Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Easy DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe!

A big pile of laundry was waiting for me today, but when I went to start the first load I discovered that one of the kids had used the last of the laundry soap.  "Make laundry detergent" was on my to-do list for a few weeks, but I had been putting it off -- so now was as good a time as any!

I usually use All Free and Clear, but the first time I made this I was thoroughly impressed!  It's so easy to make and extremely cheap -- about 1¢ a load (from cost breakdowns I've seen on other websites) -- compared to Tide at about 19-20¢/load from what I see on the Walmart website!

My toddler "helped me" test out the first load by wetting the bed -- "pee sheets" are some of the worst laundry loads I think.  It took out the smell beautifully and they smelled fresh and clean with just one regular cycle - no soaking or anything!  I was instantly won over.  =)

So this morning I got my supplies and helper together and whipped up another batch! 

The basic recipe:
  • 1 c. Borax
  • 1 c. Washing Soda (not the same as baking soda!)
  • 1 bar soap, shredded (many recipes use Fels Naptha, but I've heard that it really doesn't matter, so I picked one that smelled great and was on sale)

I also added these optional ingredients:
  • 1 c. Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 c. Purex Crystals (they smell amazing and soften your laundry without oil - so it doesn't ruin the wicking ability of towels and exercise apparel)

I shredded the bar of soap into a bowl with a microplane, then Emma helped me add the rest of the ingredients.
(Since then, I've also shredded it in a food processor after drying the bar on the counter for a few days.  Or if you use Ivory, you can try this cool trick in the microwave instead of shredding!)

I stirred it all together and then put it into the now empty Purex Crystals container.

I was going to use a pretty glass jar, but I thought the plastic bottle might be safer for the kids to use.

  • I use 1 Tablespoon per load -- but if you have a really grubby load, you could go crazy and use 2 Tbs. for only 2¢!  ;)  (it may seem strange at first to use so little, but it has no fillers - only what it needs to do the job)
  • It's important to note that this does not get sudsy -- commercial detergents have things added to make them get bubbly and "look" like they're working, but it's not the bubbles that do the cleaning 
  • From my research, I've found that this works great and safely in HE (high efficiency) machines because it doesn't suds up
  • I found the ingredients in the laundry aisle at WalMart (but if you want them shipped to you, I've included links to the products above to be able to buy them online also)

Pin it, share it, and let me know how you like it!   =)


RTNess said...

I'm definitely going to try this!

Mara @ Super Savings said...

Good! Let me know how it turns out! =)

~ Mara

Amy Witt said...

Washing our first load with it! Super excited to see how it works. I do want to mention that if you use the Ivory soap in the microwave, like we did, to let it cool down as it is HOT!

Mara @ Super Savings said...

I'm so glad you tried it Amy - I'd love to know how you liked it! That's a great tip about the hot soap...I'll add it to the post!

~ Mara

Mandi said...

Tried the recipe yesterday, and I'm sold! Easy to make, works great... I have enough supplies to make several bottles, so I'm going to find different kinds of soap for variety. I didn't need fabric softener, but I'll probably add it for a little more scent... Thanks!

Mara said...

Sorry I somehow missed your comment until now - I love that you tried it and love it! =)
We have been using it for the past year and a half, and I can't believe I ever hesitated to make it! It has saved us so much money, and I could not be happier with it!

~ Mara

Keisha Williams said...

Trying this today iv got a new baby so i bought a whiteing bar to add as well to help with spit up on his whites iv got a very messy 3 year old so im hoping this will bring the stains out as well as tide did for us

Mara said...

I've been really happy with it taking care of the kids messy clothes - and we have 6 from baby to 14 years old! I'd love to hear how it does for you Keisha!

For real tough stuff you can dissolve some in water and soak the stained clothes...or what I often do is use the pretreat spray from the Dollar Tree. You get a big bottle for $1 - definitely not very "natural", but it works and is easy. ;)

~ Mara

Keisha Williams said...

Its worked very well for us so far i love that iv not had to even use bleach and my husbands socks still come clean. dont think ill be useing anything else from now on

Mara said...

So happy to hear that it's working so well, Keisha! =)