Monday, September 9, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

A few years back I had begun making my own laundry detergent but after months of making my own I ran out and didn't have the ingredients on hand to make another batch, so I just grabbed a bottle at the grocery store for convenience, and fell back into that old habit.  I am lazy by nature, have I mentioned that before?

So, anyway, we now have another of our sons and his family living with us temporarily.  That makes 8 people in our household which generates a never ending pile of laundry....and noise, in case you were wondering.

With the economy the way it is, I once again felt the need to try to tighten our household budget and cut back any way we could, and I was reminded of my homemade laundry detergent.  Last week I picked up all of the ingredients and whipped up a batch.  There are a couple different recipe's for making your own and you can make a powder version or a liquid version.  I always made the powder version, even though I prefer liquid detergent, I just didn't want to go through everything required to make my own.  The recipe I used to follow is very simple with just 3 ingredients: Borax, Super Washing Powder, and Fels-Naptha.  This time, though, I followed a different recipe.  Here's what you will need if you want to make your own:

Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients
Silly me forgot to take a picture, so I borrowed this one from The Happy Money Saver

1 Box of Super Washing Soda 3 lb. 7 oz. ($3.24)
1 Box of Borax 4 lbs 12 oz. size ($3.38)
1 Box of Pure Baking Soda 4 lb. ($2.24)
3 bars of Fels-Naptha 5.5 oz. or you could also use Zote or Ivory soap ($0.97 x3)
1 container of Oxy-Clean 3 lb ($7.52)
*optional: Purex Crystals 28 oz. for scent  (or you could use Downy unstoppables 
($4.76 ea. I used two bottles of the Purex)

{The prices are what I paid at my local Walmart and totals $28.81.  You can reduce this price by finding them on sale, using coupons, and also cutting back on some of the ingredients.  For instance, you may only want to use a 1.3lb tub of oxy-clean versus the 3lb that I used.}

The first thing you need to do is grab your cheese grater and grate the Fels-Naptha.  Since I am a lazy person, I skipped this and went straight for my food processor.  I chopped the soap up into squares and threw them into the food processor, then ground up the soap into a fine consistency. After I got the soap into the consistency I wanted, I then started adding a little of each ingredient into a 5 gallon bucket, mixing thoroughly as I went.  (Be aware that this is powdery stuff and it flies around.  I got it up my nose, several times.)

You will want a container with a lid so that you can store your laundry detergent and keep it air tight. After you get it all mixed up, you could use it straight from your bucket or find a smaller container to keep near your washer.  I filled up one of the empty Purex Crystals bottles with mine.  The lid on these bottles has some measuring lines so its great for measuring how much you are using.

Now, here's the best part:  It only takes 1-2 Tablespoons per load!!  This recipe makes enough for about 520 loads so that works out to about $.05 per load!!  How awesome is that!  I've used this on our laundry all week and it is working great, has a wonderful smell, and even works with my daughter-in-laws sensitive skin.

I have been thinking that this could be a great housewarming gift, or for a bridal shower, or even as a Christmas gift.  You could find some really cute containers, maybe something sweet like this:

Laundry Detergent Gift Idea
I found this lovely container idea here.

**I don't have a High Efficiency washer, but I have read that this is safe to use with them because it is low-sudsing.  But, if you have one, please research before trying this out.**

Do you have any other frugal ideas that you are trying at home?


  1. I love homemade detergent!! I made some using fels naptha, washing soda and borax but you add it to water so it makes a gel soap, which I like a lot. My grandma's wife gave me a batch of this safe stuff to try and I LOVED IT!! The purex crystals are the bomb. They smell so nice, I put some in tea cups on shelves throughout the house because I love the scent of fresh laundry. Thank you so much for posting this because I promptly lost the recipe right after she gave it to me! *lol*

  2. What a great recipe! I have ridiculously sensitive skin and always have to buy the dye and colour free liquid soaps, which aren't the most economical usually unless you luck out and hit a great sale. I think I'm going to experiment with trying to make a sensitive skin friendly version at home now. Thank you for the terrific inspiration.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Thank you for sharing! My sister in law makes her own detergent as well, but I have yet to try. This recipe is just the incentive I need!
    ~xoxo, CoriLynn


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