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

952 comments:

1 – 200 of 952   Newer›   Newest»
Kate said...

Any idea if this would work in a front-loading high efficiency washing machine? Also, where do you buy washing soda? Is it at the normal grocery store?

Barb said...

Oh...the money you could save.....

Jacque. said...

Wow...I am impressed! Way to save money, woman!

Why Not Sew? said...

I'm not sure if this is okay for front-loading high efficiency washing machines. You can find the Arm and Hammer washing soda in the detergent isle, usually on the very top or very bottom shelf. In most of the stores I've checked it is already sitting next to the Borax.

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage said...

This looks easier than my recipe. I think I'll try it.

I've just added you to my sidebar. I'm always glad to find a blog that I want to return to again and again!

Laura

Chelsea said...

Do you find that it matters what type of bar soap you use?

Tracey @ sew.simply.creative said...

I've tried a version of this keeping all the ingredients dry and using Fels Naptha bar soap. Do you have a preference between liquid v. dry versions of it?? Thanks for sharing this!

Why Not Sew? said...

I find that you can use any soap you like.

I have tried the dry mix and I like the liquid much better. I feel like it lasts longer for us.

Maries Cottage said...

This is great, I love making my own, we do a dry version. I love the list of daily chores from Little House in the Big Woods, we have followed that schedule before. :)

Crystal said...

Hopping over from Time Warp Wife! I've had this on my list of things to try for some time! I have friends who make their own detergent and they get their supplies at Ace Hardware. I know our local WalMart doesn't sale washing soda. So, you might try a hardware store!

MyJourneyBack said...

Hmm might have to check it out. Is it really cheaper?
Thanks for sharing. Come by and see my Titus 1sday post.It was nice meeting you.
Have a great Thursday,
Sherry

Why Not Sew? said...

Thanks for the comments ladies! Yes, it really is cheaper. I get an estimated 576 loads per one box of Borax and washing Soda (about 9 batches of soap that make 2 gallons each = 32 loads per gallon = 64 loads per recipe using 1/2 cup of made detergent per load. So that's 576 loads for about 6 bucks! There is absolutely no comparison!!!!! Also I don't use the Fels Naptha because it is a fairly harsh soap. I like something a little more mild but any soap will work. I find my ingredients in the regular grocery store in the laundry detergent isle. Look on the very bottom or top shelves.

debmom4ca said...

I have used a similar version in my HE washing machine and is works just fine. Thanks for the new information about using any kind of soap and other tips too.

Mary Ellen said...

I have made the dry version of soap for years. Last year I found Zote bar soap and use that to make the prettiest pink laundry soap! And you are so very right about the savings!

Run Lori Run said...

Does it matter what temperature water you use? I prefer to wash & rinse in cold....

Purple Froggie Clay Stuff said...

That's so awesome, I can't wait to get some borax and super washing soda!

Thank you for the tutorial!

I'm a new GFC and email follower!
Hope you can stop by and see me sometime at:
http://thepurplefroggieclaystuff.blogspot.com/

Cindy

Tracy said...

Hi, just saw you on Craft Gossip, and had to come here and read..., we have a high efficency washer, have you tested it? Do you know anyone who has... we will be moving, and I hope we will be getting a top load washer.. not just for the homemade laundry detergent, but I have now discovered buying white clothes and dyeing them with RIT... thank you for your recipe...

Candy Cake and Crafts said...

Awesone recipe! Can't wait to try this. But first...

Does anyone know if you can use natural and organic soaps? Yes they are much pricier but it's the only soap we use in our house as the well branded soaps contain chemicals and preservatives that can be unhealthy for our skins and the earth.

So, will natural and organic cold-processed soaps work? How about natural melt and pour soaps?

Chic'n said...

Hi,
First I want to thank you for that great great tutorial, I have a question, maybe stupid!
Your using gallons, I'm European so I use liters, I checked on the internet for conversion and find that there is two gallons one is called gallon (US) and the other one is called gallon (imp), can you tell me wich one is it cause there is a huge difference between those two once you convert it in liters. This way I will be sure that my bottle is big enough! I can't wait to try it, as soon as the supermarket one will be empty!

Megs said...

Wow...This came at a great time! With the new year, I am REALLY trying to get a handle on where our money is going and saving every little bit has now turned into a little "game". In the past I would turn my nose up at making my own laundry soap but in today's world, it is so important to be as frugal and smart with your money as possible. I am SO going to do this. Thank you so much for the tutorial and helping me save more money for my family!!! I will be checking back often for your awesome ideas!

Anonymous said...

@Tracy, I have thougth about buying Rit so many times to dye my clothes, but the thought of the mess always scares me. Do you dye clothes in your washing machine?
Any tips would be appreciated!

Anonymous said...

@chick'n, the images look like 3 liter milk containers.

Anonymous said...

@chick'n - You want to use a US gallon. It will convert to 3.8 liters. Good luck! I can't wait to try this myseld :)

Chic'n said...

Thanks girls!
I am so exited about that!

Why Not Sew? said...

Yes that would be US gallons. Also I have been told that this detergent is fine for HE washers!

Chic'n said...

Well, I can't find borax here in europe, if anyone can tell me what I can use instead, and also I can't find washing soda but fine soda and crystal soda wich one should I bue for that purpose?
Thx in advance!

tich said...

I am in Scotland. Can you tell me how much Borax and Washing Soda you put in, as we have different sizes of packets, to the ones you have. Sounds a great idea.

Patricia said...

I've used this same basic recipe for years and I use it in my HE washer with no problems. I also use a diluted version in a spray bottle for general house cleaning. I do use the Fels Naptha soap for my husband's work clothes, but for everything else I use all natural castille soap and I add some essential oils for scent. Usually Lavender for linens, and citrus for work clothes.

