Sunday, August 1, 2010

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

In the spirit of Laura Ingalls, with wash day being Monday, here's a little recipe for homemade laundry detergent you can use tomorrow, Monday!

wash on Monday
iron on Tuesday
mend on Wednesday
churn on Thursday

clean on Friday

bake on Saturday

rest on Sunday


from Little House in the Big Woods


* I use these utensils for detergent making only. They all stay in the pot until I make a new batch.

You will need:

1 bar of soap (any kind you want)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons)
a grater
a funnel
a long spoon
2 empty gallon jugs/containers



Grate your bar of soap into your pot.


Fill one gallon jug and pour water into pot with grated soap. Cook until the grated soap dissolves.


Add the Borax and washing soda.


Bring to a boil. It will coagulate.


Turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water. Stir well.


Pour 1 gallon of your detergent into each container.


A funnel helps tremendously.


Now you have 2 gallons of homemade laundry detergent. I use 1/2 cup per load. With the prices of detergent being outrageous, I feel really happy every time I make a batch of this.

This won't make many, if any, suds. Suds don't equal clean. It took a while to get that into my head. This detergent cleans wonderfully!

Let me know if you make any or if you have any questions.

Happy washing!


******edited to add that I now just keep my detergent in the pot I cook it in with the lid on. When I run out I make up a new batch in that pot and it's ready to go. I like saving the step of transferring into the jugs.

****** edited 8/8/2011 to address those of you with the issue of the detergent becoming too thick. Try using 1/2 of a bar of soap instead.


***** edited 7/2011 to add that the detergent should thicken / coagulate when it cools. Usually within 24 hours! ****


* Edited 1/2011 to add comment from below about cost/savings!
estimated cost is $6.00 for 576 loads (depending on soap used and amount used per load, ONE BOX of Borax and ONE BOX of Washing soda)
The savings is incredible.

As with ALL cleaning products KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN particularly if you are using recycled food type containers!!!!

☆ My friend Amy's daughter did a science experiment comparing store bought detergent and this recipe! Very cool! Check it out here

931 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I used Dr. Bronner's liquid, and my detergent didin't coagulate. Any answers as to why??

Anonymous said...

I have hard water, and it works fine with it. Borax is a natural water softener :) I also use a vinegar mix for fabric softener, which is also a natural hard water softener. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

After washing the pot you boil in is it safe for cooking? I have a child and don't want to poison his soup!!!

Anonymous said...

If you have a Culligan water softening system, you can probably use even less. Our Culligan man told us that when you have a Culligan machine, you need to use about 1/3 of the soap (all kinds) that you used to. Shampoo, dishwashing soaps, laundry detergent, bar soaps, any of them. Sooooo...if you have a Culligan machine, you're saving even more money by making your own detergent. And you're right...suds do not equal clean.

Anonymous said...

I made this detergent but mine is watery. Why?

fat girl said...

HI! Thanks so much for this recipe - I just want to make sure I got the calculations correct and figure out of I'm missing something... You are saying it cost you about $6 for 576 loads of laundry, which if you are using 1/2 cup per load you'd get 32 loads per batch of this stuff. At my local store they sell Borax in 76oz boxes for $9.49, and they sell Arm and Hammer washing soda in 55oz boxes for $7.49. I dont have any cost for bars of soap because I have a stock pile from couponing, so theres no cost there for me. Those two boxes of soda and Borax got me 8 batches. (512 loads at 1/2 cup per load) So it cost me $17, still cheaper than buying soap (Tide is 8.99 for their 30 load size jar) but why did it only cost you $6? Is where I am finding the Borax and Washing Soda overpriced? Is anyone finding this stuff super cheap somewhere else? Or do you thinking I'm making it wrong and should have gotten more batches than I did?

Christina said...

Did anyone else have a problem with it bubbling out of the pot as soon as you combined the washing powder and the borax to the hot soap water? Mine blew EVERYWHERE...and I mean EVERYWHERE...I found it under the stove, behind the stove....in the vent above the stove. It was a HUGE pain in the butt to clean that up. If I did something wrong, I would like pointers on how to avoid the problem in the future. If not, I don't know if I can deal with the mess :-\

Anonymous said...

I used a stainless steel pot that was coated with a nonstick layer. The cleaner cleaned so well it removed the nonstick portion of my pretty expensive pot. :( I just made it (and strained all the black stuff from my pot out of it) so I haven't used it yet. I'm still excited, just have to keep that pot for laundry detergent only from now on. :(

Tazlina Bahny said...

So your saying that two gallons have 288 cups? Cause u use 1/2 cup per load and said it good for 576 loads. 576/2=288

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

To address the issue of cost/savings the estimated cost is $6.00 for 576 loads (depending on soap used and amount used per load, ONE BOX of Borax and ONE BOX of Washing soda. It is not per batch, that would not be cost effective. This cost is for one box of borax and one box of washing soda!!!

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

No, I never said that :) There are 16 cups in a gallon. 32 cups in this 2 gallon batch. And 64 loads can be washed per batch. 576 is an estimate for many batches made from 1 box of Borax and 1 box of washing soda! Thanks!!!

