DIY Laundry Detergent

When I first came across this idea here I said to myself, “What? Who would make their own laundry detergent?” but after considering how tight things are right now I decided to give it a try. I’m totally hooked. It couldn’t be easier to make, the 3 ingredients are not hard to find, and you can’t beat the savings. It costs 5 cents a load! 5 cents! (I will break it down for you in a bit…) It leaves your clothes smelling clean and fresh, not perfumy. But the best part of all? You only use ONE TABLESPOON of this, people! Needless to say, it goes a long way. Can you hear those dollars stretching?

Here’s all you need: A hand grater dedicated solely for this purpose (I got mine for $2 or $3), a box of 20 Mule Team Borax, a box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (this is not the same as baking soda) and a bar of Fels-Naptha soap. All 3 ingredients can be found in the laundry aisle of most major stores and grocery stores. You will also need an air-tight container to store it in when you are finished. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy…a plastic container will do just fine.

For each batch you will use:

  • 1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap, grated
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

You’ll have plenty of Borax and Washing Soda leftover to make more batches. So, let’s get started! Grab a bowl and pour in 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of the Super Washing Soda. Using the smaller holes on your grater and those muscles you’ve got, grate the Fels-Naptha soap bar into the mixture. Use caution when it gets down to the end of the bar!

When the bar is fully grated (how many breaks did you take?) mix until everything is combined well.

The first time you make up a batch of detergent, you may want to save a little piece of the soap bar for pretreating stains, like grass stains. Just wet the stain, rub the piece of soap on the stain and wash as directed.

Now put it all into your container (the one pictured is from Target) and you are good to go! Remember one wash load only needs 1 tablespoon so keep one handy with your container. Sometimes the grated soap settles a bit in the container so I usually give it a stir each time I go to use it.

Now, here’s a breakdown of the cost:
20 Mule Team Borax – $3.39
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda – $2.49
1 bar Fels-Naptha – $.95
{You’ll get 10 batches from the Borax, 6 batches from the Washing Soda, and 1 batch from the Fels-Naptha bar. Total of $1.84 a batch / Approx. 36-37 loads per batch.}
Your prices may vary depending on your area but you should still see unbelievable savings!

I know what some of you are thinking so I’ll let you in on a secret. I wasn’t too thrilled about the fact that it is the powdered kind since I prefer the liquid, but it doesn’t leave any powder residue behind. { Plus, I researched how the make the homemade liquid detergent and it was too involved for me. I’m not going to cook my detergent in some huge pot…I do enough cooking as it is.}

Regarding High Efficiency Washers, my opinion is that this would be fine due to the fact that there really aren’t any suds. But if your machine is still under warranty, you might void your warranty so check with your manufacturer.

I really hope you try this. Even if you aren’t pinching pennies, I’m sure you could use that extra 10 bucks that you’d be spending on a bottle of detergent for something better, no? Let me know what you think!