Linda said...

Thank you so much for this great idea!

DebbieKsews said...

the problem with most soaps in HE front loaders is the suds. because this doesn't produce the suds it should be fine.

Amanda Wilder said...

How is this on sensitive skin? I have eczema, and can't use a ton of regular laundry soap. I suppose I could try this with Dove...

Why Not Sew? said...

Hi Amanda-
I couldn't reply through e-mail I hope you see this. It is good for sensitive skin. Just use the soap that you would typically use. The arm and hammer and the borax don't bother my skin at all and I have really sensitive skin.
:)
Erin

Amanda Wilder said...

Thanks you so much for the reply! My husband is going through chemo and radiation, and we're trying to save every way we can! I'm so excited to try this! I saved my last 2 laundry soap containers, I'm just going to put them in that!

Why Not Sew? said...

Hi Amanda-
I will keep your your husband, you and your family in my prayers. I'm happy this has helped you in some small way. How is your husband doing with his treatments? My e-mail is whynotsew[at]yahoo[dot]com if you would like to e-mail me your reply!
Take care!

Erin

Lynn said...

How is this for cloth diapers? I don't want to strip the diapers or leave any harmful residue on them since they are snug on my precious little guys' bottom...

Shane Dillon said...

I love this detergent! I use it in my front loader machine all the time! I have even been able to cut out fabric softener, which my directions suggested you could do, except for my towels. So easy to make and so wallet friendly!

Aimee of East Avenue said...

I just made this detergent today. Does yours have the consistency of gelatin? I after I poured it into my containers, I let it cool and came back a few hours later and it had become so much like jello that I couldn't even get any out of the bottle without squeezing it!! Ahh! Did I do something wrong? Other than that it smells great and I can't wait to try it out!

Leslie said...

@Shane How much do you use per load in your HE washer? Is it still half a cup, as suggested in the recipe? I just finished making my very first batch and my kitchen smells AWESOME.

Why Not Sew? said...

Hi Aimee- It does get gelatinous. It's normal and works and smells great!

Why Not Sew? said...

Hi Lynn-
I don't think they will strip the diapers. As far as harmful residue, i believe it to be much more gentle than commercial laundry detergent. I have very sensitive skin and I have no problems with it.

Why Not Sew? said...

Hi Lesli-
In case Shane doesn't get back to you I wanted to say that I think you would still use the 1/2 cup. This doesn't make many if any suds so I think the amount used would be the same :)

mel@livvyloowho said...

Thanks for the recipe! I just made this after years of using the powdered version.

Wuestion: I added the 2 gallons of water and THEN brought to a boil, so it is not coagulated. How liquid is the final version? Mine is like water, so I don't know if I should scrap it or continue to use it as is.

Thanks!

mel@livvyloowho said...

Thanks Erin. I used dove and some Fels that I had leftover from my powdered stash. It is still hot in the bottle, so I will give it some time:).

Sabrina said...

Well, I did mine as per your instructions and a 1/2" foam top (looked like sponge) across the top. I tired to whisk it and flatten the pieces with a with a spoon. So.....what to do?

SarahB said...

I can't seem to find the Arm & Hammer stuff anywhere in my city! I'm wondering if I could substitute with OxyClean instead.

Sara @Osmosis said...

I tried it using 1/2 bar of fels naptha laundry soap. I love it. I love the smell of it. Everything comes out clean and I get a kick out of knowing I made it :)
http://osmosis4lips.blogspot.com/2011/07/closet-hippies.html

Chrissy said...

Found your idea on Pinterest, LOVE LOVE it!! I haven't tried it yet, but cannot wait til I do! I also featured this on my blog.
http://formamas.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-to-make-homemade-laundry-detergent.html

Thank you for your inspiration!

Barefoot Apron said...

Thanks for this great idea! I also saw... somewhere on the web, people who are really into decor, put their liquid laundry soap in a glass refreshment dispencer, with a spout. :)

Anonymous said...

I love this idea and am so excited to try it, my question for you, I am assuming that you use the entire box of each borax and booster? And then what size boxes are they? Thanks again for sharing this!!!

Why Not Sew? said...

Hi! DON'T use the whole box!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!only 1 cup of each!!!!!!!!

Ruth K said...

Just cooked up a half a batch of this, but it hasn't thickened at all. Any ideas why not?

I saw a similar question above but couldn't find the response.

Thanks!

Why Not Sew? said...

Hi there! The detergent will thicken after it cools. Within 24 hours!

Wif said...

Can't thank you enough for this incredible idea. My head is spinning in joy about the money (and earth!) we'll be saving:)

I hope you don't mind I shared the recipe on my blog (http://twebby.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/homemadelaundrydetergent/ ) giving you all the cred of course!

Thanks again Erin!

funkychicken said...

I did just as the recipe said and when I went to use it it was completely solid! I am redoing it but wondering if I should skim off the extra soap on top before pouring into containers?

Why Not Sew? said...

I've had some batches turn out more solid than others. I simply squeeze the container to get the detergent out. It is still good to use. I wouldn't skim anything off. But you could try it if you'd like!

kleemk said...

I found all the supplies at Drugstore.com....if you order enough stuff you get free shipping and it tax free too (for me at least in GA. Not sure what state they are based out of).

Kimmi said...

I have been using the liquid version of this for years in my HE washer because of my hubby's skin issues. When the washer repair guy came to replace the gasket (torn by pens left in son's pockets), this is the detergent he recommended.

I make mine in a 5-gallon bucket that I got from the hardware store. I keep it in the laundry room next to the washer and use an old laundry powder scoop to dispense it.

