I’ve finally checked off another project from my list of “things to learn.”  This morning, I ran out of my store-bought laundry detergent, and actually mixed up my homemade recipe I’ve had waiting.  It was so much easier than I anticipated, and was much faster than I thought it would be!  Best of all, as best I can calculate (which isn’t necessarily very well, mind you!), I will now do my laundry at a cost of about $.04 cents a load, rather than the original $.20 or so per load.  That’s a big savings over time!

Here is how I did it:

Step 1:  Find the ingredients.  You will need Fels-Naptha Laundry soap bar, borax powder, and arm and hammer washing soda.  In my area of the country, Fels-Naptha soap is impossible to find, so I had to order it online. 

Step 2: Make the detergent:

Grate Fels-Naptha soap bar

Measure out desired amount of borax and washing soda (see recipe)

Heat 1 qt water in large pan while dissolving soaps and powder in another pan.

Pour soap mixture into hot water and stir. Add hot water until you have desired amount of soap mixture (see recipe).

Pour mixture into desired storage containers and label.

 So why on earth would I want to make my own detergent?  Because I’m a nut job, why else?  Ok, seriously, as if the cost savings wasn’t enough, I have also eliminated many harsh chemicals from my laundry now.  The mildness of this solution has been shown to increase the time your clothing lasts.  It also eliminates the laundry chemicals were constantly on the children’s skin.  I have already used it in my laundry today, and just for the record, it worked fine in my front-loader.  I noticed afterward that, while the laundry smelled fresh and clean, it had no “scent” or perfume in it.  You can add herbal scents to the recipe though, if desired.

In case you are interested, I am including 2 recipes below.  The only difference is the quantity you wind up with.

Homemade Laundry Detergent 1

  • 3 pints hot water
  • 1/3 bar Fels-Naptha, grated
  • 1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 2 gallon bucket/pan
  • 1 quart hot water
  • 5.5 quarts hot water

In saucepan, dissolve Fels-Naptha in 3 pints water over low heat.  Stir in soda and borax until completely dissolved. In the mean time, heat 1 quart of water in bucket/pan.  Pour soap mixture into bucket, and stir well.  Fill bucket with remaining 5.5 quarts of water, and mix.  Pour into desired storage containers, and let sit about 24 hours to thicken. 

OR

Homemade Laundry Detergent II

  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha, grated
  • 1 cup Arm and Hammer washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • 4.5 gallons hot water

In saucepan, dissolve Fels-Naptha in 2 quarts water over low heat.  Stir in soda and borax until completely dissolved. In the mean time, heat 4.5 gallons of water in bucket.  Pour soap mixture into bucket, and stir well.  Fill bucket with remaining 5.5 quarts of water, and mix.  Pour into desired storage containers, and let sit about 24 hours to thicken. 

Whichever recipe you use, the soap can be used immediately, but will be runny.  It will thicken as it cools. 

Use 1/2 cup per load.

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