Tuesday, May 15, 2012


How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent!

When I was first invited to join Pinterest by my Mother-in-Law one of the first things I pinned was a tutorial for making my own laundry soap. I made it and I really like it! here's the blog I pinned it from. So I made it once successfully and thought that I'd share my experience with you for my second batch. here goes...

What You Will Need
  1. Large container ( I used a drawer-type storage container. I'm actually happy with it even though it seems like an awkward set up because I can sit it on top of my dryer and close it when I'm done and still have a "dryer top" to work with.)
  2. 1/2 cup scoop and stirring spoon
  3. 1/3 of a bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap. (other brands are Octagon, Ivory or Zote)
  4. 1/2 cup Baking Soda ( there is a difference between washing soda and baking soda, and I'm sure washing soda works really well, but in every laundry aisle I tried there was only this type of soda and it actually works really well so I wouldn't stress it if you can't find washing soda)
  5. 1/2 cup Borax. This stuff is awesome to have around the house too. there are so many uses for Borax. I read the box and I'm so excited to have this stuff. It cleans carpet and the bathroom and it does it without chemical fumes so... good stuff)

  1.  Cut your Fels-Naptha (or whatever brand) of soap into thirds and grate finely.

I've found that the smaller you grate the soap
the better but this little grater would be ridiculous.
cute but ridiculous

All done

    2.   Put 6 cups of water on low heat and add your grated soap. Stir mixture until soap melts but DO NOT let it boil.

    3.   Add Borax and baking soda and continue stirring until mixture thickens. (like syrup) Then remove from heat

    4.   Pour 4 cups of hot water into your container and then add your soap mixture. Stir really really well. If you want to make your laundry soap smell good you could add some essential oils. When I made this the first time I added 12 drops and I couldn't smell it on my clothes so this time I added 20 and I can smell it. It probably depends on what kinds of essential oils you use too- I used sweet orange and rosemary.

    5. Add another gallon + 6 cups of tap water and stir. Then put somewhere safe (Betty kept trying to play in it) and let it sit overnight.

This is what my container looked like after I'd used up my whole last batch. when I did this last time I didn't dilute it until after I'd let it sit out overnight and the texture was a lot more mealy but it gelled up over time.
This is what it looked like after I'd diluted it before I let it sit over night

stirring stirring stirring...
This is what the finished product looked like. Gelled and beautiful. I stirred it for a long time but I keep the spoon downstairs so I can continue to stir it because it changes texture all the time. The blog I discovered this recipe from put their concoction in the blender to make it smooth and I'd be curious to know how that worked out if the weather changed... I might have to go buy a blender. Blender or no, if you stir it really well then you can either leave it in the container in which it was born or funnel it into your old laundry detergent container.

   6. Scoop out by the 1/2 cup for each load and enjoy your new cheaply cleaned clothes.


My laundry station! These are the first major appliances Chad and I have ever bought together. They're second hand but completely refurbished and they work really well. I love older stuff anyway.

Note to Readers with Sensitive Skin

I have very sensitive skin and always have. My mother could never use tide or anything like that when she washed my clothes and we always used the "Free & Clear" or "sensitive skin" versions to avoid a full body rash situation. I was hesitant when I first tried this recipe because I wasn't sure how my skin would react. For the most part it's fine. I can wash my regular clothes in this and I don't have a problem. I do; however, still have to use a Free & Clear detergent for my Underwear (TMI) otherwise I'm in for a very bad day. My friend, Brittany has a recipe for a powdered detergent that is supposed to be great to use for baby clothes. I'm excited to try that out next time and see if I like it. Even if I do have to wash my unmentionables seperately this recipe still saves our family a bunch of money. Let me know what you think of it or if you have another good Idea to share! happy housekeeping! 

P.S. Thank you Frugally Green!


  1. Love Your Blog!
    I think it is great that you are finding and sharing ways to save money. Your laundry soap recipe is very practical and I bet the essential oils make it smell nice.
    A good way to explore more ideas on how to save money is by talking to folks who lived during the Depression. They learned ways to be thrifty because they had very little money. My mother-in-law, Bertha ( who passed away, I miss her!) shared many stories on hard times during the Depression. She gave me her old soap saver that her mother had used. A soap saver is a metal rectangular (size of a bar of soap) screen with a long handle. Ebay has some for sale for $25.00, if you want to see a picture (listed as Vintage Soap Saver). Soap savers were used to preserve the little slivers of soap when the bar was almost gone. The small pieces were kept in the soap saver then used later by dipping the soap saver into water to make suds.
    Bertha was also a firm believer in the use of white vinegar to clean with. "It is a wonderful disinfectant", she always said. Try it, you will be amazed.

  2. very cool. I will start looking for a soap saver. I love white vinegar too. if you throw it in with your laundry during the spin cycle it acts as a fabric softener. fun tips!


Thank you for your happy thoughts