I also make my own fabric softener, using a recipe from:

http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-fabric-softener-355877

Kristen said...

I've been searching for ways to make homemade laundry detergent, I'm so excited to try this! Question though - do you have to use a bar of soap, or can you use liquid soap? I would love to use some Bromer's natural liquid soap instead... Thanks! (frommytinykitchen at yahoo dot com)

Courtney said...

I've read through the comments and haven't seen this question posted yet. How about fading? I've always wanted to make my own detergent but always back down because I'm scared my clothes will start fading. Anyway opinions/experience with that?

@Kristen - I don't know the answer but I did want to say that Bromer's does make bar soap too if the answer is no. You probably already knew that but just thought I'd share for the sake of looking stupid I guess lol.

Why Not Sew? said...

I'm not sure about bronner's liquid? I don't think it will coagulate though.

My clothes have not faded and I have been using this for years now :)

Courtney said...

Great thanks. I may just have to give it a shot then!

Kristen said...

Thanks @Why Not Sew?!

@Courtney - well, actually, I didn't know that! :) I'm fairly new to the world of Bronner, I will look for bars!!

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

My question would be about the potency of the fragrance...I'm the kind of person who LOVES smelling my laundry and it smelling fresh as long as possible...how is this for that?

marianne said...

I just made this last night and poured it into a glass cider jar and this morning it's so thick it won't pour out of the jar...any suggestions? Should I add more water? I'm heating the jar in warm water right now to see if I can get it out and thin it somehow. I already did a quick load with some that I had left out of the jar and I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing :D

Unknown said...

Hi there! I'm also having a problem with the consistency. It's so solid it wont come out of the milk jug! Any suggestions?

hungryhippie said...

Oh thank you for this! I'm making a batch today, just bought the washing soda and borax. May I link to your blog from mine once I have this completed? I'll post pics of my batch, and direct everyone to your blog for more info. Feel free to email me.
natalie
xx cheers!

princessmegamomma said...

I also got thick stuff....and it's only been sitting for 3 hours. Hmm...maybe because I poured it in glass? Any way to salvage it?

princessmegamomma said...

or maybe it was me halving the recipe...i put some also in a leftover detergent bottle and that's thick too.

Mismikado said...

i love this recipe! so easy! my husband just quit his job for something part-time so he can join me in our full-time bible ministry :) so any way to save money is great! thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

All that's old is new again. My grandmother used to make this because I was an allergic kid and this was better for my skin/rash issues. To be even more 'frugal' she used to save the 'slivers' of soap once the bar was nearly used up until she had about a bars worth and use that instead of using a new bar of soap. I'm thinking you could use several of the little hotel size bars if you collect them as you travel.

Alison said...

I finally got around to making it! Thank you so much for the recipe. :) http://foryoubylove.blogspot.com/2011/08/homemade-laundry-detergent.html

Tracy said...

I made this today. I am in Canada so I had to look for a couple of the items. I did find mostly everything I needed at Sobeys and the Superstore. Anyway, I made it, and I have been using it all day. Once you get over your own expectation of perfumed laundry, you really notice how clean the clothes are. My clothes do not smell like a fake tropical island, or flowers or anything. They smell clean. Pure and clean. I love it. Thanks for this recipe!

Julie said...

Just wanted to say I tried this today and am really impressed. I don't see any reason to every buy expensive detergent again...thanks!

andraswhimsies said...

This looks great!! I think I will have to give it a try once my bottle of store bought detergent is gone.

I have a question though. Do you have to separate it out into the 2 gallon jugs? I was thinking, considering the coagulation issues people are having, if it could be stored all together in a big bucket and scooped out when needed?

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

Hi ladies! I wanted to reply to those of you with too thick a detergent. Try using 1/2 a bar of soap instead. I made a batch with half a bar of ivory and the consistency was good. I usually use the whole bar and i can still pour mine. Maybe it has something to do with the type of soap, cooking time etc. Thanks for all of the comments, tips and feedback :)

Anonymous said...

Love the laundry detergent idea! anyone have a dishwasher detergent recipe? That stuff is expensive also.

Molly said...

Do you think that adding in some essential oils would negate the cleaning process? My DH likes his clothes to smell like "laundry." Tide is is favorite smell, too strong for me.

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

Hi Molly-
Essential oils are perfectly fine to add to this!

Molly said...

Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Can I just leave this in the pot after I cook it? Put the lid on it and store it in the laundry room and not bother trying to funnel it into containers?
Trix

~Jess said...

I just posted on my blog about making this detergent. My detergent separated...there's water and a thick film on top of it (the soap I'm assuming). Could it be the soap I used?

Anonymous said...

I was wanting to know how long you boil it... Mine wasn't thick when I poured it into the gallon jugs... So I just need to know how long I boil it after I add the Borax and washing soap??? Thanks

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I have had a batch to seperate before and you can reheat it again (which I DIDN't) or just shake or stir it before each use.

I bring the detergent to a boil for less than 1 minute after adding the powders and then take it off the burner and keep stirring for a bit to dissolve everything.

Anonymous said...

Ok well it's been 24 hours and its still liguid, is that okay or do I need to try it again????

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I would use it. You will find a variance in consistency with different soaps. I have had thinner batches and extremely thick batches. I have used them all. You can always add an extra small scoop of borax to the load but I don't really do that either.

Anonymous said...

Okay thank you.... You have been a really big help!!! Thanks for the recipe, it was so easy to make and will save me lots of money!!! Have a great day....Kim

Heather said...

Love this!! I'm a new follower. Found this on Pinterest.

Heather from Life In The Motherhood

Regina Filange said...

