Making homemade laundry detergent has become pretty popular these days. I started making my own liquid laundry detergent about nine years ago. While the process isn’t difficult, it does take a little bit of work. Not only that, it isn’t always convenient to store 5 or more gallons of laundry detergent. Those are some of the reasons I switched to powdered detergent.
I have a high efficiency washer and for a while I was using a commercial brand of detergent because I didn’t want to void my warranty. However, I don’t think there would have been any problem using this homemade detergent from the beginning. I only have to use 1 Tablespoon per load, but those with a regular washer you might need to use up to 2 Tablespoons.
With my high efficiency washer I put the clothes in and then put the detergent on top. If you have a regular washer you can add the detergent to the water and then add your clothes. For most loads I use cold water and this detergent with no problem.
I think this detergent works very well, but those of you who are used to strong smelling detergents might have to get used to the fact that your clothes don’t smell. However, isn’t that the point of washing them in the first place?
A friend and I were talking about homemade laundry detergent yesterday and she asked if the homemade detergents fade clothes. I don’t notice a problem, but I have been doing something for years that helps with that no matter what detergent I am using. I simply turn my clothes wrong side out before I wash them (with the exception of socks and underwear). While this may seem like an unnecessary step in the already tedious process called laundry, I find it is helpful especially if I am hanging clothes on the line. No sun fading.
So, what do you need to make your own powdered laundry detergent? Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda), Borax, and Fels-Naptha soap. I used to have to go to two stores to purchase the ingredients, but now my local Walmart carries all three right in the laundry aisle.
The first thing I do is grate the bar of Fels-Naptha. I like to use a grater with small holes and then I crumble the soap a little with my hands to make it pretty fine.
Next, I put the entire box of Borax, the entire box of Super Washing Soda, and the entire grated bar of Fels-Naptha into a large container. (The container came from my mom who had purchased pretzels that came in it. So, my container was free. Yay! I made the label in Word.)
Finally, I use a spoon to stir it all up. I sometimes use my hands to make sure I had everything mixed really well.
That’s all there is to making your own homemade powdered laundry detergent. Pretty simple, right? Do you need more convincing? How about a cost breakdown?
Cost breakdown: I paid $0.97 for the Fels-Naptha, $3.38 for the Borax, and $3.24 for the Super Washing Soda. My total cost was $7.59. I was able to get 16 cups of laundry detergent out of this batch.
Since I have a high efficiency washer I can use 1 Tablespoon per load which means I should be able to get 256 loads of laundry out of one batch. This makes my cost approximately $0.03 cents per load.
If I used 2 Tablespoons per load I would get 128 loads out of a batch. This would make my cost per load approximately $0.06.
The absolute cheapest I have ever purchased a high efficiency detergent was at $0.10 per load. That was on a special closeout at a discount store. I would say that making my own detergent is a money saver, wouldn’t you?
What about fabric softener? I do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets. I haven’t noticed a difference in our clothes. I have used a small amount of vinegar before. If you just can’t give up your fabric softener, you could make it more frugal by diluting it with water or simply using much less per load. Another idea is to dip a washcloth in diluted fabric softener, wring it out, and use it in place of a dryer sheet. These are all frugal options to go along with your frugal detergent.
What about stains? When you are buying your detergent supplies buy an extra bar of Fels-Naptha for situations like this.
My boys went outside on Monday in their good blue jeans and played tackle football. While I thought they could have made a better choice by changing into play clothes first, I quit lamenting their choice and tried to get their pants to a wearable state again.
To get the grass stains out I wet the pants and then scrubbed them with the soap. Then I used my fingernails and a scratcher to work on the stain. I rinsed them and did the process again.
Then, I tossed them into the washer and hoped for the best.
The pants were already faded at the knee, but I think they look much better.
Well, that’s enough laundry talk. I need to get back to work taming our mountain of dirty clothes. Have you ever made your own homemade laundry detergent?
I decided to add 2 bars of Fels Naptha when I made the last batch. I think it is working well. The cost increased slightly but I think it is still economical.
I also decided to use my food processor to grate the soap and it was so much faster than grating it by hand.
After I used the grating attachment to grate the soap, I put all of the soap in the bottom of the food processor and used the regular blade.
The soap became very fine and I am so happy with how it turned out.
Cleanup was easy because all I had to use was water.