Daily Archives: May 25, 2010

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

I had to laugh this morning when I read Soulemama and saw she had posted a recipe for laundry detergent, because that was the exact thing I wanted to share with you today too! I have been using a liquid homemade laundry detergent since about January and I really do love it! I have to add in the disclaimer that I’ve never been that picky about laundry detergent, I can’t seem to see a difference in any brand I use, but I do know that this recipe is insanely cheap to make much like my handmade lotion recipe.
I first heard about making your own liquid laundry detergent last year when I was researching garden safe laundry detergents, (although I have since found out that borax is not good for the garden) but I couldn’t seem to find the right ingredients here in town. But last December I stumbled upon all three things I needed at Sonoma Market while I was grocery shopping. For the Sonoma locals, you know that Sonoma Market isn’t the place to get things inexpensively. It cost me about $9 to buy the washing soda, borax, and Fels-Naptha there. However the washing soda and borax will last through years of detergent making, so I figured it was well worth the investment. I have a strong feeling that if you can find them in your town, they will be cheaper. Or you can order them online through the links below, if you can’t find them where you live.

I’ve since learned that Fels Naptha is made up of chemicals taken from petroleum, so in an more earth friendly move, I suggest that you make this recipe using either Dr. Bronners or another kind of all natural soap, which I’ll do next time. Although after keeping the Fels Naptha around, I’ve found that if you rub it on stains before washing they come out like magic! This recipe makes about 2 gallons of detergent and I found that they fit perfectly into two empty and well cleaned milk containers. I found an old detergent scoop in the back of my laundry room and I pour it out into the scoop as I would a store bought detergent. Super easy! The best part about this recipe is that it only takes about 15 minutes to make which is fantastic!
Onto the recipe:

Liquid Laundry Detergent

1/3 bar of soap, grated. Such as Fels-Naptha
1/2 c. Washing Soda
1/2 c. Borax

In a large pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add in grated soap and stir. Meanwhile in a seperate pot heat up another 4 cups of water until hot. When melted add the washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour in additional 4 cups of hot water.
In each empty, clean milk jug put 11 cups of tap water and half of your hot soap mixture. Let sit for 24 hours and it will gel together and look like egg drop soup. I like to stir the mixture every couple of hours with a bamboo skewer to help in mixing the solid and non-solids together.
Use 1/2 cup of liquid laundry detergent in each laundry load.
In this last batch I made I tried adding essential oil. I used about 30 drops of lavender into each gallon and it was strong enough that I could smell it when I use it but that the clothes didn’t smell when they were dried. That makes me a happy laundress, smelling the beautiful lavender, and makes the three guys in our house happy too, as they would prefer not to smell like lavender.

If you’ve read about making your own detergent before but thought it might be too much of a hassle, you really should give it a try. It’s so easy and so very, very cheap!

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