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LAUNDRY DETERGENT- Make your own for $.01 cents a load!

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The Boyer Blog: LAUNDRY DETERGENT- Make your own for $.01 cents a load!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

LAUNDRY DETERGENT- Make your own for $.01 cents a load!

I admit, when I first heard of homemade laundry detergent, I was quite skeptical and thought only a Laura Ingalls Wilder wannabe would try it! But after a couple trips to the grocery store, where prices are constantly rising at a breakneck pace, I decided to give it a chance. I love the fact that I can buy a container of each of the ingredients I need and still not pay as much as I would for a medium-size jug from the store. The ingredients should last a long time, depending on the number of people you have to do laundry for, of course. My friend, who gave me the recipe, estimated the cost to be a penny per load! Now that's true penny pinching! :)

1/3 bar Ivory soap, grated
1/2 c. washing soda (NOT baking soda... mine is Arm & Hammer brand and I could only find it at one Kroger in town)
1/2 c. Borax
2 gallon bucket (preferably with lid... otherwise cover with towel for storage)

Grate soap and put it in a saucepan. Add 6 c. water and heat until soap melts. Add washing soda and Borax, and stir until dissolved.

Remove from heat. Pour 4 c. hot water into the bucket, then add soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 c. water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. Use 1/2 c. detergent per full load. The mixture will not be a solid gel, but more of an "egg noodle soup" type of look. (Make sure you use some of the gel-like substance in each load, not just the liquid.)

Easy! Kate Boyer Brown



Anonymous CindyL said...

Hi Kate! I've used a similar laundry detergent recipe and love it. In fact, I make 4 gallons at once to save time. I did want to say, though, that my skin-sensitive daughter developed eczema from the borax, and I've subsequently found that eliminating the borax and doubling the washing soda makes a detergent that works well and is more friendly to sensitive skin. I've since found that quite a few people are allergic to borax, so thought I'd give you a 'heads up'.

Thanks for your great blog!

August 25, 2008 at 12:12 AM  
Anonymous Liz said...

Can this detergent be used in a front loading washer that requires "he" type detergent?

August 25, 2008 at 12:39 AM  
Blogger Honey said...

My oldest son and I have itchy skin so I normally use dye/frangrance free detergent. I have been making a similar dry detergent (Borax, Washing Soda, and Fels Naptha Soap). (I like not having to boil it and deal with goop). Even though the Fels Naptha has a light scent it hasn't bothered us so far. It's so easy to make. Thanks for the money saving tip.

August 25, 2008 at 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds great, but - Does this rinse out well, or leave a bit of residue in the clothing? I've always heard soaps (rather than detergents) leave residue. Just wondering what you've found. Thanks.

August 25, 2008 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Kate Boyer Brown said...

Thank you all for your comments! Cindy, I haven't had any problems using Borax, but I'm going to try your method next time anyway!

Liz, I am not sure whether it can be used in a front-loader, but I am checking into it and will get back with you on that.

Honey, I love the idea of not having to boil it -- not that it's a huge pain, but I'm all about saving steps! Could you give us your exact recipe? I'd love to try it!

Anonymous, I have not had any problems with the soap not rinsing out. I asked my friend about this, too, as she has been using it much longer than I have, so I will let you know what she says. :)

August 25, 2008 at 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made my first batch of laundry soap and it isn't setting up into a gel. What size of Ivory bar soap did you use? I used 1/3 of the smaller size (3oz. I believe). Could that be the difference? Should I just use the liquid form or try to add something to get it to gel?

August 27, 2008 at 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not had that happen, Evelyn, and I did use the same size bar of soap, so I can't say for sure why that happened. If you have no gel at all in your liquid, I think I would try melting more soap in a small amount of water and adding it to the batch you made (because I wouldn't want to waste the ingredients and time!) and letting it sit overnight again. If there's any gel at all to it, though, it should still work.

My friend, who I got this recipe from, said she got it from the website I went to the site and their version of the recipe says to use a full bar of soap (unless you use another brand which they also mention, Fels Naptha). I only used 1/3 of the bar, though, as that's what my recipe said, and mine worked fine. I mention this site because they have commonly asked questions at the bottom of the laundry soap page. (

Hope this helps... I'm really sorry it didn't turn out for you! Please let me know how it turns out if you decide to add more soap. :)

August 27, 2008 at 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

Liz, my friend Susan directed me to the website where she found the recipe:

Neither of us nor anyone we know who uses the laundry detergent has an HE machine, but the site notes that many ladies have said on their message board that they DO have HE machines and use the detergent without problems.

One note: When I got on this site, I saw that it says to use a full bar of Ivory soap or 1/3 of Fels Naptha soap. The recipe I was given said 1/3 of a bar Ivory, which is what I used. However, after seeing this other site, I might use a full bar of Ivory after all. The Fels Naptha is apparently more expensive, but you use less, so it just about evens out. All that to say that with an HE machine, I would probably use the larger amount of soap just to be safe.

Hope that helps! :)

August 27, 2008 at 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Jessica M. said...

this is the first time I've visited your site (thanks to a friend), but I have a recipe that I use every couple of weeks. No cooking involved! Shred 1 bar of soap of your choice (ivory is easiest), add 1 cup of borax, and 1 cup of arm & hammer washing soda. Mix. For each large load add 1 tablespoon to the water before you add your clothes. For an extra large load, use 2 tbsp.
Easy fabric softener: 1 cup vinegar.
Bleach alternative: 1 cap hydrogen peroxide (not as white as bleach, but less harmful to the environment and cheaper)
Thank you for your site!

September 9, 2009 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Allie said...

Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. I just made my first batch last week, and two laundry days later, I'm thrilled with the results. I live in an apartment and must transport my laundry detergent to the laundry room. For transportation, I used two empty milk gallons to store the solution. It also makes it easy to swirl the "gel" portion into the solution so that it is added to the laundry when I measure out into the washing machine.

October 12, 2009 at 4:27 PM  

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