Monday, November 7, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

A few weeks ago,
the discussion of laundry detergent came up
with the book clubbers
(yes, we DO talk about other things...
hehe actually if you sat in on any of our conversations, 
you'd have no idea we were a book club!).
A few of us began making our own 
and were swapping recipes
(recipes sounds weird, but I don't really know 
what else to call it).
I use a liquid/gel recipe that I 
found on the internet and tweeked to my liking.
I was due to make some soon after that, 
so here you are...

You'll need:
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Soda
1 bar of Fels Naptha
Five Gallon Bucket

Shred the Fels Naptha into a stock pot
with three quarts of water and let simmer until soap is melted.

Add in one cup of Washing Soda and
one cup of Borax and stir until dissolved.

 It should look a little something like this.

Pour two quarts of water into the five gallon bucket
and then add your soap mixture and stir.
Then add two gallons and three quarts of water and
stir very well.

Once mixed very well, 
place the lid on it and 
let it sit for about 24 hours.
It should gel within in this time
and then it's ready to use.

This recipe usually lasts (for us) around six months,
and gets our clothes cleaner and fresher
than any detergent I've ever used before.
And the savings is nice, too:
Fels Naptha $1.12
Washing Soda 55 oz. $2.99/ 8 oz. $.43ish
Borax 76 oz. $3.99/ 8 oz. $.42ish

Less than $2.00,
yep, it's worth the 24-hour gel period for me.

There are lots of recipes out there on the old world wide web,
so check them out and find one that works for you.


  1. I'm hoping to be able to start doing this when Kitty's a bit older and her skin isn't as sensitive. Thanks for the "recipe", friend!

  2. How much do you use for each laundry load?

  3. Erin- The kids and I all have pretty sensitive skin (certainly not anything like little Kitty) and this was one reason I began making my own and we've had no problems whatsoever.

    Jacque- I use anywhere from 1/2 a cup to 1 cup depending on the load... and how full I stuff it! :)

  4. This looks great! I've been waiting for mine and Kyle's store bought stuff to run out so I could make our own, and I'm thinking we'll just steal your "recipe." :)

  5. I found your blog (specifically this post) via Erin (My Suburban Utopia) and I'm so glad I did! I've been making my own laundry detergent for about 2 months now & I love it, but I am going to go gel soon because I LOVE that it lasts for so long.

    I've noticed a change in my skin...which is great! No more itchies (except for this dry, winter air) and no more bumps & rashes. And, my clothes? Holy clean!! Again, thanks for this recipe.

  6. Do any of you use this in an H E Machine?

  7. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made some today, and I'm super excited to try it!

  8. Also interested in finding out about using this with an HE machine, and how much?

    1. I have an HE machine, and I use anywhere from 1/2 a cup to 1 cup, depending on the load.

  9. What should the temperature of the water be when mixing everything in the bucket?

    1. I usually just fill it with cold water and the boiling mixture mixes in fine with it.

  10. Would you guys say this detergent is safe to use on baby's clothes? We're expecting our first in January and Dreft and all those other detergents are so expensive!

    1. Michelle, I've used this on all of our clothes and I have a four year old, a three year old, and a 1 year old. It's also always cleaned the baby's clothes so much better than any commercial detergent that I had tried.

  11. Approximately how much water in what size stock pot

    1. A large stock pot with three quarts of water.

  12. Do you know if this recipe works for cloth diapers?

    1. Yep, Ash, it does; we use our Rumparooz's every so often at home and this detergent works great on them! It's great for those with sensitive skin as well.

    2. Thanks so much for the quick response. I love your blog and this recipe for DF and my clothing. Waiting on baby to come to try it out on her stuff. =)

  13. Hello Nicole,

    I was interested in trying this out. However, I can not seem to find the Fels Naptha soap anywhere! Where did you pick yours up at?

    1. I always pick mine up at our local Kroger, which is Dillons here. I've also seen it at Target as well. It's usually on the very top shelf of the detergent aisle at each of these stores. It also may possibly be at your local hardware store. Hope this helps!