Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

Laundry Room with Washer, Dryer and Homemade Detergent.

Make Your Own Home Made Laundry Detergent

Most people make their own laundry detergent at home because they want to save money, they have an allergy to a commercial detergent or they’re concerned about the environmental impact of commercial soaps.

To make your own homemade laundry detergent, you’ll need the following things then follow the steps below:

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • A bar of mild soap, like Ivory or Fels Naptha
  • ½ cup of washing soda, which you can find in the laundry detergent of the grocery store
  • ½ cup of Borax
  • Water in each of the following amounts that will be used in this order: 6 cups, 4 cups, one gallon plus 6 cups

Tools Needed:

  • A cheese grater
  • A two-quart saucepan that you dedicate to making the detergent in – in other words, don’t heat soup in it too
  • A two-gallon bucket or pail

Laundry Detergent Preparation

  1. Grate the Ivory or the Fels Naptha and place it in the saucepan. If you prefer not to use a cheese grater, slice the soap into slivers. (If you choose a bar of the Fels Naptha, grate 1/3 of it. If you choose the Ivory, grate the whole bar.)
  2. Add the first 6 cups of water to the saucepan and place on the stove on low heat. Stir frequently while the soap melts, until it’s completely dissolved. Make sure to keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Stir in the washing soda and the borax. Stir until both the washing soda and borax are completely dissolved in the soap and water mixture.
  4. Remove the thickening mixture from the heat.
  5. Add the next 4 cups of water to the two-gallon bucket or pail. Add the soap mixture from the saucepan to the bucket and stir well until the entire potion is well mixed. Add the final gallon plus 6 cups of water to the bucket and stir well.
  6. Allow the newly created laundry detergent to sit for 24 hours before using it and don’t forget to label it.

Adding a Fragrance

If you prefer a scented laundry detergent, you can add ½ to 1 ounce of essential oil to the detergent when you add the final gallon plus 6 cups of water. Essential oils like lemon and orange are the most common. While they won’t get your clothes any cleaner, they will add a fresh clean scent.

Using the Laundry Detergent with a Regular Wash Load

When you make your own homemade laundry detergent, it will have a gel-like consistency. The above formula is low sudsing, so it won’t create a lot of suds and you should have no problems using this in an High Efficiency (HE) machine.

This is a benefit, however, as too many suds reduce the ability of the detergent to clean. They’re also difficult to rinse out. If your laundry load is heavily soiled, use ¾ cup of the detergent. Otherwise, use ½ cup. Just add it to the basin before adding the clothes.

Pre-Treating Stains

You can also use your homemade laundry detergent to pre-treat stains. Just rub a small amount of the gel into the stain and let it sit overnight. Wash the next morning according to the directions on the label.

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