Sunday, May 24, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade laundry detergent? Yep. It's possible.
Let your frugal heart go wild.

1 bar of soap
1 C washing soda
1/2 C Borax
HOT water (4 C + 4 gallons)

large bucket with a lid (I use a clean Tidy Cat kitty litter bucket)

  • Bar soap - Use any you like, but facial bars that don't have glycerin won't give you as good a product. You need the glycerin. The batch in the pics is made with Dial.
  • Washing Soda - is not baking soda. Washing soda is sodium carbonate. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. They are not the same thing.
  • Both washing soda and Borax can be found in the laundry aisle. I spent $7, including a 3-pack of soap, soda, and Borax. I have made six batches so far and still have enough soda and Borax for another two batches. That's over a year's worth of laundry detergent for $7.

  1. Using a paring knife or a vegetable peeler, shave soap.
  2. Add 4 gallons of very hot water to the bucket. Close the lid to keep the heat while you work on the soap.
  3. Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer in a 2 qt sauce pan, stir constantly to dissolve soap.
  4. When the soap is completely dissolved, add it to the hot water in the bucket. Stir for about 2 minutes, until it's completely mixed.
  5. Then, add 1 C washing soda and 1/2 C Borax to the soapy water.
  6. Stir for 4 minutes. You want everything well mixed.
  7. Cover. Set aside for 24 hours.
  8. When you open the lid the next day, it will either be the consistency of egg drop soup or like a watery jello. (Sorry for the food examples, but now you know what's "normal!")
  9. To use: Scoop out 1 C for a large load of laundry. (Tip: Put the detergent in the washing machine before you add your laundry, especially if your detergent is more "jello-like" in consistency.)

These are the ingredients you'll need:
Borax, washing soda, shaved soap.

Dissolve the shaved soap in a saucepan.

The mixture will be cloudy and murky. Stir deeply and thoroughly.

My Tidy Cat bucket filled with new detergent,
nestled between the washer and dryer,
waiting to be used.

The consistency of this batch is thick, like jello.
No matter. It still works.

This batch cost less than $1 to make.
For our family of five, this batch will last ~3 months.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you!


  1. Ok, I gotta try it out. Next time I'm at Walmart I'm getting the stuff. I'll let you know how it goes.

  2. I should have mentioned this above, but Target doesn't carry Washing Soda. Kroger does. I have heard Walmart doesn't carry it in the laundry aisle, but might in the pool care aisle. Good luck!

  3. This useful advice linked at the Reaganite Republican… interesting:



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