Alexandra Monsted said...

Does it work with cold water?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure she means US gallons.

Natlis said...

Add another 1/4 cup of borax. I make only half the recipe and have to add a little more borax and washing soda. Not to much or else you get jello, which the jello one will still work.

Anonymous said...

Laundry detergent for the machines is just watered down regular detergent. so in theory just use half

godigital said...

I tried this last night but, something went wrong, b/c this morning both jugs contents had seperated . "looking like big fluffy clouds in the sky" (soap & water) Can you enlighten me a little whynotsew? Maybe i didn't melt the soap long enough before i added the other ingredients or the biggie may be that i used plain arm & hammer baking soda, and not the washing soda. Could not find the washing soda in my lil town.

Anonymous said...

I tried this last night but, something went wrong, b/c this morning both jugs contents had seperated . looking like big fluffy clouds in the sky (soap water) Can you enlighten me a little whynotsew? Maybe i didnt melt the soap long enough before i added the other ingredients or the biggie may be that i used plain arm hammer baking soda, and not the washing soda. Could not find the washing soda in my lil town.

Denise Acebo said...

I READ THROUGH YoUR ENTIRE BLOG AND NOBODY MENTIONED A SETIC TANK/ i HAVE A NEW AEROBIC SEPTIC TANK (THE KIND THAT SPRAYS WATER IN THE YARD) AND WAS WONDERING IF IT IS SAFE RO USE? I DONT WANT TO DAMAGE OR CLOG THE WORKS...opop pardon the caps!

Mary Jane said...

Will this work effectively in cold water? I use Original Tide in cold water with good results. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I'm making my third batch tonight. I love making my own soap, and I love not having to spend so much money buying laundry detergent every so often! For those of you who experience lumpy soap, I pour my soap back into an old detergent container (the one with a spout on it). If you shake it (before you use), this helps break up the lumps, and it works just fine. If it's watery after you make it, that's "normal"... after you let it sit and perhaps even cool, it starts to turn into a gel. I'm going to try adding some of those laundry beads in addition to my bar of soap for added smell, since the soap I have been using doesn't seem to smell very strong. Also, I also wanted to throw this idea out there- since I don't spend so much money on laundry soap every month, I rationalize splurging on these laundry beads to aid in the scent of my clothes. I don't feel so bad about spending the money on them, since I am saving so much on soap! Hope this post helps someone :)

Panda47bear said...

I would say the best place to store this would be in a plastic bucket with a lid because of it getting thick and not in the jugs.

Susanne Bowen said...

I believe the main worry in a front load is too much suds! This soap makes non so it should be fine. I'm gonna try it!

Kacie Dean said...

Yes you can use it in HE machines because it is a low suds detergent. :-) just thought I would let you know.

Anonymous said...

how long will this keep in the containers? i was thinking of making a few gallons at a time since my household tends to go through a lot of detergent but i dont wanna do that if it starts to break down after a couple of weeks or so.

Anonymous said...

I have made this before trying different types of bar soap and laundry bar soaps. I'm wondering if anyone else is noticing a heavy smell in there laundry after using it? Not Right out of the dryer but after the laundry has set. I have use a fabric softner to resolve but not making a big difference.

Anonymous said...

I just made my first batch, so far so good. I used an almond and oatmeal bar soap, because I love to smell my clean clothes and know they are clean. This is great and I think I found a keeper! Thank you for posting this!

Marcy said...

OYE!!! Note to self: READ THE DIRECTIONS FIRST!!!! I dumped the entire box of Borax and the entire box of Washing Soda in my pot. What to do, what to do?????

Anonymous said...

I make roughly the same recipe. I grate a fels naptha bar into a pot of water and cook until its fully melted. Then I fill two 5 gallon buckets almost completely full with cold water. Add 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of baking soda to each bucket. Then add soap solution into the buckets equally and stir. I use maybe a quarter of a cup at a time. I have 3 young kids and one bucket will last almst a year. Borax and soda lasts a long time and fels naptha s only a $1 from walmart.

Anonymous said...

I use the plain glycerin soap from the craft store because of allergies its the heat n pour kind will this work in the recipe fyi its a great bar soap for anyone with sensitive skin

Tori Henry said...

Hello. My son is allergic to dyes and frangrance would it be ok to use this if I got a hypoallergenic bar soap?

Brendan Dalton said...

If you're in Ireland, you can get Borax Substitute here http://totalcleaningsupplies.ie/borax-substitute-500gm/. Problem is that they charge €10.00 for a €2.75 product, unless you're in Limerick or Kerry, which they have retail stores.

mom of 3 in VA said...

I have been wanting to try making my own soap for a while now and today I made yours. I found you through pinterest. Love your blog by the way. My experience was very good with this recipe. My daughters grated the bar soap, I used fresh sent Dial $1 for two bars at Dollar Tree, and we cooked it up. After reading the posts about it being so thick I bought a 2 gallon food grade bucket from Lowe's for about $5. So my start up cost is around $13. Still way cheaper than store brand. It did get thick and I just used a 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop it out. I can't wait to see how long it will last my family of 5! Thanks again.

