Sunday, August 1, 2010

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

In the spirit of Laura Ingalls, with wash day being Monday, here's a little recipe for homemade laundry detergent you can use tomorrow, Monday!

wash on Monday
iron on Tuesday
mend on Wednesday
churn on Thursday

clean on Friday

bake on Saturday

rest on Sunday


from Little House in the Big Woods


* I use these utensils for detergent making only. They all stay in the pot until I make a new batch.

You will need:

1 bar of soap (any kind you want)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons)
a grater
a funnel
a long spoon
2 empty gallon jugs/containers



Grate your bar of soap into your pot.


Fill one gallon jug and pour water into pot with grated soap. Cook until the grated soap dissolves.


Add the Borax and washing soda.


Bring to a boil. It will coagulate.


Turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water. Stir well.


Pour 1 gallon of your detergent into each container.


A funnel helps tremendously.


Now you have 2 gallons of homemade laundry detergent. I use 1/2 cup per load. With the prices of detergent being outrageous, I feel really happy every time I make a batch of this.

This won't make many, if any, suds. Suds don't equal clean. It took a while to get that into my head. This detergent cleans wonderfully!

Let me know if you make any or if you have any questions.

Happy washing!


******edited to add that I now just keep my detergent in the pot I cook it in with the lid on. When I run out I make up a new batch in that pot and it's ready to go. I like saving the step of transferring into the jugs.

****** edited 8/8/2011 to address those of you with the issue of the detergent becoming too thick. Try using 1/2 of a bar of soap instead.


***** edited 7/2011 to add that the detergent should thicken / coagulate when it cools. Usually within 24 hours! ****


* Edited 1/2011 to add comment from below about cost/savings!
estimated cost is $6.00 for 576 loads (depending on soap used and amount used per load, ONE BOX of Borax and ONE BOX of Washing soda)
The savings is incredible.

As with ALL cleaning products KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN particularly if you are using recycled food type containers!!!!

☆ My friend Amy's daughter did a science experiment comparing store bought detergent and this recipe! Very cool! Check it out here

1,021 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 400 of 1021   Newer›   Newest»
Krumpledwhiskers said...

Did you let it sit overnight? It thickens substantially. Mine went into the jug very thin and the next day was gloopy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing the recipe...I'm REALLY looking forward to the savings!!!
Mine also turned out really thick. I will try using less soap next time.
This detergent did a great job cleaning and the clothes smell like I dried the clothes on the clothesline! I used a bar of Ivory soap. I LOVE the scent and it's so affordable! Thank you again for the tutorial!!!

Krumpledwhiskers said...

I have friends that use a similar recipe with 1/2 the Borax and nearly double the water and it sounds like the consistency is much better.

nona said...

Thanks for the easy to follow recipe. I am just looking at my finished batch of laundry liquid now. It is coming up to midnight here and I am so excited about using my new creation that I am about to throw on a load of washing now. I don't think I have ever been so excited about the prospect of laundry!! Thanks again!!

southcarolinamom said...

There are 16 cups in 1 gallon, so each gallon jug, using your recommended 1/2 cup detergent per load, would wash 32 loads.

We would wash 64 loads for $6, not 576 loads!

That being said, it's an intriguing idea. It would be a great science experiment for my kids!

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I did not come up with that figure, a commenter took the time to do the costs. BUT the six dollar cost is for the whole boxes of Borax and Washing Soda. You will get multiply 32 load gallons from your $6.00 investment! Thanks!

Christine Z said...

I made a batch, and mine completely solidified. Any ideas? I put mine in milk hugs, so it was impossible to get out and I had to just throw it all away...Really bummed!!

Christine Z said...

Milk *jugs

Anonymous said...

Hey, how about using those bars we use in our bathrooms and showers? You know those that no one wants to use when they get very small. Sure wouldn't be wasting anything or mind not using them down so small. Surely a person could sorta guess how much would work give or take a little. Other redipes call for 1/3 bar. If they can't they need to just buy a new bar!
Other recipes call for only 1/3 bar. So sounds like it is pretty much use what you want, more or less!

Anonymous said...

I just made my first batch last night! This morning when i was going to use it, it is very lumpy like jello. Can I still use it or do I need to reheat to melt more like a liquid?

Karen said...

I just made some today. It coagulated a little in the pot while I boiled but right now it's a little more liquid than hand soap. I expect it will thicken up more as it cools. I did not boil mine long, just a minute or less.
I used Softsoap Pomegranate and mango bar soap. It turned the soap a pale pink and smells delicious. I can't wait to use it.

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

the jello consistency is good. it can vary from egg drop soup to thick thick jello. it all cleans. even the really liquid y ones that don't coagulate.

Anonymous said...

I am so excited to make this... Thanks for posting.
TIP- I use Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar on all my pre-treating. I up-cycle my 9 year-old daughter's clothing, so it's very important to me to use something that WORKS.... and the best part, it's about $1.00...

Kristin said...

I am going to try this tonight! I read all of the comments and I think I am going to use 3/4 cup of Borax and 3/4 cup of Washing Soda and a little more than 1/2 bar of soap also am going to up the water to 2.5 gallons and see how that comes out! I will let you know as soon as I wash a load! I am super excited to try this out!

Anonymous said...

Hello, and thanks for sharing this detergent recipe with us! I made a batch today and followed the directions; however, after letting the detergent set, it is so thick that it won't come out of the jug. What would you suggest I do? I thought about trying to get it all out, add water and heat it again. What do you think?
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I made my today, and it didn't coagulate at all. I did 1/2 batch. Waiting to see if it thickens over night. Excited to see if it works. Love the idea.

Terri said...

I have made the dry detergent before and seemed to like it fine. I would rather use a liquid. We live on a farm and my son works for a hog farmer. How does this do with all of the smell, crap, and stains from grease and oil. I am not very good about pre-treating my laundry. Whoever is in the basement throws it in the laundry. Should I do anything different? Add more or less of something? Thanks this have been a great site.

Anonymous said...

