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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Make your own laundry detergent in less than 10 minutes


I originally posted this in 2008, but thought that I would revisit this little gem since it is time for me to make more detergent. This is a tutorial on how to make the powdered version of laundry soap. I hope to be able to put up pictures of how to make the liquid kind later on today. I prefer the liquid since it lasts longer in this house, but I will whip up a small batch of powdered if I'm in a pinch. No more running to the store just to pick up detergent so I can conquer Mt. Laundry.

This is another one of those things that I would have never thought I could do until I saw it on a website I visited. It looked really easy and inexpensive. If it's easy and cheap and works well, then I'm all for it.

I have seen a few laundry detergent tutorials out there, but none for the powdered version. My girls are the one who really wanted to do this tutorial. This was their first time making detergent. They were 14 and 12 at the time. So, as you can see, it is so simple that even a child could do it.

To start with you'll need 3 ingredients:

  • Borax - 1 cup

  • Washing Soda - 1 cup

  • A laundry soap bar--->Fels Naptha or Zote - 1 cup

Many people have said that they have had a hard time finding the washing soda or the Fels Naptha. The easiest way to find Fels Naptha is to go to this website. Under brand you click on laundry care and under item click on Fels Naptha. Then you can type in your zip code. It will tell you all of the stores around you that carry it.

To find the washing soda call this number. 1-800-524-1328. It is a recording that will give you a list of stores that carry washing soda in your area.

What to do:

1. Measure out 1 cup of Borax and put into a bowl


2. Measure out 1 cup of washing soda and put into a bowl


3. Grate 1 cup of the soap bar. Add to bowl with Borax and washing soda. I am using Zote this time. I usually use Fels Naptha, but found this at my Super Target and thought I would try it.











4. Mix well


5. Put in storage container---> In this case we are using an old cool whip container

6. Use 1 Tbsp per load.

That's it. It's as easy as that. It only cost me pennies per load. A very frugal alternative to store bought detergent. It works well too. If I have a really dirty load I will up the amount I use by a small amount. I know that people use Oxyclean also. Have you made your own laundry detergent? What did you think?

Pictures of making this version later!

Liquid Detergent:
Washing soda 1/2 cup
Borax 1/2 cup
Bar of laundry soap 1/2 bar (Fels Naptha or Zote)
Bucket
4 cups of hot water in large bowl

Directions:
Grate soap and put in a large saucepan. Add 6 cups water and heat until soap melts. About 15-20 minutes. Add washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour the 4 cups of really hot water into your bucket. Add soap mixture and stir. Next, add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let soap sit for 24 hours before using so that it gels. Use 1/2 cup per load. If you are using a front loader use less than this.

Now, sometimes I add just a tad more soda and borax than the recipe calls for. In the summer is when I do this more as the children get dirtier. I put mine in a 2 gallon bucket with a lid. It fits on my shelf better. One more thing. As the detergent is gelling overnight, we take a hand immersion blender or my husband takes his drill with a paint stirrer attachment and will mix it up a few times. I find it just holds together better. Now, it will separate sometimes, but just mix it up before you use it!


43 comments:

Tonya said...

I just recently made my first batch of homemade laundry detergent (the liquid kind) and I'm loving it! It was fairly easy and I feel better knowing that it only costs me pennies to wash my clothes! Great tip!
Oh, and BTW, I bought my first chickens yesterday, inspired by your post

D&Xmommy said...

This sounds so easy. I cannot wait to get into a house so I can try this out. I would also like to give your liquid one a try.

Angela said...

I noticed you mentioned store bought HE soap...is this homemade soap ok for HE washing machines too?

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Tonya, I love my liquid kind too. I just needed something right then since I never really stop doing laundry. :-)
How are you liking your chickens so far? The babies are so cute. Oh, glad I could help!

D, you can do the powdered even in an apartment. It's easier to transport than liquid. When you do get that house though i'll be glad to give you my liquid recipe.

Cat said...

I've been making this for a couple of years now (mostly liquid but have tried the powder). It's okay for some things but my children's clothing got dingy fast. So I compromise and get Tide or All inexpensively at CVS and use it on things where stains are a problem, then use the homemade for cleaning rags, sheets, towels, etc... .

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Angela,
It's great for front loaders since it's very low sudsing. That's the problem with regular laundry detergents. They produce too many suds for a front loader. It's also why I don't have to use alot of it per load.

