Friday, January 22

D-I-Y Laundry Detergent

I've been making my own laundry soap for about six months now. I will never go back to the commercial stuff.

I like that the products I have to buy come in cardboard or paper rather than plastic. The detergent I make from these items lasts me far longer than commercial detergent of equal weight, thus my quest for clean clothes requires the burning of fewer fossil fuels in transport.

There are many recipes out there. I chose a powdered one and doubled it so I don't need to make it as often. Powder is quicker and less messy to make. However, if liquid is your thing, making that just requires an extra step or two.

Here's what I do:
Finely grate three bars of Fels-Naptha soap into a plastic tub. Add six cups of borax and six cups of washing soda (not baking soda.) Mix well. This definitely takes less time than it does to stand at Target and figure out which size bottle is the lowest cost-per-load.

Most recipes recommend using one tablespoon per load. I have found that 2-3 works best for us. At that rate, the above recipe will wash about 95 loads of laundry. I pay $8.10 for the ingredients which works out to less than 9¢ per load.

How does it work? GREAT!
   Our laundry (and basement) smell wonderful.
   Pretreating stains is largely a thing of the past.
   It's perfect for sensitive skin.
   Be forewarned -- this does not produce suds. We think bubbles equal clean but they don't.
   I don't have an HE machine but have read many comments that this is suitable for them.

If you're not already making your own detergent, give it a shot. Let me know how it works for you!


  1. in a marketing class in college, we actually discussed that marketers added suds to laundry detergent, because people believe that their clothes get more clean this way. looking forward to trying this!

  2. I have used this for over a year now and we love it. It is really easy and a GREAT price. We use the "liquid" kind though. And sometimes to change things up I use Ivory soap instead of the Fels-Naptha. Love It.

  3. Got my ingredients today. Can't wait to give it a try.

  4. Ok, I made my first batch last night. Any secrets to making the "grating" easier? I will admit, however, that was my first time ever using a grater....maybe it will just get easier with time. I am very excited about giving it a try. Thanks, Renee!

  5. Honestly, I find the grating to be a drag, too. That's one reason I make so much at once. By the time I need to make more, my motivation is restored. haha.

    I have recently read that you can use a food processor or coffee grinder (with broken-up pieces.) If you have either of those, it might be worth a shot. I don't have a grinder, but I'll try the processor next time and let you know! :)