A quick FYI- my kids have eczema and sensitive skin- our allergist said that Ivory is very harsh for those with sensitive skin (can you believe it!?) here i thought ivory was the gentlist. Anyway-just wanted to share that for those of you with skin issues. She suggested Aveeno. I havent tried it yet so I cant attest to it but just wanted to jump on and share. Thanks for the awesome idea!

ashley n said...

Hi I was wondering if anyone has used this on anything really grunge? My husband is an airmans and his ABUs can get so dirty! I want to try this out soon but just wondering if I should keep something stronger on hand as well? Thanks if you could just let me know by e-mail... abn_on_fire at hotmail dot com

SarahMarieDee said...

Okay, I tried to skim through the older posts, but could only read so much (you are so popular!) I followed the recipe, but mine boiled over when I wasn't looking (curse you, Pottermore!), and as a result it was really thin.

Can I thicken it up, or do I need to start from scratch?
THANK YOU!

Smalltowngirl said...

Hi Erin: Found you thru Pinterest. I'm currently using soapnuts (berries from the soap berry tree).
http://www.nutz4soap.com

Have you ever of them?

I'm willing to try anything natural and cost cutting! Laundry soap is sooo overpriced these days!

Thanks , I will give this a try!

Lisa

craftykat said...

I have used this recipe for 8 months now- only I didn't heat the Borax and Washing Soda. I haven't tried any other soap bar than Fels Naptha- but started the detergent the same: grating the bar up and placing in a pot of water, and heating until the soap shreds are dissolved. I place that in a 5 gallon bucket bought at Home Depot, then add hot water half way up the bucket (I do this in the bathtub), and add the one cup each of Borax and Washing Soda. Stir and then fill close to the top with more hot water. I put the lid on and keep it in my laundry room. My directions say to let it sit for 24 hours- and it is gelatinous- I use a whisk and break up the chunks. I use a one cup measuring scoop and use one cup of this with my laundry loads- sometimes a little bit more if they're extra dirty. I still use separate stain spray/gel on my stains though, but as an all purpose laundry detergent, I've been pleased. I think next time I might try a different soap bar, just to see the difference.

- Kim said...

I would love to try this, but first, has anyone had success with it and HARD WATER?

Jenny's Photography N Things said...

Great idea!

Lauren Seabolt said...

Just made this and I can't wait to use it! I bought lavender soap and added a tiny bit of lavender essential oil, as well. My kitchen smells so good now!

I will be using this recipe for the rest of my life!

*Also, this is perfect for cloth diapers - I was using just Borax before, but it wasn't getting the nasty pee smell out of them. I'm excited to start using this and hopefully (fingers crossed) it will help with the smell that lingers on the cloth diapers :)

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea! and I can't wait to try it out.

I saw a previous question from someone in Europe. I'm also in Europe and I found both borax and washing soda at organic shops. GL

Anonymous said...

you can make washing soda!!
this is so helpful for me because no one around here carries washing soda

http://www.ehow.com/how_5859235_make-washing-soda.html?ref=Track2&utm_source=ask

Sarah said...

Do you have to use washing soda? Or can you use just plain baking soda because I'm having a hard time finding the washing soda!

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the actual cost breakdown on this. Per batch. etc. Right now I can't see how 500+ loads will come of $6.00. 1/2 cup per load would equal 64loads for 2gallons of this detergent. I am assuming more batches can be made, but how many and how many bars of soap. Just curious as I am a numbers person.

sunflowerlin said...

Have you ever added baking soda or oxyclean? I have seen these ingredients in other made-at-home laundry soap and was just wondering how they might affect your recipe :)
Thanks!

Iamonewithmuchope said...

I actually couldn't find washing soda at any stores around here! The closest place that carried it was 1/2 hr. away! So I called the company, and if you buy 2 boxes of washing soda (about $5), then you get free shipping! Hope this is helpful for some of you who can't find it!

Jenn said...

I'm going out tomorrow to find ingredients for this. I was wondering about the 1/2 cup thing though. The detergent that I use right now, I only use about 1/4 a cup of. I've been told that it's not good to use lots of laundry soap because it will just stay in your clothes and gum up your machine.

:::b r a n d i::: said...

Made this about a week ago and MAN am I glad I did! Works great. As for getign thick, as some have mentioned - mine was so thick it wouldn't come out of the jug so I put the lid back on and shook it like nobody's business and it loosened it up enough to pour. :) MY clothes smell fabulous after washing. I was able to find my Borax and Washing Soda at Ace Hardware.

tink said...

Hi, this looks like a great idea, and I'm almost ready to try it but:
For the person who asked about Dr. Bronner's--did you try it out? Seems like maybe you wouldn't even need to boil it--just use some hot water to dissolve the dry ingredients. I'd almost rather my soap did not coagulate, as I hope to use my recycled Kirkland 1.6 gallon jugs, and they have a spout so liquidy would be better. On the other hand, like the idea of the 5-gallon home depot bucket, too.

Also, once you've used the pot to boil the soap in, is it still safe to use it to cook food in (after a good scrub out, of course)? I would need to find either a no-boil bucket method or a sacrificial soap pot if it's not safe any longer.

Leslie said...

I am planning on trying it this weekend. :) Do you think that this would be okay to use on cloth diapers?

Anonymous said...

For those of you who is it very thick for, consider adding one more gallon of water and then use 3/4 of a cup instead of half a cup.
And for those wondering about use on cloth diapers, if you use a bar soap you trust and don't have trouble with, it will be fine.
Thanks for the recipe.

Sarah said...

Just made this recipe today and have been happily using it on sweaty-theme-park-vacation-clothes: it works BEAUTIFULLY! Thanks so much for sharing! You made the directions super clear and easy to follow! THANK YOU!

