Monday, February 8, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe & How to

As Promised the Recipe and How To...

You will need:

1 cup Borax

1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1/3 Bar Fels-Naptha Soap



A few tid bits about the ingredients...

Make sure it's Super Washing Soda NOT baking soda. The SWS is sodium carbonate NOT sodium BIcarbonate! If you want to learn the molecular breakdown, look it up, that's a whole other blog for a whole other day. The Fels-Naptha nowadays doesn't contain Naphthalene. Again if your interested in the chemical breakdown and whatnot, look it up, I'm just giving you the recipe not chemistry class. You can of course use a soap of your choice in this case but you need to stick with REAL soaps, ones with an animal fat base are best for washing. Such as homemade soaps or the "Good" stuff in the stores. Check the labels! Most soaps now days are not real soaps but a concoction of detergents. Ewe! For an even milder laundry soap I would recommend just use old school homemade soaps, they are fairly easily available. But for this basic recipe I prefer the Fels-Naptha since it really is the best heavy duty soap.

This recipe makes the simple powdered version not the liquid. If you want the liquid version either do a little research and find it or ask and I'll post that one too. I personally prefer the powered just because it's super fast to mix up and takes up no space in the laundry room. But again the liquid form is great, just takes longer to make and hogs up precious space.

DIRECTIONS: Shred the Fels-Naptha with a grater. I used the smallest grater side of my box veggie/cheese grater. Only took a minute or two and the result was a near powered form of the bar soap. Take note here....IF you are using any other kind of soap you'll probably need the whole bar since the Fels bar is considerably larger than most.

Combine the borax, super washing soda, and grated soap into a container, mix it up nicely and there you have it!

TO USE: For normal loads use approximately 1 tablespoon

For heavily soiled loads use 2 tablespoons

I only wash in cold water but that's up to you. Cold water washes just as well as hot or warm and saves you tons of cash!


*For a safe and effective fabric soften add a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash.

As always the best way to dry your clothes is sunlight, but with these bitter dark cold days of winter that can be a challenge so do the best you can!


The price breakdown will obviously be different for everyone being our stores are all very different. But for me at my local high priced grocery store for convinence of course, here's what I paid...

76 oz box of BORAX $4.00

55 oz box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda $2.79

5 1/2 oz bar of Fels-Naptha $0.99

Total $7.78

Now notice I can get at least another 7 batches of detergent from the borax and super washing soap, just by pitching in another bar of soap. So even with another dollar in soap, I can spend $9 in ingredients, making 450 loads worth of detergent.

That's basically $0.02 a load.

To top it off I know exactly what ingredients are in my soap unlike the store bought stuff with ingredient lists you need a chemist to decipher.

Again if you would rather use the liquid recipe I can get that recipe for you too or you can just do your homework and find a recipe that works best for you.

After using this detergent I checked every piece of laundry I pulled from the load and gave it all a good look and sniff...unbelievable! It smelled clean and look great. Trust me when I say we get some funky laundry with little ones around. It's a hit and I totally approve! I may make a small batch up using homemade bar soap just for the newborn clothes since they can be extra extra sensitive but even Ariana with her super touchy skin hasn't had any issues with it. Oh and I have to say my cloth diapers never came out so clean!



  1. Thanks for posting this! I found your blog in the back to the basics green families yahoo group. Quick ques, you also wash dipes w/cold? It seams when I wash dipes I use so much water it bothers me! IF I could eliminate a hot water wash, then I could save there too!

  2. Reply to Mommy to 2... Yes I do wash my diapers in cold. I've never found a difference in dipes washed in hot or cold. Since I dry in the sunshine my diapers and any additional stain and germ killing is done by the sun. I find my diapers last longer washing and drying this way too. Thanks for following!

  3. I use this recipe! In our hard water, 1 c of each ws and borax each works. I do use the liquid version. My HE washer seems to like it better. I do use my own homemade kettle soap. I've been using it for a few months now. I'm not sure if I like the Fels better or not. I found a old box of powdered Fels in my grandmas laundry room and added a cup of that to my liquid mix. We'll see how it does. I just hope I can get those sweaty smells from my teens clothes.

    I also use this mix for my dipes. I do have to use a super-hot wash with vinegar to get out stinkies though. I'm thinking its the HE washer though. I think I'll rinse them and then soak them for 15 mins in a Vinegar cold water mix and see if this works better. I just don't like washing all day to get them clean. I wash every 2-3 days.

    I'll have to check out your site for more tips.


  4. Thanks Michelle, good to know it works in front loads too! We're building up our diaper stash so we wash fairly frequently too. Would love to cut it back to once a week eventually. I think my mom still has some old homemade soap floating around.