MelissaSue said...

I've gone through several batches of this soap and I really enjoy using it. But I am having a problem. Some of the fabrics are coming out smelling like feet. Particularly the kids' fleece type pajamas. I'm using dove soap. I tried vinegar in the fabric softener bin and that didn't help. I hate to go back to store bought, but what else will take away this smell? Would essential oils help? How much would I add to the recipe? Thanks!

Alicia McBride said...

Will it work using cold water for wash and rinse? Wondering of the gel will liquify in the cold water.

Alicia McBride said...

Will it work using cold water for wash and rinse? Wondering of the gel will liquify in the cold water.

Anonymous said...

not sure about the washer but the soda it right next to the borax in most stores

Anonymous said...

I used to make the liquid and did that for about a year and a half then switched to the powder. The powder is a little easier and you can make a HUGE batch. I fill a large container and it lasts me 6 months or more for a family of 4.

Anonymous said...

The homemade soap is low sudsing so yes it is great for HE washers. I would only use 1/4 of a cup. If you look at Tipnut.com there are 10 different recipes for laundry detergent and all sorts of reviews to go with them and the HE is addressed.

Anonymous said...

I use Zote also and it makes a double batch or you just use half the bar. I get it for 90 cents at Big Lots so it's a great savings too. And it has a nice clean mild scent.

Anonymous said...

How much do you use per load?

MY1138 said...

How would the ingrediants change if i wanted it to be used on my babies clothes and cloth diapers??

KEHmom said...

You can make your own washing soda!! Just take baking soda, lay it out in a casserole dish or cookie sheet and place in 400 degree oven. bake it until it turns a more grainy consistency. basically youre cooking the water out....that is the difference on the chemical level....just try it...they were sold out and thats what i did...saw it somewhere but i can't remember where....

Anonymous said...

Dr. Bronners it's fantastic!

Nicole Jones said...

i made mind last night and when i woke up this morning to use it it is so thick i cant get it out of my jug what can i do about that????

little e said...

I found this post via pinterest nearly a year ago. I finally made a batch this weekend, and it is completely solid in my jugs! What did I do wrong??

Anonymous said...

I made a batch as well and mine seperated......thick on top and watery on the bottom....what did I do wrong?

Kerena said...

I'm totally making this today! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

Corrine said...

I make mine with a $.99 bar of Fels Naptha & it makes way more than 2 gallons, more like 5.

Corrine said...

That's normal, you just need to stir it up.

Corrine said...

Not enough water? You can add more water & shake.

Anonymous said...

Up Here in Western Canada I have just made 3 batches of Soap. I managed to find Washing soda at "London Drugs" and our local Safeway. The Cost for Both boxes was $15. Soap was another fun find - $3 for 2 bars of Dove. I also made batch #3 with Lever 2000 - just for the person whom had questions about it.
I did locate a website on how to make "Washing Soda" - Take a big box of baking soda - spread onto a cookie sheet and bake it at 400oF for up to 1 hour. The white stuff will lose it's shiny texture and become grainy. Awesome for the people having issues.
So...I have 1 jug of Lever 2000 citrus, and 2 jugs of Dove (I did add cinnamon oil for scent.) Wish me luck. I can't wait for Laundry day.

Unknown said...

Where do you buy the super washing soda? Is that the same thing as Pure Baking Soda?

Anonymous said...

CAUTION!! We were using this for a long time, then our septic field started to back up we came to realize that the detergent was coagulating in the pipes again once cooled underground. After a little research found that this isn't as much of an issue in urban areas as the piping is larger to accomodate more population. I have continued to use it but much MUCH thinner and we seem to be okay ... for now. I also don't boil it, I add boiling or very hot water into the dry ingredients in the bottom of a 5 gallon pail, stir it up til dissolved works great!

Anonymous said...

Has anybody used this for a extended time in an HE washer?

Unknown said...

Is washing soda the same thing as pure baking soda? I can't find washing soda in the store, where do you buy it?

Do It All Mama said...

these were my questions as well. also how well does it work on kids clothes, i have 2 very active boys.

Do It All Mama said...

will this work in front loader high efficiency washer, and i have 2 very active boys, how well will this clean their clothes? please email me

Anonymous said...

i got mine at walmart for $3.24

Chaz said...

it does! and yes, you can get it at the regular grocery store, or walmart:)

Chaz said...

it does! and yes, you can get it at the regular grocery store, or walmart:)

Darling @ Junque 'n my Trunk said...

Yes it is! It is low suds & so is HE detergent!

Amanda Large said...

Hi, I just found you on Pinterest. I have a couple of questions about this. 1. What temp do you put it on to heat it up? Or does it madder? 2.How long do I let it sit in the pot before I transfer it to containers? and 3. How long after I transfer it can I start using it? Thanks! If you just want to email your response to me that is fine. Email: binkiefreak@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Could you add a little dawn dish soap to the mixutre seeing as it works wonders as a stain Remover?

Anonymous said...

