Fantastic Homemade Laundry Detergent

Because we are away from our neck of the woods for my Dad’s wedding (congrats Dad!), I figured I would pre-write this post just in case I couldn’t get a chance to write an update of week 3 of the 30 x 30 challenge.  If you are reading this I am far away from my precious Mac.  I will get back to reality soon.  In the meantime enjoy THIS post:

Fantastic Homemade Laundry Detergent

Waaaaaaaaaaay back in October I tried out a homemade laundry soap recipe that I found on Pinterest (originally from the site Tip Junkie).  It is now almost mid-June and I JUST ran out of the soap.  Because it lasted so long, was so inexpensive and worked so well, I wanted to write about it today.

Ingredients

This laundry soap is basically water, grated soap, washing soda, Borax, and essential oils.  I like that I know what the ingredients are and can control how much (if any) fragrance I include in the mix.  If you have read about some of the scary ingredients in brand name laundry soap (even “gentle” detergents such as Tide Free and Gentle), then this might be your biggest reason to switch to homemade detergent.

You will need:

  • One bar of soap (preferably unscented castile soap)
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 3 gallons (11 litres) of water + 4 cups water
  • Essential oil (if using)

FYI if you are wondering what Borax is, it is an alkaline mineral salt.  It is safe to use, but should remain out of the reach of children much like all of your cleaning products (whether store bought or homemade).  Washing soda is like a super baking soda.  Both Borax and Washing soda can be found in the laundry detergent aisle (just look way up).

Procedure

Wow, I haven’t typed that word since high school.  Anyway, the recipe is super easy.

First bring 3 gallons (11 Litres) of water to between warm and hot in a large container (I used our canning pot).  While you’re doing this bring another 4 cups of water to boil in a smaller pot.

Second, grate the soap (I used a bar of the Baby Mild Dr. Bronner’s soap).

Third, add the soap to the 4 cups of hot water (to dissolve) and set aside.

Fourth, when the 3 gallons of water is ready, add 1 cup washing soda and stir to dissolve.

Fifth, add a 1/2 cup of Borax to the 3 gallons of water, and stir to dissolve.

Sixth, add the soapy mixture from the small pot to the 3 gallons of water (along with few drops of any essential oil, if you want fragrance).

Lastly, cover and cool, letting it sit overnight.  In the morning it is gloopy.  Pour it into either one large container or several smaller containers.

Soap mixture

Added washing soda, borax and essential oils.

Adding the soap mixture to the giant pot.

Storage

The author of the post on Tip Junkie put the detergent in one large bucket with a lid.  I saved several orange juice containers and canning cars and separated the soap into eight smaller containers.  I did this so that I can keep most of it stored in the cleaner cupboard in the basement and bring out only one jar at a time.  Also, if it is in a smaller container with a tight-fitting lid, then you can shake it before each use and pour it out easily.

Use

I add 1/2 a cup of the detergent per load.  Because I am using a clothes line often, I also add vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of the washer.

Hot or Cold Water?

I have used both hot and cold water with this detergent and it works well in either.  For the most part we use cold water and our clothes come out perfectly clean.

Downside?

The only downside I have found is that while it removes dirt from clothes, if you are using something heavily scented on your body, the smell may linger even after the clothing is clean.  I use hippy deodorant, but the Dreamboat uses regular name brands such as Axe.  I can always smell a slight amount of his deodorant on his shirts after they are clean.  This doesn’t seem to bother him, so I don’t worry about it.  It is just odd.

So if you have some time, make yourself some homemade laundry soap today.  For less than $20, you can’t go wrong.

Would you consider homemade laundry soap?  What homemade cleaners have you tried?  Leave a comment and let me know.

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6 thoughts on “Fantastic Homemade Laundry Detergent

  1. I have made bar soap a couple of times. I always get a bit nervous with the lye but I haven’t had any problems. I hope you all have a great time at the wedding celebration. It was great to see your dad last weekend!

    • Yikes! I have been too afraid of lye to try it (looks like water but is an incredibly strong base used for bar soap). Perhaps when Little Man is older I will enter into the mysterious world of bar soaps. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Love homemade laundry soap! I make it dry though (fewer steps), it works just fine for us. We have been using ours for about 5 years now. As far as the scent goes, I have noticed that sometimes as well. It goes away if we hang our clothes out on the line, and the times that I have used Dr. Bronner’s peppermint bar soap, it seems to go away as well. Congratulations to your dad!

    • Thanks. The wedding was great. I haven’t done the sniff test after taking the Dreamboat’s shirts off the line. Perhaps I will next time to see if the deodorant smell is gone (though I am sure my neighbours will think that I am nuts).

  3. I have done home made liquid soap and it is okay. I do like the sound of this recipe. How is it for getting out blood grass stains? could Ivory soap be used ? I will be trying this one out by the end of the summer for sure. thanks

    • I find that the laundry detergent is perfect for most stains. When I have a tougher one, I use a hippy stain remover (I can’t remember the name off the top of my head). Also, a lot of stains, such as the many berry stains on Little Man’s shirts, will fade on the clothesline. So even if my detergent doesn’t get the stain out completely, I find the sun helps finish the job. Thanks for the comment.

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