Thursday, July 14, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Soap:  Fels Naptha, Ivory, Irish Spring

Washing Soda:  NOT baking soda.  This removes dirt and odors.  Found in laundry detergent aisle.  I use Arm and Hammer.

Borax powder:  A naturally occurring mineral, sodium borate.  It is a laundry whitener and deodorizer.  Found in laundry detergent aisle.  I use 20 Mule Team.

Essential Oil:  My favorite is Peppermint.  This can be found at your local herb store.  In Clarksville it’s Herbs and Vitamins by Kohl’s.

A large bucket maybe 2-4 gallons.  Personally I like the big buckets because I’m messy.

1/3 bar Fels Naptha  or a whole bar of any other soap.
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax powder
Essential Oil (optional)
Large Bucket

Grate the soap.  I usually grate the whole bar and save it in a  jar.  Put 1/3 of your Fels Naptha in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat until soap melts.  Add washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket.  Add soap mixture in sauce pan and stir.  Add 1 gallon plus an additional 6 cups of water to the bucket and stir.  Let soap mixture sit for 24 hours until it has become gelled.  At this point I mix the soap really good and then pour it into empty containers like clean gallon water jugs, detergent bottle, etc.   I filled four 64 oz bottles. 

I use 1/2 cup per load.  *Do not use to cloth diapers.  It tends to build up on them quick and affects the absorbancy.

This is not a high suds producing detergent so don’t panic.  It’s not suds that cleans your clothes.  The cleaning agents are what's working here.

My approximate calculations:
Fels Naptha costs approx. $1.20
Washing Soda costs approx. $2.30
Borax costs approx. $3.50
My Essential Oil option is .60 (total drops in a 1/3 oz bottle @$6.52 is roughly 225 so that breaks down to .03 per drop.  I use about 20)

TOTAL= $7.60/for 256 oz of natural laundry detergent

Keep in mind the essential oil is optional but I really like it and it lasts a long time.  Your other ingredients are still on hand for 2 more complete batches and then you’ll have to buy more Fels Naptha. 
All of this information I found at and adapted it to what I thought would be quick information.  Check out their site for more information.

A note about bleach.  I try not to use it.  It really breaks down your clothes.  Hanging your clothes out on a clothesline is the best thing ever.  Not only does the sun whiten naturally but it doesn’t run up your electric bill.

1 comment:

  1. I've been doing this for a while - I get tired of the smell. So, I add a little powder Gain to get that scent. Plus, I noticed my clothes were a little less dingy looking.

    Instead of softener - I use vinegar. It is so much cheaper and works great!