Homemade Laundry Detergent

I decided to take a quick break from sharing edible recipes with you and wanted to share this recipe for homemade laundry detergent instead.

I realize I am quite a few years beyond the popularity craze of making your own detergent at home, and I am more than okay with that. This was something I’d wanted to do for a really long time but I was hesitant of the recipes out there. Some didn’t seem to include enough ingredients and other seemed to have too many. I just wanted a simple, cost-effective recipe for homemade laundry detergent that I could use in our washer.

Many months ago I finally decided to purchase all of the necessary ingredients. Of course, it was right after a Costco trip where we had purchased one of their ginormous containers of laundry detergent. Since we don’t have a lot of space in the laundry room, I decided to wait until that container was almost out before making my own.

Which ended up being just a few weeks ago. On an ugly, cold day, I gathered my supplies, printed out the recipe and set out to make laundry detergent.

20 minutes later, I realized grating soap by hand is really tedious and that this may not have been the smartest ingredient list for one who is very sensitive to smells.  By the time I was done, I only suffered one small knick to the knuckle but I was in desperate need of a Zyrtec. Just something to keep in mind if you also suffer from smell sensitivity or have allergies. For my next batch, I plan to wear just a cheap paper mask to see if that helps me.

Before You Get Started:

  • You’ll need a large container to store this in. A rubber tote, a large bucket with a lid, or my choice: a plastic container previously housing 35 lbs. of cat litter. (Cleaned, obviously.)
  • A large hand grater or a food processor. Putting soap in my food processor weirds me out, so I purchased the largest hand grater Walmart carried. It was a whopping $2.
  • What to store the made laundry detergent in, a funnel, and possibly a scoop. (A coffee scoop works great!)
Homemade Laundry Detergent
Yield: 18 lbs. of detergent
    • 3 lb. 7 oz. box Super Washing Soda
    • 4 lb. 12 oz. box Borax
    • 4 lb. box Pure Baking Soda
    • 1.3 lb. container of Oxi-Clean
    • (2) 5.5 oz. bars of Fels-Naptha soap
    • 28 oz. Purex Crystals (scent of your choice)
1. Grate one bar of Fels-Naptha into your container. Then stir in half the box/container of every other ingredient. Grate the final bar of Fels-Naptha, add in the remaining of all ingredients and stir until fully combined.
2. Transfer into smaller containers.
3. Use 1-2 tablespoon sized scoops for each load of laundry.
You could pour in the whole box of everything before stirring, but I found even with a heavy duty large wooden spoon, this was hard to stir up properly even in halved amounts. As for the smaller container, I opted to pry the lid off my Purex container and fill that with the homemade detergent. Bonus: the lid of the Purex container shows three lines. Filling it up to the first or second line is what you’ll need in detergent.
My huge batch of this filled the old cat litter container a little more than half full. After filling two Purex bottles, you can’t even see a dent in what was in the container. At about a tablespoon (first line of the Purex lid) per load of clothing, I have a feeling we’re going to have this stuff around for a very, very long time.
As for the money saving factor, I haven’t figured out an exact amount per load. I spent around $23 for all of the necessary ingredients (grater excluded) and I’m estimating there are 30 tablespoons in a Purex container which I will also estimate can be filled 7 times from the main container. So:
30 x 7 = 210 x 2 (I have 2 Purex containers) = 420. $23.00 / 420 = $0.05 per load of clothing.
This isn’t completely accurate because there are times where I know we will overfill the lid but I think it’s a pretty good estimate.
Now is $23 and the time it takes to mix up the ingredients worth it to you? That’s your call, but so far I can say I’m completely happy with this homemade variety of laundry detergent. Our clothes come out cleaner than using the store bought stuff, plus I feel like it’s going to last us longer.

One Comment

  1. Love this! We have made our own laundry detergent (both dry and liquid versions) for over a year. I know we are saving $$$.

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