Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Home Made Detergent!

OK - so Julie is the "Natural Queen"... she has been having Isaac in cloth diapers since he was born - she had pureed his food & made all natural food for him since he could eat... she is a scientist & knows all the results of chemicals in products. So just the small amount she's told me - I can only handle small amounts because my freak out level is high - has me intrigued.

So she sent me the "ingredients" to make your own detergent at home.
And let me tell you - it was SIMPLE!!!! I'm going to copy exactly what she sent me so you can see how simple it is....
Laundry Detergent - Only 3 ingredients!! See the link I added below for pictures of the ingredients so you know what to look for. (the second recipe, after the cloth diaper one)

1 bar of soap - I use Dr. Bronner's castille soap bar (Target carries this near beauty products - look for organic stuff like Burt's Bees, it will be near that), but you can find laundry soap bars sometimes in the laundry aisle if you look really hard, not all stores carry it. Popular brands are Fels-Naptha (I found this at Kroger) and Zote (our Target used to carry this but they don't anymore). This was the hardest thing for me to find. But I'm starting to see Dr. Bronner's bar soap most places. You can also use plain Ivory or Dove.

1/2 Cup Borax - I had never heard of this before, but turns out they carry it nearly everywhere in the laundry section. It's in a box, the only brand I've seen is 20-Mule Team. I've seen it at Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target, and Home Depot.

1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (this is not baking soda) - this was a bit harder to find. Our grocery carries it and I've seen it at Kroger too in the laundry aisle usually next to the Borax.

1/4 cup Oxiclean Free (Optional) - This is just for extra cleaning power. There are other cheaper store brands too. All stores carry this in laundry aisle.

Use a cheese grater to grate the entire bar of soap, or you can slice it thinly and process in a food processor to get a fine powder. Mix with the borax and washing soda and Oxiclean, if using. Use ONLY 1 tablespoon per load! It seems like so little, but it works. And it will last forever. You can use up to 2 tablespoons for really large loads or really dirty loads.

Now, with this recipe, your clothes are not going to have that strong fragrance smell you are used to from store bought detergents. They will just smell clean, not fragrant. They are very clean, just not strong smells. That may bother some people who love strong fragrances and assoiciate that with cleanliness, but not me. Also, this recipe is so good for your washer. Also works with high-efficiency washers. It will clean out calcium deposits and detergent scum in your washing machine.
Easy enough - huh? So I went to the our local, little grocery & they had all the ingredients! Here they are... & I am even more ready to go natural on other products. I picked up with White Vinegar - Julie told me I can use 1/2 cup for fabric softner!!! & to make cleaning products with that too... & Arm & Hammer... I've heard that stuff does miracles too...

And all the products didnt even cost that much - the most expensive was the OxyClean - but Kroger or Wal-mart has a generic brand that works just as good... if they had a generic brand, I would have used it...
The hardest thing for me was grating the soap.... I'll probably invest in a cheap grader so I dont have to do it by hand...

But I went ahead & made up two batches & filled up a container - & immediately went & did a load of laundry.... just needed the one Tablespoon... isnt' that cool! That container should last such a long time! And I have all the ingredients to whip up some more... just need to pick up another bar of soap....
I know that the savings is going to add up QUICK with this!!!! And for it to be natural - & good for your clothes, the machine & no chemicals added - SWEETNESS!!!!!

Give it a try....let me know what you think... & remember, if I can do it - ANYBODY can do it!
& if Julie has any more good stuff - I'll pass it on.....


  1. Just wanted to add that the most fabulous thing I found about vinegar is if a kid has accidents while potty training - who doesn't! - it is the ONLY thing that gets all the smells out. I used to put about 1/2 a cup in loads that had messed clothes in it. Never smell the pee again!! Just a note though - don't put those clothes in the dryer, the pee smell will return!

    Great tip on laundry detergent. Question: what about high efficiency washers? Does it matter?

  2. Wow that is neat. Does it work for sensitive skin?

  3. Yes, it works for HE's too! It's better for your washer, it will remove calcium deposits and soap build up as well.

  4. Oh I so want to hear how this is working for you! I have such a disdain for paying good money for laundry soap. Just irks me to no end!

    How about the after smell? I'm anti smells. I don't like scented anything.

  5. I wonder what you could add for the fragrance? I'm such a fragrance nut so I'd need to "smell" the clothes.

    That's such a great idea though. I'll have to pass this along to my daughter.

