laundry stain spray and it comes right out every time.