I have the same situation as comment 200. Mine is watery and it never thickened. Any suggestions? Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I tried it for the first time today and I also have the consistancy of milk. It's been about 2 hours and it hasn't thickened yet. How long should you boil it?

ALYSE HASSELL said...

Bummer! FOund the use a 1/2 bar of soap too late. I used ivory soap and WAY too thick... If you use ivory DO NOT use 1 FULL bar!

johanna said...

Seems like a lot of people have a problem with their detergent being to thick to pour out of the jug. I had that problem. I cut the top of the milk jug off and poured the detergent into a---- 1 gallon ice cream bucket with a lid---it works great! The thick detergent still cleans well too!

Krumpledwhiskers said...

I just want to let everyone know: 1)It goes into the container thin and thickens over time. Mine went in like liquid and the next day it was too thick to pour out.
2)If it is too thick to pour out just squeeze it out. It breaks down just fine. I shook the container really hard each time to mix it up
3) Even though mine was super thick and I had to squeeze it out by shaking it each time by the time I got to my third load of clothes the consitency is nearly perfect.
In other words. Try not to worry about the consistency too much.

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I couldn't have said it better myself! Great advice. It all cleans well :)

Michele said...

I love!!! I am making my second batch right now. I love the way it cleans and smells. It took me a while to get past it not foaming up as well. Thanks!

devonevans said...

Do you think you could add oxiclean to this and how much? I love using oxi clean to help with stains and stuff.
thanks!

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I have never added oxyclean but I think that there are a few people who have left comments who have. But personally I have no idea. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful :)

Anonymous said...

HOW TO MAKE WASHING SODA

Pour a pound of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, available commercially in grocery stores) onto a cookie sheet. Spread it out so it heats evenly.
2
Heat the baking soda for an hour at 300 degrees F.
3
Pour the washing soda into a jar and seal tightly. It becomes more alkaline when heated, so use gloves to handle it or transfer it with a spoon.

Brenda said...

I can't wait to try this recipe as I am so fed up with laundry detergent prices. I found my Arm and Hammer Washing Soda on Alice.com for $2.99. I had to buy 6 items though. But the shipping is always free on that site. Thanks so much for everyones input as it is sure to help!

Anonymous said...

I am so excited to try this, but am wondering if its ok for septic systems? Has anyone with a septic system used it for awhile?

Anonymous said...

I have a front loader and wonder if the detergent is congealed, do you just add that 1/2 cup clump of detergent in the detergent cup as normal or put it in the washer?

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I have a septic system and it has been fine.

I don't know much about the front loading machines.

inHisname said...

Hi! I made my first batch today, and it still looks like water and didn't coagulate. I read above where it thickens as it cools never mind ;) another question how long after making it do I have to wait before using? I'm completely out of detergent and needing to wash right now, and was just wondering if I could go on and use it. Thanks!

Stacey said...

I use this same recipe, only I use between 3 & 3 1/2 gallons of water. After I heat everything in my pot I pour it all in a 5 gallon bucket, add my water & after it gels I mix it with a mixer bit that attaches to my drill. I love my homemade detergent & will never go back to store bought. Saves me a ton of money & works great!

Susanj said...

I used a similar recipe and it has 1/2 cup of dollar store oxy clean in it. This recipe seems easier than mixing in a bucket and waiting 24 hours. The one I used still separated and I used a strainer before pouring in bottles and smashed up the lumps. Hoping my husband will be happy with it.

Anonymous said...

If you can't find washing soda, all you have to do is buy a box of baking soda and cook it in the oven for a little while in a glass baking dish. Its even cheaper (the largest box only costs about a dollar) to do it that way.

Anonymous said...

If you cannot find washing soda try baking your baking soda on a cookie sheet for about an hour @350it will change it's chemical properties and turn it into washing soda. It's cheaper too!!!

Kala Fisher said...

I read on another site that if you leave your soap in the bucket for the 24 hours and then mix the soap with a hand held blender or mixer, it does thin out. It is still a bit thick but if you shake it before each use, it will come out of your milk jugs.

Lynn said...

I've been using both the dry and liquid recipes for awhile now. I prefer the dry just because it's easier to store and make. I always use 1/2 cup white vinegar in my extra rinse cycle to remove any soap residue from the clothes. It also softens, brightens and makes my whites more white. AND it keeps my washing machine clean from any soap buildup. My manual actually says to clean the machine every 2 weeks with 2 cups of white vinegar on a permanent press cycle. And my favorite soap is Kirk's Castile which our Walmart is now selling. Cracker Barrel also sells it.

Tora-Oni said...

Actually I was very concerned about this mix being not safe for HE washing machines.. I researched. http://www.ehow.com/facts_5591844_high-detergent-vs_-regular-detergent.html

Apparently as long as the bar soap isn't too strong it should be fine since the pump on the HE can't handle suds, its a smaller pump. Which is why there are detergents made for HE washers and some made for regular washers.

Anonymous said...

I did this using Fels Naptha Soap, Borax and Washing Soda several years ago... I used (and still do) white distilled vinegar in the rinse as a conditioner/fabric softener. Once dry, the vinegar smell is gone. After about a year I noticed all of our clothes were faded and washed out. My husband brought home new uniforms and I couldn't believe how much color was gone. I'm not sure what did it, the fels naptha, borax or washing soda, but I went back to store bought detergent and safe the money on our clothes instead of the laundry. I was very disappointed in the long run, I loved the smell and enjoyed making my own. Just be careful, sometimes you can save money in one way and it cost you in other ways.~ Judy

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

Thank you Judy! I have washed my husbands uniform (dark blue dickies) for years with this and there has been no unusual fading. I have never used Fels Naptha though. Fels Naptha is a pretty harsh soap. The MSDS on it used to be pretty crazy. I think they changed some of the ingredients but I don't use it because I have very sensitive skin. But thanks for the heads up!!!

Anonymous said...

