Homemade Body Care Products / Homemade Cleaning Products / Homemade Gifts! / Mixes

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent The story behind how I started making my own laundry detergent: About 5 years ago I had heard, read, or saw somewhere {or most likely a combination of the previous} the idea of making homemade laundry detergent. I really liked the fresh scent that my clothes had after washing them in the more expensive brands of laundry detergents, but I was willing to give making my own detergent a go if it would help save some money in the long run {after all, cleaning the clothes of a large family really adds up!} So, I found a recipe somewhere for a liquid detergent, whipped up a batch, and we started using it. The first couple of weeks I was fine with the results of this new soap venture. After the initial honeymoon stage though, I realized a slight underlying funkiness to our “clean” clothes. I pressed on though. Going into the heat of the summer, and all of the extra sweat that was inevitably gathered on the worn clothing, definitely did not help the odor of the laundry. I just never felt like it was really getting clean. Also, I noticed that our whites were pretty dingy after a while, stains weren’t coming out properly, and the clothes felt a bit “stiff” and not soft after being washed and dried, even with the help of fabric softeners or dryer sheets. I decided that clean smelling and soft feeling clothes were more important to me than the opposite, and so after a few months of trying the homemade liquid detergent I caved and went back to the store to buy the expensive brand to help save the scent of my laundry!

A number of years went by and I never had the desire to go back to my previous venture of making my own laundry soap. Then something entered my life and it sparked an interest in giving it another try. Enter…Pinterest. Ahh, the lovely, wonderful, and thought provoking life of Pinterest! I came across a couple of recipes for a homemade dry laundry detergent, which I was leery of for some reason. I have tried in the past to use dry laundry soap and I was never really impressed with the results…my style was liquid detergent. I knew that I did not want to make another liquid soap again though. So, I hopped around the web a bit, looking at different recipes and posts and finally settled on trying one out. I am so glad that I did!

For the past year that I have been using this homemade dry laundry detergent, our clothes have been clean and soft, and I don’t even use an extra fabric softener. The funky smell that we had experienced with the first experiment with homemade detergent has not been around while using this recipe {unless of course I accidentally forget to switch out a load and it gets left in the washer for a couple of days, which would produce an unpleasant odor with any detergent being used. Tip for un-funky smelling laundry: switch out the loads and get the clothes dried ASAP!). Although the pleasant aroma left on our clothes isn’t a strong one that lingers for a long time like we would get from an expensive counter-part, the clothes don’t stink but have a light, fresh, and clean scent…which is just fine with me because we are saving money baby!

The pictures I am sharing with you in this post are from my original soap-making batch over a year ago. That batch lasted us about 6 months {doing laundry for 6-8 people during that time frame}. I used a brand of laundry bar soap called “Zote” in this particular batch…it is bright pink, by the way! I have since made it one other time, using a homemade bar soap my husband’s cousin makes. Her brand is called Red Soap Company. It’s awesome and smells great! She has many scents to choose from as well. We use it for more than just laundry soap, by the way. Pop on over to her site and check out her soaps. They are beautifully made, don’t dry out my skin, and like I said smell wonderful {it really is too bad that there is not a kind of scratch and sniff over the internet!} Since her soaps already have essential oils added into them, I didn’t feel the need to add any extra to my mix. That second batch, again, lasted about 6 months. I have bought all of the ingredients to make a third batch that I will hopefully be making in the near future. When I make this next round I am going to use the “Fels Naptha” brand of laundry bar soap, and will most likely eliminate the drops of essential oil altogether because I am not sure it adds much to the end product anyway.

These are different options for the soap that can be used in this recipe.  "Zote" brand, homemade soap, and finally "Fels Naptha" brand...

These are different options for the soap that can be used in this recipe. “Zote” brand, homemade soap, and finally “Fels Naptha” brand…

This laundry soap lasts such a long time because you don’t need to use much in each load. 2 tablespoons – 3 tablespoons is all that is needed per load. I actually just use the scoop that came with the Oxiclean container. I think I measured how much it held, and it is somewhere between that 2 and 3 tablespoon mark. Sometimes I might add 2 scoops in a load if it is especially large or dirty. Other than that, the 1 scoop {2-3 T} usually works fine.