You can find Arm and Hammer Washing Soda in a regular grocery store. It's in the laundry aisle. It's also in a large bag. Don't buy the Arm and Hammer Washing Detergent. (they make actual laundry detergent, but all you need for this is the washing soda...cheaper).

Anonymous said...

I know someone who uses this in her HE front loading machine for 1 month and then uses the HE detergent the next month. She has not had any problems.

Kristina Halley said...

One US gallon is 128 ounces. I hope that helps.

Kristina Halley said...

One US gallon is 128 ounces. I hope that helps.

Kim Teasdale said...

I made my first batch last night with a bar of Dove soap and let the grated soap cook until melted (about 20 minutes) in non boiling water. I then added the borax and washing soda, turned up the heat and waited until the first signs of boiling started (1 big bubble) and then turned off the heat and added the cold water. I used the exact ingredients and stirred it occasionally as it cooled for about an hour afterward. I then transferred to milk jugs and then let cool over night. It turned to be the perfect consistency for a slightly thickened but readily pourable detergent and best of all it's pink *big grins* I used Dove pomegrante/lemon verbena soap and it smells so nice! I have my first load in the wash and I can't wait to see how well it works! Thanks for the tutorial/recipe :D

Debbie said...

Yes, it most definitely works in a front load high efficiency.

Debbie said...

I use the Duggar family recipe for this. Same ingredients, only it makes 10 gallons. After you mix all the ingredients in the pot, put it into a 5 gallon bucket and fill to the top with water. Then as you need to use it cut it in 1/2 with water again. I usually fill a gallon jug 1/2 full with water and then 1/2 with the laundry soap. I've found it works just fine.

yewpendi said...

I use this type of recipe in my HE front loader, it works great. you only need about 1/3 of detergent though. maybe less? washing soda is in the detergent isle.

yewpendi said...

I use this type of recipe in my HE front loader, it works great. you only need about 1/3 of detergent though. maybe less? washing soda is in the detergent isle.

Kim Teasdale said...

Tried the soap and surprisingly my laundry is softer! I so will be making this again :D

Anonymous said...

Walmart has it in the detergent isle. It is about $4.00. Works like a charm. Has a nice clean scent. I have used liquid bidy soap instead of grating bar soap and it works fine. Not thick but it is great. You can add color safe bleach in the mix also!!

Anonymous said...

Put in a spray bottle and dilute with water and it makes a great household cleaner. Really cuts thru grime.

BethieJean said...

What's the shelf-life on this? I usually do two loads of laundry a week, and this seems like an awful lot for one person. Would it be worth the time to make it if I have to wind up tossing half of it away?

Anonymous said...

Hi Amanda - how is our husband doing? I hope he's health or at least on his way to full recovery! If he's still battling, you might want to read the book THE GERSON THERAPY. It's saved many lives.

Alicia said...

yes i always dye in my washing machiens... and then i do a quick wash rinse at the end. no problems ever

Carrie Chatham said...

I just made mine today! Im so excited to get to start using it tomorrow! The kids loved to help with this also! They had fun grating the soap! Thanks so much for sharing this and updating as you went! This is awesome! I am spreading the word!
Carrie Chatham

Anonymous said...

Where do you buy the washing soda? I am excited to try this, but have been to 3 different stores and can't find it? Is it found near the laundry detergents and Borax? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

My detergent that I made is extremely thick. So thick in fact, that you turn the jug upside down and nothing comes out. I put mine in laundry detergent jugs and I can't just reach in and grab a lump. I'm really excited about the notion of making things like this myself. but am disappointed that mine didn't turn out right. Do you have any ideas of how to use mine still.

~Juli said...

I just made this. I used a soap that most closely matched my favorite laundry detergent. I cut the ingredients in half and made an even smaller batch. It came out fantastic. I needed to water it down a little but beyond that it is perfect.

RaChell Strait said...

I have used Fels-Naptha & one of my friends uses Ivory. I have also made powder soap using Zote

Anonymous said...

I called my local Walmart's and told them I needed this products. They now carry the items.

jenniferS said...

i just made my first batch. i used a bar of handmade soap i bought on etsy. it's thin! it also took the finish off my anodized aluminum pot. :( I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will turn out.

Renee said...

Any idea if its ok to use with a septic tank?

Anonymous said...

you need to consider that you will have an entire box of Borax and an Entire box of washing soda....so by only using a cup each per bar of soap, you are getting 500+ loads out of those boxes combined....

Anonymous said...

Is this septic tank safe?

Rishean Stailey said...

My family is huge on smell good products. Does this soap get it's smell from the type of bar soap you use?

Alicia Mullis said...

I could not find washing soda, could I use just pure baking soda in It's place? I have all the other ingredients.....

Alicia Mullis said...

I could not find washing soda, could I use just pure baking soda in It's place? I have all the other ingredients.....

Anonymous said...

I just made this today and its sooo thick it won't even come out of the container. I am now diluting. But originally had 2 gallons of water and am probably up to about 4 now... any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I tried this yesterday and my detergent is now a solid? Any tips?

Anonymous said...

I made this yesterday and today my detergent is solid, will it still work? Any tips on preventing this?

