Making your own laundry detergent is one way to save money on an ongoing basis. The recipe basically uses three items: a soap of some sort, washing soda and borax.
The most typical type of soap used is Fels Naptha. This is an old fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle. You can also use Ivory.
Washing soda is not to be confused with baking soda; they are not the same thing! It is a white powder and its purpose is to help remove dirt and odors. The brand to look for is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. You can usually find it in the laundry section at the grocery store.
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral, used as a whitener and deodorizer. The brand to look for is 20 Mule Team, this should also be found in the laundry section. That’s it! Mixed with water you can make a liquid laundry detergent or don’t add water and just have a powder form, whatever your preference. The recipe I used also called for baking soda, which is also used as a deodorizer.
Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
1 bar of Fels Naptha soap, shaved
4 cups of hot water to melt the soap
3 gallons of hot water
1 cup of borax
2 cups of washing soda
1 cup of baking soda
1 large container about 4-5 gallons size
Here’s what you do: Grate the soap into a saucepan. Add 4 cups of hot water to the pan. Simmer on low until the soap melts completely into the water. Add borax, washing soda and baking soda to the hot water. Simmer on low until it dissolves with the soap. If the mixture is not melting, add more water if needed. Add 3 gallons of hot water to your large container. I used a large 5-gallon bucket. Add the mixture to the hot water. Mix with a large spoon until it completely dissolves, let cool overnight. You will notice that it turns into a thick gel.
I do have an HE washing machine so after reading numerous recommendations I will only use a small amount. This is a low sudsing detergent and should work fine! Due to the gel like consistency I read that the mixture should be stirred well each time before using. I will fill a large Mason jar or old laundry detergent bottle with 1/2 – 3/4 of the liquid mixture and the rest with water. I will shake it really well before each use and should not have any problems with my HE washer doing it this way. It smells wonderful!