Friday, January 6, 2012

More Saving Money: DIY Laundry Detergent

So this has been floating around on the internet for some time, and in fact I found it on pinterest. You can go here to link back to the original. I don't take credit for making this up, but I did modify it a bit. So here's the recipe:

1 4 lb 12 oz box Borax (2.15 kg or 76 oz) found in the detergent isle
1 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (1.81 kg) found in the cooking isle
1  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz) found in the detergent isle
3 bars of Fels-naptha soap, found in the detergent isle
2 small containers of oxyclean or store brand oxyclean (try to get about 3.5 lbs total (1.58 kg)) found in the detergent isle.*(optional, see below)
Use 1 tablespoon for a small load, two for a large.

The three bars of soap you will want to grate with a large holed grater. Don't worry, it dissolves just fine. If you have a traditional top loading washer, I recommend putting the scoops in first, let it fill about 2-3 inches and then put in your clothes.

So, there is the recipe. I mixed it up and put it in a large sealed container and use a small jar with a flip-lock lid. This stuff is perfect for high efficiency machines because it does not foam. This will freak some people out, but don't let it. Its still cleans quite well. The majority of your pre-made detergents have softeners and other chemicals that make it foam because people associate that with 'clean'. Its really a marketing trick.

Given the rate at which we do laundry 'round here this $20 worth of product will last about six-nine months. Possibly longer, but that remains to be seen. And it seems its fairly hypo-allergenic.

*On to the optional part. The 'oxyclean' is a brightener. Yes, it does help remove stains but it also acts to makes brights brighter, and so on. I left it out, but still bought a container to add to things such as sheets, towels, whites, and jeans. If your family wears a lot of black (like mine) don't add it because it causes dark colors to fade faster. If not, well, feel free to add it. Also, if you don't add the oxyclean this works well for woolens (just don't put them in the dryer, but you should know that already).


  1. It's also great for cloth diapers ;)

  2. I have got to admit, my daughter's blog is extremely interesting and entertaining. In fact, I'm a little bit jealous.

  3. Thanks for this info! After reading this & Holly's recipe (she shared on Facebook), I'm excited to make my own too. I actually went to buy the ingredients the other day, but I stopped at the bar soap part. I wasn't familiar with Fels Naptha (and Holly's used Ivory I think), but both of those have ingredients I don't care for. I'm trying to avoid all dyes and fragrances at the very least. Do you guys know if it matters much what else is in the soap, or if it's not specifically laundry soap? For example, I have some olive oil bath soap and glycerine bath soap .... I did a lot of googling this evening trying to find out more about the soap, and also saw some recipes mention Kirk's Castile soap, which apparently comes in a fragrance-free version that might be okay for me. What do you think about the bar soap part of the recipe?

    1. I've found the naptha soap to be very mild (I react to things so easily). There is a fragrance free version at my Wal-Mart that would probably do the trick for you. If you have soft water I wouldn't worry so much about the bar soap, but if your water is hard you need at least some to help with the cleaning action. Fragrance free dove might work too, but I haven't tried it personally.

  4. Good to know, thanks!

  5. BTW, I did come across this while I was looking around -- another way to save money!

  6. I have a similar recipe on my blog. It has fewer ingredients (the borax, washing soda and a bar of soap) and you cook it to make a gel. It also works very well in the dishwasher. The savings on this recipe for those two things (laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent are amazing!)