Cat, for dingy whites just use a little Oxyclean every once in awhile. Or you could use the sun! If I notice a dingy white I will hang it out in the sun to dry. It does a great job.

Faye said...

Teresa, I have a front loader as well(HE). WIll this powdered version work in it? I'd also LOVE to have your recipe for liquid laundry detergent. My hubby wants me to give this a try, as do I! Thanks so much;really enjoying your blog.

Michele said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I've been wanting to give this a try. :)
Blessings,
Michele
www.frugalgranola.blogspot.com

Kevin & Misti said...

I make my own dry laundry soap. I can't find zote in my area, so I use Ivory bar soap. I mix up 4-5 batches at a time & store it in a plastic ice cream container.

Melissa said...

Thanks so much for posting your recipe! I have all the ingredients, but haven't had the time to make the liquid version - this powdered version is perfect!

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Hey Faye,
Yes, the powdered version will work in it. Just take out the liquid dispenser cup and then add the powder to it.

Later on today I might be able to post my recipe for the liquid version if anyone is interested.

Anyone in my area can find the ingredients at Super One!

Frances said...

Great tutorial - thanks for sharing!

Paula said...

I am interested in trying your powdered detergent but wonder is it safe for septic systems? I've heard that powdered detergent can wreck havoc in a septic tank. Hope someone can help as the liquid is more than I'm up to right now.
Paula

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Paula,
I wish I knew something about septic tanks, but I do not. Maybe someone else will know if it's safe for septic tanks.

Kate said...

Oh I am definitely doing this! I've read how to do this so many times before, but I always lose track of the recipe. Now that it's on your blog, I know I'll always be able to find it! Thanks Teresa.

Nichole said...

Ok What is a zote bar of soap? i have never seen that before.

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Hey Nichole, Zote is a laundry soap bar. I found it at Super Target in the laundry isle for less than $1.00, I think.

Marnie said...

In response to the question about the using homemade laundry soap with a septic tank...I have been making the liquid laundry soap for about 6 months now. I have a HE front loader and a septic tank. I'm not an expert on either, but I haven't had any problems with the washer or the septic tank. I love being able to save in this way. It takes me about a half-hour to make the soap (hands on time, it sits over night to gel). Then the soap lasts this family of 8 for about a month. We seem to ALWAYS have laundry going. I have three teenagers, a 9 year old, and 2 very active little boys. That equals a lot of laundy!

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Marnie,
Thanks so much for commenting. I was hoping someone would chime in that had a septic tank!

Anonymous said...

okay, so I guess I'm still confused if your washing machine is front or top loading. (I have top-loading). 1 Tblsp seems like enough for a front-loading, but not for a top-loading washer. Could you please clarify which one you are using the 1 Tblsp with? Thanks! I love your site and really want to give this a try!

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

I have a front loader, but with top loaders most people i've seen use just 2 T. Hope this helps!

tami said...

i will definitely be trying this! thanks!

tonya said...

Well, we were loving the chickens but we've already had a few catastrophes in less than a week. Apparently we let them get to cold and 3 of the 4 passed away. The store said we could replace them so the kids and I went and did that. Then as we decided to move them to a warmer place before night time. My dd was carrying her favorite, the dog knocked it out of her hand and picked it up and of course it did not survive. So, now we are down to 3 and have some heartbroken family members. Sigh, who knew being a mom of chickens would be so hard? Here's to it going better from here on out!

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Tonya,
Oh no! I'm sorry. It is hard to lose those babies. Do you have a heat lamp? Make sure you give them electrolytes or a little sugar in their water the first day they come to you.
If you have anymore questions, just ask. You can email me at alifeathome@gmail.com

Right Brain Thinker said...

I use 1/2 cup Borax, 1/2 washing soda, 1/3 cup fels naptha (look in the laundry section of most grocery stores) 6 cups water to dissolve in. Then add to 2 gallons of super hot tap water. I've been making and using this for months and it seems to be working fine.

jamie said...

I have heard about homemade detergent but was scared to try it in my He washer, so I am excited to hear that I can use it.
I recently found out that hydrogen peroxide is great for a laundry booster and less expensive than oxyclean.
Also, Lavender essential oils add a light scent that makes the whole house smell clean when you are washing your clothes.

Rachel said...

