Fresh. Clean. Laundry.
Mmmm one of my favorite smells. I just love it! Especially if I’ve had the opportunity to let everything line dry out in the sun. Can’t beat that!
Laundry is one of the few chores that I actually don’t mind. I know, weird, right? Most people hate laundry, (Dishes are my arch nemesis) but I actually kind of enjoy it.
One of my not so favorite things about laundry; however, is the price of laundry detergent. The cheaper detergents aren’t worth their price because they don’t do their job, while the ones that work are incredibly overpriced. Ugh.
I’m a big fan of DIY-ing things so I decided to try my hand at making my own laundry detergent! How hard can it be? Well, I tried many, many recipes including THIS one over at One Good Thing by Jillee (Love her!) and multiple others with similar ingredients. I stuck with the liquid detergents for about a year just because I preferred it, but when I got impatient (You have to let DIY liquid detergent sit overnight before use) and tired of dissolving the stupid soap in water and “dirtying up” my pots and pans, I decided to give powder a try.
Well, what do you know, powdered detergent has some great pros!
- It’s easier to measure. Ok so this isn’t a huge deal, but I like that I only have to use a Tablespoon or coffee scoop instead of trying to pour. Especially when the container of liquid detergent is particularly full. I may or may not have accidentally poured laundry detergent all over the place on more than one occasion.
- It’s better for hard water (and I have REALLY hard water) Note: This only applies to homemade powdered detergents. Store-bought powdered detergents have extra “fillers” that make dissolving the detergent in hard water difficult.
- When using the correct amount it is better for front loading washers, which I have, because they dispense the water and powdered detergent together, making it easier for detergent to dissolve. Again, this only applies to DIY detergents.
- According to The University of Nebraska, powdered detergents are better at getting out ground-in dirt, mud, and clay (Ummm, cue 12 month old covered in dirt) while liquid detergents are more effective on greasy, oily stains and pre-treating.
- Last, but not least, its much easier to make AND no waiting around for soap to dissolve or dirty/too clean (whichever way you want to look at it) cookware.
There are tons of “recipes” for homemade laundry detergent out there, and I’ve tried many combinations, but THIS one from Being Creative has been my favorite so far!
What You’ll Need:
- 1 (76 oz) box of 20 Mule Team Borax
- 1 (4 lb) box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (This is mostly for hard-water users. Use less if you have soft water, or more if you have really hard water. My water is exceptionally hard, in my opinion, and this amount works great for me!)
- 1 (55 oz) box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- 3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap (You can really use any soap you like from Zote to Dr. Bronners to Ivory, but Fels-Naptha is my favorite hands down)
- 2 small containers of Oxy Clean. You’ll need about 3.5lbs total (I use the store brand version)
- Scent Booster (Completely Optional!) The Fels-Naptha has a light, fresh scent, but if you want a little bit stronger-smelling clean, you can add some scent boosters. I like to use Downy Unstopables, but you can also use Purex Crystals or even make your own!
- Large bucket for long-term storage
- Cute container for easy access
**Side note: I’ve included (affiliate) links to Amazon for most of these products just so you can see what they look like; however, you can usually find them cheaper at Wal-Mart 🙂 **
What To Do:
- Grate your bars of soap. This is the hardest part of the whole process. My first several batches I used a regular ol’ hand cheese grater. Let me tell you, that’s an arm workout! But then, I discovered that I can use my KitchenAid stand mixer with it’s Rotor slicer/shredder attachment, which made things SO much easier AND got the soap shredded much finer than I could by hand! (Which, by the way, is better for HE machines) 3 bars of soap through that thing in less than 10 minutes! Phew, I feel better about life 🙂
- Grab a big bucket and mix your grated soap with all of your other ingredients. I love that you use the whole box/container of everything and don’t have any “leftovers.” I use a 5 gallon bucket and a big, wooden spoon. Just dump it all in there and mix, mix, mix! Sometimes I put the lid on my bucket and just kick it around for a little while 😉
- Put a little bit in your cute container, label it, and start using!
Tips & Tricks:
This detergent is awesome and I love it, but there are a couple of other things you should know before you get started:
First, this makes a very large batch, which could be good or bad for you. Pro: You’ll spend about 15 minutes and $20 for laundry detergent that will last you 9 months to a year. That’s pretty darn hard to beat! However, if you have sensitive skin, try a small sample before making the whole batch, just to make sure you don’t have a reaction to any of the ingredients.
Second, as I mentioned above, this detergent has no fillers. It’s ALL cleaning power (and scent, if you used the crystals) so you only need to use a tiny amount! 1-2 Tbsp per load is all you need, otherwise you’ll need to do extra rinses to wash out the extra detergent. I have a 1 Tbsp scoop that I keep in my jar, and use 1 Tbsp for regular loads OR 2 Tbsp for extra large or extra dirty loads. It works GREAT! I think it works just as well, if not better, than Tide, which is currently rated #1 in laundry detergents by Consumer Reports.
Third, this detergent is safe for HE washers. I’ve used it in mine for months and have not had any problems. Just make sure you grate the soap as fine as you can get it, and use only 1-2 Tbsp per load.
Fourth, Fels-Naptha is my favorite because it is a tried-and-true brand used by my grandmother’s generation, and is still going strong. It has a lovely, light & fresh scent, and well, it just works! It not only makes a great powdered laundry soap, but you can rub a solid bar directly on tough stains for a cheap stain stick. Although I have sensitive skin, I’ve never had any issues. I’ve also used this laundry detergent for my little one’s baby clothes since he was born, and he hasn’t had any reactions. That being said, I’ve read about many people having bad reactions to this soap so if you have any history of skin sensitivities, test out a small batch first.
Lastly, this detergent is not safe for cloth diapers. I am a cloth diaper user, and make a whole different DIY Cloth Diaper Detergent for my diapers. You can read all about it in my guest post on Home Ready Home! For those of you who are wondering, the soap is the main culprit concerning cloth diapers (extra fragrances are frowned upon as well.) It can build up on your diapers and cause them to be less or nonabsorbent, which basically means they would be worthless. But never fear! The cloth diaper detergent is even easier to make than this laundry soap, if you can believe that!
What about You?
Do you make your own laundry soap or buy it? Do you have any other helpful tips for me?
Please see my Disclaimer about affiliate links.