Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent {Tutorial}

Joke around our department is that this is me in commercial form:

Glitter.  So much Glitter!
This is how excited I was to make this detergent!  I love love love finding fun ways to take care of our home and try new things.  This trick is perfect!  We are making this on Thursday at school to finish our unit on laundry- my students will have to do laundry for their families (3 different loads) and they will get to take home enough detergent to do so!  I've included the label that will go on my students' containers.  Feel free to print it for yourself!

1 Bar Fels Naptha Laundry Soap
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Super Washing Soda (aka Soda Ash)
1/4 cup Baking Soda
I was able to find these ingredients super easy at our local grocery store.  I'm sure Walmart would carry them, too!
  • First, grate the bar of soap with a cheese grater.  I used this handy dandy gadget, but it actually wasn't that handy!  A cheese grater would work best.  I would suggest wearing gloves, too.  It's a little harsh to touch that much concentration of soap.
  • Once you have the whole bar grated, transfer to a food processor.  Grind into a very fine powder.
  • Pour soap "dust" into a bowl.  Add Borax, baking soda, and washing soda. 

  • Mix together!

    Keep in air-tight container!  2 tablespoons is enough for a normal load.  As with all powder detergents, dissolve in the wash water first before adding clothing.  Little pockets of powder in the folds of your clothing can cause the detergent to eat your clothing.  Dissolve first!  I tend to overload my washing machine, so I put in an extra tablespoon.  It has a nice smell in dry form and when the clothes are wet, but the scent will disappear in the dryer.  I love it!  I've heard this also works in HE washers.  Basically, if you can use a powder, this recipe should be okay.  I would read your owners manual.

    I repurposed an applesauce jar that my Grandma canned this summer!
     Printable Label:

I heard this recipe might be too harsh for baby items, but I also know people who do use it {on everything} and love it. I've also heard Borax might not be the best for bright bright colors, but the box says it's a perfect and natural alternative to colorsafe beach... which should mean it'll be okay, Anyway, I've used it on a load of whites and on some jeans/workout shorts. Everything turned out fine!

Fels Naptha Soap:  $.99
Borax:  $3.79
Baking Soda:  $2.69 (although I had this already)
Washing Soda:  $3.19
Total:   $10.66

Keep in mind the only thing I used in its entirety is the bar of soap.  I barely made a dent in the other 3 ingredients.  This is way cheaper in the long run than buying detergent.

If you are into "Green" cleaning solutions, The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier is an awesome book with tons of recipes:

I didn't get this detergent recipe from it, but it had it in there.  I'm planning on making the dishwasher detergent this week, too!  This book is big on essential oils that you can add for happy smelling.  Also, apparently vinegar is a fabric softener.  Who knew?  It is non-toxic, removes soap residue and prevents static cling in the dryer.  However, vinegar can make dyes in come fabrics run, as with rayon.  Just say no! =)  I will stick to my Aldi softener, thank you!


  1. bahaha!!!! Glitter...so much glitter. He didn't like that the dishes weren't shiny. They were much duller looking that with our regular dish detergent, but there wasn't any type of film or anything that you could get off. He felt like they weren't as clean. So I said forget it. We currently use Charlies Soap for our clothing because of the cloth diapering...but if we didn't use that I totally would make our own! Way to go on being green and thrifty! Oh P.s. I am cracking up that the coupon at the bottom of your page is for laundry detergent.

  2. Oh P.S.S...(is there such a thing) I want a tutorial on how to add tabs to the top of your blog- because I tried to add them to mine the other day and failed...I think the screaming child that wouldn't let me set her down helped in the failure, but still a tutorial would help...do it. I dare you. =)

  3. Hi Katie! I saw this post on your FB and had to tell you that I love soaking towels overnight (every once in a while) in the washing machine with a cup of vinegar. Works wonders at getting out the funk that can sometimes cling to towels!

  4. I have been doing this for a while now. My recipe is the same except for the baking soda which thanks to you I will be using now also. Love the label. P.S. I don't grind the felz naptha bar up after grating it and it works just fine. Also, I cannot find that bar at my Walmart. So I get it elsewhere. Hope that helps!!

  5. What a great idea! I have never thought of doing my own laundry soap! I love the jar and label too!! So darling! I would love it if you would link this up to my Ta-Da Tuesday link party starting tonight at midnight!!


    xoxo, Ashley J

  6. I'm having my students in "Sewing For Fun" make this on Friday! I'm excited! :) Thanks for posting the tutorial.


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