Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Homemade Laundry Detergent- The Powdered Version

Recently I’ve seen a few posts on frugal/financial blogs about homemade laundry detergent. I think they’re great, but I run into a few problems with the liquid recipes. Most call of a 5 gallon bucket to store the detergent in. Issue is I don’t have the strength or space for something that big. Also, something about boiling the soap down on the stove and large quantities of hot water scares me. So here’s the powdered version for apartment dwellers who are short on space, anyone who uses a laundry mat, or just doesn’t want to deal with the other method.

I got my recipe from Modern Cottage early last year. So far I’ve made a single and double batch. I made the double batch in June and we’re still working on it.

-1 bar of soap: Fels Naptha is laundry soap that worked well for me. Other use Ivory^* or other bath soaps. The soap should come to about 2 cups.

-1 c Borax: I found it in my grocery store. You can also use 20 Mule Team Borax's** store locator.

-1 c Washing Soda. I also found this at the grocery store.

1. Grate the soap on a cheese grater. This isn’t fun but you’ll get through it. Some have recommended using a food processor but I broke the shredder attachment on mine when I tried this.

2. Mix the soap, washing soda, and borax together and you’re done.

Use 1T for small loads (or washers like mine) and 2T for regular loads. I store this in some extra Gladware and have a measuring spoon dedicated to laundry.

^Ivory tip- Grate it and let it sit for a few days to dry out the soap. Use your fingers to crush the soap to a finer consistency. This will help it dissolve better. Thanks Heather! Putting the soap in before the clothes also helps.

*I'll be using the Ivory that got me the $4 register reward I mentioned in the last post when I get around to making more in the next week or two.

**I’m not endorsing any particular brand. These are the ones I found when shopping. I’m a visual person so knowing what a box might look like helps.


Shuchong said...

Thanks for this! I'm running low on detergent, and I was contemplating the liquid homemade stuff, but was afraid that my roommates would kill me for keeping a 10 galleon drum of goop in the cellar. Now I have two alternatives: this or Money Saving Mom:)

sara l said...

I hope it works out. I love Money Saving Mom but it's also great to be able to make detergent without leaving the house (once you get the base ingredients).

We are THAT family said...

What a great idea. Thanks for recipe and for visiting my site. It's so nice to meet you! Blessings.

Anonymous said...

This recipe really gets clothes amazingly clean. You can also stretch regular detergent with borax and washing powder. Sometimes I just stretch it with borax. Just take one dose of your dry store bought detergent and mix up with one cup of each of the other powders. When doing this I just use about the same amount that I would have used with the store bought amount...which is a very meager and stingy amount, as people can use way less than the "recommended" amount. If I am stretching a liquid soap I put just a dash of the liquid in the wash water followed by a dash of the dry ingredients. You may have to adjust your amounts based on the type of machine you have and the type of water in your area.

Happy Frugal Washing!

Heather said...

I make this as well. I use Ivory soap for mine and love the results. I have two small boys (10 and 5) that really put it to the test. The oldest plays baseball, football and basketball and it cleans every uniform perfectly! I've been using it for almost a year and haven't had any desire to go back to the store-bought stuff.

I let the soap dry out for a couple of days after grating it and then I crush it up by hand before mixing it all up. I find it dissolves faster if the soap is in smaller pieces.

Great post!

sara l said...

@WATF- nice to meet you too
@annon- Thanks for the tips!
@Heatheer-Thanks for the Ivory tip. I made an Ivory batch after this post and Ivory is a little more particular than laundry soaps. I'll add an update to the post.

Grandmother Wren said...

This is a very useful tip -
I plan to try it rather than picking up my next gallon of liquid laundry detergent.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I have very cold well water and powdered soap will not dissolve. I have been making this soap for about a year and it works great for my family of 6. After it cools I pour it into old laundry soap containers. I just copied the recipe from the site I originally got it from.

Homemade Laundry Soap

I have making my own detergent now for about a year (thank you thriftyfun!). Its terrific!

I can't get the fels naptha here in Canada, but any soap will work really. I use which ever laundry bar is on sale, but I have heard of people using Ivory or other pure soaps too.

I have pots, spoons and a grater that I only use for this task.

1/3 bar grated soap
6 cups water
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda
2 gallons hot water

I heat the grated soap in 6 cups of water until the soap is dissolved. Add the borax and washing soda and stir until dissolved. Add this mixture to a 2 gallon bucket of hot water and stir. Stir occasionally over the next 24 hours while cooling.