Thursday, March 11, 2010

Make Your Own Powdered Laundry Detergent

greencleanAs I strive to eliminate unnecessary chemicals from our household, I began to explore options for making our own laundry detergent.  Many of the "recipes" I found were for liquid detergents which required melting soaps and mixing and shaking and more work than I wanted to put into it.

Then I found the recipe for Jabs Homemade Laundry Detergent.  He has a great tutorial on how to make this powdered laundry detergent with three ingredients:  1 bar of soap, 1/2 cup Borax, 1/2 cup Washing Soda.  Here area  few of my notes on the process:

Grating the Bar of  Soap I have used the Fels-Naptha soap and found that it is very difficult to get it to break down into a small grain.  I tired letting the bar dry out as a commenter suggested and that didn't work for me. So I've resorted to grating the bar of soap, adding the Borax and Washing Soda and then running it through the food processor.  This works great

Does it Really Work? Yes.  I have used it on the cloth diapers and they come out clean as ever.  (*Note, this soap may build up on all-in-one type diapers and non-cotton diapers reducing their absorbency) I still add oxy-whitener to the diapers and whites as I always have and have noticed no difference between this and the expensive green detergent I was using before.  The real joy of it -it really only takes 1 1/2 tablespoons per load.  Concentrated detergent, less space used in my laundry room.

Less money, less waste, clean clothes.  What's not to like?


  1. Here is the one I made before works pretty well, I like a liquid for the front load washer. I need to make it agian. THis lasted over 6months in our house .I use one of the big buckets like the ones the tomatoes are in. The kids think it's cool how it gels up overnight.

    Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

    4 Cups - hot tap water
    1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
    1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
    ½ Cup Borax

    - Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

    -Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

    -Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

    -Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

    -Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

    -Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

    -Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

  2. Thanks Margery! I love having well rounded options for readers :)