Homemade Laundry Detergent

I love to know what materials, ingredients and labor went into the products I use and consume. However, like most of the industrialized world, the research required to know 100% of this information 100% of the time is nothing less than paralyzing.

Thus, when able, I like to make items from scratch. Be it a chocolate chip cookie, or growing a tomato in the garden, this is most easily accomplished with food (although, let’s be real, even the chocolate chip cookie recipe contains oodles of ingredients I did not produce on my own – no cacao bean trees nearby and all).

In this case, I decided to make my own laundry detergent. You can do it, too, without much work!

The preparation.

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
Borax cleaner
Fels-Naptha (or another natural soap).

If you want to get fancy, you’ll also order essential oil.

You must also have available:

Large pot (think boiling water for a pound of pasta)
Larger pot/bucket (can be a mop bucket or 5-gallon bucket depending on the quantity you decide to make)
Stirring Utensil
Bottles for storage
*Funnel (not completely necessary, but definitely helpful)

Quantities Used:
1/2-1 bar of soap
6-8 cups water (for boiling)
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
2-4 gallons of water (for mixing)

The process.

Shave the bar soap into a pot of boiling water.

Mix in a little at a time so the soap does not immediately re-clump together. Taking your time at this step helps to avoid lumpy detergent at the end.

Once you have achieved a smooth blend, prepare your “larger pot/bucket” by filling it with tepid – warm water and stirring in the washing soda and Borax. Give the pot of melted soap a final swirl and then pour it into the “larger pot/bucket” mixture.

Set in a dark corner where zombies won’t find it, and cover. Leave for 12-24 hours.

The next day, uncover the larger pot/bucket, stir til you reach a consistency you desire and distribute to your bottles.

My detergent does separate in between uses, though it reincorporates quickly with a brisk bottle shaking.

Honestly, this process just got too quick and too boring to continue taking photos. Plus, this process has been blogged to death and there is a wealth of photos and videos at your fingertips if you just use Google. I provide two links below to the blogposts I relied upon to make my own detergent.

The results?

Amazingly clean clothes with scents and odors under my control!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not completely fooling myself here. I used products made by huge multinational conglomerates and I supported the very bottom line that I am trying to undercut. Yet, there is a sense of accomplishment in making laundry detergent for such little money and effort.

If you want more detail, or have any questions I didn’t answer here, please see the two wonderful references that guided my process. Here. And, here.

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1 Comment

Filed under 5-100, Awesomeness

One response to “Homemade Laundry Detergent

  1. That’s still so cool though that you had the fortitude to go through all that! And I can totally understand the feeling of accomplishment!

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