Homemade Laundry Detergent
On our quest to save money, stretch our dollars, we decided to make our own laundry detergent. I have tried and tested many different recipes and this one,is the best homemade laundry detergent recipe.
There are many reasons why I enjoy sharing this recipe.
- It saves money! Who doesn’t love that? I pay about $29 each time I make it
and it will last 8 months+ (I will update when I run out to see exactly how long it lasts)And that was through potty training! ( I think I messed up somewhere on dates. I currently working on a new blog post that made me come back and look at this post. Hopefully I can find exact dates to update this post on how long this lasted.) This will all depend on family size, loads, and personal needs to how long this will last but this by far outweighs the cost of store bought brands. I store most of it in a 5 gal bucket and another in a plastic canister on top of my washer.
- It works! It cleans the clothes efficiently and well.
- Limits toxin. Before making the switch to homemade laundry detergent, I was using a more natural product (not 100% natural but definitely better than name brand products) called Mrs. Meyer’s (which I still love the smell but needed something cheaper) and before trying to eliminate toxins, I was using the toxin-loaded Tide! Everything in this recipe is toxin free (except the Downy Unstoppables which is completely optional and I am currently looking into alternatives.) Last year, my hubby’s parents invited us to stay a week in their timeshare by the beach. I forgot my laundry detergent so my mother in law let me have a travel size bottle of Tide. I washed a few loads of clothes at the timeshare but each piece of clothing only made it into the washer for 1 load. When we came home, I could smell the heavy Tide fragrance on all the clothes. I didn’t think much about it until it took me about 3 loads for my clothes to start smelling less Tide like. And when I say less Tide like, I mean the smell was still there but just more faint. And that was only after 1 wash!!!!! Can you imagine how much buildup is on your clothes when continually doing your laundry in what we call detergent???
- HE friendly. It is low sudsing and can be used in any HE washer.
- Easy to make. I have made the liquid version which is kind of a pain to make and does not work as well. All you do is grate the soap and mix into 5 gal bucket.
About the ingredients
Borax- I have heard both mixed articles about borax being toxic or non toxic. I would stray away from Borax because of the bad rep it had gotten until I understand what is was, how it was derived, and what all the confusion was about. While I could set here and explain why it isn’t, here is an article that pretty much sums it all up and explains it far better than I could. Is borax safe?
Why use borax in laundry?
It whitens your whites, softens hard water, neutralizes odors, aids in stain removal, and disinfects.
Super Washing Soda- It is a natural occurring mineral also known as sodium carbonate.
How does it help?
It helps whiten your whites, softens hard water, and neutralizes odors.
Baking Soda- Your probably familiar with baking soda also known as Sodium bicarbonate. The science and information is quite lengthy but if you want to know more about baking soda, check out this link. What is baking soda?
How does it work?
Baking Soda is a odor neutralizer, softens clothes, and cuts through dirt and grease.
Oxi Clean- I have seen mixed reviews on Oxi Clean and if it is safe or not. I’ll let you research it and let you decide. If you’re concerned, you could leave this ingredient out. Another alternative would be homemade Oxi Clean. Check it out Jille’s OxyKleen. I haven’t personally used the homemade Oxi Clean but I have curious to know how it works. So if you try it out, let me know how it works and if it is safe on colors!
How does it help your laundry?
It helps brighten colors, whiten whites, and helps remove stains.
Fels-Naptha- It is a bar of soap specifically made for laundry. I haven’t been able to find a ton of information on Fels-Naptha. I have heard it is a natural product but I usually won’t vouch for that until I have researched it enough to back it up. If you are leery, you could use another type of soap such as Dr. Bronner’s. I have used the Zote and while many have claimed it is natural, the smell alone makes me think Zote isn’t natural.
Downy Unstoppables- The fact that this is made by the same company who makes Tide and the other heavy laden toxic laundry detergents, should probably tell you this is probably not natural. The ingredients listed is perfume dispersant, perfume and dye. Perfume can disrupt your hormones, worsen allergies, linked to cancer and is just bad news. The Purex Chrystals has an even longer list of ingredients so I chose the lesser of 2 evils. This ingredient is completely optional and has no cleaning power. It just gives your homemade laundry detergent a nice smell. I am currently trying to find alternatives. Usually, essential oils are the natural alternative but I have used it with a homemade fabric softener mixed into my homemade laundry detergent (Epsom salt and essential oil) and by itself in the washer and dryer. From my experience, the smell is completely gone by the time I pull it out of the dryer.
1 box (4lb 3 oz) box of borax
1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 (3 lb) Container of OxiClean
2 (5.5 oz) Bars of Fels-Naphta (You can use1 bar of Zote but I don’t like the smell and I don’t think it cleans as well)
1 (4lb) box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
1 bottle of Downy Unstoppables OR Purex Crystals (optional)
*****I recommend using the Downy Unstoppables out of these 2. Downy Unstoppables due to the ingredients. While both are not 100% non toxic, I feel Downy Unstoppables is the better choice. I have also seen others use Scentsy Whiffers but I have no idea how many bottles you need, price, or the ingredients list. I have tried the fabric softner using essential oils and Epsom salt but it does not give a smell so I am seeking other alternatives.
- Grate your bars of soap. You can use a hand grater, zester grater, or food processor. I personally prefer to use my food processor since it is easier and shreds it into little pieces. I first run it through the shredder. Then I put the chopping blade in the processor and let it chop the soap into smaller pieces of soap.
- Combine all ingredients. I dump everything into my 5 gal bucket, put the lid on, and I let the hubby do the heavy lifting 😉 He then rolls and shakes the bucket until all ingredients are evenly mixed.
- Store away. I store a smaller amount in a plastic container that I picked up at Wal-Mart. The rest of the detergent, I leave in my 5 gal bucket.
I use 2-3 T per load depending on size and soil level. I use a coffee scoop and store it in the top of the plastic canister. 1 coffee scoop=2 T *
Let me know if you like this recipe, how it works for you, and if anyone knows of natural ways to get a nice smell without using Downy Unstoppables.