Going Natural – DIY Laundry Detergent

For those of you who follow my regular blog, please don’t go away!  I am diverting from my normal posts for a series on DIY natural cleaning products.  I want to break it into a series of posts so that people can easily find information on specific products later.   If you aren’t interested in this topic, please don’t unfollow this blog.  I will return to my regular programming after this cleaning intermission. J  Email followers, you will probably get a series of about 10 emails in pretty rapid succession as I plan to post these all at once.  Once the initial flurry is finished, my blog life will return to normal.

Laundry Detergent

This is the first DIY cleaning product that I saw.  Before that, it really hadn’t occurred to me to make my own.  My cousin posted this on her blog as a money saving alternative to store bought detergent.   When I started researching natural products in earnest, I was surprised to find that this fell into that category.  I have chosen to use Fels Naptha soap in this detergent because I felt that a laundry soap would be more effective.  However, I have seen variations that call for the milder Ivory soap or an store bought all natural soap (like Bronner’s soaps).   It is simple and very inexpensive to make, regardless of what soap you choose.

1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Super Washing Soda
1 Bar Fels Naptha soap

Laundry Soap

There are many different recommendations on how to mix this soap.  I tried several different ways, and after some trial and error came up with the following:

Mix the first two ingredients together.  Using a hand grater, grate the Fels Naptha soap.  It is yellow so will actually look like grated cheese.  Then put the grated soap in a food processor and pulse until it is broken down into a very fine “powder”.  Mix with the dry ingredients, close container and shake.

Many of the sites I found said to mix this in the blender, including the dry ingredients.  This did NOT work for me, and nearly burned out the motor in my blender.  I do not recommend this method. J

I found all 3 ingredients in the laundry soap aisle of Walmart.  The boxes of Borax and Super Washing Soda will easily make 6 batches.  The total cost for 6 batches (including 6 bars of soap) is about $12.50.  High Efficiency washers need about 1 Tablespoon of this.  I do NOT have a high efficiency washer so I use about a Tablespoon and a half (use more for heavily soiled clothes).  Each batch makes 3+ cups.  At 1 ½ Tablespoons per load, this translates to 32 loads.  Six batches should wash 192 loads.  Total cost per load is $.065 per load.

Additional note: I made some of this for a friend and she asked if it was good for sensitive skin.  That prompted me to Google “DIY natural laundry soap for sensitive skin”.  This exact recipe popped up in several blogs.  Comments on those DIY blogs indicate that it is indeed good for sensitive skin.  Some people commented that they have family members with extremely sensitive skin or eczema and that this worked great for them.  If you don’t want to take your chances, replacing the Fels Naptha with an different bar soap should eliminate any worry.

6 thoughts on “Going Natural – DIY Laundry Detergent

  1. Pingback: Going Natural – DIY Cleaning Introduction | One Joyous Heart

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  4. I use this for my 2 year old and it works fantastic (espically for her play clothes) but I use about 1/3 of the bar to a cup of each of the borax and soda but the tip I have that will save you time and works amazing is take your portion (for a 1/3 I put it in for a minute) but put it on a plate or microwave safe bowl for about 1-2 minutes (until it starts to expand) let it cool (put in front of a fan for quicker cooling time) and it falls to pieces and tiny flakes in your fingers when you squish it. And also you can make home made fabric softener for about $2 as well using vinegar hot water and cheap conditioner (I use suave) but it only uses 1/3 cup of the conditioner recipes vary on the amount of vinegar and water but it’s extremely cheap and the bonus is you can make and sent you want because the conditioner is what you’ll smell (I absolutely love strawberries and cream personally) hope it helps in you’re future laundry detergent making 🙂

    • Thanks for the tip! I actually have found that with this recipe, we don’t even really need fabric softener, but when I use something, I just put vinegar in the dryer ball. For the soap, I am now making my own soap rather than using Fels Naptha. I just made a batch and shredded it before reading your comment. I may try it with some of that to see if I can get it to break down a bit more. THanks!!

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