Perfection Is My Enemy

A Chrisitan mom & crafter shares what's worked for her.

Awesome Homemade Laundry Detergent May 22, 2011

Filed under: Frugal — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 10:03 pm
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Here is the recipe that I use for my homemade laundry detergent. It works great, is dirt cheap, and is gentle on clothes and sensitive skin. It is also (almost) 100% phosphate free so it doesn’t harm your septic tank or the environment.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • a large pot
  • measuring cup
  • cheese grater
  • funnel
  • a bucket or some other large container
  • Borax
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
  • Zote (or some other brand of bar laundry detergent)
  • a cheap brand of liquid laundry detergent (this is optional, I’ll explain more later)

To get started, cut your Zote into thirds.

Use your cheese grater to grate the bar soap. I like to grate mine all at once and save ther other 2/3 in zip lock bags for the next time I make a batch of detergent.

Put the grated soap and 6 cups of water in your pot on low/medium heat (you don’t want the stuff to boil or you will have on heck of a sudsy mess on your hands)

When the soap is all disolved (hint: the finer you grate your soap the quicker it will desolve), add 1/2 cup Borax and 1/2 cup Super Washing Soda. Keep on low/medium heat and stir occasionally for about 30 minutes. Just before I take it off the stove, I add 1/2 cap full of my store bought liquid detergent. This step is optinal and will add a small amount of phosphates to your detergent. The reason I do it is because it seems to keep my detergent from turning into such a solid, clumpy mess.

Now, add 4 cups of hot water to your bucket (you can see that I use a medium size plastic storage tote instead). Then, pour in your mixture from your pot and stir.

Now, add 22 more cups of water and stir some more. Then, let sit at least overnight.
By the next day, it should be semi-solid (like Jello). Use a mixer or emersion blender to make it liquidy again.

I saved some of my old Tide containers (shhhhh, don’t tell the Tide people) to re-use with my homemade detergent. You’ll want to use 1/2 cup for each load of laundry and it just so happens that the lids on these babies are exactly 1/2 cup.

I use a soup ladle and funnel to get the detergent in there.

Now, for an added bonus: I use this stuff to pre-treat stains too. I picked up a set of ketchup and mustard containers at Walmart for 99 cents and I pour some of the detergent in there too. Just squirt some on your stains and throw them in the wash. It works great!

Finding some of these ingredients can be a bit of a challenge, so I’ll tell you where I get mine and where I get the best prices on mine.

Borax – Target in Kelso carries the Borax for $2.99. It’s on one of the top shelves in the laundry detergent section. Winco in Longview carries it as well, but it’s almost $5 there.
Super Washing Soda – Winco in Longview has it, as well as Fred Meyer in Olympia. I’m not sure which one has the best price. Check it out and let me know.
Zote – I get mine at Shop ‘n’ Cart in Chehalis. It’s $1.39 for a large bar (which is what I use for my recipe, you may need to adjust if you use a smaller bar).
I know that the Walmart in Chehalis does not carry any of these products. I’m sure they want you to spend your money on the expensive brands. I have also checked at Costco in Olympia and Grocery Outlet in Chehalis and neither of them carry any of them either.
I have been told that this recipe works out to about a penny a load. I have never done the math to verify that. Honestly, it works so much better than any store bought brand I have ever used that I wouldn’t switch back even if it cost a dollar a load.
Enjoy your new detergent and let me know what you think of it.

One Response to “Awesome Homemade Laundry Detergent”

  1. Mandy Says:

    I used your recipe to make a batch of laundry soap, and I wanted to let you know how wonderful it turned out! It was a nice, money-saving project for Princess Hooligan and I to do yesterday afternoon. Thank you so much!

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