I had seen a article about making your own laundry detergent and it got me thinking, Can I really do that? It sounded like a dream when it came to how much money I could save. But I have sensitive skin and so does my child, who has eczema too and this made me very hesitant. But after some research I found that there were several people who switched to homemade detergent because of their skin allergies. I decided to give it a try and so far, I am very happy with the results! Together all the ingredients cost me $7.46, which would make 3 batches of detergent.
1 Bar Fels Naptha or Ivory soap (I used Ivory)
1 cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda
I found all of the above in the laundry detergent aisle at Walmart, except the Ivory. I found that in a 3 pack in the beauty aisle.
Grate the bar of soap into fine pieces. I did not want to use my cheese grater (I had thoughts of future soap flavored
quesadillas) so I used an old vegetable peeler. A zester would work also. The smaller the pieces the better they will dissolve in your washer. You can run your fingers gently through the soap pieces to break them up more.
I mixed in the washing soda and Borax with the grated soap. But it was still a little too chunky for my liking, so I pulled out an old food processor that I never use and ground up the ingredients in small batches using short pulses.
Now the mixture is a fine powder. I used a Tupperware container to store the mixture with a 1/2 tbsp scoop. The powder smells very strong like Ivory, but that may just be me because I am so used to everything having no scent at all. I was concerned that my clothes would smell like Ivory too, but they don't. You can add a few drops of essential oils if you want to add a smell but I'm not sure when you would add it - to the powder or to the wash.
Here are the measurements I have used for my laundry:
Small: ½ tbsp
Large: 2 tbsp
I have a smaller stacked washer and dryer, not a full size side by side so I found that I needed to reduce the amount of detergent I used. For a medium load I used 1/2 tbsp and for a full load I used 1 tbsp.
You can also make liquid detergent, I chose not to because it needs to be stored in a 5 gallon bucket (which you can get at Home Depot) but I don't have room for that. However, if you would like to try the liquid variety you can find
several recipes HERE.
I also found a recipe for washing cloth diapers in a comment. It seems that homemade detergent is okay for cloth diapers, but the grated soap type does not rinse well from the diapers. Here is a recipe that should work:
Cloth Diaper Powdered Laundry Detergent:
Mix it well and combine in a sealed container. Use 2 tablespoons for a small load, 1/4 cup for a large load.
TipNut has put together a great FAQ list HERE. There are also over 200 comments where I found a bunch of useful info too.
Here are a few tips from that list:
If you cannot find the supplies in your local Target or Walmart, they are available online. I checked on Amazon.com and all are available there.
The site also has a great article on using vinegar in your laundry as a fabric softener, color protector and more HERE.
If you do try out making your own detergent, let me know. I would love to hear how your experience went!
Cape Cod Moms