Anonymous said...

Is it safe for sensitive skin? I have to by the Arm and Hammer for sensitive skin. Thanks! Stephanie (stephconnell09@gmail.

Anonymous said...

Does this smell really good? I like yummy smelling laundry...lol

Amy Gladwell said...

US Gallons - 4quarts=1gal

wranglerchick95 said...

CAN YOU TELL ME HOW MUCH BORAX, AND HOW MUCH WASHING SODA TO USE PER BATCH..I REALLY WANT TO TRY THIS!! i HAVE TRIED A DIFF RECIPE WITH THE SAME INGREDIENTS AND IT NEVER THICKENED :-( THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!!!

Anonymous said...

can you tell me how much borax, and how much washing soda to use per 2 gallons of water please? I tried and it never thickened, so I think I did it wrong :-(

Anonymous said...

I make homemade soap and use it I'm my front load high efficiency washer just fine

Lindsay said...

What does this smell like, or does it smell like the kind of soap you use? Where could you find the borax and washing soda? Walmart, maybe?

Anonymous said...

Or at the hardware store. That is where I have to buy my washing soda.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy making my homemade laundry soap as well as checking out other's recipes. I make a large batch and pour it into a cooler. I generally use fels naptha, but have used ivory in a pinch. I have a friend who adds fragrance oil to hers. I haven't payed much attention to how much I go through, although I use a full cup instead of a half, and more water too. I have seen so many recipes now online. I read one woman just puts her fels naptha bar in a bucket of water with a lid until is disolves itself and then she makes her new batch before her old one is out. I have made the powdered also, but didn't care for it much. Thank You for your post, I enjoyed reading it and all the comments.
Christina

Brian and Kim Perkins said...

My wife and I have been making and using the powdered version for a while, then we found your recipe. I couldn't help it, I made 2 batches so now we have 4 gallons of laundry detergent and I can still make about 4 more batches thank you so much for your help

Anonymous said...

Hi!! Just found this tip... could you please tell me the cup size and the soap bar size?
ALso, is this detergent harsh on clothes? Does it bleach?
Thanks,
Christie.

Anonymous said...

I seen it at walmart

Brittany Jones said...

Well I must say, I just made this last night, and I am incredibly impressed!! I used half a bar of unscented soap and just added peppermint oil (my laundry smells like candy canes and my whole family loves it!) I took an above commenters advice and let my mixture boil for ten minutes before adding the second gallon of water and removing it from the heat, and it has the exact consistency of store bought laundry detergent perfect!! I am so grateful for this, and am looking forward to saving so much money! Thanks :-)

Jessica K. said...

I've been making this for a while now. I've found that stirring it multiple times while it's cooling helps prevent it from getting too thick an "gloppy".

Anonymous said...

I have made this twice and love it!! Thank you and "Happy Washing". :)

Jessica said...

Anything we could use to make it smell better? Or just get a bar of soap with a scent?

Anonymous said...

Is this laundary soap ok for sensitive skin types? My daughter has eczema.

Anonymous said...

You can find it at Amazon or Ebay

pamdesignsblog said...

Mine came out the consistency of paste. Probably because I used a whole large bar of soap. I used it anyway in my HE machine and the clothes came out just fine. I would really like it to be liquid but don't want to sacrifice the cleaning ability of my next batch by using a half bar. Do you think liquid hand soap would work? If so, how much should I use? Our dollar store sells a bottle of liquid soap for the same price as bar soap.

Anonymous said...

ok this may be a dumb question but do you use the same pot every time just for laundry detergent or can I just "wash" the pot and use it for cooking still? I really don't want soap flavored meals but would guess it should just rinse all out like washing it, right?

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if all you homemade laundry soap users are using fabric softener with the soap or does it take care of the softening as well?

Anonymous said...

Is this recipe ok for use in cold water or should the water be hot for washing? I now use Tide Cold Water to save on $ by not using hot water.

Anonymous said...

Mine too is runny like water. Did I do something wrong???

Anonymous said...

You can buy washing soda at a grocery on the aisle with laundry soap! Yes it will work in the HE. Front load machines, cut the amount used in golf.

Anonymous said...

4.78 liters in a us gallon

Steph said...

you can actually make washing soda by cooking baking soda in the oven until it fully reacts. (it becomes grainy rather than powdery)

Anonymous said...

I see on the picture you used dove, I'm not sure how clean the ingredients of dove are? any other suggestions as far as soap goes?

BKibbey said...

Saw this and it got my curiosity going. I found out two things: you can alternatively do this same recipe by blending the soap after drying it in order to get a fine powder, then mix the ingredients dry and simply only use the powder in 1-2 tablespoon amounts. And, because it doesn't suds-up, people use this recipe in high-efficiency washers to good result. Given the price of HE detergent, that's pretty good news.

Linda said...

Washing soda is not sold in Southern California, can I use Baking Soda?

Anonymous said...

i found my supplies at the local ace hardware.

bella76542 said...

Is this safe to use in my front loader HE washing machine??? If so I will definately try it :)

bella76542 said...

