Monday, March 28, 2011

Making Laundry Detergent

Okay - I love to pretend that I am Amish sometimes. I pretend that my 40 square feet of back yard is actually "the back 40" as my dad calls it. I try to grow as much food as possible. I try to bake from scratch - but don't do it often enough. I try to conserve and be frugal. My mom has provided the latest challenge for this! Why pay a zillion dollars for expensive laundry detergent when you can make your own for so much cheaper? Here is my feeble attempt. It only took about ten minutes to mix up (I doubled it). It will take 24 hours to gel. Then I will test it out.

Here's the recipe she gave me:
What You'll Need:
1/3 bar "Fels Naptha" laundry bar soap (grated)
1/2 cup Borax - 20 Mule Team
1/2 cup Washing Soda - Arm and Hammer
2 gallon bucket

1. Grate 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha laundry bar soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups of water and heat until soap melts.
2. Add Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until dissolved.
3. Pour 4 cups of hot water into a 2 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture.
4. Add 1 gallon and 6 cups water to the bucket. Stir. Soap will gel after standing for 24 hours.
Use 1/2 cup of soap per load.

According to my mom the cost of supplies was around eight dollars. That made four gallons which is 64 cups - and you need one half cup per load. So that is 128 loads of laundry per $8.00 which ends up being six cents per load. And I still have enough supplies to make two more gallons - and if I purchase another bar of soap I can make six more gallons. Woah! Here's hoping this turns out. I will let you know.

Note: This recipe is from a website named, but there are other recipes. One uses dove soap instead and stays in dry format - which I wasn't as excited about because sometimes cold water doesn't always dissolve dry detergent.

Anyone ever tried this before?


SarahFae said...

I have used this recipe and had no problems with it not dissolving. I'm pretty sure I can't use powder detergent in my he so I switched to liquid. Keep us posted on whether you stick with it!!!

Sarah Guild said...

I like this idea as I make my own cleaning concoctions and would be game for this, too! I've decided "no go" on the make your own dishwasher stuff. The two I tried were flops and I get really touchy about bacteria remaining on the dishes.