I am really new here. I hope you guys don't mind. I just read a book on how to make your own stuff like stove cleaner, such and think about maybe give it a try myself. This post is great. Thanks, Teresa. Now I just need to know where to get those stuff. :-(

Anonymous said...

does the detergent smell good? can you use any bar soap or it has to be the ones mentioned in the recipe!!
kristy

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Kristy, I think it smells good when I make it, but the clothes do not have a smell after washing. I like it that way though.

As far as different kinds of soaps that you can use, I do know that people use plain old Ivory soap. They seem to be pleased with it.

Jeanies Heavenly Treasures said...

Hi Teresa,
You can find me on Acadiana Moms. I just saw you had a blog and clicked through. Oh, thanks for letting me know that you can use the "pink" bar too. I can't find the fels nepha in the stores here anymore. Do you think it worked as well? Also, I just wanted to say that when I was white clothes such as towels, and socks, I still use a small amount of liquid bleach for sanitary reasons. For the cleaning of the clothes, this is fabulous! Thanks for posting it for all to see! Check out my blog. Also, it's not hard to find me on Acadiana Moms. LOok for Jeanene. I hope to meet you one day! God Bless! Jeanene
http://jeanielovesthelord.blogspot.com

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Jeanene, hey glad you found my blog. About the Zote. I have only used it for my dry detergent. I found that it did as good of a job as my Fels Naptha. I still prefer the Fels Naptha though. maybe it's the smell? Did Super 1 stop carrying Fels naptha too? I know that they stopped carrying the washing powder. I have to order that online now.

Nice to meet you!

Anonymous said...

hi ladies,

I like your blogs and thought I would ask anyone if they know how to make the homemade laundry soap smell nice like some of the store botton stuff. Do you know if you can just go out and buy essential oils anywhere to put into the mixture or what? I am a scent aholic without a budget for all the good smelly stuff price and plus I thought it would just be fun to make it at home. Thanks for any help you can give me. :) maggy9000@yahoo.com

Paula said...

How does this work in cold water? Does the soap dissolve enough?

Nicole said...

Earl likes me to use store bought because he likes for his clothes to have a little of a nice smell after washing. Would it be ok to add some essential oils to this? did you like the Zote? did it work as well as the Fels Napa

Teresa said...

Nicole, You can use EO's in it. I know quite a few people who do.

Paula, it works just fine in cold water. I have a front loader, so I prefer the liquid, but it still works even with my front loader on cold.

Heather Ozee said...

That's crazy cool! How neat to say... "you like my shirts smell.... I made the detergent!"

Jenn said...

I have the same recipe on my blog & Youtube channel-you are right, there are a plethora of the liquid recipes out there, and very few folks with the powdered. I think it is SO much easier to make, and works just as well. I've never had any problem with it dissolving and I actually prefer the lack of scent due to my migraines.

Keep up the good work.

One Sunny Acre said...

Love your blog! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the search info on the ingredients. I have had a terrible time trying to find washing soda.

Energy Star Qualified said...

Very cool! Looks like a great way to save some money. There are hundreds of ways to save money by doing simple things around the house. I will probably have to try this one. I haven't seen it before. I have tried making my own soap and shampoo but it didn't turn out too good.

Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster said...

I've been looking at laundry detergent recipes and am ready to give one a try. Thanks for posting yours!
Nancy
http://www.howtohomemaker.com/

Holli said...

I have seen this recipe before but never tried it, I am going to try the liquid version. Thanks for posting.

decorative said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! its great thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

I also make laundry detergent in a 5 gallon bucket..the recipe is similar with 1c borax, 1c Washing Soda, i bar fels napta, and 2 TBS glycerine, I bring 1 1/2 gallons of water to a boil, place the shredded fels nepta (I use a cheese grater for this) borax, washing soda and glycerine in the pot of boiling water and stir until all the ingredients are melted, I than pour the hot liquid into my 5 gallon bucket to which I have already added 3 1/2-4 gallons of cold water (so that the heat does not break the bucket) I stir it all and than let it set, stirring every time I go by the bucket. It has a wonderful lemon smell and cleans wonderfully. I have purchased the washing soda (NOT to be mistaken for baking soda) directly from the Arm & Hammer site....I had to play around a little with the quantity to get the best price but ended up getting 17 boxes for $32.00 and free shipping.