Please let me know if this can be used in my front loader HE washer. If so, I will definately try this!!!

Anonymous said...

Great thinking! That is such a sensible idea! :)

Anonymous said...

Yes it will work in a front - loading washer. You can find the washing soda in the laundry detergent aisle.

Anonymous said...

I use Zote or Ivory.
You can add essential oil as well for scent. 1 cap of it works great.

NancyKR said...

I make homemade powder (no grating or boiling) but I might try this just to see if I like it. I'm thinking I'll put it in one of those lemonade dispensers with the spout on the bottom. I wonder if it would be to thick to come out of one of those.

Alisia Huss said...

@PATRICIA How many drops do you tend to use when you add essential oils? Also, what does your husband use as work clothes? My husband works in a mine so his are DIRTY, does the Fels Naptha work for that? Thanks so much

Anonymous said...

It was a mess for me to make. Got everywhere trying to transfer from the pot to the funnel/jug. Don't know if its worth all that, but ill be using it tomorrow for laundry so I hope it works well (:

Hailee said...

That was my question exactly....I have a front loading high efficiency washer too. We usually only buy the high efficiency soap and don't use much of it as our house has a water softner too and not much soap is needed. Would this laundry soap work for that or should we stick to store bought?!

Cally_From_Cali said...

I just made my first batch and poured it into old laundry detergent containers for easy measuring...I'm in love! I used Yardley's lavendar bar soap and added a little lavendar oil, and it made my whole house smell like lavendar while it was cooking - and now my laundry smells fresh. Thanks so much for posting this, I'm never going to buy "normal" laundry detergent again! It's so quick and easy to make, I can't believe everyone doesn't make their own!

Anonymous said...

Made my first batch and it was thin, but my clothes are clean and smell great!!!

leyna said...

for 32 loads per gallon is $1.50, every batch is 3 dollars. So you get 9 gallons for 6 dollars!For 32 loads of Gain liquid detergent it cost 7 dollars!! Owow amazing savings right there :) nice! I'm trying this tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if this recipe is safe for septic tanks?

Anonymous said...

I live on the west coast, we have soft water, it causes your hair/skin to still feel slippery even when it's all washed out. Does anyone know if this recipe will work for me. I too have a front load HE washer and have eczema, I use aveeno soap, I am just curious if it has worked for anyone with these situations.

Anonymous said...

A man weighing in on making homemade laundry soap:

1. Put the Fels Naptha or Zote through the grater function of your food processor. You will avoid a nasty laborious grating process that might result in grazed fingers or fingernails. What is more, it works wonders for cleaning residual build up from your food processor.

2. if you use a front loading washer, put your soap directly inside the drum of the machine instead of in the soap tray on the top. Start the cycle immediately thereafter.

3. For those that do not care for flowery smelling laundry, I suggest adding essential oil of lemongrass, pine, or orange.

Anonymous said...

Our local WalMart DOES sell the washing soda (NOT to be confused with Arm & Hammer BAKING Soda) in the Laundry aisle next to the Borax. Not every store carries the same things, so make sure you check your local stores for your convenience. We are using this right now, but with Felsnaptha. Our recipe is slightly different, but the same idea. Love it!

Staci Murden said...

Can you add oxy clean to the liquid mix or does it have to be added each load?

Anonymous said...

Can you use this in any temperature of water and also if it is thick do you just put it in with your clothes in a HE front load washer?

Anonymous said...

Also wondering how well this works with hard water?

Tasha =) said...

do you add the Oxy Clean to the actual load, or the recipe :) .. My husband is a WELDER as well am so looking forward to making this recipe :)

Anonymous said...

Only use dry versions if you are washing with hot water. Otherwise, the soap will not dissolve well.

Lindsically said...

You might want to add not to just dump the soda into the pot. I did this and my entire kitchen looked like I was having a bubble rave. It's spotless now but just saying... Add the Borax and the soda slowly.

Victoria Roth said...

does this work on greasy clothes? My husband works in a restaurant and comes home greasy all the time. Right now I am at my wits end trying to get his clothes clean...

Anonymous said...

Made it & love it. Really easy and pretty quick. I used the dove soap for extra sensitive skin. Thank you for sharing this, my daughter is allergic to most detergents. This has made my life easier (-:

teresa hamby said...

my daughter and i just made a batch in a 5gallon bucket, the instructions we got was after it gelled you just 50/50- mix equal amounts of the laundry detergent and equal amounts of water. its in a concentrated form.

teresa hamby said...

its concentrated, use 50 detergent and 50 water

Dixiejet said...

It's the gallon (US), Chic... :o)

Dixiejet said...

It's the US gallon, Chic... ;o)))

Dominique said...

I haven't made this yet, but based on the comments, I'm thinking about just pouring it from the pot into a bucket and scooping it out of there. That way it doesn't really matter how thick it gets. Can't wait to try this:) Thanks!

Nana Halderman said...

Did you ever answer the question about the detergent being safe for septic tanks? Is it?

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I have used this for years. It has never caused any problems with our septic system.

Heather Mae said...

curious to know if people are adding any kind of fabric softener as well??