Made my first batch today. The Borax and Washing soda cost less than $7 together at our Acme. I used a bar of Jergins Mild since it's the same thing we use so it should not irritate anyone. I am happy not to have to clip coupons or lug huge buckets of detergent home from the warehouse store anymore. I want to do this project for girl scout leader gifts using quart size jars with the recipe and directions attached. I think they will like it.

Anonymous said...

just made my first batch and my house smells GREAT, my husband was very unsure of this but by the time i got to doing it he ended up grading the soap for me :) it works wonderful! thanks so much!!!

Anonymous said...

I made my first batch yesterday and cannot wait to use it today! I used 1/2 a bar of Dove unscented soap and followed the recipe as written. Mine is not thick, which I was concerned about but after reading the other comments, this doesnt seem to be a big deal. Yay-bring on the savings! Thanks for sharing.

AprilMama3 said...

LOVE this idea.....we use a TON of laundry detergent and my 2 year old has to use dreft bc he has bad skin reactions. Looking for comments on how others babies react to making their own? I see I can use my own soap....so I would think using just the mildest for skin would be ok? open to suggestions....never done this before

The Linney's said...

I am almost finished using my first batch completely and I LOVE it and have recommended it to everybody. I used 3/4 of the bar and it was very thick like jello when it cooled but I used my old laundry bottle and a big Hawaiian punch bottle to pour it in and I just shake it before I use it every time. Thank you for this recipe!!! How much essential oil do you add? I wasn't sure if it would separate or not. I use the crystal laundry softener since my husband likes to really smell his laundry.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever tried using vinegar....really helps with odor.

Sarah Struss said...

Thank you Erin for this great tutorial. I have been using this for about 6 months and love it. I will never buy laundry soap again. I have posted my version on my blog and have linked it back to you. I would love for you to come and check it out!

Thanks again!

Sarah @ www.creatingamazing.com

Meghan said...

I mixed this up yesterday, using Ivory soap because of sensitive skin issues. The ultimate test was my husband's greasy work clothes, sadly it left too much residue behind to pass as 'clean'. Anyone have suggestions to up the grease cutting power?

Debby said...

I am looking forward to retiring in September and will be having to stretch my dollars are far as I can. I have stopped buying alot of commercial brands of cleaning products because of the harsh chemicals they contain. I am also very sensitive to fragances and they all contain something that give me migranes, so I've started to using Baking Soda & Vineagar to do all my household cleaning with. You can't buy a laundry detergent without it smelling to high heaven! So I've been kicking aroung the idea of making my own. But I do have one question, once I've made my detergent, should I restrict the use of that pot for making detergent only? I didn't think I should use it for cooking in any longer, since I will be boiling borax and washing soda in it. Have a great day!

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

Hi Debby-
I would definitely restrict the use of the pot to making detergent only. I also just started leaving the detergent in the pot and not filling the jugs. I figured it is one less step and my pot has a lid so it works great. Whenever it empties I just make up a new batch right in the pot. I completely understand how you feel about the chemicals and smells from commercial products. I have the same problem with many products.
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

pink bar zote soap is also a misquito repellant so it will probably help with those pesky pests of the summertime

Anonymous said...

My Question was the same as someone previously. I have some bars of soap that are 3oz, some that are 5oz. Could it be that some are using bars that are more by weight than others? Those who have used ivory, did you use the 3oz bars? I want to find out before I go ahead and make up a batch!

Anonymous said...

In our town, all the ingredients (we are using the old fashioned Fels Naptha Laundry Bar) are next to each other at our Walmart. Am also interested if anyone has tried this in the HE front loader machines? What level sudsing does it produce - high, medium, low?

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

mine produces little to no suds.

Julie Garmon said...

What have you tried for your HE machine?? I am curious to know a good recipe for it... The price to buy the HE stuff is just so ridiculous! Any help you can throw my way would be much appreciated! :)

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to try this but my fiance recently informed me that there's something in bar soap that he's allergic too. Does anyone know if liquid soap can be substituted for bar so & if so any idea how much?

Anonymous said...

Not sure about the washer, but I ordered the washing soda from amazon.com. I wasn't able to find it anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Waiting for my half batch to cool right now! I used Pacifica brand bar soap in Tahitian Gardenia, which is a vegan glycerin based soap. It melted in the water before it even heated up. It smells wonderful and I am anxious to see it's cleaning power. Hope my husband is okay with smelling like a gardenia...maybe I'll do an Irish Spring batch just for him. ;)

Christine said...

Just made a batch a couple of hours ago. I am so excited!! I found the borax and the washing soda at our local Walmart Supercenter. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know if this soap can be used with bleach? There are recipes that use dishsoap in place of the bar soap and you cannot use bleach with those.

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

i use it with bleach. i've never had a problem.

Anonymous said...

I made a batch of this last night and I love it. After reading the comments about the detergent being to thick to pour I just got out some of the 5 qt ice cream buckets I had saved. Worked great. Thanks for sharing this!!!

Anonymous said...

I have used this in my HE washer with good results for a couple of years. In fact, a service technician told me that it is much better for the washing machine than commercial detergents. White vinegar is also a good alternative for fabric softener.

Nettie said...

Nettie March 1,2012
I have a front loader HE washer , if the consistency is too think do you take out the liquid cup and use the dry compartment for the detergent and will it slide down to the washer area?
Really interested. Does anyone have any trouble with Dove Soaps?

jenny said...

for each two gallons you use a .97c bar of fels naptha- a box of washing soda costs around $2.50 and yields approximately 7 cups of soda(about .36c a cup) and a box of borax costs about $3.50 and yields about 9 cups(about.37c a cup) so you figure you need one cup of each PLUS one bar of Fels Naptha soap for each 2 gallon bottle of detergent so two gallons costs about $1.70 and does approximately 64 loads so if my math is correct it would cost closer to $12 to make enough detergent using 1/2c of the liquid per load to clean 500 loads of laundry.................not $6 but a substantial savings over commercial brands.............this is based on making purchases from Walmart for all product used..............I recommend as well if you make this using fels naptha(an entire bar as I did) that you do not put the liquid into a container with a spout, it is gelatinous and will not easily come out.....put it instead into a cute small garbage can with a lid(plastic probably better than metal) and scoop it out with a conventional 1/2c scooper

Kim said...

