We’ve been making powered homemade laundry detergent for a couple of years now but only used it about half the time (the other half we used store-bought detergent). It wasn’t that it didn’t work well, it was just that it didn’t really dissolve very well in cold water. I think we were also trying to elongate the time before we had to make it again. The hassle and mess of having to grate bars of soap was no fun at all.
My old recipe was basically (just in case you want to make it):
Powdered Homemade Laundry Detergent
- 16 cups of baking soda
- 12 cups of borax
- 8 cups grated castile or glycerine soap (4 bars of Dr.Bronner’s soap – 2 plain/2 scented)
Grate bars of soap with a kitchen grater. Combine baking soda, borax and soap flakes. Use 1/8 cup per load. Makes enough to last a family of four one year.
I found a similar liquid homemade laundry detergent recipe at Frugally Sustainable, but it still called for grating the soap. So I searched online a bit more and finally found a recipe at Passionate Homemaking that uses liquid castile soap. So I mixed the two recipes and came up with this concoction:
New Improved Liquid Homemade Laundry Detergent
Click here to print
If you can’t find Washing Soda, make your own. Here’s a great tutorial to easily turn baking soda into washing soda.
I tried to get around having to heat the water on the stove to dissolve the powder by adding hot water to the powder portion. But It clumped and made a mess, so I had to dump it in a pan and heated it up on medium heat until everything dissolved.
As you can see I used much smaller amounts than in the powdered version that I made before, this is because I added a lot of water at the end.
*I didn’t use the scented version of Dr. Bronner’s because I actually read on Passionate Homemaking that essential oils break down the fiber in your clothes. Plus we prefer our laundry unscented.
Initially it will cost more to buy all the ingredients but in the long run you will save money. I only used a tiny fraction of each and the rest I will use to make more homemade laundry detergent and other household cleaners.
Here’s my cost breakdown:
$4.69 Borax 4lb box
$13 Baking soda 13.5lb bag
$17 Liquid castile soap 32oz
$ 3.19 Washing soda 3lb box
Total initial cost $37.88
So dividing the amount used into the total amount of supplies gives me:
Grand Total $3.29
This is all it cost me to make a little more than a gallon of homemade laundry detergent. compared to $13 for the natural store-bought stuff.
So if lower cost doesn’t quite convince you to make your own detergent and other household cleaners here’s something that might:
I was a bit doubtful at first if this detergent would actually clean the clothes well. But I’ve been using it for a few weeks and it works great. The clothes come out clean, fresh and soft. No fading or pilling.
*Note: We have the old style washer and dryer so I’m not sure if this will work in HE washers.
Leave me a comment if you try it in a HE washer, I would love to know if it works.