Heidi said...

A tip: if you have a problem with your soap separating, add a couple of marbles to your gallon jugs, and shake before use.

Mone said...

Hi all,
since the use of Borax in the private household is forbidden here in Germany since last year, I wonder, if one could replace it with an other ingredient to make the detergent. If yes, what should I use? Would more soda work? Borax is being suspected to be harmfull and to rise the risk of deformities during a pregnancy, plus to reduce the fertility, so I´d prefer something less toxic. But I want to try the recipe, so if you could suggest any replacement, it would be great :)

Mone said...

Hi again, I just searched the web a little and found a site with some more recipies for detergent and some of them without Borax: http://tipnut.com/10-homemade-laundry-soap-detergent-recipes/

Feel free to remove the link, if you don´t want to have it here, I just thought, if I found an answer to my previous question, I should share it with you guys :)

Megan Carroll said...

loved this tutorial and all the great feed back that followed, so I shared it on my studio blog.... cheers.

https://mystudiobellingham.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/no-more-excuses/

Megan

Anonymous said...

I love this recipe, I got it from a friend and I will never go back to store bought detergent. One question, I like my detergent scented, I saw someone say they added essential oils and I wanted to know how much. I added about a tsp to my batch and I can't smell a thing but I am afraid of adding too much oil to the detergent. Any suggestions??

Anonymous said...

Hi, sounds like a fantastic recipe, is it suitable to use with a septic tank. I am worried that the borax could kill the beneficial bugs that break down the waste.

christinavolk said...

Im attempting my first batch NOW! Thanks so much for the post.

Anonymous said...

I have been using this recipe for years with the same ingredient amounts except for the amount of water. I use 4 cups water to cook the bar soap. Fill a 5 gal bucket 1/2 full with cold water and add bar soap mixture to it. Stir in borax and soda, fill bucket the rest of the way with cold water. Stir every couple of hours if you can to help from getting too thick. Works great!!! 5 gal instead of 2, much cheaper :-)

JennV said...

I just found your recipe thanks to Pinterest and made my first batch! I used a bar of Softsoap Orange & Honeysuckle soap, and it smells Fabulous! It turned out to be quite congealed (I liken it to Lye Soap that my Grandma used to make and use for her laundry). Did my first load and LOVED IT! I just put the detergent in first and let it swish around enough for it to melt before I added my clothes.

THANK YOU for this recipe!

Anonymous said...

Should this be made in a pot you never use for cooking food? Or could the pot just be cleaned out well before the next time?

Leslie said...

Hello, i am going to give this laundry soap a try. Just need clarification on one thing. Is there any difference between the Super Washing Soda by Arm and Hammer and regular bulk size baking soda by Arm and Hammer? I use the baking soda for my laundry already as a way to freshen laundry without having to bleach. What do you think?
Thanks very much, Leslie

Anonymous said...

Do you know if the washing soda and borax would be ok for sensitive skin?

Mmillikan said...

There is a difference in washing soda and baking soda.... Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate Decahydrate. Baking Soda is Sodium Bicarbonate. The results will be different if you use baking soda. I tried this recipe tonight, but halved it since I didn't have a pot large enough! I'm keeping my fingers crossed it turns out alright, it's still cooling and thickening so we will see :) Smells wonderful!!! Thank you for this recipe!

Helen said...

Hi there,

Have just made up my first batch and eagerly waiting to see how it thickens up (if the stuff I spilt on the kitchen floor is anything to go by, it'll be fine!). Note to other european laundry makers, you can buy 'Borax substitute' a safer version of Borax, I got mine from a UK company called Summer Naturals, but no doubt there are different retailers across the continent.

Thanks so much for posting this, the cost of laundry powders makes me blanch in the supermarket!

Helenx

LaurenL said...

Is there a way to save a batch that became too thick? Can I just water it down? Or does that decrease the effectiveness? Or do I need to scrap it and start over?

weirdlywired said...

I made this over the weekend and LOVE it!!! Blogged it here:
http://wiredweirdly.blogspot.com/2011/10/liquid-laundry-detergent-attempt-2.html

Nikki said...

After reading through 100 comments, I haven't come across this question. How do the underarms of shirts smell after being washed in it? Do you find you have to wash a couple of times to get body odor out?

RuthM said...

I found this recipe through Pintrest, and have been using it for the past 2 weeks. I have to say, I was skeptical at first, but had to try it! I have used it every day since, and am very impressed, my clothes come out perfectly clean and fresh. No stiffness, no residue or anything that I thought would happen. With all of the money I am saving, I did invest in some good stain remover and fabric softener, but really that is just extra stuff that isn't really needed. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

@Nikki - no worries there. One wash is plenty. My husband is a welder. He comes home smelling like you wouldn't even believe. His work clothes are fresh and clean after one wash. And I, I must admit, am the sort of hippy who often doesn't wear deodorant. No smells in my laundry either.

Anonymous said...

Just made it and am so excited! Thanks!!!

Melanie said...

I also found this on Pinterest and was super excited to try it. However, when I washed my first load, I smelled my clothes and the armpits of the shirts still smelled. No one else seems to be having this issue, but I had to wash my clothes again with regular detergent. Is there something I'm doing wrong? I followed the directions exactly.

ShelahN said...

Do you know if this detergent works well along with Oxyclean? We live on a farm and usually need an extra boost for stain removal!
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi! I want to make this however I've never ever done anything like it, soI have a few questions if ya have the time ;)
1) Do you know if I can get the ingredients at say a walmart or target or do you have to special order online??
2)Do you use any fabric softener with this? I find that our clothes get sooo stiff without softener. I currently use gain as its the only detergent I've found that feels/smells clean enough,so I also use the corresponding softener sheets.
3)If I wanted to "perfume" our clothes do you think adding in an essential oil would be alright to add into the mix? or would the oils' scent be lost in the fragrance of the other ingredients??

