Almost three years ago, I decided I wanted to try to save money and start making homemade versions of some of the cleaning supplies I use in my house.
The first item on my list was laundry detergent because it is so expensive. I was paying $12 and up for a bottle of detergent. When I researched how to make it, I found two kinds: the liquid and the powder. I decided after reading about how the liquid was all slimy that I would make the powder laundry detergent.
After making it, I decided that it was really easy and quick and did save me some money. I also loved how it cleaned my clothes, so I kept using it. I did know that if I made the liquid, I would save a lot more money. So now after almost three years I decided to give the slimy stuff a try.
Recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent
4 cups HOT water
1 bar Fels-Naptha bar soap (I find this at Walmart for $1 a bar)
1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Powder (I get this at Walmart for a little over $3)
½ cup Borax ( I get this at Walmart for a little over $3)
Food processor/hand grater
5 gallon bucket with lid
large spoon to stir
First, grate your bar of soap. I like to use my food processor because it gets this job done fast, but you can also use a hand grater if that is all you have. Next add the grated soap to 4 cups of HOT water in a saucepan. Place burner on medium-low and stir continually until all of the soap dissolves and is melted. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. I did this step in my bath tub. Next, add the melted soap, washing powder, and Borax. Stir the mixture and place cover on tightly. Let the mixture set overnight. The next morning your mixture will be thicker and somewhat slimy, but do not worry you don’t have to touch it. Stir the mixture and pour into used, cleaned out laundry detergent containers until half full, and then fill the rest of the way with water. You will need to shake the container before each load of laundry. I used 5/8 cup per load in my top loading machine. This recipe made 10 gallons of detergent.
Tip: This detergent will not sud up like the kind you buy in the store, but don’t let that fool you, it will still work.
Also, you can use vinegar in your fabric softener container inside your washer. This will also save you money and keep your machine running well.
Benefits of Using Homemade Laundry Detergent
When using this recipe, you will bring the cost of your detergent down to about 1 cent per load. I was paying around 20 cents when using the liquid name brands. I bought the three soap items for around $8.00 and got 10 gallons of detergent and left over Borax and Arm and Hammer Super Washing Powder. I feel like I saved money and have at least 3 months without buying or making any new detergent.
I also have a lot of people tell me that they get the 5 gallon buckets from the bakery in their local grocery store. These are icing buckets and usually come with lids. This is a great way to recycle the buckets. Some stores will give these away while others sell them for a small price.
Better for the Environment
The big thing about using homemade detergent is that the ingredients do not contain phosphates, which makes it safer for the environment. I also had people saving laundry detergent containers for me, so I was able to recycle the containers.
Good for Sensitive Skin
Another reason I wanted to use homemade detergent is because I had a child with eczema and the detergent I was buying that was considered, free and natural and safe for sensitive skin was also a lot more expensive. We have had no problems with breakouts from the detergent and many mom say they even use it on baby clothes and cloth diapers.
I should not have let the “slimy” part stop me from making this. It is easy, quick, makes a lot at one time, washes my clothes fresh and clean, and best of all saves me money!