I plan on making this tomorrow. I saw many comments about HE washers. A friend of mine warned me that if I have one, don't use homemade soap. It clogged the pipes and they had to buy a new washer.

Anonymous said...

I have made my 2nd batch using ur recipe, they get thick in the jugs later, after cooled. My problem is, mine foams SO badly!!! Am I not bringing it to a boil long enough??? The only thing I am doing different from your recipe, is I add OxyClean powder, bout 1/2 C. Could this be reacting to one of the other ingredients you think?? Just curious how to prevent the foaming action, the soap seems caught up in it, I went ahead and funneled it as full as I could, and just kept shaking. Not sure what else to do. Otherwise, the consistency is a lot thicker then the liquids from the store, so I love it! Michelle K.

Treneka said...

I can't wait to make this!!!! Thanks for posting the recipe!

Anonymous said...

i think this would be fine for a HE washer since it don't make a lot of suds.

Anonymous said...

How much liquid do you use in an HE machine?

Anonymous said...

I got the washing soda and the borax at my local Walmart, sitting next to each other on the shelf

Anonymous said...

i had a really hard time finding the washing soda as well ...i did find some at a natural food store....(full circle in kitchener ontario canada)we called every grocery store in town ...no one has carried it stince last april....another person i heard sent arm and hammer an email and they sent them a list of stores that carry it ... good luck

Anonymous said...

I have made it twice and it coagulates so much I have to stick my hand in it and mash it up more and it comes out very chunky. Husband says it looks weird and doesn't like to use it (on the rare occasion he does laundry). What am I doing wrong?!

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

chunky is fine and it does look weird compared to brand name detergent. you are doing nothing wrong. if it is too thick try using less bar soap. thanks!

Heather said...

I started making my own laundry detergent about 2 months ago and it has been working great! I'm excited to try this recipe too! :-)

Tiffanyandjohn said...

I used mine when it was still liquid and my blanket was all fluffy and clean:) It thickened right up and now I squeeze it out of the jug and my kids (all three) are rough and tough girls one with very stinky armpits and it works great on hers. I also make my own fabric softener. I used Dial soap that was Mountain spring. Next time, I am trying a new scent for the fun of it. My husband is in Combat Arms in the USAF and his uniforms come out smelling clean and not like lead:) I have to say, I love this recipe and it is so versatile! I will NEVER buy store bought again. Also, for the sensitive skin, my 23 month old has SEVERE exima (sp) and her skin breaks out pretty bad, but since I started making my own, her legs are looking better and I was using sensitive laundry detergent before. So this stuff really does work great! have fun with it! I just love this stuff! Thank you so much for the recipe. I also found this on Pinterest!

Anonymous said...

I made my first batch yesterday and was excited that I "thought" it turned out. Today, I went to use it and has now become a solid in my jugs and I can't pour it out. Has anyone else experienced this? I followed all the steps...what happened?

Casey said...

How is it with baby food stains, my daughter stains her clothes with every meal.

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOSH!!! After stirring the mix for a very long while, I go upstairs for 30 seconds to get essential oils.. Come back downstairs to the pot overflowing with suds!!! Ahhh! What a mess! Any advice for next time? My goodness that was too messy! Also, does this have to cool all the way before use? Any help is appreciated!
Kelsey

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

This recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make after the soap is grated. Never leave it unattended.

Julia said...

One american gallon equals about 4l. That is the milk jug you see in the picture.

Anonymous said...

i made the dry version, can i turn it into the liquid version?? ...or i guess what im asking is can you add all of the ingredients to the pot of water at the same time, or do you HAVE to add the bar of soap first?

Anonymous said...

Well I made this for the first time and I used a bar of Irish Spring Original and it smells so good. I have always ben a fan of Tide but it is so expensive, But this batch smells pretty close to the Tide I like. I did have the same problem that so many others had when it cooled it turned in to the blob. So I have a solution, Let it cool all the way in the pot you cooked it in then break it up with a hand held blender. If you don't have one you could use a hand held mixer, It may take a little longer but it will work. So there is no need to only use half the bar of soap. When all blended pour in to your jugs and wash away. Thank you for recipe, Helps me save money. :o)

Anonymous said...

I heard if you microwave your bar of soap for 90 seconds it will melt and would be much easier than grating! Do you think it will still work if i just melt it and add to water???

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I have never heard of this but I am going to try it with my next batch! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yes! It does work in HE washers... if you use Fels-Naptha laundry soap, only use 1/4 of the bar because it gets really thick. Washing soda can be bought in any grocery store in the laundry section.

Anonymous said...

I have made this soap with DOVE for sensetive skin and it worked beautifully :) clothes were clean and soft too! Did not have a residue problem from the moisturizers in the soap - I think they actually helped the whole process :)

Danita said...

Does it work with cold water? I only use hit/warm with towels and sheets. Cold for everything else so I was just wondering. Thanks for the recipe!

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I usually only use cold water. It works great!

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited to try this! All I have to buy is the washing soda. I can't wait to start saving money in this area. Thanks so much for posting this!

Alisa said...

I don't know, as I haven't tried it, but if it doesn't get sudsy (like she says) then it should be fine in a front loader. All the HE detergents are low foam/bubble.

Anonymous said...

I just made my first batch and it seemed to turn out fine...very thick as everyone has said, which I'm fine with. However, it didn't dispense from the dispenser - I had to flip the dispenser up as though I were using powder then the congealed detergent slid on through. Has anyone else had this happen? Anyone else possibly just put the detergent directly into the machine rather than the dispenser? I have a HE front loader. Thanks! Susan

Anonymous said...

I am too! I love making this and I am very happy everytime I use it! since I have 3 kids I was constantly buying detergent, if only I would have heard about this sooner! I used ivory soap and like the smell but I find it clumps more, I only have a pot big enough to hold one gallon of detergent so I cut the ingredients in half. I find the dove soap does not clump so I think I will stick to the dove!!

