A mom who likes to live outside the norm

Homemade laundry detergent

Okay, this is the recipe I’ve been using for a year now.  It’s worked for every manner of household and family stain, including washing cloth diapers.  The benefits of using it is you shouldn’t need any fabric softener since there’s no additives.  If you do for different reasons, a little vinegar poured in your wash will do the trick.  Or if you’re like me, I like to occasionally have that scent so I’ll throw a dryer sheet in with my sheets and towels.  This is good for babies and for those with allergies/sensitivities as well.

You’ll need:
a bar of laundry soap (I use Fels-Naptha, about $1)
Update: I now use 1/3 cup of liquid castile soap.  You can also grate a bar of castile soap)
Borax (I use 20 mule team, it costs between $5-10)
Washing soda (not baking soda, though it’s still Arm & Hammer, $5-10)
A fine toothed cheese grater if using bar soap

I’ve found all of these ingredients at Walmart (except the castile soap.  Trader Joes, Whole foods or online are good options).  You should also be able to get borax and washing soda at the grocery store…the hardest part to find is the bar of laundry soap.

I personally reuse 2, gallon sized laundry detergent jugs.  (If you do the same you may want a funnel for easy pouring the hot mixture in).  You can also use a bucket that has a sealable lid.  It should be at least 2 gallons, though a 3 gallon size is ideal.

Take a large saucepan, fill halfway with water and set on high heat.  Take your laundry soap and grate 1/3 of it into the water.  Usually the water is nice and hot by the time I’m done.  Add 1/2 cup each of the borax and washing soda.  Stir until well mixed.

If you’re using the jugs, pour half into each of the containers and then fill up most of the way with water and put on the lid tightly.  Shake for about a minute so that it’s well mixed, and add more water as needed so that it’s full, shake again.  Let sit for 12-24 hours before the first use.  Shake well before first using and a little before each subsequent use.

If you’re using a bucket, fill to 2 gallons and stir/shake well.  Let sit for 12-24 hours before the first use.  Stir/shake well before first using and a little before each subsequent use.

Use about 1/2c per wash (1/4 cup for HE machines), slightly more for heavy stains (you can also add a little extra washing soda for bad stains).  For pretreating stains you can get the soiled area wet and rub the laundry soap on it and let sit for 10 minutes before washing.

While I have to buy a new bar of soap every 3 batches, the borax and washing soda last a lot longer.  I’ve found for my family: cloth diapers, fostering and all, I make laundry detergent about every month and a half.  What once cost me over $25 a month now costs me about $30-40 a year.

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3 thoughts on “Homemade laundry detergent

  1. Pingback: How my family lives on a minuscule budget « UnorthadoxMomma

  2. Pingback: Cloth diapering « UnorthadoxMomma

  3. Pingback: Table of Contents « UnorthadoxMomma

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