Lisa said...

I have added a cup of my fav fabric softener or Fabuloso cleaner for a strong smell. I also use 5 gal of water with mix and then 5 more gal to make 10 gal of detergent.

Lisa said...

I use 5 gal of water and leave it over night. Then use 1/2 mix and 1/2 water. It's easier to pour into jugs. I love it!!

Anonymous said...

I have found the washing soda at my local Walmart. I would love to know if it is ok to use in a high efficiency washer. I am thinking that it should be ok since it is stated that it has no suds.

Cierra Shane said...

Is this safe for use with a septic tank??

Heartmade Creations said...

What is your opinion on comparing this specific recipe to a baby detergent or "clear" detergent. I have an online children's boutique and I use only free and clear detergents for the fabrics I use since kiddos will be wearing the items. :0) Thanks

Cassandra
heartmade_creations@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

US

kelseywalker417 said...

4liters make up one us gallon ;)

Anonymous said...

I have found it next to the borax at Walmart on the laundry soap aisle

Sercie said...

My concern is with the front loader machines is that the repair man told me to never use anything except HE detergent. He said if not it will ruin the bearings and it is a 2 man repair job with a cost of about $800 and that was about 3 yrs ago. He said I could purchase a new washer with the repair cost. I am afraid to use anything except HE detergent...but if anyone has a for sure HE detergent post it please. $800 would buy a lot of $10 bottles of HE detergent and I am not without a washer.

Anonymous said...

Ashley n yes I used this on a really grungy bunch of cleaning rags and They came back to white!!! I always use bleach with my white clothes and did so with this detergent too. It took out everything~

Anonymous said...

Regarding the use of Ivory or Fels-Naptha -- I have excema and have found both of these soaps to be way too harsh. If harshness is an issue, then yes, I would definitely try the Aveeno bar or the Dr. Bronner's bar. I did a little research on the Borax question, and yes, there is evidence that Borax can be harmful to pregnant women or babies, and it is associated with a lower sperm count in men. There is a Borax substitute available on Amazon UK that ships to other European countries. The Carbolic Soap Company also makes a Borax substitute and they ship to the US, UK and Europe. Hope this helps!

Lyndsay Pyles said...

Seems cool, but how do you figure 576 loads if you're using 1/2 cup per load out of 2 gallons of detergent?

Anonymous said...

I made my first batch today. Excited to see how my clothes come out. Was wondering what others used for the scent? I used Zest today. Smells ok, but I'd like a stronger scent. Any suggestions for a great smelling bar soap? Also, has anyone ever used any scented oils? A few drops maybe?

Anonymous said...

We just did a fun Kids thing I found on Pintrest where you microwave a bar of Ivory soap and it grows into a giant puff ball. It then is easy to breakdown into very small pieces. I'm trying Ivory so I don't have to sit and grate a bar of soap. It only works with Ivory soap.

Priya said...

I made this yesterday. it is way too Thick, I am going to blend it in a blender and add more water to dilute it and I will update you soon. Thank you so Much.

babsi12868 said...

OMG absolutely amazing! Super excited and glad I found you. First time I have ever made my own laundry soap and I cannot believe how close to the store brand detergents it turned out to be and I have so much of it yay!!! Thank you :)

Chan said...

i have different recipe on my blog. it makes 10 gallons!! Check it out http://chantel678.blogspot.com/2012/05/homemade-laundry-soap-check-this-out.html. Making your own soap does do wonders on the wallet :)

Rosemarie Buchanan said...

The low sudsing factor of this laundry detergent would probably make it safe for front-loaders. I'd try just a little bit on a small load, and see what happens.

If your front loader has too many suds in it, pour a 1/4 salt into the detergent drawer of the machine, wash it down with a cup or two of warm water, and the salt will kill the suds shortly.

Ellie Rae said...

I was told that a recipe using much less washing soda and borax than what you give will make 10 gallons!!!!! So, that's what I have been making -- 1 bar soap, 1/2 cup borax, 1/4 cup washing soda, add water to make 10 gallons.....you only make 2 gallons. Hmmm....maybe that's why my homemade soap is not cleaning so well...

Nicole M. Myers said...

We use Gallon (US) here in the states.

Nicole M. Myers said...

I recommend using a basic type of soap like plain Ivory, or Castile soap (if you can find or order it) Those are absolute basic soaps and do not contain lotions, or hardeners which can make your liquid soap be inconsistent and difficult to use. Body & Deodorant soaps are not good when making this kind of detergent. If you want it scented, you're better off adding some essential oil.

Marcie Horton said...

I love the concept. I have made it in the past and love the way it smells using the felsnaptha soap. The problem was that it didn't seem to get the clothes clean. I noticed the comment about using Tea Tree Oil. Is there anything else I can try? I went back to using Gain until I can tweak it so be more efficient :)

saritawarren said...

I've dyed in my washer many times. Just follow directions. Using liquid Rit, I mix colors sometimes and use half.

Emily said...

