If you are reading this post, you have likely decided that it is worth your time to make your own laundry soap. You can read this post to see why I think it is worth it to make my own. I’ve been making this recipe for over 5 years. There are a few modifications I made to the original recipe that I received, which is pretty typical for me. Rarely do I ever follow a recipe completely. Each time I made detergent for my laundry, I fine tuned the process. Hopefully, you can follow along with these instructions and make this simple laundry detergent for yourself.
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent
There are a few ingredients that you will need to make your own detergent. Below, you will find the recipe. I have added a 1/2 cup of stain fighter to the list of ingredients. That is not one of the ingredients in the normal recipes you find. However, with my little boys, I’ve found that it is important to add in some amount of stain fighting agents to the recipe. Since I have done this, I almost never see stains on their clothes.
1/2 cup of Borax
1/2 cup of Washing Soda
1 Bar Fels Naptha
1/2 cup of stain fighting liquid or laundry detergent
5 gallon bucket
4 1/2 gallons of water
It is important that you have a 5 gallon bucket to hold the detergent. You can also save a liquid laundry detergent bottle to put some of the soap in, to make it more convenient for yourself when dispensing. Personally, I just use a cup and scoop from the 5 gallon bucket. At one time, I did use an old bottle, which was really nice.
How to Make Liquid Laundry Detergent
You will need to start by grating up the bar of Fels Naptha into a sauce pot. This is probably the most difficult part of the entire process. It is not easy grating up a bar of soap. Personally, I’ve never worried about using my normal cooking utensils to make this recipe. If you are concerned about that, then you should get separate utensils and pots.
Once the soap is mostly grated, fill the pot with water, leaving about 2 inches from the top. It will easily boil over, so give yourself some room. Turn the burner to high until it begins boiling, and then bring it back to medium heat. You will need to stir it frequently. I suggest using a metal spoon because it will not absorb the soap flavor.
While your Fels Naptha bar is cooking on the stove, go ahead and start boiling about 5 cups of water or more. I use the boiled water to help dissolve the Borax, washing soda, and stain fighter. I’ve found that if I do not use boiling water to mix these ingredients, they do not dissolve enough.
Once you have the water boiling, pour it into the 1/2 cup of Borax and 1/2 cup of washing soda. Stir really well to make sure it is fully mixed. At this point, I actually boil another 5 cups of water so that it will further dissolve the fels naptha soap with this mixture. I might go overboard on the boiling of water, but I’ve made this recipe too many times where there were pieces of soap or clumps of detergent floating around in it.
Once you have the washing soda and Borax fully mixed, you can add in your stain fighting detergent or agent. With this particular batch, I added one of these Tide Pods that I received for free. Mainly, I’ll use whatever I have on hand. You can feel free to skip this step, or use whatever you like the best.
Stir up the stain fighter until you feel that it is completely dissolved. If you have chosen to boil more water, go ahead and add that to the bucket now. Once the fels naptha bar is fully dissolved it can be poured into the bucket as well. I’d suggest skimming the top of the water to pick out any large pieces of soap that refused to melt. Just go ahead and throw them out, or you will find that clump in your laundry later on.
Once all of the soap ingredients have been mixed well, it is time to fill the bucket with water. Keep in mind that the bucket is going to be very heavy. If Austin isn’t home to move the bucket, I’ll take the bucket to its location at this point and take pitchers of water to the bucket.
If you have a high efficiency washing machine, be sure that you only use 1/4 of a cup of this detergent in your washer. If you have a regular machine, you might want to use about 1/2 a cup of detergent.
It Will Take Some Getting Used To
There are some things you will need to get used to about this laundry detergent. It is completely fragrance free. Your clothes will not smell like it does when you use detergents from the store. When you smell your clothes straight from the washer, you should be prepared that they might smell like they aren’t clean. You have been conditioned to think that clean clothes smell like lavender fields or whatever fragrance your detergent puts off. Once you put your clothes through the dryer, they are going to just smell like clothes, not a fragrance. Whenever I go to my mom’s and have to use her laundry detergent, I am overwhelmed with the fragrance that comes off of the clothes. It takes at least two washes for that fragrance to go away. I think that the lack of fragrance has really helped my allergies and asthma flair ups.
On the flip side of things, I have found that I do not have to use dryer sheets in general. Sometimes there is an exception to this in the winter when I am drying a knitted blanket. Other than that, I rarely have problems with static cling. You are not only saving yourself on the cost of the detergent, but you also won’t have to purchase dryer sheets or fabric softener unless you want to. The only thing I ever add to my laundry is vinegar on occasion. I still have a child that is potty training, so whenever he has had an accident, I’ll add about 1/4 cup of vinegar to the laundry to help with any foul smell. For the most part, this has always knocked bad odors.
Good luck on making this recipe. Feel free to leave me a message in the comments if you have any questions.