The recipe that I am using today comes from www.askannamoseley.com. She did research into all of the ingredients listed in this particular recipe and why they work well together to make a great laundry detergent. I recommend popping on over to her site if you want to know the science and why’s behind how this detergent works so well and really is the best. This really works and I, personally, will be using it for years! If you make it, let me know how it works for you! -Shelley.

Homemade Laundry Detergent
*makes approximately 2 gallons of dry laundry detergent
*I will post links for these items, but note you can most likely buy these for much cheaper at a local Wal-Mart or grocery store than purchasing online from somewhere like Amazon

1 {4 lb 12 oz} box Borax
1 {3 lb 7 oz} box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 {3 lb} container Oxiclean {generic brands are fine}
2 {5.5 oz} bars Fels-Naptha laundry soap {or equivalent of other laundry soap like “Zote” brand}
5 lbs Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
20 drops orange essential oil {optional}
20 drops lavender essential oil {optional}

You will also need:
A cheese grater to grate the soap, or I used a shredder attachment in our Bosch Universal Mixer accessory to make the process go a little faster than grating by hand…
A blender or food processor
A large mixing bowl or other large bucket/container that is at least 2 gallons
A large metal whisk
Airtight container{s} to store detergent in {I bought 2 plastic gallon sized containers with screw on lids}

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Okay, here goes. First grate the soap…

I cut the Zote soap in half down the middle because it wouldn't fit in the tube otherwise

I cut the Zote soap in half down the middle because it wouldn’t fit in the tube otherwise

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Next, pour the Super Washing Soda, Borax, Oxiclean, and Baking Soda into a large mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Next, add a little bit of the powdered mixture and some of the shredded soap and blend {or pulse if using a food processor} to combine. Repeat with the rest of the mixtures until all of the soap is used up and combined with powder.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

If using essential oils, these can be added in this blending process as well…

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Mix soap and powdered mixture together well until all is combined.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Transfer finished detergent to airtight containers.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

This batch made a little more than 2 gallons.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

When ready to use, I always place the dry detergent directly in the laundry detergent dispenser in our washing machine. I really don’t like to place detergent directly onto clothes because I’ve had past problems with staining/spotting on clothing from that.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

If I happen to be using a washing machine that does not have a dispenser, I will dissolve the powder in a cup of hot water, place that liquid in the washer and allow the washer to fill just a little bit and give it time to dissipate into the water and then I will add my clothes after. I’ve never experienced staining or spotting from this particular detergent, but I figure it is better to be safe than sorry later on.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

For front loader high-efficiency washing machines: This soap can be used because it does not contain a sudsing agent. Just mix the amount of detergent as I described earlier {2-3 tablespoons} with an equal part of hot water {2-3 tablespoons} and allow the soap to dissolve in the water before adding it to the dispenser in the washing machine.

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3 thoughts on “Homemade Laundry Detergent

  1. Your husband posted a link to this post on FB, which I saw on MY husbands…. Looking forward to reading more of your blog and trying out some of these recipes.
    I also was all gung-ho on the homemade liquid detergent, and then I noticed it really wasn’t working. Two all-boy boys and country living is a menace for laundry. It wasn’t the lack of softness (line drying isn’t conducive to soft clothes:) ), but just a….dinginess. Whites weren’t white anymore. I have since since switched to the powder also, and I’m loving the result. I read somewhere that liquid detergent loses it’s “power” when it sits so long. Makes sense.
    Looking forward to connecting with you again at Encounter after our little one is weaned!
    ~Rachel Rhodes

    Like

    • Rachel- thanks for stopping by and taking a look! As far as the homemade liquid detergent went for me…I could handle clothes that weren’t soft as long as they looked and smelled clean, but in the long run that just didn’t seem to be the case. We usually line dry more in the warmer months, but haven’t gotten myself in the habit of getting back into it as of yet. I understand the soft factor not going hand in hand with that though!

      I look forward to seeing you at Encounter as well. Enjoy those precious moments with your little one before the weaning takes place…it will be here before you know it! God bless!

      -Shelley.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer |

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