Anonymous said...

I have made this recipe many times, and sometimes it comes out thick and beautiful, and other times it is watery and lumpy. I'm not sure what the difference is. I do the same thing every time. But no matter what it looks like, I still use it and it still works the same. So don't worry if it looks weird. It doesn't affect the cleaning power, at least not that I've noticed.

Anonymous said...

The imperial gallon was originally from the UK and England. There are 2 US Gallons, Liquid or Dry, However the recipe shown is in US LIQUID gallons which is equal to 3.79 L. (Dry gallon is equal to 4.40 L) Hope this helps!

Cassandra Price said...

I made my first batch this weekend. It turned out great. I doubled it so I could use the 5 gal bucket method since that works best for my laundry room. It is awesome it even got the urine smell out of my son's bedding. He wets the bed on occasion and I can never quite get that smell out. So greatful to all of you for this new found treasure

Melissa said...

I haven't tried this, but here is a link to homemade washing soda and it would definitely be cheaper than buying the stuff as baking soda is cheaper and you make it from that....When my box runs out, I am planning to try this...thought maybe it would help someone who can't find washing soda anywhere.

http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/01/homemade-washing-soda.html

Sade1 said...

Could I use Castile bar soap in this? thanks!

jennaandcalder said...

So i accidentally bought a bulk box of regular baking soda instead of washing soda..do you think it will still work if I just use the same amount of baking soda? I already made it so I'm not sure if I should use it or not... thanks!

Deb@SpringLane said...

Made my first batch today and it smells fabulous! I used the exact recipe and my bar soap was Zote. I also added about 3/4 c of Downy Un stopables. So far, mine looks like the consistency of store bought laundry soap. I can hardly wait to use it. I purchased my supplies from Kmart (Borax was 2/$5.00) & Ace Hardware for the wash soda $4.29. I have lots more soap to make! My husband gets really dirty at his job so I am making a batch with the Fels Naptha for his work clothes. Merry Washing to all!!!

Anonymous said...

I have eczema and my baby has it bad all over, his face is worse. I use dove soap and it works great! it doesn't cure it of course but I noticed it doesn't make it flare up. USE DOVE!
sherrie**

GypsyRainn said...

Not sure if anyone replies later but I looked online and read on another soap recipe that baking soda coould be used for the same cleaning effect... I used that with awesome results! Kirk's Castile soap, baking soda, borax... I won't ever go back to regular detergent again!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who did the math on this one... 576 loads? A gallon only has 16 cups in it... if you use 1/2 cup per load.... it only comes out to 32 loads per gallon? Or am I misunderstanding that the 576 loads is when all the ingredients are used up.. (whole box of borax, washing soda, etc.)

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I didn't do the math. Just know I save a WHOLELOTTAMONEY!!!! another commenter did the math. I would assume it is after all of the supplies are used up. Mine last for months and months.

Anonymous said...

Dove soap and gels naphtha soap are both low sudsing so you can you in HE washing machines and front loaders

Anonymous said...

This sounds like such a silly question, but How do you grate the soap? I have tried 3 times to grate a bar of soap and each time the soap sticks in between the spikes on the grater. I have tried each side of my grater which looks just like yours does in the picture. Then, when the soap sticks in between each spike I have to use a toothpick to get it to come out. It doesn't seem to work right. I have been using Ivory soap. If I use the finer side of the grater it sticks more and harder to get out. If I use another side, I get really big chunks of soap instead of fine crumbles. What causes my soap to stick on the grater and how do I fix it so I can try to make this soap? Any help????

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I think that someone posted in the comments about freezing the bar of soap to help it grate easier. I have not had to try that yet but it may help. I use the side with the big holes and some does stick but it mostly looks like curly-q's. Big chunks will eventually dissolve but will just need to be cooked longer at a lower temp to keep it from boiling over.

Anonymous said...

Kroger sells everything you need to make you own detergent.

Anonymous said...

Yes i was wondering if when you do your whites or your towells if you can add bleach or colorsafe bleach

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

i use bleach in my whites along with this detergent with no problems.

Anonymous said...

You can get all three at wal mart

Stacey said...

I use the same recipe only I use enough water to make 3 gallons of detergent. I also don't grate the soap anymore, I cut it into thirds & put each third into the microwave for 30 second increments it puffs up & I just scrape it off the plate into the pot of water....so much easier than grating. I have been using this recipe for almost a year & love it, it works great, no fading, no fragrance just clean. Also my daughter has very sensitive skin & has not had any issues since I have been using this detergent.

Anonymous said...

Walmart....ours has it in the laundry aisle next to the Borax

alcnic said...

after mine is done and it is thick, i take a hand mixer to it and it this it out rather nicely and then i funnel it into the 2 gallon nozzle jug :)

Anonymous said...

DO NOT ADD OXI-CLEAN WHILE BOILING. Think "marshmallow fluff". HOLY!

Rebecca T said...

I am not sure if anyone has answered the question about the pot in which you boil the ingrediants...can you use it for food once you've put the borax and washing soap in the pot? Thanks!

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

i only use my pot and utensils for the laundry soap. i wouldn't feel safe using them interchangeably.

Amy Bowman said...

I had to share this post with you. We used your recipe and post as a guide for my daughters 5th grade science experiment. It was so much fun. I wrote about it and linked back to you at my blog today. Thank you for the awesome recipe! http://amy-newnostalgia.blogspot.com/2012/04/my-daughters-homemade-laundry-detergent.html

D'Andrea Hames ~ Jones said...

I love this! I added a 1/2 cup of Dawn dish washing soap also as my husband is a welder and his clothes get really dirty. It worked great. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if it would work for HE washing machines? Thank you?

Anonymous said...

