DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent
A good friend of mine loves to make her own household items and cleaning products because they are cheaper and healthier for her and her family. The first cleaning product she asked me to try was laundry soap. She knew how sensitive my daughter’s skin is, how grimy and dirty my husband’s work clothes can get, and how frustrating it as for me to spend money on two different types of laundry detergent. That’s when she gave me a small sample of her homemade laundry detergent. I have to admit I was a tad scared to try it on my family’s dirty clothes because I was unsure if it would get them as clean as commercial soap would. After the first load of laundry, which happened to be my husbands coveralls, I was convinced. Not only did it get the nasty diesel smell out of each one of them, but the grease stains were gone, too. His clothes were left smelling fresh and clean. What’s even better, he liked the smell of the soap and didn’t notice I used a homemade detergent. I was convinced I had to make my own for my family.
I made a batch of laundry soap in December of 2011. I made a half batch of soap because I couldn’t find all the ingredients in the quantities specified in the recipe. That half batch washed 5 regular loads and 3 heavy-duty and soiled loads a week each week during a month and several pints of it were shared with my friends for them to try. The half batch lasted me until August of 2012. In September of 2012, I changed recipes to a milder formula that is specifically made to use on baby clothes, cloth diapers, and those with sensitive skin. I also invested in a 5 gallon bucket to hold a full batch of detergent, which should last me around 9 months to a year. Since many of my friends have asked me for either a sample of my detergent or the recipe itself, I decided to share the recipe with everyone. The one I am using is the Baby/Sensitive detergent since I can use it for everyone in my house.
5 gallon paint bucket and lid (find at your local hardware store)
1 plastic/metal tablespoon measuring spoon
1 face mask or bandana (to tie around your nose and mouth so you don’t inhale the chemicals)
1 medium plastic Tupperware container (optional)
3 boxes of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 oz each)
2 boxes of 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz each)
1 large tub/box of OxiClean (96 oz) (I found the box I used at the local hardware store. It was a 7 lb box and I used ALL of it)
3 bars of shredded Fels-Naptha or plain Castile soap (use a food processor or cheese grater and grate the bars to resemble shredded cheese)
Make sure the bucket is clean and dry. Put your mask or bandanna on. Pour 1 box of A&H and borax into the bucket. Pour 1/3 of the OxiClean and Fels-Naptha/Castile soap into the bucket and mix everything with a plastic spoon. Then pour the remaining boxes of A&H, Borax, OxiClean and the remaining Fels-Naptha in the bucket and mix until somewhat well blended. Scoop some of your mixture into the Tupperware container for easy access to your detergent without hauling around a 5 gallon bucket. Use the tablespoon to measure out the amount you need for your laundry. Add 1 heaping tablespoon to the washing machine as you fill it with water for a small load (it’s always best to add powder before you add your clothes, so that it begins to dissolve first). Add 2 scoops for a medium or regular load. For extra dirty loads, use 3 scoops.
**To make the detergent for sensitive skin or in place of baby laundry detergent do not add the Fels-Naptha/Castile soap to the mixture**