Sunday, June 5, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

In my quest to find products suitable for my daughter with extra sensitive skin, I decided to make laundry detergent.  People have been making their own detergent for years, so this is nothing new, and not my own recipe.  However, I share it with you because I have found it to work, and it's definitely less expensive than purchasing your own detergent.

Typically, I like to use liquid detergent, but the recipes for this kind require boiling soap and I wanted something that was quick and wouldn't smell up the house.  Sew Much Ado is a great blog for primarily sewing projects, but she had a detergent recipe that she came up with after trying several different ones.  I took her word for it, and chose to use this one.  You can find her post here where you'll also find a label print out for your detergent container, if you decide to make your own.

Homemade Laundry Detergent
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda (this is different from baking soda)
1/4 cup Baking Soda
1 bar Fels-Naptha soap

Directions:  Using a sharp knife, cut the Fels-Naptha bar of soap into large chunks and then place those in a food processor.

Grind this into a coarse powder.  (You can also grate the soap first, and then place it in the food processor; I did it both ways and preferred just using the processor because it took less time).

Stir all ingredients in a large bowl.  Store in an airtight container.  Use 2 tablespoons per load of laundry.

One batch of this will yield approximately 36 loads, and after calculating the costs, one batch cost $1.81, which comes out to $0.05 a load.  I find this to be a great price, plus the ingredients are all natural, so even the most sensitive skinned people should handle it well.

*The Fels-Naptha is a fragrance free soap, but it does still have a strong soapy smell.  If you should decide to make this, and smells bother you, you've been forewarned.  


  1. Do you know if this works in high efficiency machines??

  2. I have been making this detergent minus the baking soda for a few years now and love it! Glad you are using this now. The fels naptha bar serves as a spot treater too. :)

  3. Leanna, I don't know. I would check the machine's manual, as I think some can only take liquid detergents. Sorry I can't answer this one!

    Kathie, thanks for the tip on the spot cleaner!

  4. Hey, Lauren - do the clothes come out after laundering with a strong soapy smell or has it lightened and the clothes just smell clean?

  5. I haven't had a strong smell at all, just clean!

  6. Leanna, I have used this recipe in HE washer and that is no problem at all.


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