I have made a couple of batches of this, but my recipe calls for it to be put into a 5 gallon container to sit for 24 hours and congeal. It has always congealed within 24 hours! I have found that before I pour it into containers I use one of my cheaper immersion blenders to re-liquify it. Then I put it into my containers. But when I put it into the containers, I leave room in the container to be able to shake it up before I use it so that when it re-solidifies, and it will, I can shake it up before I use it. It goes a long way when just washing for two people.

judy said...

I have used with no problems

Anonymous said...

I just made my second batch! I live alone and use a stackable washer/dryer, and the first batch lasted 4 months! I use it like any other detergent. Last time I used a whole bar of Mrs Meyer's soap and it was quite thick. This time I used a half bar so I'll see if it's less thick but still effective. Using these highly scented soaps makes a gorgeous scented detergent. I can't afford official Mrs Meyers detergent, but now I can still have the same effect for much, much less. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting softener recipe. Can't wait to try and start saving!

harmony said...

I made some of this a couple of months ago. Our clothes don't get very dirty (retired, no children at home)so I wasn't sure how well it was working until yesterday. Hubby brushed up against something in the garage and got grease spots all over the back of his shirt. We really thought it was ruined. I poured some of my homemade detergent on it, scrubbed it a bit with a toothbrush, then washed it. Voila!! NO MORE STAINS!!! I am so happy with this stuff and the fact that I'm not spending a fortune on store bought stuff, PLUS not filling the landfill with the plastic bottles from the store bought stuff!!

Anonymous said...

I made my first batch last night using sunlight laundry bar soap :) I found that the shavings melted quickly. The second boil after adding the washing soda and borax seemed to take FORever! Batch sat overnight and did turn into a Jello likeness soooooo I simply added about 1.5 gallons more water(this was all i could fit in the container i had used) took my hand blender and smoothed the batch to a store bought consistency. Tried it today on numerous loads. Had family do scent and touch testing and try and guess what was washed with store-bought vs. homemade and they got it wrong every time! I'll definitely be using this hence forth > i also took a suggestion from a prior post here and put my visible batch in a lrg snazzy ceramic drink dispenser.

Anonymous said...

can u use liquid so or only bar soap

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I've only used bar soap. I'm not sure about liquid soap.

Anonymous said...

I used to install HE machines when they were introduced and 'm pretty sure the only difference between regular laundry soap and the high efficiency stuff is; the high efficiency is low sudsing. So it sounds like this soap would be ideal for HE machines. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

mine is the same i just add half a gallon of water

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how many loads this 2 gallon recipe makes?

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

hi! if you use 1/2 cup of detergent per load you will be able to wash 64 loads with a 2 gallon batch.

KarinSDCA said...

I cannot believe I read every single comment on this laundry detergent post. LOL

A few years ago, I used the tipnut website (10 recipes) and made "sample" batches of all three powder recipes and three random liquid recipes. I used a ziplock 3-cup container for each powder recipe (altering the recipe to get that amount or less) and one 1-gallon vinegar bottle for each liquid (altering the recipe to get that amount or less). My favorites were the first liquid and first powder, but they all worked! I used Fels Naptha soap for those.

Since then, I have made my favorite recipes a few times with the rest of my Fels Naptha stash. I have since made the powder only and have used Dr. Bronner's castile bar soap (citrus, rose, and another one). I found them on sale in random places. My current batch is made with Kirk's Castile bar soap, which is a lot cheaper. I purchased it online with other items (unrelated to laundry detergent) and received free shipping. Every single recipe I have made works for clean laundry! :) Some are thicker, some are thinner, some leave a residue in the washer (none on the clothes themselves), some made me cough from the fine powder (powder recipe that included baking soda), some were too-labor-intensive for me.

A tip I have since learned for liquid detergent making is to set your bar of soap in your pot of water and then place the whole thing outside in the sun until it dissolves on it's own. No heat or grating required.

I currently grate my castile soap in our food processor and then wash it out. My borax and washing soda are measured with the same measuring tool I use to dispense the final detergent. I make two batches at a time in the same Ziploc containers someone gave me years ago and use 1-2 Tablespoons for each load (less for regular loads; more for heavily-soiled loads). I have altered the original recipe a few times to get it perfect for our hard water (heavy calcium deposits) and our level of "dirt". I use essential oils in the washing machine, not in the detergent. I either add a few drops to the wash water or I fill the softener compartment with vinegar and essential oils for the rinse water; depends on why I am using the EOs. Sometimes I just want the smell to permeate the house while the wash is going... ahhhh....

Anyway, I am posting because it isn't that complicated and they all work. Have fun with it! :)

KarinSDCA said...

BTW, I have also used liquid Dr. Bronner's. I mixed up my dry powder mix without soap (washing soda + borax) and use 1 T of that and 1 T of the liquid soap. It works, too! Costs more, though, and is more time-consuming to measure two different containers (opening and closing, etc.).

AleaciaNicole said...

Thank you very much for sharing this. I made this recipe today in less than an hour. It will save us so much money. I appreciate women like you who share their ideas on making life easier.
The best to you,
Aleacia

AleaciaNicole said...

Thank you very much for sharing this. I made this recipe today in less than an hour. It will create much less waste and will save our family a significant amount of money. I really appreciate women like you sharing their ideas in order to make others' lives easier.

susanbee48 said...

Am I misunderstanding something? The recipes for a five gallon bucket is being used on a two gallon bucket. The amount being put in a washer are the same. Would you not use half the ingredients for the two gallon. I am going to go get the ingredients today to make this. I have tried the homemade wash that was given to my daughter, I love it. Mine was in a four gallon litter container lol but its big..

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

i only make 2 gallons with this recipe. I'm not sure about the 5 gallon recipe.

Nancy said...

I am new at this, does the liquid stay together, can you use it in top loaders and how much for each load of clothes? Sorry for all the questions, but wanting to try this recipe. Thanks

Nikki and Chris said...

From my experience, Even thin will clean, the ingredients don't change at all, just the consistency!

Anonymous said...

Hi girls! Just a heads up! Don't use Sunlight bar soap!!! It re-hardens on the top of the liquid after it cools!!! I'm from Canada and can't find Fels Naptha soap anywhere. Will try to find Zote next!!! Wish me luck!