  6. Interesting! Will have to try that. :)

  7. Hmm I will have to try this when I move out :) hehe. Right now my mom does my clothes and she uses what she buys BUT I am all for having things better for you and that are easy! I also hear it is much cheaper too!

  8. It is great for sensitive skin. I know people who use this who can't use any other type of detergent because of skin sensitivities.

    There is no scent to the clothes, they just smell clean. HOWERVER, if you want to add a scent, you can add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice (I love Jasmine and Lavendar) to the wash and also to the vinegar that goes in the rinse. I add about 40 drops of fragrance oil per gallon of vinegar for fabric softener.

  9. I purchased from our silent auction 5 bars of goats milk soap. I'll have to research if that will work--made with all natural stuff from a family farm in Indiana! I admit, I am a person who likes the scents, so if I used the "lemon" bar, I'd have a little of that (maybe?). Anyway, I'm with Jane. I just HATE paying money for good laundry soap. Doing this, and it works? I'm all for it. 1 TABLESPOON?!?!? That's AMAZING!

  10. This is awesome. I'm going to print out and make this.

    Julie what about stinky clothes. My husband does construction and his clothes get pretty gross.

  11. Okay, so I have an HE washer and I've only used liquid detergent HE safe. Does this go into the same dispenser?!! I have been going to much more natural cleaning supplies as well. I never thought of making my own detergent.

    I use vinegar instead of toliet bowl cleaner and it works fabulously!!! Just straight vinegar and then I also use a mixture of vinegar water and dish soap for a window cleaner ~~ good stuff!!

    YAY we'll have to start swapping out good cleaning "recipes"!!

    Love you friend,

  12. As for whether it goes in the same dispenser on an HE machine, I am not familiar with those machines. You'd have to research it. But I have read in numerous places that this recipe works with HE just as well as regular machines.

    As for stinky clothes, just use 2 tablespoons. You could also add some essential oils (just a few drops) to the wash as well, any fragrance you like. Steve's sweaty yard clothes have no odor at all after I wash them with this. And it works on cloth diapers, so that's how good it works!! They never stink afterwards.

    Sorry I took over your blog, Bec!

  13. That is just so silly to me to see soap grated with a cheese grater! I've never heard of Borax either. This reminds me of The Duggers. Do you watch 18 kids and counting? They make their own laundary detergent too only it's like 50 times as much!

  14. HE machines just need to use a detergent with a low sudsing factor since they use less water to begin with.

    It disturbs me that I know this.

  15. I am SOOOOOOOO trying this - I do need the fragrance though (call me crazy, I just do!) so I will be adding oils. Thanks for the ideas!!!


  16. I've heard of this, but never done it. Hmmm...something to think about.

  17. This is great. And I just so happen to have a big box of Borax from when we made the slime :D

  18. Been wanting to do this for forever. I have a Fels Naptha bar I use for removing stains. Works 95% of the time, so pretty good.

    So was the grating hard? That's probably the reason I haven't tried it yet. I don't have a hand grater...but I do want to try this! Thanks for blogging about it!

  19. This laundry detergent saves a huge amount of money. We buy its three ingredients for less than five dollars, and the resulting concentrate lasts our large family two to three months! It's a watery gel that produces low suds inside the washer. The ingredients are usually available in the laundry-products aisle of the supermarket — or order online. (Check recipes on the Internet; there's also a dry version of this laundry soap that's good for top-loading machines.)
    1 Fels Naptha soap bar, grated
    1 cup washing soda
    1/2 cup borax
    Grate the soap bar into a small saucepan. Cover with hot water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continually, until the soap completely dissolves.
    Put washing soda and borax in a 5-gallon bucket. Pour in the hot, melted soap mixture. Stir well, until all the powder is dissolved. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water. Stir, cover securely, and let set overnight. The next morning, stir the mixture. Mix equal amounts of soap concentrate and water in a smaller laundry-detergent dispenser or container. Shake before using.
    For top-loading machines: Use 1 cup of the soap mixture per load.
    For front-loading machines: Use 1/2 cup per load

  20. This should help all of the people who like the liquid detergent or who have front loaders like myself.

  21. Oh My Stars! I have never heard of anythng like this. I may just have to give it a try!

    I have a front loader so I would have to do the liquid one but It sounds way cool!




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