Saturday, May 5, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have wanted to make my own laundry detergent for several months and finally ran out of my regular detergent so the time was right to jump in!

I've spent quite a lot of time researching different recipes, and finally came up with what I think will work the best for us.

Here's what I used:

*{3} Bars of Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap
*{1} 4-lb. Box of Baking Soda
*{1} 3-lb., 7-oz. Box of Super Washing Soda
*{1} 4-lb., 12-oz. Box of Borax
*{2} 30-oz. Tubs of Oxygen Stain Remover (any brand)
I got all items in the Laundry aisle at Walmart.

Here's how you make it. (SUPER SIMPLE!)

STEP 1: Grate all three bars of Fels-Naptha.

I used a Pampered Chef cheese grater, but it would work really easy on a regular stand-grater. If you're going that route, don't chop it up-it'd be much easier having the entire bar to grate. Also, I tried two different food processors to chop/grate it and they didn't work.

This is what it will look like when you have it all grated:

STEP 2: Mix all powdered ingredients (Washing Soda, Baking Soda, Borax and Oxy-Stain Remover) with the grated Fels-Naptha.

Be sure you mix thoroughly so that each scoop of the detergent will have pretty equal parts of all ingredients. I used a potato masher with the large holes and it worked really well. Also, note the trash bag. This was nice because I could grab the bottom of the bag and really get things mixed around.

STEP 3: Add 1 Tbsp. to each load.

(I have a top-loader.) Some have suggested that you could add an essential oil if you'd like to have it smell nice, but I don't mind the clean smell myself.

That's it! Easy-peasy!!
A few questions I have been asked about it:
1. Yes, it really and truly DOES only take 1 Tbsp. Even on full towel loads, 1 Tbsp. does the trick.
2. Yes, this recipe CAN be used on HE washers. My understanding is that you just add it to the drum of the washer, not to any compartments. Also, I don't know whether you would cut the amount in half. Since I don't have a front-loader, I really can't answer that-it may just take some trial and error. But I do know that the recipe works for front-loaders.
3. Yes, I will most definitely save money with this! See below for a complete cost breakdown.

*NOTE: I bought all items at Walmart. I didn't use coupons and if I remember correctly, nothing was on sale when I bought it.

Borax: $3.38
Super Washing Soda: $3.24
Baking Soda: $2.12
OxyWash: 2 x $1.50 = $3.00
Fels-Naptha: 3 x $0.97 = $2.91
TOTAL: $14.65
This recipe made a total of 27 cups. There are 16 Tbsp. per cup, so the total recipe will last through 432 loads of laundry.

$14.65 / 432 loads = $0.03 per load

3 cents! Can't beat that!!
(Well, actually-you CAN beat that. If you make liquid. But I prefer powdered detergent because the liquid is harder to store, harder to make, and I like that you don't have to worry about liquid detergent stains with the powder.)
I was so intimidated to make my own, but let me tell you-it was super easy and so worth it! I anticipate that this will last us well over 6 months...probably closer to 9-12 months, given that we do about 8 loads of laundry per week. I'm thrilled with the results!

Here is the video I did if you'd like to see a step-by-step tutorial:


  1. Is it safe for use on cloth diapers?

  2. @b

    it depends on the type of diaper you're using. it's perfectly safe for prefolds & flats, but when you get into pocket diapers, all in ones, etc - i would say no. the 'fancier' cloth diapers are prone to retain soap, making them less absorbent & increasing the risk of rash. prefolds & flats, tho, you're in the clear.

  3. what exactly in it is not cloth diaper safe? DO you know any cloth diaper safe recipes?



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