I just bought cloth diapers and wanted to use this to wash them with. How did it work with yours? Did it affect the absorbancy? Did it get the smell out for you? Do I need to try to avoid bar soaps with fragrance or does it not matter? Thanks for sharing your experience.

Lorraine said...

I use a similar recipe but it contains:

1/3 Bar of soap (I use a whole bar of my unscented, dye free homemade soap)
1/2 Cup Borax
1/2 Cup Washing Soda.
1 Gallon Boiling water
1 Gallon Cold Water

It seems to clean as well as ALL Free and Clear for sensitive skin and alergeies, and I need to make another batch.

So I guess it won't hurt to add a whole cup of the washing soda and borax next time.

Lorraine said...

I make a similar recipe using my own scent free , dye free handmade soap and 1/2 cup each of washing soda and borax and 2 gallons of water. I think it cleans just as good as my ALL Free and Clear. I will try using one cup of the WS and Borax next time.

Lorraine said...

I had the same problem, I still used 1/2 cup per load in my front loader and it works just as well.

Lorraine said...

Did you use 2 gallons of water instead of one? It should still clean. use a cup instead of a 1/2 cup. stir well before use.

cscarbo26 said...

Mine did too but I was patient and the foam stayed but the soap desolved.. and I love mine

Michelle said...

I was so happy to find this post and made a batch of the soap right away. We used it, liked it and when I ran out, I knew I was going to make a second batch. One of the reasons I liked this recipe so much was because I liked the idea of using a bar soap that was any kind I chose. So the 2nd time around, I chose a Yardley bar and made this recipe using one of my big Calphalon pots (a favorite and most often used pot). I had used a Farberware stainless pot the first time I made the soap but wanted to use a bigger one the second time around. Maybe everyone else knows this - I sure didn't: lye and aluminum don't mix. There is lye (it's listed under a different name that I wish I could remember - I think it was Sodium Tallowate) in Yardley soap and my expensive Calphalon pot is made with aluminum. My pot was ruined - shreds of it ended up in the soap and bits of the finish kept shredding off leaving the inside of it completely discolored and unusable. I don't think I've ever been so mad about a recipe going wrong. I threw out the soap and also had to throw out the pot. So I'm posting here so others don't do what I did. And I went back to buying Tide. Even though this worked once for me, I'm still so mad, I can't bring myself to make it again.

Lauriinnc said...

Dove for sensitive skin works very well for us. We have a houseful of kids with skin allergies, so I thought I'd share. You can get a generic version at Dollar general for 50 cents a bar! woohoo!

Michelle said...

I posted this incorrectly yesterday...sodium laurate is the technical word for lye (as told to me by my soap-making friends). So make sure that is not in your bar of soap if you are using an aluminum pan! And just to clarify...I'm mad at myself, not the host of this cute blog - this is still a good recipe to use as long as your soap is lye-free! Once I stop pouting, I'll go back to making laundry soap again and will use this recipe! :)

Anonymous said...

Ivory will not melt, it just grows when put in the micro

Melissa Shell said...

I had a heck of a time finding washing soda, but I finally found it at my local hardware store. They wound up ordering it for me. Its called Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and the Borax is 20 Mule Team Borax. Most grocery stores have stopped carrying the super washing soda.

I make a powdered version of this and the only difference is I add Epsom Salts because I have "hard water", and I also add Purex Crystals because I love the smell. The downside of using homemade laundry soap is you give up the fresh scent, but you can get it back by adding Purex Crystals to the dry mixture.

Anyway, both work great and really save money.

Lynn Benabise said...

Use a vinegar rinse and the ph should be right

Lynn Benabise said...

I use castile or homemade cold process in my dry detergent

Lynn Benabise said...

You can bake baking soda and it turns inyo washing soda

Stacy Harris said...

Perfect timing... I am out of laundry soap and might have to give this a try. And it is probably perfect for HE washers because they say it is the suds that cause the problem. Perfect. Guess I am making soap tomorrow! :)

Anonymous said...

I use this one and the dry version in my HE front loader. ~Kris

Mustang Mania said...

I am really wanting to try this. I was just wondering how it worked on really dirty things. My husband works at a sand and gravel mine. His jeans come home pretty dirty from mud and grease. Just wondering how effective it was on this type of stuff....

Scott reinier said...

if you use fels-naptha soap bar, this recipe actually makes 10 gallons!!!for a HE front load machine use only 1/8 th of a cup and top load is 1/4 cup...borax and washing soda should NEEVER be "cooked" or brought to a boil, dissolved in the hottest water ffrom your tap is fine...please do NOT boil borax, that is not safe....

if you go to the Duggar Family site they have a laundry soap recipe...same amount of "products" added..makes 10 gallons not 2

Anonymous said...

I made this yesterday and let it sit overnight. It's super thick and like jello. I just used my mixer to make it more liquid-y. I'm wondering if it will stay this way or will it thicked up too much again so it won't pour out of the bottles I intend to use?

Rachel said...

I always get mine from drugstore.com, they also have the borax and Fels-Naptha soap as well great stuff for laundry!!). Free shipping with orders over $25.

Anonymous said...

Yes, most grocery stores carry it in the aisle with the laundry soap.

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