Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thrifty Thursday: DIY Laundry detergent

You're going to be super pissed at yourself for not doing this sooner when you realize that a monkey could make laundry detergent (and it'll work even better than the store-bought stuff for way less money).

Here's what you need:
       -1 bar of soap* finely grated.
       -1 cup Borax
       -1 cup Washing Soda
       -A few drops of your favorite essential oils for scent (optional)
Mix the ingredients in a bowl, and stir well for a few minutes to make sure all the soap bits are evenly dispersed.  Put it in a container with a lid on it, and you're done.  Seriously, it's that easy.  I store mine in a 24oz mason jar and use a heaping Tablesoon of it for each load in a front-loading washer.

*I don't believe the brand of soap particularly matters.  It just needs to be a regular sized bar (about 4.5 oz)  If you Google "homemade laundry detergent" you'll come up with both powder and liquid versions that all use different bars of soap, and come out with pretty much the same reviews.  The one I've seen used the most is Fels-Naptha.  You can find it in the same aisle as the laundry detergents at most grocery stores.  I chose not to use this one because it had what sounded like pretty harsh ingredients for someone with sensitive skin.  I've also seen posts where folks have used bars of Ivory, Dove, Dr. Bronner's, and Yardley.  So I think you could choose just about anything.  I use a chunk of the base I got from Bramble Berry because it's the stuff I use to make our bath and hand soaps from, and it saves me having to buy different soap for this project.

You can find the Borax and Washing Soda in most grocery stores in the cleaning aisle, usually somewhere around laundry detergent and dishwashing soap.  The essential oil selection at our grocery store is pretty limited, but most natural foods stores have a pretty decent selection, or they can be ordered online.  

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. Do you know if the homemade detergent is safe in HE front loader washers?
    Also, do you line dry your clothes? I got me a lil clothes line for my tiny backyard and it was one of the best investments I ever made. I'm like a cocaine addict with sniffing freshly dried sheets off the line. I probably get wierd looks from neighbors but thats ok, if they can't appreciate the simple life, then they probably ain't the type of folks I wan't to associate with anyway.

    1. I use the homemade detergent in my H.E. front-loader. i honestly don't have a clue what the long-term effects of it are on the machine, but I've been using my homemade stuff in my washer for many, many months now, and find that my machine is, so far, handling it quite nicely.

      i do line-dry my clothes whenever possible (in Vermont the number of ideal clothes-drying days are few and far between). I have a covered porch where I have a clothes line, so it protects from a good deal of the rain, but it's the side of the house that the weather comes from most of the time, so on wet days, the clothes often don't dry all the way. it does help my energy bill to hang them out for a while anyway though... i found this out last week when i put a load of my son's clothes out on the line, and the pj's he wanted for bed were out there and not dry yet because of the dreary day we'd had. i popped the whole load in the dryer, and it was done in less than 20 minutes. So despite the damp conditions, the wind did take some of the work away from the dryer.