Thank you so much for posting this! I hope I'm not asking dumb questions haha ;)

Rachelledavis said...

I'm definitely trying this one out. I do find that sometimes when I use cheaper detergent my clothes tend to fade easily. Does this detergent fade your clothes at all? Will a certain soap work better for this? Thanks.

Ronnie said...

This is the best! It costs me 2.50 just to wash a load of laundry at our apartment complex, we only have coin operated machines :( And having to buy expensive laundry soap on top of that is killing me! I so appreciate this!

Vicki said...

I don't know if I did something wrong but mine never coagulated. it boiled over the pot and the stuff that landed on the stove coagulated but never what was in the pot. Also why wouldn't it work in front load washers? I live with someone who has one and I didn't read this until after I made it. Is it going to mess up the machine.

lindsay_2181 said...

I've been making the powder detergent for about 3 years now. I was always intimidated about the process of making the liquid b/c I'd only seen directions for making a huge 5 gallon bucket. I saw this on pinterest and decided to give it a try. I guess I need to go buy a bigger pot! The first one I tried, it boiled over. So I transferred that to a bigger one (the biggest I have) and I ended up not having enough room to pour the 2nd gallon of water in--so I just poured equal amounts in the jugs and then shook them really well. Since it had boiled over, my stove and floor are now very clean :) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Very important to add cold water before the soda:'( It will swell and spill over in a hurry! My stove is nice and clean now!

Anonymous said...

I just made my first batch....used lavender soap...smells great!!

The Mrs said...

This is AWESOME! My Husband is Military and I need to know if this will fade his Uniforms when I wash them?

Tamara said...

I just made this...and the borax coagulated a ton...can you tell me what to do now? I have it in gallon jugs, is it still useful even if the borax is at the top of the jug? And you have on here to use a half cup, the other lady (commenter) is using a whole cup...help! I like your 1/2 cup much better!!!! Thank you!!!! Jtcosby@gmail.com

Jeni said...

to answer a few questions, with MY experience...
my family has extreme sensitive skin and we've had no issue. Also every Walmart in town (but not Target) sells the washing soap stuff. And last, I do miss the "clean" smell coming out, and when I do a sock load the bottoms are definitly not as white as with commercial detergent. I used Dial for the grated bar soap.

Brittany said...

I just found your blog through pinterest. I am SO excited to try out this homemade laundry detergent recipe!!

Jennifer Fullhart said...

I just made this yesterday and I'm very excited to start using it. Although my batch seemed to separate and is coagulated at ALL. It's very liquidy and just doesn't have that detergent consistency to it. Do I do something wrong? It was doing just fine until I added in the cold water at the end and it never seemed to thicken back up. It's been 24 hours and I tried shaking it up to redistribute, but that didn't seem to do anything. Anyone else have this problem?

Kelsey Skogen said...

Ok. I made a batch and it was super easy. But, now I have a congealed blob inside my plastic jug. What did I do wrong?

Chelly said...

Greetings from Texas, USA, I have been making your recipe for nearly a year and I love it!!! I have saved I don't know how much money!!! It's great! I have given the recipe to one of my best friends and my sister in law and they both love it!! The only problem is, is that I have been only using 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup washing soda! But it still seems to work fantastic, I think I'm going to use 1 cup of each from now on. Not really sure how I got 1/2 cup from 1 cup!! LOL!!!! Thanks so much for sharing.

amberoons said...

Hey! I just whipped up a half batch of this stuff tonight. I have been meaning to do this for years but have always been in the middle of some massive upheaval of our lives and it got pushed back on the to do list. I even toted a box of grated soap i had all ready for it across the country to our new temporary home. I use pink solution quite a bit and this seems to have a similar consistency... i am willing to bet it does an even better job tho! I use front loaders... I think they will be thankful for the lack of suds-ing, often it has to pause for a half hour or more to wait for the store bought laundry detergent to un-suds a bit before it can continue. Thanks for makin it simple and accessible!

Jennifer said...

I didn't see anywhere what size of bar soap you're supposed to use. I've seen anywhere from a four ounce bar to an eight ounce bar.

Thank you.

Nancy said...

I just wanted to comment, I have been making soap for about 15 years or so, I use the Fels Napha, I make 5 gallon at a time from 1 bar plus 1 cup each of the washing soda and borax, when it is too thick I shake it before pouring and it usually thins down enough to pour. Also I keep a bar of the Fels Napha in a dish with a old toothbrush to use on spots, works great. I have introduced several of my friends to the recipe and some have the new front-loaders, they use the soap directly on clothes and not in their dispensers since it could clog from being thick.

Jaime said...

I make mine the same way Nancy does. I get a 5 gallon bucket to make it and pout into an old detergent bottle with the pour spout. I absolutely LOVE this and it cost me less than 1 cent per load of laundry! I will be doing laundry for about 18 more months on the batch I made!

Jen said...

I have a question, I have a child with VERY sensitive skin. I always have to buy the detergent that is free of all dyes and fragrences, but I can use the sensitive skin dove soap on him in the bath tube. So I could use that as my bar of soap, but does anyone know if any of the other ingrediants could cause a problem? Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why but I tried this to a tee and mine never coagulated? I don't know if I understood that step do you boil until it coagulates (i did for 15min and it never did) so I turned it off after your updated note at the end and thought it would thicken when it cooled still no thickening going on?? my pot just looks like water and I only put in one gal. of water and followed the rest to a tee.

