Crafts and other inspirations

Homemade laundry detergent: A squeaky clean tute April 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tomboyemily @ 11:03 am
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I love how some tutorials just fall into my lap.  I was wondering what to blog about today, and then I remembered I have run out of laundry detergent.  Wallah!  I *have* to do a tutorial now!  Yay!

I am super cheap.  I am also WAY lazy.  So, any recipe has to be easier and cheaper than trekking to the store.  This recipe is MUCH cheaper than buying laundry detergent, even though it may not be easier, persay.

There are many recipes online, I have used several.  Before I committed the recipe to memory,  I  just googled “how to make laundry detergent.”  I originally used a recipe that made a liquid soap, but the recipe says to wait 24 hours to use.  Yeah.  I am NOT that coordinated.  I need detergent now, because I procrastinated, and now I have absolutely no soap, and lots of laundry.


  • Washing soda. This is NOT baking soda.  Its a big yellow box that you can find in the laundry detergent aisle.  Ask your checker to stock some if the store doesn’t have it.
  • Borax Laundry Booster. This will also be in the laundry aisle.  Borax should be easier to find.  It comes in a box as well.
  • Soap.  I use the cheapest body soap I can find.  Ivory, Lever, store brand, whatever is on sale.  I can find mine 3 bars for a buck, if not cheaper.  You can also use homemade soap.  Use lye based soaps, not gelatin soaps.  I find the gelatin soaps leave residue.
  • A blender is not strictly necessary, but I find it makes a small enough particle that  will fully dissolve.  Pieces of soap on clothes is NOT fun.
  • Container to put the detergent in.  A large yogurt or cottage cheese container would work nicely.
  • Grater.

Optional supplies I will not be using in this tute:

  • Oxi-clean.  My friend swears by oxiclean in the detergent. My cheapo self just likes to add it directly to the wash when needed.  Not all of my clothes need the oxiclean treatment.
  • Scents.  One of the limitations of buying cheap soap is that they usually come with their own scent.  If you get unscented soap and want to scent your detergent, you can use essential oils (tea tree oil and lavender have cleaning properties).  You can also use grated bits of orange or lavender flowers.  We hang our clothes so little bits are not our friends.

Gather your materials.  I use 1 cup each of borax, washing soda, and oxiclean and one bar of soap.  You can adjust to your taste.   More borax= more cleaning power but borax tends to be abrasive on sensitive skin.

Grate your soap.

The soap blends more easily if its dry, so pop it in a 150 degree oven (lowest setting) until you almost forget about it.

Before you can completely forget about it, your house will start smelling amazingly clean.  As you look around your messy house, it will dawn on you that you still have soap in the oven.

Stir the soap around.  go ahead and take it out and let it cool.  Once its cool it should be pretty brittle.  If its not, pop it back in the oven.

If you are fortunate enough to live where its sunny today, just set out the soap for awhile.  If its hot outside, maybe an hour?  The point is to make the soap brittle.

Pop the soap in the blender.  I put about 1/2 cup in at a time.  Blend.

Note: When you blend your soap, it will stick to the bottom.  I find if I hold the lid and tip the blender jar over, I can tap the bottom to release the soap.

Now, mix all of the ingredients into a large bowl.  You can even use your storage container, if there is enough room to shake up the container.

Done!  Add 1 or 2 TABLESPOONS to your washer BEFORE  you put in clothes.  I double the recipe and use 2-3 TBS per extra large load.  It lasts me about a month.

I linked to these blogs:
The Girl Creative
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9 Responses to “Homemade laundry detergent: A squeaky clean tute”

  1. J.Hill Says:

    I keep meaning to do this since it really would save us a bunch of money. Thanks for the tutorial and the extra push!

    Thanks also for linking up to the Mad Skills party!

  2. tomboyemily Says:

    It really is easy and cheap. It has saved us so much money. Plus when I run out of detergent, I don’t have to run to the store. I have all my ingredients in my house!

  3. Thanks so much for the great tutorial! I’ve always wanted to try making this and have just never ‘gotten around to it’! Maybe now I will!

  4. Lisa Says:

    Great tutorial Emily! Sounds easy–I really need to attempt it one of these days! 🙂

  5. Okay, first off, you only need 2 TBSP total per load? Not a whole scoop? Wow!

    I’ve never considered making my own laundry soap, but now I really want to because of your tutorial! Also, when you talked about putting the soap in the oven – that part is REALLY funny! I love your sense of humor.

    I’m bookmarking this because I think I’m going to try this out!!

    Thanks for Hookin’ Up with me at my first party!

    • tomboyemily Says:

      Thanks! I put up the laundry soap tute because I was always intimidated to make homemade soap, but really, its not hard, and I love saving $8-10 EACH TIME I make a batch.
      I am glad my sense of humor wasn’t over the top (or if it was, at least you appreciated it :))

  6. Jennifer Says:

    Does anyone know if the homemade laundry soap can be used in front loading/high efficiency washing machines?

  7. This is great! What a wonderful tutorial! I never thought of making my own but this seems easy enough and way less expensive {plus I know what is going in it!} Thanks again for stopping by and joining the Sunday Showcase Party. I greatly appreciate it! ~ Stephanie Lynn

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