Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent!

I love finding homemade alternatives to items I previously purchased in a new favorite one is homemade laundry detergent. The soap recipe I used is found in the book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting! Now, here is where I reveal how clueless I am. :) One of the ingredients is "washing soda" and I had no idea what it was. I actually thought it might even come carbonated in a bottle!!!! I hope that some of you reading this can relate to me right now, and secretly don't have a clue either! I would imagine that there are others laughing at me right now - it's all good, I love to learn new things! Anyway, after doing some internet research I found out what washing soda was and how it is similar to baking soda. So after searching all over town and realizing that no one had washing soda, I found that I could substitute baking soda. Since I was so clueless in my initial endeavor, I thought I would share how to make laundry detergent and describe it as simply as possible. Therefore, I decided that I would try to take after my sister-in-law and post pictures with instructions...Katie, I hope I do you justice! :)

Needed: 1 Fels Naptha Soap Bar, grated
1 Cup Washing Soda (I used Baking Soda)
1/2 Cup Borax
5 Gallon bucket with cover
Small saucepan

That's it! That's all you need for (...wait for it...) 10 GALLONS of laundry detergent! No kidding, you will seriously get TEN GALLONS of laundry detergent!!! The best part, is that the whole things costs LESS THAN $2.00 to make! I even saw that Wal-mart is now carrying the Fels Naptha soap bars so they're easy to find and cheap - around a buck. Okay - so here's how to make it:

Grate the soap bar into a small saucepan. (notice the thumb? Hee-Hee)

Mmmm...this Thumby Mummy thinks it looks yummy enough to eat...but DON'T DO IT! - remember it's soap! :)

Cover the soap with hot water.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continually until soap completely dissolves.

Put washing soda (I used baking soda) and Borax in a 5 gallon bucket.

Pour in the hot, melted soap mixture. Stir well, until all the powder is dissolved.

Fill the bucket to the top with hot tap water.

Stir, cover securely and let sit overnight.

The next morning, stir the mixture.

Mix equal amounts of soap concentrate and water in a smaller laundry detergent dispenser or container.

(Each of my containers used 6 cups of detergent and 6 cups of water)

Store the additional detergent and use as needed.

I now have containers neatly stored in my laundry drawers and enough laundry detergent to last a LONG time!

Before each use, shake container. Top Loading machine requires 1 Cup per load and Front Loading (High Efficiency) machines only need 1/3 Cup!

I should add that I laundered several loads in my front loader machine before putting the instructions on my blog. I washed sheets, stinky socks, clothing, winter coats, hats and mittens - everything came out clean and fresh!

Good luck - I promise it's easy to do!


  1. Ok, are a hundred times the blogger that I am!! Ha, you are so sweet. This is a great tutorial, Jodi!! How long have you been making this soap?? Awesome!

    Our laundry recipe is a little different (Shelly gave it to me last year!)...we use this ratio: 1 bar Ivory Soap: 1 cup washing soda: 1 cup borax. We grate the soap like you did (although you did a much more thorough job!)...and then we mix it with the other powders and just keep it dry! We use about 1/3 cup powder per load. I've always wanted to try the liquid homemade detergent...but that was another step! You're great tutorial has inspired me to try though!

    p.s. I had no idea what washing soda was either...and had the hardest time finding it! The grocery store is the only place that carries it around where we are!

  2. Hi, Jodi! Wondering if you've had any trouble with the baking soda instead of washing soda?

  3. I think it has worked great! Everything comes out clean and fresh every time. Here's a link that talks about a couple of the differences though between washing and baking soda:

    I especially liked that the baking soda is not caustic and the writer explains that some people actually prefer baking soda in laundry. Hope that helps!

  4. I wonder if you could make the mixture, but not add the water and keep it as a concentrate...using only half the 1/2 cup per load for a top loader. What do you think?


  5. Karen,

    It's funny you bring this up, as a friend of mine just made a very similar "dry" recipe. She grated her Fels Naptha soap in very tiny pieces then mixed it with the washing soda and borax. It seems to be working for her! Let me know!