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

Just wondering what kind of bar soap did you use?

chiwei said...

I love this idea! Definitely trying it out once my stock of laundry detergent runs dry :-)

Anonymous said...

I made my detergent in a 5 gallon bucket this morning. I did it the way craftycat had described. I love it. It cleans really well. Also, I think the reason why some people are getting different consistancies is because of their local water. I have very soft water at my house. The detergent came out lumpy but I could pour it if I didn't have it in a 5 gallon bucket! I found all the ingredients at Wal-Mart. Thanks

Terri said...

I made this a couple of days ago.. it was super easy to make, and kinda fun. looked perfect at first, but then got really thick like jelly. no way you could pour it out of a jug, so i reheated it and added at least another gallon of water and its better... but still too thick. when i have a little more time, i'll thin it again. but... i have washed several loads of clothes, and they are very clean, and I like 'em! now, what to do with the left over baking soda and borax??

Goofy Mama said...

Could this be used as a dishwashing liquid as well?

Leesy said...

I have seen a couple ppl ask how much essential oil u can add to the mix and from the other recipes I have from various places it is said: You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade detergent. Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover.

The question I have I have seen others ask but no one has answered yet. I use homemade soaps with oil bases like olive oil and coconut oil plus essential oils...would this clean as well as say Dove and other commercial made soaps?

Kristin said...

Does it matter what size bar of soap you use? 4 oz or 8 oz??

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I use 4 oz. bars!

PDH said...

When you say use 1/2 cup per load, are you meaning a small, medium or large load?

Marcia said...

Very interested in trying this. I'm curious if you couldn't just melt or soften bar soap in the microwave just like you would do with melt and pour soaps that you get at a craft store? You could cut out the most intensive part of the process... Just thinking out loud. The soap curls are so pretty though! =)

Oh Sarah C! said...

I just made my first batch ever. Used ivory. Boiled for about a minute but it became violent quickly so had to keep removing it from the heat. I'll report back after I use it tomorrow!

Marcia said...

So I made this... somewhere I got it into my head that it should begin to congeal while boiling... hmmmmmm... so yeah, I boiled/simmered it way to long. It's a wee bit thick... as in it holds it shape in the container I put it in. I am planning to add water and blend it but I'm not sure how much water I should add... just a little at a time until it's a better consistency? Either way... LOVE IT! Did four loads of laundry yesterday!

Thanks so much for the post!
(and I do not recommend trying to microwave soap btw... =)

Nicole P said...

Is it low suds? If so, that's pretty much what high efficiency washer need. That's how the manufacturers can charge so much by sticking that little label on it. If it doesn't suds up that much than it should work in a high efficiency washer.

Let me know. I want to make this!

Recycled Soup said...

My friend and I just perfected a powdered detergent recipe and decided we'd try a liquid, your recipe was one of the first I came across and it was just perfect! The costs of the liquid are significantly cheaper than the powdered version,thanks so much! I wrote about it in my blog and I linked to you in our Adventures of Laundering Part 2 Entry. :)

Sara said...

I just wanted to say that I have made this recipe twice how. The first time I only used half a bar of soap and it was more watery then I would of liked, but it worked great and lasted a long time too. I just add oxyclean powder to every load since I have kids and a husband who is a welder.

On the second batch I made it came out perfect. I also put mine in a home depot paint bucket with a lid. I let it cool in the pan a little before dumping it in.

Thank you so much for posting this! I have shared it with a lot of people!

Leesy said...

Just made a batch 2night and did as one other guest did and for some reason thought I had to boil until I saw it congealing, so needless to say I will "squeazing it out of the jug. I just wonder if some ppl are doing this and that is y some are getting it too think and the mineral content and soap have little to do with it??

Washing clothes 2night so we will see how it goes, I have a hard working steel factory husband and one toddler and preschooler we put it to the test. The last poster with kids and a welder husband convinced me the WHOLE family could use it. I will add ammonia or baking soda if his clothes don't get clean enough...

QUICK question: After u add the borax and washing soda, u just bring to to boil then add turn off heat and add cold water, right? U don't let it boil very long,right, minutes actually I am guessing??

Leesy said...

I just had this horrible thought, does anyone know if I use the this laundry soap and it is quite thick, if it will harm my washing machine?

I added it b4 I added my clothes and it looked dissolved but I had this sinking feeling just now that the congealed soap would cause my washer to get all "gunked" up or make the motor work to hard or some other such thing...this is all crazy thoughts, RIGHT??

Anonymous said...

How long does this soap take to make?

Anonymous said...

ok, so I tried this for the first time yesterday. I read how some peoples came out really thick. I have had the complete opposite happen. Mine is very thin. Almost like milk. The bar of soap that I used was "Irish Spring" Im trying to figure out what I could have done wrong. I followed it exactly. Any help is much appreciated! :o)

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

It will work fine. Some soaps coagulate more than others.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for everyone. I used lever 2000 soap for a fresh scent and used all the items listed above nothing else. When i took my jackets out of the wash they looked like they were bleached. What went wrong has this happen to anyone before??

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I have never had that problem. I don't know what happened. I have used lever 2000 as a bath soap but not in the detergent recipe. It never lightened my wash clothes. The other 2 ingredients should not have that effect either. Is your water heavily chlorinated? I'm not really sure what that could have been.

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I am going to use Lever 2000 for my next batch to see if I can see any difference that I might be able to help you with this problem.

Anonymous said...

I made this last night and used Dove soap. I also let my water,borax and washing baking soda boil for about 8-10 minutes and my soap thickened perfectly. It is the consistency of store bought laundry soap! Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

do you know if this would work without the borax? I am allergic to borax, and have to read labels to be sure I avoid it.