Anonymous said...

So far, every batch I have made sets up after it is in the jug for a while. No problem, though, I just use something (like a piece of water pipe) to stick in the jug and stir. It will again return to a pourable
substance. Usually the top of the mix is the thickest. This is fun to make and give to friends.
For those having trouble finding the ingredients, I find them at WalMart across from the aisle that carries the commercial laundry detergents.
We had for years used a little regular baking soda in our laundry along with commercial detergents, so I would think that it could be used in this recipe. We buy it in large plastic bags at Sams Club.

Anonymous said...

a US gallon is 4 quarts. 1 quart is just about equal to 1 liter. So 1 gallon is 4 liters.

Anonymous said...

How strong is the smell? do your clothes smell fresh like store bought laundry soap? also i have three boys so they are super dirty how is on the cleaning touch dirt?

Anonymous said...

Tried this last night with Irish Spring (my husband is an idiot and got the cheapest soap he could..grr). I will be using dove sensitive skin next time I think. Soap congeled last night while sitting in a 5 gallon container. This morning woke up and stirred it quite well and am going to transfer it to my ALL container once it is empty. Looking forward to trying it out and seeing how well it works.

Anonymous said...

Made this soap the other day and even though it is lumpy and gloopy, it works WONDERFULLY! I will never buy store-bought detergent again! Thanks for this wonderful recipe! :)

debkmassage said...

So awesome! I made this today with a bar of Lavender Castille soap. It is more liquidy. No worries, I will try it out tomorrow and see how it cleans. I usually pay a lot for 7th generation or other phosphate free laundry soaps. I am so grateful to you for sharing your recipe:)

Anonymous said...

When I made this it was super easy,, when I went to use it today, it was so thick I couldn't get it out of the gallon jug, any suggestions???

All Things Harrigan said...

Do you think adding essential oils to this will stain the clothing? I love this recipe by miss the smell of laundry. Looking for something more "natural" then using scent beads or fabric softner...thought essential oils would be great, assuming they don's stain.

Anonymous said...

Use ounces instead of Liters etc. US cup = 8 ounces, Imp gallon = 5 US quarts. I use about 3 oz of DOVE soap, 4 oz Borax and 4 oz Sal Soda. Borax is SODIUM TETRABORATE and washing soda is SODIUM CARBONATE.I use 1/3 cup per load( 18 pound washer,dry clothes) Also only one US gallon of water,
(128 ounces). grate soap and use 64 oz water,heat until soap is melted, add borax and washing soda
4 oz each, heat until it boils stirring frequently.Pour up and start washing. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Seems silly to buy all those ingredients and do all that work when you can buy a big plastic container of dish soap at the DOLLAR STORE and just add water to it. You get 20x the amount.

Ramona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You should have used half gallon of water if you halved the batch. I wouldnt throw it away though.. still give it a try and see if it gets your clothes clean.

Tami's Eclectic Corner said...

I just made this today and it was so thick. So I poured the mixture into a huge bucket and gave it a GOOD stir! It was perfect then! I poured it into an empty detergent bottle and it worked perfectly!

Anonymous said...

Im in europe too but am from the US. 1 US gallon is equal to 3.78 liters. I just made my first batch of this and used 4 liter containers for storage, each had a little space left at the top and worked out perfectly.

Stacy Child - The Wild Child Bunch said...

I made my first batch a couple months ago and it works fantastic! Making my second batch now! I discovered Downy Unstopables scent booster to make It even a stronger smell. I just mixed about a cup with the two gallons and it makes my laundry come out smelling fantastic! Now I have the rest of my family wanting to lake their own too.

Stacy Child - The Wild Child Bunch said...

I also forgot to mention that with my WIDE range of allergies, I can control what I can use. Not to mention I just went to my local bakery and asked if I could have some of their fronting buckets. I just washed them out and store my detergent in them. Works fantastic and I just use a measuring cup to scoop some up. Also, just pour your cold water in the bucket and when you're done with the hot stuff, just dump it in and then you'll have more room to stir.

jaimelynn0926 said...

Mine ended up almost solid too-I used half a bar of soap this time around and it worked great. When it was solid I just squeezed to get the chunk out-still worked! I made it and it lasted my family (two loads a day every day) for about 3 months!

Anonymous said...

I have a cost saving tip to pass along....2 TBSP of white vinegar replaces liquid fabric softener! If you would like to make inexpensive homemade fabric softener use white vinegar mixed with inexpensive Suave brand hair conditioner and water! Works great and smells amazing! :)

Anonymous said...

White chalk on grease stains works amazingly well! Just rub the chalk stick to cover stain...set...soak and wash!

Anonymous said...

The Borax & Washing Soda I used before seemed to fade my clothes. I made mine in powder form though. Is that common? Doesn't seem to save money if you have to replace clothing items more frequently. What are your thoughts?

Cinda Van Voorst said...

I made this recipe last weekend and poured it into my old tide container....but after it cooled down it wont pour out! Did I do something wrong or is it suppose to be that thick?

Cinda Van Voorst said...

Made mine this weekend...but it is really thick. After it cooled in the old tide containers... it wont pour!!
Is this normal? I'm not sure how im suppose to get it out... please let me know. Thanks.

Lynn Abbey said...

I love this laundry soap!! I think that I am on my 4th. batch now!! I love not paying the high prices for the store bought kind!! Oh yeah, it works amazingly!! I give it a five star rating!!

Hope said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I'm hooked!

Anonymous said...

I used this method about 7 years ago and ruined 2 brand new washing machines till they told me it clogged it all and ruined motors...

Anonymous said...

I've heard that goose or duck fat will clean eczema up really well,just rub on the effected part n let dry,then wash your hands.

Sara Johnson said...

We made our first batch today, cant wait to wash with it!!

Anonymous said...

I've always used Zote Soap to wash extra dirty clothes. And this is the bar soap I use to make my batch it works wonders! http://www.zote.com.mx/english/about.htm

Jaime in Colombia said...

