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Friday, February 4, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Well, here it is, my favorite recipe!  I haven't bought Laundry Detergent in over 2 years and we have tried several different versions.  The first one is my ALL TIME favorite.  I have a very large family and we have normal wear and tear on our clothes.  All 3 laundry soap recipes are mild for those of us with allergies and still work hard enough to keep us clean.   We have a septic system and the homemade detergents listed here are septic safe.  I have researched the detergent needs for those of you with front loaders, and these are exactly what you need, a low sudzing detergent.  So get out your grater and get ready for some good clean fun!

Recipe #1 POWder Laundry Soap:
1 box Borax- 4 lbs. 12 oz. (sodium tetraborate)
1 large box- 4 lbs. Arm and Hammer Baking Soda  (sodium bicarbonate)
1 container Oxygen Cleaner-3.5 lbs. like "Oxiclean" or "Sun" (sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate)
2 bars natural Soap (like Ivory, or 1/3 bar of Zote, or 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha)
Grate the soap with a grater. 

Spread the soap out to dry.

(I let mine dry on a cookie sheet) Then you put the soap through your food processor.  Mix all  4 ingredients into a five gallon bucket.  I use the scoop from the Oxiclean container to measure with.  Use 1-2 scoops per load depending on size and stains.

That's it!!!  It works great, is super effective and saves some serious dough!  The ingredients I purchased above cost around $7.50 and it will wash around 75 loads of clothes.  I make it in double batches about every 2 months and we are a family of nine.

#2 RECIPE for Powdered Laundry Detergent:

2 cups Baking Soda
2 cups Borax
1/2 cup liquid castile soap
2 cups white Vinegar
(This was a fun recipe the kids loved to help with.  When you mix the ingredients you get the "volcano" bubbling effect so be sure to add them in small batches in your bucket)!

Mix together the Baking Soda and Borax.  Then, add the liquid castile soap.  Slowly add the vinegar until it is all mixed in.  This makes a thick paste at first and dries into hard rock-like pieces. Keep stirring and mix completely.  After the mixture dries break up any lumps, it is pretty easy.  I used 1/4 cup per full load and it works great.

*we made this one just a few times for fun and then went back to Recipe #1, because it was easier and less messy.

RECIPE #3 Liquid Laundry Soap:

1/3-1/2 Bar of Zote or Fels Naptha (grated)
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Oxiclean or "Sun" oxygen cleaner
2 gallons of water

Grate your soap.  Pour 1/2 gallon of water into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add the soap and stir until melted.  Meanwhile pour the other 1 and 1/2 gallons of water into your bucket.  Add the melted soap and water to the bucket and then stir in the Borax and Oxyclean, mixing well.    Let it set for 24 hours.  It will turn into a pink gel.  (The kids loved to squish it through their fingers the next day!)  Use 1/2 cup per load.  It is very cost effective, about $.02 per load, but it is very time consuming and messy.

***There are many MANY more recipes out there.  Search for "homemade laundry soap", "how to make laundry detergent", etc.  Experiment and have fun!  You can't lose when you know what is in your household products! 

Do you have a recipe to share or a question to ask?  Click on comment below....

*The above ingredients can all be bought locally.  I have added an Amazon link to them if you have trouble finding something or just want to see what I am talking about (the words highlighted in blue).  Of course Walmart, your local Grocery Store, or Discount Store, like Big Lots will save you money.

Next up will to make your own Fabric Softener!  Don't miss it!


  1. What exactly are the sizes of the boxes in your first recipe? I have a giant box of oxyclean from Costco, so I need to know what proportions to mix all these in. Thanks!

  2. I updated the box sizes, but I encourage you to just start dumping. I have made this dozens of times and it always turns out wonderfully. You could do equal parts each ingredient (except soap of course) and just a little less of the oxyclean. You could even leave the oxyclean in it's tub and put the per load amount in each wash the same way you have been. No need to actually mix it in the detergent. I just made a HUGE batch of this and I am thinking it will last us 8-10 months! Blessings, Shelli

  3. Liquid No Boil Laundry Soap
    2 tbsp Dishwashing Soap (I use Gain for the scent)
    3 tbsp Washing Soda
    3 tbsp Borax
    4 cups very hot water
    Mix all together. Use about 1 tbsp for a normal load. I use more for soiled loads and since I have well water. It will not be thick like normal liquid detergent, but works well and you dont have to cook it. I keep making and mixing until I fill my old liquid detergent container. Just shake before you use. Best thing is no boiling! I also use your powder detergent recipie. If you freeze the Ivory soap it grates much better and you don't have to dry it.