Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to Make Laundry Detergent

Our family began to find ways to cut cost on household items.  One of the first things we started to do was make our own laundry detergent.  It takes roughly 30 minutes and the savings are great.
 Most of you might think this is crazy and thats okay.  I hope your opinion of that changes when you see the savings a family can have.  The average cost for one load of laundry detergent by leading brands is $0.40 to $0.50 a load.  The average family household does 400 loads a year.  That is a cost between $160 and $200 a year.  The recipe I use makes enough laundry detergent for 680 loads in a front loading washer.  It will last us approximately 18 months.  The best part about this detergent is that one batch of 680 loads cost a whole $2.00.  Most families spend around $240 to $300 for 18 months of laundry detergent; my family spends $2.00.  Store bought laundry detergent is mostly water so why pay so much for it.
I know you must be thinking does it really work?  Is that possible?  Yes, it does.  I hope most of my close family friends will vouch for me on this but we don't smell and our clothes our clean (please feel free to comment if you feel differently.)  It doesn't take a degree in chemistry to make.  I bet if you can make jello you can make your own laundry detergent.

You will need a large 5 gallon bucket to make it in and store.  You will need a dispenser, I have a laundry detergent bottle from a leading brand that has a spout on it.  I keep this full in my laundry room for easy access.
The ingredients are:   1 bar of soap (preferably one without dyes or perfumes; I use Ivory)
                                       1 cup of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (don't use any type of substitute, I find this at Kroger)
                                      1/2 cup of Borax
  You are going to grate the bar of soap.  I have been very successful using the grating plate on my food processor.  Add this to a medium size sauce pan filled with water on medium heat, stirring continuously until all the soap is dissolved.  Fill the 5 gallon bucket approximately half full with hot tap water.  Add the melted soap, washing  soda, and borax.  Stir until it is all dissolved.  Then fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water.  Let this sit undisturbed for 24 hours.  During this time the process of saponification will occur; the process of soap making.  The mixture will turn into a slimy gel.  If you would like you can add  essential oils to scent the detergent at this point, I use a scented fabric softener.  When you get ready to use the soap you will need to give it a good stir or shake before each use.  Fill your dispenser with half water and half soap.  For front loading washers use 1/4 cup.  For top loading machines use 5/8 a cup.


  1. We use homemade laundry detergent too! Our recipe is a lot less Washing Soad and a little less on the Borox side, but I'm not always satisfied with the results, so maybe I need to just add more Borox & washing soda!
    The savings are definitely huge here! What a great way to bless your family!

  2. I have a HE washer -- would this be ok, you think? Also, I use the "free & clear" detergents to avoid the dyes and perfumes, so your recipe should be ok too, then?

  3. Our family has been very satisfied with the recipe. Give it a try and let me know how it works out.

  4. Yes Tasha, I have an HE washing machine. The amounts to use for a front loading machine will work for an HE machine. I started using this because I liked the free and clear detergents but found them expensive. As long as you use a bar of soap that doesn't have dyes or perfumes in it, the laundry detergent will be free and clear.

  5. i've loved reading about your adoption journey. it's true that if God calls us, He will equip us. your story of saving money for your precious little one is proof of that!

  6. I'll personally attest that Holly's family's clothes are clean!! We use this detergent too, thanks to Holly; and I'm thrilled with the results. We have 3 out of 4 kids living at home, and it saves us a lot of money, which I would rather spend on food!

  7. where do you find the oils to make it have a scent? How much do you put in the 5 gallons? If you use the scented fabric softener how much do you put in?