Saturday, January 5, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have had a lot of people express interest when I say that I make my own laundry detergent. Many think that it has to be difficult or take too long to make. Quite the contrary really, I can do it when I start dinner and be done with the detergent way before dinner is finished. The total of time is probably 10-15 minutes and, considering how much money we save, it is well worth the time!

To start off, you need 4 simple ingredients: water, borax, washing soda (NOT baking soda!!!), and a fels-naptha bar.

Get a large pot (similar to the one in the right of this photo and a cheese grater. Grate the fels-naptha bar. You could probably use a food processor or anything to get it into small little chunks.

Put all of the grated fels-naptha bar and 8 cups of water into the pot and bring to a boil.. I let it boil for a few moments to let all of the chunks melt completely.

At this point tonight, I started dinner (Andrew took a picture of me doing so! haha). Once it has began to boil, add 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda. Stir this well and let simmer/cook together for about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat!

You will need two gallon jugs. I use milk jugs and the same ones have lasted me 6 months. But, they aren't pretty!

I use a measuring cup and measure out 4 cups of the detergent for one jug and 4 cups for the next jug.

Fill the jugs up the rest of the way with water and shake them well! I let them sit for awhile.

Warning: this will get lumpy at times. Thats ok! I readd water after I put detergent into the washer. (So you get even more out of it all!) This tends to help it unclump.
I have used this detergent for over 6 months, probably closer to 8-9 months. I use it on everyone's clothes - including Brayden and I have from the start.

I consider detergent making pretty thrifty. I was never able to get detergent for free via coupons. I suppose if you can do that, then this isn't as cheap as that!
The cost to make this detergent:
$1 per fels-naptha bar
3.99 for a box of borax
3.99 for a box of washing soda
Water = free (Well besides your water bill but you get the point!)
Out of each box, I will probably get 20 cups so the price per cup for each is:
$.20 approx

so for $1.40 I get two gallons of detergent thats $.70 a piece and they last me about 1.5 months. Awesome!! I don't think I will ever NOT make detergent again!


  1. perfect. thanks for doing the math for me. will show DH since he was asking about it.

  2. I use the same recipe except now I just grate the soap to make a powder. It takes up less space and eliminates much of the mess.