KatySepeda said...

It works much better if you use a "laundry soap" such as zote, found in the laundry aisle.

Vera said...

Found this on Pinterest, made half a batch, and tried it on a load of laundry. It worked and clothes smell so good! I can't tell you how great I feel about the savings. :)

mommaforb said...

I will try this. Looking for ways to save and this looks like a good one!

Anonymous said...

I also found this on pinterest. I have tried a similar recipe that used 1/2 cup borax and washing soda. The first batch didn't get very thick and the second did get quite coagulated. I used Castille soap both times. On the congealed separated batch I used my stick blender to smooth it out. Worked great, but I still have to shake it each time. I used about 16 drops of essential oils. Lavendar and eucalyptus like the seventh generation we had been buying. It hasn't faded any of our clothes. To the one that used lever 2000 did you use bleach in your machine the load before that one? There can be residual bleach in your machine from the previous load. I ruined several dark things once from running them after a bleach load.

Anonymous said...

So idk if this was asked yet but is this ok for me to wash with my babies clothes and blankets?

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

i've used it for mine and it has been fine. I use the same soap I would use for their bath, at the time it was Johnson's Fruity gripper soap. Sorry don't remember the real name :)

Anonymous said...

Just made some tonight... so excited!! Any one feel the need to use oxi clean with the detergent? I have some pretty messy little girls who love to stain. Just curious.....

Krumpledwhiskers said...

I made it and was glad to hear some tips about thickness. It is so gelatinous that I have to squeeze it out in solid form. The supplies cost me $11 for the two boxes and two bars of soap (obviously total cost will be more once I buy additional bars of soap) but one tip is to shop around. I was shocked that the same sized box of Borax was 2.99 at Target, 6.99 at Ace and 5.99 at the grocery store. Had I not shopped around supplies would have been 15 instead of 11. Thanks for the recipe. I'll definitely keep making more.

Heidi said...

The bar soap you use is a body cleansing soap? or a laundry bar soap? it looks like dove, ive never tried dove, i would use fels-naptha or pink zote soap

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

Hi Heidi-
I do use regular old body bar soap! I read a long time ago that Fels Naptha was pretty harsh stuff. I have very sensitive skin so I just use whatever soap I know I have no reactions to. I would like to try Zote for the pretty pink color :)

lorikay said...

i just made this today and added an extra gallon of water to help with the "thick" issue. i love the smell, and it is thickening great so far, i can't wait to see tomorrow if it's completely thickened and awesome! thanks for sharing, i coupon, but this is by far the best deal. my mil, whom i made this for, always buys the bargain crap but for what she pays for a small container, i made your recipe. i can't wait to see how it works for her so i can repeat the process for myself after we move.

BrItTnEy7673 said...

I just Made T Today and It Is Wonderful! I used Softsoap Bar Soap Vanilla Coconut Fragrance and It Made My Whole House Smell Good Whiel Making It!! LOVE THIS!! Will Def Be Making This Isntead of Buying Laundry Soap!! Thanks For Sharing!! :)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried this with Aveeno brand bar soap? My kids have excema and most laundry detergents make it worse..I was thinking of trying Aveeno to see if it would actually help their skin but I am not sure if it would clean as well? I read on another site not to use any kind of moisturizing bar..Dove, etc...so I'm unsure of what soap I should use!

Rebekkah said...

So I was checking this recipe out (my soap is all done and cooling on the stove), and remembered that the Duggar's also have a recipe for laundry soap. Their recipe is slightly different (only a half cup of Borax) but uses way more water: 5 gallons, to be exact.

Wondering if this could solve the "too thick" problem?? Here is the link:

http://www.duggarfamily.com/content/duggar_recipes/30455/homemade_liquid_laundry_soap_front_or_top_load_machine_best_value

Has anyone else added extra water?

Thanks

Amy said...

Thanks for posting this, it took me a while to understand suds doesnt' equal clean too. :~)

Had to have my washer repaired and the repairman told me I was using too much detergent. He said most people do and that over-sudsing is very bad for the washer. He recommended using 1/3 of what the box said unless the cloths were really dirty.

I've been gonna try using homemade detergent for a while... You have inspired me to finally do it!

Michelle P said...

Mine turned into Jello like consistency.... Possibly too much borax?

wobbiejo said...

I am making this right now. I can't wait to use it.

Rebekkah said...

so, today I have a 4 gallon bucket full of jello soap. It's thick! I split the original batch in half (because it was thickening up a lot after I got done). I reheated 1 gallon at a time and added another gallon of water. Then I dumped both into the 4 gallon bucket. :( Aside from grabbing a "lump" of laundry soap and throwing it into the washer, I'm not sure what to do with it...

Anonymous said...

Made my first batch yesterday! I was very excited to! Gathered the ingredients from windixie and ace hardware. Used a bar of lavender soap, smells awesome! Will be washing my first batch of clothes today.. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

Just grab a "lump" and throw it in the washer. It will work fine.

Quinn said...

Can you add scented oil to this to make it smell good?

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

Hi Quinn-
Yes, you can certainly add essential oils :)

Anonymous said...

Is it okay to be a lumpy consistency? Im trying it now to see if its going to work, just wondering if anyone else's is looking the same?

Krumpledwhiskers said...

Mine is very lumpy and seems to work just fine!

Anonymous said...

I made my first batch today and I have the opposite of "jello" Mime is practical water! I even added a little extra borax. I only made half a batch so I used half a bar of Dove, 1/2 cup of borax and washing soda and 1 gallon of water. What did I do wrong. Even this thin will it clean?

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