I am a delicate hot house flower when it comes to scents and perfumes. Scented bath and skin products can leave me with a migraine. Add it it to my laundry detergent and I end up with a full body rash and wheezing. Even standard “unscented” detergents make me itch all over. So, I bought super fancy all natural soap to the tune of $14 for 80 loads worth.
But then a friend posted on Facebook about making her own laundry detergent and shared the link from Erin at Why Not Sew?. I found the ingredients at my local non-fancy small town grocery store, including Borax and washing soda, which were on the laundry aisle. Apparently both boxes include enough for 9 batches, but they’re also good household cleaners. I also picked up 2 gallon jugs of distilled water since 1) I didn’t have spare gallon jugs lying around and 2) I have incredibly hard water. A word to the wise, for the bar of soap, I used an entire bar of Fels Naptha, which apparently is a little harsher than needed, and since it’s larger, the detergent congealed more than expected. In the future, I’ll try this with just a bar of Castile soap or Dove.
The result? Detergent that leaves my clothes clean, my skin happy and my bank account a little fuller.
Previous laundry cost: $0.17 per load
New laundry cost: $0.03 per load
Homemade Laundry Detergent
- 1 bar of soap
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 cup washing soda
- a big pot that holds more than 2 gallons (*mine didn’t*)
- a grater
- a funnel
- a long spoon
- 2 empty gallon jugs
Grate the soap into the pot. Add 1 gallon of water and cook over medium heat until the soap dissolves. Add the Borax and washing soda. Bring to a boil then turn off heat. Add 1 gallon of cool water. (*My pot apparently doesn’t hold 2 full gallons. I had extra water, so I divided it evenly between the two jugs.*) Using the funnel, pour detergent into the 2 gallon containers. Soap will coagulate within 24 hours.
Use 1/2 cup of detergent per load, less for small loads. Yields ~128 loads worth of detergent.