I’ve been using this homemade laundry detergent for almost three years now. I’ve shared it with many friends and the “recipe” has been requested several times recently. I decided to share it here, so that I could simply link to it as needed. I’ll be back with a food recipe on Monday!
There are only three ingredients in this soap and they work together to create an excellent laundry soap that leaves our clothing clean and fragrance free. Just a heads-up, Fels Naptha is a very fragrant clean-smelling soap, but surprisingly there is no lingering fragrance on the clothing after washing. Fels Naptha is also an excellent stain remover. You can save the tiny ends of the soap after grating most of it and use it for stain removal.
Washing soda is sodium carbonate. (This is not the same as baking soda, which is sodium bicarbonate.) Washing soda helps remove odors and dirt. Borax is sodium borate. Borax is a natural laundry whitener and deodorizer. I buy all three of these items at my local Kroger store and at Wal-Mart. They can also be found online.
I have used the powder detergent in a HE washing machine. I sprinkle the powder on top of the clothing prior to starting the machine. As with anything else, use your own discretion when deciding whether to use a homemade detergent in your machine.
I wash almost exclusively in COLD water without any difficulties at all. The detergent dissolves within moments of contact with water, cold or hot. When I’m doing laundry, I also throw in 1/4 cup or so of plain white vinegar in place of fabric softeners.
Homemade POWDER Laundry Detergent
2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
2 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1 bar Fels Naptha or 1/2 bar Zote, grated (I use a fine grater for Fels Naptha and a standard grater for Zote)
Grate the soap and then place all three ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir to thoroughly combine. Transfer to an airtight container for storage. Use 1 tablespoon of this detergent for small to medium size loads and 2 tablespoons for large or heavily soiled loads.
In case you are wondering, I have made a liquid laundry soap in the past as well. The powder version is my favorite for it’s simplicity and ease of use. By popular request, I’m adding directions below for the liquid version as well.
1 small bucket, about a 2 gallon size; I use a
large box with a snap tight lid to store it.Grate the soap and put it in a sauce
pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the
washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from
heat. Pour 4 cups very hot water into the bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and
stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. Use 1/2 cup of the liquid soap per load.
gel. It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described
as an “egg noodle soup” look. The soap is a low sudsing soap. If you
don’t see suds, that is fine. Suds do not do the cleaning, it is
the ingredients in the soap.
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