Will addding Baking soda as the powder recipes have be ok?

sarah Sales-Miles said...

Yes it works in a HE washer, dont put it in the compartment tho, put it directly on your clothes, 1 it makes them cleaner and 2 it doenst give a residue in that compartment

Anonymous said...

I made my first batch yesterday, initially it was liquid when I was bottling it, but then it turned to solid 'jello' but it still works great. I just shake it up and squeeze it out. I live in a place with hard water and I add a tablespoon of white vinegar to the rinse cycle with a drop of lavender oil, and my clothes and sheets feel soft and smell gorgeous. Thank you VERY much for your wonderful recipe! I am a total convert!

Hope said...

I used a glycern based bar soap and it jelled back up. I melted it again and added more water but it jelled again. I'm trying it one more time and adding more water but I'm worried that maybe I'm deluting it to much and it won't clean well. Should I just scrap it and make another batch with regular soap? I used 2 - 4 oz bars of the glycern soap. If you half the bar soap should you also half the washing soda etc...?

Anonymous said...

Just made a batch. Didn't have Washing Soda. So, I used a cup of OxyClean instead of Washing Soda. As soon as I added it, the bubbles overflowed my pot. "Abort Mission!" The mixture did not cogulate in the pot. I'm still going to go ahead and mix/use it. Hey, I figure ... there are enough cleaning ingredients in there to clean the clothes - even if it doesn't look like traditional laundry detergent. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi! I was wondering if I should wait until the mixture coagulates before adding the cold water....?

Anonymous said...

Do NOT dye in the washing machine, as the residue will continue to act on all clothes you put in there for several more loads. Dye in the sink. Don't be intimidated. It is easy and you will love the results. Follow package directions completely.

Melanie said...

Just made my first batch! I used Fels-Naptha. I am nervous after reading the comments though because I funneled it into a washed out 2 gallon detergent jug with a spout. I may have to cut the jug open if it solidifies! Thanks for the recipe...I found you on Pinterest!

Anonymous said...

Made it and love it! I made a batch with Irish Spring bar soap, turned out more liquidy. And a batch using Dial citrus smelling soap, turned out like jello. Both work awesome and make my laundry feel and smell so clean! Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Here's my two cents worth. I love making laundry soap. I also make my own bath soap and fabric softener. I've seen a few questions on here about the laundry soap separating. I can't take credit for this because I got this suggestion from another blogger. I added the last gallon of hot water after letting this set for 24 hours; I used my stick blender to really mix this up good. You may have to reheat because it gets really hard. But thank you to the original poster for this recipe.

Anonymous said...

us gallon

Anonymous said...

Front loaders require low-suds detergents. The best person to ask whether this would work would be a washing machine repair man!

Anonymous said...

This is such a great recipe so simple i love it!

Anonymous said...

Any suggestions what to use for baby detergent?

molina said...

4 liters make 1 gallon!
:)

Anonymous said...

the washing soda and the borax is on the same aisle with the laundry detergent .. it's kinda inbetween the liquids and the fabric softners around the stain treatment stuff ..

Anonymous said...

You might try ordering the ingredients online. Here we have amazon.com where you can find all sorts of things. Not sure if there's a European version of amazon, but there's bound to be another site where you can find them.

Turtle Girl said...

Hi I have been doing this for a few years now and LOVE it, mostly. My recipe always ends up very clumpy with the gelled portion sitting on top of the more liquid portion and so I end up with a lot of mess refills and shaking of the bottle. Your recipe says it will coagulate....so does that mean it is like mine or more like a liquid soap consistency? Or does anyone have a recipe that doesn't clump?

Anonymous said...

Hi! I made my first batch of this today. I didn't have a huge pot, so I too halfed the recipe, and it seemed to work out fine. I am doing my first load of laundry with it right now, so I will see in about 25 minutes! lol. Thanks for the great Money savings tip for this single Mom!! <3

Anonymous said...

I have a front load washer and I have been using the dry version of this recipe. It works great anything low suds you can use in them Thats what lowes told me. I cant wait to use the liquid recipe that you have.

Joyce said...

the borax is wonderful for diapers, I soaked my baby's diapers in it many years ago in the diaper pail as my mother did as well. The soda is gentle as well. You could use any soap that you use for your baby.

Anonymous said...

I find this stuff works great to clean clothes, and I've even used it to clean carpet stains left by my cat having hairballs! Love it!!

Anonymous said...

Have you received an answer for your question? I would like to know myself.

Anonymous said...

I made a batch the other day. I used a natural soap. Didn't really leave it smelling great but it was sure clean! I decided to test it out and add drops of lavender and it turned out wonderful. Not only did it make my detergent smell better but it also made it less lumpy. I poured the drops when it was cooling down... about eight drops per gallon. :)

patintex said...

The liquid version will work in front load washers.

Anonymous said...

Yes it works in front loading HE machines
Fels-Naptha is a great soap to use (also found with the washing soda & borax in the laundry isle)
If you want extra sent you can always add some essential oils of your choice!

I have been using a similar recipe for almost 2 years now, and we LOVE it! Even others in my family have converted from using their name brand stuff to this because they like it so much better!

Anonymous said...

Or you could use plain white ivory soap.

Anonymous said...

It's actually better for front-loading washers BECAUSE of the low-suds!
Washing soda can be found in most grocery stores or Walmart .. But you can make your own washing soda by heating BAKING SODA in the oven on 200 for about 2 hours ..

jaxattack said...

it is absolutely safe for HE front load washers. I have actually been using the powder version of this in my HE front loader for a couple of years with no problems...it dissolves well. I use 1-2 TB per load of powdered home made (using the same ingredients - the water as listed above)....not sure what the equivalent would be for the liquid but I would maybe use half of what is recommended in her recipe per wash load.

h e a t h e r said...

This looks awesome! Gonna try it. Also found this answer to the HE washer question!

http://laundry.about.com/od/HomemadeLaundryProducts/f/Can-Homemade-Detergent-Be-Used-In-He-Washers.htm

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