The following is a post from Peter’s wife, Katrina.
You know I’m all about simplicity these days. And I love knowing all the ingredients in the products I use. So, a while back I decided to try making my own laundry detergent, but I still had several bottles of a “natural” brand in the cabinet. There was no rush.
But… as time went on I just got curiouser and curiouser and finally decided to give it a whirl. And I’m glad I did! This stuff is really awesome. The clothes are coming out clean, they smell fresh (not perfumey), and I have no irritation or reaction to the ingredients. Win! Win! Win!
Plus, it’s really inexpensive to make. SCORE!
So here goes. This is the recipe to make your very own laundry detergent and it only has three ingredients.
~*~ Laundry Detergent Recipe ~*~
1 cup Washing Soda
(NOT baking soda – it’s washing soda and there IS a difference.)
1 cup Borax
1 – 5 oz. bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap
NOTE ONE: The first two ingredients you can get at most large supermarkets in the laundry/cleaning supply section. And you MUST use Washing Soda for this recipe, NOT baking soda. Big difference!
NOTE TWO: I chose Dr. Bronner’s bar soap because I’m comfortable with the integrity of the company as well as the ingredients. If you choose another bar soap, I highly recommend that you find one with no artificial fragrances, colorings or unnecessary ingredients. Because of my sensitive skin I’m careful about making sure there are no extra additives in my soaps.
Directions: I cut the soap into small pieces and put it into my food processor. I pulsed it until it was the texture of small grains of rice. This took about one minute. You can also use a cheese grater to shave the soap, but that takes a bit longer. It is, however, a good alternative if you don’t have a food processor.
Then I took one cup washing soda, one cup borax, and the grated soap, put them in a big bowl and stirred them together until they were blended evenly. (Please be aware that I’ve read warnings about breathing the dust from the borax. Please do this in a ventilated area.)
And that’s it. So. Simple. I use 1/8 cup per load. We haven’t had super dirty clothes lately, so I’m not sure if I will need more for really dirty clothes. I’ll find out in the spring when we start gardening and farming again.
Also, I always give my laundry an extra rinse. There’s a setting on the machine that allows for one extra rinse. My mom taught me to do that when I was a child and I continue to do that today. We have a super high efficiency washer that uses very little water, so don’t feel it’s being wasteful. Plus, it gets any residue from soap/detergent completely off the clothing. This is important to me because of my sensitive skin.
And yes, this detergent does work perfectly in High Efficiency (HE) washing machines.
Now for the cost breakdown I promised:
Borax – $3.38 for 76 oz. That’s approximately .04 cents per oz. and I used 8 oz. = .32 cents
Washing Soda – $3.24 for 55 oz. That’s approximately .06 cents per oz and I used 8 oz. = .48 cents
One bar Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap – $3.29 for 5 oz. I used a whole bar. = $3.29
One batch of homemade laundry detergent .32 + .48 + 3.29 = $4.09
This recipe makes a total of 21 ounces of laundry detergent. I use 1/8 cup per load which is one ounce per load. That mean each load costs approximately .20 cents in laundry detergent. You can compare that with the laundry detergent you are currently using. There are many varieties with many price points, but I think you will see a significant savings by making your own. Plus you know exactly what ingredients you are using.
There you have it! Easy breezy powdered laundry detergent. Works like a charm and economical, too. Next up I’ll be trying to make liquid laundry detergent… so stay tuned!
I’d love read your comments and questions. Please let me know if you have made your own laundry detergent before. How did it turn out? Are you still making it? What did you find out in the process? If you haven’t made it, will you try it now? Please leave your comments and questions below.