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
- a bucket or some other large container
- 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.
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.