Homemade Laundry Detergent

August 31, 2012

I’ve been using homemade laundry detergent for over a year.  Thanks, Tommi! Although I was initially hesitant to try it, I’m now a big fan.
The big draws for me are:

  • It’s very inexpensive- I’m guessing I spend about $5/year on detergent.
  • It works well.
  • There is no packaging to recycle.  It makes environmental sense.
  • It’s easy to make. It takes about ten minutes once you have the ingredients.

There are a lot of recipes on the web.  You can find the one from the Duggar Family website that I used here.  You’ll need a five gallon bucket with a lid to store your concentrate, as well as a liquid laundry detergent bottle from previous use.  I’ll show you how I did mine below:


4 cups hot water
1 bar Fels Naptha
1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup borax
I picked up all of these ingredients at my local Ace Hardware.

Grate the Fels Naptha into a pan.  Turn the stove on low with some water in the pan.

Heat soap and water stirring constantly until the soap melts.  My friend Rose just uses boiling water and does this step in a bowl without using the stove.

Dissolve the washing soda and borax with hot water in your five gallon bucket.

When the Fels Naptha is melted into the water, mix the Fels Naptha mixture with the washing soda/borax mixture.  Make sure all the ingredients are dissolved.  Now, fill your bucket to the top with hot water and mix well.  I like to use a whisk.
My other pictures of the process came out blurry, but it’s pretty simple.   The next day (or when you want to fill your laundry detergent bottle), you’ll need to mix your concentrate thoroughly.  The top with be more like a solid-ish gel, and the bottom will be more liquid.  A good stir will fix this.  You now have five gallons of laundry concentrate.  Each time you need laundry detergent , fill your bottle half way with the concentrate and then fill it the rest of the way with water.   Shake very well, and your detergent is ready to go.
I have a front load washer, and it works very well.


4 Responses to “Homemade Laundry Detergent”

  1. Vida Says:

    Can you make some for me?

  2. Andy Says:

    Is this recipe easy on the skin? I develop rashes unless I use Purex. May be worth trying if my skin will take it.

    Love you,

    • Robin Johnson Simpson Says:

      Wish I knew! My gut tells me that it’s likely to be easier on your skin because the ingredient list is so simple. I think the only way to know would be to try it. You could make enough for a year for less than the price of a container of Purex. Considering how easy it is to make, it’s probably worth a try. Would love to know how it goes!

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