Monday, August 23, 2010

Homemade Detergents - for the fun of it.

So the truth is, I am intrigued by old things.  I love old books, furniture, and processes.  I've been wanting to make homemade laundry detergent for a while now.  My sister visited this weekend and that freed up a few moments of my time Saturday morning!   So, I dug out the supplies and started mixing.  And I'm loving the results!!

There are a ton of recipes online.  Just google Homemade Laundry Detergent and you will find at least a dozen links real fast.  Most of the recipes are pretty similar, and either give you a liquid or powder product.  I went with the powder, since it seemed easiest.  And it's prettier.  That's most important to me anyway.  lol  This detergent smells good and looks so pretty in a large glass jar sitting on top of my washing machine.

So here is what I did.  It was easy, and let me just tell you that this laundry detergent smells divine!  It smells light, and fresh, and lemony.  Preparing it made the whole house smell spring fresh!

So the laundry detergent...  I used Borax, Washing Soda (soda ash, NOT baking soda), and Fels-Naptha.  Grate the bar of soap, mix it with the soda ash and borax, jar it up, add a scoop, and wash some clothes.  It's truly that easy and it's also cheap.  

We have soft water and I do know that your water quality can affect the ratio of softeners to soap that you might want to use.  This is the recipe that has been working for us for several years now.  

  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap (or any Castile soap)
  • 3 cups washing soda
  • 3 cups borax

Works perfectly and stretches my dollar a long way.

One Tablespoon - that's all you need for a load of laundry.  Sweet!!

(Update:  Since this post we have bought a new front loading washer.  I am still using only that one small tablespoon even though I am washing twice as many clothes in a single load.  One batch of detergent lasts me almost 2 months and we are a family of 6.)

And now this is what it really looks like to make these things.  LOL  See the one clean spot on the crowded table?  That's where I shot all of these pictures, while surrounded by kids running in and out of the house, playing the water, and my sis helping to fix snacks.  ;-)

Next on my list of old things to learn and conquer is gardening and canning.  But that will have to wait until next year when the kids are just a wee bit older and our puppy is trained.  One thing at a time for this momma.


  1. LOVE this! I just blogged that I learned to make jam... Sounds like we both find that classic stuff appealing. :) :)

  2. Good morning! I am alot like you-I am learning to MAKE/SAFE money by making our household cleaners. I also want to garden/can our foods.

    My question/comment is- I see/read your post about the laundry detergent (I recently made and am using the detergent in my home). Yours is 'dry' and I used almost that same recipe except that we made our's liquid by adding water. You can see a lot of the recipes/directions on (That's where I got my idea to make my own detergent)...try the 'wet' one and tell me how that works for you-or do you LIKE/WANT it to be 'dry'?
    Thanks and I look forward to 'following' you on this adventure that we call call LIFE! ;D

  3. What a helpful blog post! LOVE the detailed pictures.