Homemade Laundry Detergent for top and front loading machines..
Want to slash your laundry costs big-time? Make your own homemade laundry detergent! If you’re envisioning yourself in a scene from “Little House on the Prairie”, relax! It’s really quick and easy to make. I’ve been using this homemade laundry detergent recipe for several years now, and I’m never going back to commercial detergents!
Benefits to making your own laundry detergent:
It’s chemical free, safe for sensitive skin, your clothing and your washing machine. It’s a good choice for those with respiratory problems, allergies and asthma. It’s easier on the environment than commercial laundry soaps, and homemade laundry soap is FAR less expensive than store-bought. Plus, you can whip up a batch of this in less time than it takes you to drive to the grocery to get a jug of the brand you normally buy.
How much does it cost to make homemade laundry detergent?
The “ingredients” for my detergent cost me a grand total of about 15.00 here in Canada. But you only use a bit of each ingredient to make one batch of detergent, so after 10 months of making/using my detergent, I’ve hardly put a dent in my ingredients. I estimate that my FIFTEEN DOLLAR investment will get me through a couple of years of doing laundry!
So, let’s get do it! Gather your supplies! (for your convenience, affiliate links have been added to this post)
What you’ll need to make homemade laundry soap:
- 5 Gallon bucket
- 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
- 1 cup Borax Laundry Booster
- 1 bar Ivory Soap (in the U.S. Fels Naptha Laundry Bar is often used)
- a large cooking pot and a long handled spoon
On the outside of your bucket, with a permanent marker or a piece of masking tape, make a line at the 2.5 and 5 gallon marks. This will eliminate the need for measuring later.
How to make homemade laundry detergent:
- Grate the Ivory soap with a cheese grater. Add this to a large pot with approx. 4 cups of water. No need to be exact here.
- Stir over medium-high, until soap has melted. (Do not bring to a boil; soapy boil-overs are slick and messy to clean up. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything).
- Pour this mixture into your bucket and add Washing Soda and Borax. Stir for a couple of minutes until powders are fully dissolved.
- Fill bucket to 5 gallon mark with hot water. Give another good stir, and let it sit, uncovered, for a min of 12 hours.
An easy way to fill the bucket:
If you have one of those hose and nozzle attachments at your kitchen sink, you can place the bucket on the floor in front of your sink, and stretch the hose nozzle over and fill it up that way. Good thinking, eh?
Let your detergent set:
Your detergent could take up to 24 hours to “set”. Sometimes I put the lid on while it sits, sometimes I don’t; sometimes I stir part way through, sometimes I don’t. But no matter what I do, results are different every single time. Sometimes it gels up and gets really thick. Sometimes it’s thinner with blobs of gel in it, other times it’s very watery with a curdled look to it. Don’t worry about how it looks! All the essential ingredients are in there so it’s going to do the job.
Using your homemade laundry detergent:
- before using your detergent, YOU NEED TO DILUTE IT, so find yourself an old laundry jug or juice jug, and HALF FILL it with your detergent. Fill the rest of the way with water, and shake well.
- Shake well before each use, as it tends to gel and separate in between uses.
- Use 1/4 cup for front loader & 1/2 cup for top loaderaSD
This soap is very LOW SUDSING; so you won’t see a lot of bubbling action. Not to worry: sudsing agents are apparently only added to commercial detergents so they look all soapy-sudsy-fantastic, when in truth, they’re not necessary for getting clothes clean. Our clothes are very much just as clean using this detergent, as they were when I used commercial detergent.
Keeping your whites white:
When possible, line-dry! There’s nothing like fresh air and the natural power of the sun to keep your whites as white and bright as they can be. Over time, the heat of an automatic dryer can make your clothes look dingy, and chlorine bleach can cause them to take on a yellow tinge. When this happens, toss a half-cup of your Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, into your white load and crank up the hot water. Adding fibre-friendly oxygen bleach can help as well.
A healthy & inexpensive alternative to fabric softener:
Another way to save money with your laundry is to switch to white vinegar for your fabric softener. Commercial fabric softeners are loaded with hazardous chemicals, and these chemicals are designed to coat and cling to the fibres of your clothing, so you’re breathing in those chemicals 24/7. Really hazardous chemicals.
If you do nothing else, please read this article about the toxins in your fabric softener, and PLEASE stop using it on your children’s bedding and clothing. Their little noses are pressed up against their sheets and blankets, and they breath these chemicals in night and day. Even if you can’t give up your commercial detergent, please consider giving up your softener (liquid OR dryer sheets), because they are designed to penetrate and coat your clothing so they smell “fresh” for months. Vinegar will remove those residues, and leave your clothes just as soft. In fact, the homemade detergent and vinegar rinse combo leaves my clothes softer than any commercial brands ever did. And no, your clothing will not smell like vinegar. It won’t smell like anything at all, and THAT’S what clean really is! And, you can even use a Downy Ball to dispense the vinegar if that’s how you currently add your fabric softener.
What if you can’t find Washing Soda?
I’ve heard that for some of you, Washing Soda can be hard to find. One of my readers has informed me that you can make your own by baking BAKING SODA. Nature’s Nurture has a simple tutorial and explains the scientific aspect of the process.
If you liked this thrifty post, you’ll probably like this one too!