One of the most popular parts of my blog are the free homemade cleaning recipes. And the #1 asked question is for a recipe for homemade laundry soap? I used to make my own, but after a few months, it no longer satisfied me. I now buy Arm and Hammer brand powdered detergent from Wal-mart which is $.13 a load. I’d feel bad giving you the recipe I didn’t like when I won’t use it myself. So I found someone that loves to use homemade laundry soap and asked her to write about it here. Stacy’s recipe is about $.05 a load–a little less than half of what I spend.
I’d like to introduce you to Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents. She’s a wife and mom and she loves to save money! Here’s her recipe for powedered laundry soap:
Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent
I had been wanting to make my own laundry detergent for a while….but being busy with Annie and other things kept me from it. However, when a reader asked me to write about the process, it was the shove that I needed – but in a good way, not like a shove off a cliff. The verdict? I really, really like it. It gets everything super clean and at a fraction of the cost of store-bought detergent. My mom and I have been using it and we’re both fans. I think when I empty out the last of my stash, I’ll only be using homemade detergent. From what I can tell with my mad math skills and reading on the internet, this soap costs about $.05 per load, give or take. Most laundry detergents from the store cost around $.20+ per load. That’s a winner for me! Let’s get clean, y’all.
To make this powder detergent, you’ll need Washing Soda, Fels Naptha Bar Soap, and Borax. That’s it. (I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about the dangers of Borax; Here’s I feel about Borax. I personally believe it is safe for my family when used correctly, but you are free to use your own judgement on that.) All this stuff can be bought at Kroger. Strangely, the Fels Naptha Soap isn’t with the regular soap at my Kroger…..it’s with the mops. Tell me how THAT makes sense? The Arm and Hammer Washing Soda was on the top shelf near the Borax. A good source (thanks Rebecca!) tells me that these items can also be found at Food City. If you can’t find them at either store, you might be able to find them at a hardware store. Ivory soap can also be used, but Fels Naptha is really great for getting clothes clean. You can also use it as a pre-treater and just rub the soap right on the stain. Nice!
Now, you need to grate your soap. I used my microplane. Somehow when I bought it, I never thought I’d be using it to grate soap. Cheese, yes; soap, no. But it worked great! If you don’t have a microplane grater, you can use any regular type of grater. I won’t judge you because you don’t have the most awesome grater of all time in your kitchen. I’m not here to point fingers. Oh, and this soap smells really good so when you’re done grating you’ll smell like you just had a shower. You’ll need to grate the whole bar – your arms will get tired. You’ve worked out today, baby!
Add 1 cup Borax. Borax is going to give your detergent that little extra stain fighting power. It can be used interchangeably with Oxy-Clean but at a fraction of the cost. Have I mentioned that I just love Borax?
Add 1 cup of washing soda. I read on several forums that some people just use baking soda, but then I also read that it doesn’t work quite as well. We don’t want to bake our laundry. Cakes, yes; socks, no.
Time to mix it up. This isn’t a time to sit down on the job. Unless you want to sit down while you stir – that’s cool. You really need to stir this puppy.
You’re supposed to stir it until it’s well incorporated and looks like powder. This is what I had after what felt like an eternity of stirring – or maybe it was only like two minutes. Don’t judge me.
I wasn’t happy with it because you can see all the white powder on the bottom. Hmmmmmm. I’m a perfectionist. So, I broke out…….
the food processor. Yes, I use mine daily. It’s up in my top five kitchen tools. I poured my soap in there and let it mix away. So much for my workout. You know, I never thought I’d use my kitchen tools to make soap – but I like to adapt. Wonder if Barry would mind if I used his workshop tools in my kitchen. Survival of the fittest.
This is more like it! Powder! Isn’t it pretty? And it smells so nice and fresh. But here’s the funny part – it won’t make your laundry smell like the soap. Your clothes will come out smelling just non-dirty. They’ll be clean, but they won’t smell like Tide. If you NEED your clothes to smell pretty, then just sock a dryer sheet in the dryer with them. Me, I can just settle for not smelling like sour milk.
I stored mine in a Tupperware container. You’ll use two tablespoons per load. That’s it. Don’t overdo it! I actually put a tablespoon in mine to help. Next time I think I’ll just use my food processor to make the whole batch.
When you’re ready to wash, add your powdered detergent to the water before you put the clothes in. That will assure that it will dissolve. And don’t expect bubbles. This stuff doesn’t bubble, but it does clean. So, a few handy things to know:
- This will also work in HE Washers
- I use it on Annie’s laundry without any sensitive skin problems….and I read online that other people do this successfully as well.
- It’s so FAST! I made my batch in like 5 minutes. I love fast, frugal things!
So, I’ve tackled that for you. If you’ve been too scared to do it now you don’t need to be! I’m a good source for trying things first to make all the mistakes. You’re welcome.