Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Good clean fun.

A few weeks ago my good friend Dara (Hi Dara!) gave me a jar of yellowish, somewhat gelatinous, liquid. It smelled very clean and slightly citrus-y. It was homemade laundry detergent!

And get this...it worked! Really well! Clothes came out clean and smelled great but without the overpowering smell that most detergents leave behind.  So I decided to whip up a batch myself. And we are now set on laundry detergent for the rest of our lives. Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration. We may have to make another batch when we're in our 80s. 

It is ridiculously easy to make and cheap to boot. Like pennies per load cheap. Take that Proctor & Gamble. 

Dara found the 'recipe' on Nature Moms Blog.  Like I said it's really easy to make and it makes A LOT

Here's what you need:
1 bar Fels-Naptha soap (found in the laundry soap section)
1 c. Arm & Hammer WASHING Soda (Not baking soda!! Also found in the cleaner/laundry section)
1/2 c. Borax (same section)
5 gallon bucket
Clean, empty laundry detergent container
Essential Oils (optional)

1.Grate the bar of soap and throw it in a saucepan with 4 c. water over med-high heat. Stir until all the soap is melted.
2. Fill the 5 gallon bucket half full with hot water. 
3. Add the melted soap/water, washing soda and borax to the 5 gallon bucket.
4. Fill the bucket the rest of the way up with water. Give it a whirl, cover and let it sit overnight to thicken. 

The next morning fill your empty laundry detergent container half full with the soap mixture. Fill it the rest of the way up with water. Add 10-15 drops of essential oil if you so desire. 

And there you have it, homemade laundry detergent! 10 gallons worth once it's all said and done. Make sure to shake it before each use as it kind of gels up. In our HE machine we use ~ 1/4 c per load. 

If you're looking for a homemade cloth diaper detergent, I highly recommend this one!
Do you use any homemade cleaning concoctions?


  1. Hey Linds...just wondering if any of you have sensitive skin and how it fairs for that person. I am alergic to most detergents (I get a rash from most and can't even stand the smell of tide).

  2. I would think it would be great for someone with sensitive skin since there are so few ingredients. But since none of use have sensitive skin, I can't tell you first hand. If you would like to try some let me know. I have approx 10 gallons so I think I can spare a sample or two!

  3. Finally making this now - was your Fels-Naptha soap scented? I couldn't find it so the store guy got it for me....and it has a strong scent. I'm pretty sure it'll be so diluted by the time things are said & done that it'll be fine...but was curious as to if you could get it unscented....

  4. Never mind - after making it the scent is so diluted that i can't smell it at all! :) Now on to homemade dishwashing soap!