Homemade Laundry Detergent

With a family of 7, there is a lot of laundry that goes through our house. One way I’ve cut back on our expenses is by making homemade laundry detergent. It really saves us a good bit of money. I also make my own fabric softener.

When I started doing this, I didn’t think I would like the liquid detergent. I used the powdered for several months, and then I looked into the liquid option and realized that the liquid has the better value. I don’t think I will go back to the powder.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

4 Cups – hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar (Wegman’s sells a 5.5oz bar for 1.29) (you can also use Ivory)
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (Wegman’s sells 55oz. for $2.79)
½ Cup Borax (Wegman’s sells 76 oz. for $3.99)

Grate the bar of soap and add to the saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until the soap dissolves and is melted. (It works best if you grate the soap fine. I have a grater I use only to grate soap.)

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to the top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken. (I went to Lowe’s and bought a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. Total cost $6-$8)

Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill the rest of the way with water. Shake before each use. (I use a gallon water jug.)

Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil. (Essential oil is expensive, so I don’t use it.)

Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

Powdered Laundry Detergent – Top load machine only

1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)

Recipe cost approx. $2 per 10 gallon.

Homemade Fabric Softener Recipe

2 cups Vinegar
2 cups Baking Soda
4 cups Hot Water

I use a funnel and put all the ingredients in a gallon jug. Be careful because vinegar and baking soda fizz when they are mixed together. You can also mix this in a large bowl or bucket and then transfer it into a jug. I just funnel it into the jug because I like to use as few containers as possible, although the baking soda doesn’t necessarily like going through the funnel. I don’t know why I do it that way. I may have to reconsider. The baking soda settles to the bottom of the jug, so be sure to give a little shake before each use.

Use 1/4 cup per load. One batch does approximately 32 loads.

I had a friend who had been making her own detergent and raved about it, but I was never sold. When I started looking for ways to cut back on expenses this seemed like a place where there could be a big savings, and now that I’ve tried it, I love it and will probably never go back to buying laundry detergent.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you!


12 responses to “Homemade Laundry Detergent

  1. BRAVO!
    Thank you for the useful info! I will be spreading this around where I work. We have many newlyweds, single parents, and women with young families that will greatly appreciate this way to mitigate the high cost of living.

  2. Are these laundry & Fabric Softener recipe’s safe to use in High Efficiency
    Please let me know if any one can help.

  3. @Pam….what amount do you use in your HE washer?

  4. Thanks for this great tip. I made the first batch and put some in a regular laundry soap container. I didn’t tell my oldest daughter, who usually does the laundry, what I’d done. Several days later she asked, “What’s with the new laundry soap? It’s kind of lumpy but I really like it. The clothes are so soft even without fabric softener. ? I told her I probably didn’t cook it long enough. That got a funny look. Then I explained. We’ve been using it ever since. Well, I found out why it was lumpy. I didn’t dilute it the second time when I put it in the laundry soap bottle. It cleans really well at double strength! And still cheap at twice the price! I’ll remember the last step this time. Thanks again.

  5. Hi, thank you so much for these recipes. I have a question about the fabric softener. Once you mix the vinegar, baking soda and hot water, do you add more water to fill the gallon jug? Thanks!

    • No, that is one batch. You can, of course, make more than one batch at a time to fill the jug.

      • Thank you so much for letting me know! I just made my laundry soap yesterday and I think it came out okay! I will mix this up and use it along with the laundry soap. Thank you so much!

  6. Reblogged this on BCarpenter's Blog and commented:
    Came acorss this blog the other day regarding homemade laundry detergent and it sparked my interest. With a couple young kids we do a lot of laundry. I am curious how many people may have tried it and I am considering giving it a go.

  7. Been using the ‘homemade’ soap for a few years, delighted to get a recipe for ‘softener.’

    Regards, whitestone

  8. Pingback: Homemade Laundry Detergent | Local Around Here

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