October 13, 2012

Fast Homemade Laundry Detergent

It's important to me to live a frugal lifestyle.

For one, we are a family of five living solely on my husband's income. In order for me to stay at home to both raise and educate our children it is imperative that we stretch every dollar that comes our way. We're also working hard on becoming 100% debt-free, so any way I can trim down the monthly budget helps.

But secondly, I get a lot of enjoyment out of being Ma Ingall-ish! (I also like making up terms, apparently.) There's something strangely satisfying about mixing up my own inexpensive cleaning and beauty products - something I can do in mere minutes with just a few basic ingredients.

It makes me feel more self-sufficient. Creative. Even a bit...rebellious. :) (I know. Go ahead and laugh.)

Homemade laundry detergent powder is one of my favorite ways I save money and indulge my inner rebel. It is so easy to make that my 3.5 year old son can do most of the work! You can read about the breakdown of cost compared to standard laundry detergent on many other websites, but for us it costs on average only 3 cents per load.

And yes, because I know you're going to ask: it works just as well as the commercial products. In fact, our clothes are softer and smell sweeter than they ever did while using our old store-bought detergent.

To make your own laundry powder, you will need just three ingredients.

Borax, Washing Soda and Ivory Soap.

(You can substitute Ivory with soaps such as Fels Naptha or Zote - you'll find them in the laundry aisle. I like Ivory because it's very soft and it smells fresh.)

Begin by grating one bar of soap into a bowl. A cheese grater works fabulously well. (Don't worry, it's just soap - it will clean up easily and leave your grater cleaner than ever.)

Beautiful little soap curls.

Next, simply dump your grated soap into a food processor or blender with 1 cup Washing Soda and 1 cup Borax. Blend until it's a fine powder.

You are done.

Store the laundry powder in any container with a lid and use 1 Tbsp for regular loads and 2 Tbsp for heavily soiled loads.

Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe

- 1 bar soap such as Ivory, Fels Naptha, Zote, etc.
- 1 cup Washing Soda
- 1 cup Borax

Grate soap, then blend into fine powder with the Washing Soda and Borax. Use 1-2 Tbsp per load.

*Note: if you want to boost the cleaning power of the detergent, feel free to mix in up to 1 cup Oxiclean.

Happy washing!

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  1. Is it for regular washers only, or will it work in HE machines?

    1. Yes, it will work in HE machines! Many people with HE machines have testified to using this detergent long-term (1+ years) with no problems whatsoever. Hope that helps. :)

  2. How interesting! I just got a recipe from a friend for Homemade Fabric Softener. The two should work well together! (Message me via my FaceBook page, leave a comment on one of my blogs, or email me - can get from my profile address - if you need the fabric softener recipe.)

  3. I should've read you blog first....uggghhh! I burned my food processor out while trying to shred my sliced zote bar pieces :( If I had grated then food processed Im certain I would still have my precious. :) I ended up just dicing and chopping the soap with a knife to the size of a translucent onion. Heres a tip if you end up like me, sprinkle some borox or the baking soda on the pieces of soap as you would salt on to garlic to improve your chopping action. I cant wait to try it and thanks again for the CLEAR directions...Debt Free!

  4. We love home-made laundry detergent too :) It takes us way longer than 5 mins to grate the cheese though LOL! we don't do the blending at the end either just give a good mix with a wooden spoon.

    1. I had to make a new batch today so, having read your comment, I just grated it finely and bypassed the food processor. I'm excited because that shaved off a lot of time (not to mention clean-up)!

  5. Have you ever put ivory soap in the microwave? It's really cool to watch, then, after it cools it would easily becomes a powder, maybe just if you put it in a large ziploc and smooshed it. This might save the grating step and the kids LOVE to watch it in the micro! Just put wax paper underneath!

  6. Okay, okay, I'm jumping on this idea after I run out of my current box of laundry soap. I've been debating it, but haven't tried yet, and your post just convinced me. BUT, I have to buy a cheese grater. For some reason, I don't have one. :) Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
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