Thanks for visiting my little corner of the internet laundry room.
I’ve been making my own Homemade Laundry Detergent for almost two years now and I love it!
I started out just wanting to lower the toxic load in my house and commercial detergents have a surprising amount of junk in them.
But to my surprise, this fabulous laundry detergent also cleaned better than any store-bought brand I had ever used.
And it was a fraction of the price. Did I say love it? Yeah, baby!
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I love this Homemade Laundry Detergent so much I decided I wanted to share the love and give it as neighbor gifts last Christmas.
I put the laundry detergent in mason jars, tied on pretty bows and attached homemade tags with directions. It was a true Pinterest moment.
I was so proud of myself because not only was my neighbor gift cute it was useful and it cost very little to make.
In the craziness of the season I didn’t have time to deliver them all so I sent my teenage son out by himself to deliver one to our next-door neighbors.
When they came to the door he handed them the gift and said Merry Christmas. They said thank-you and then asked him what it was.
He said, and I quote, “Laundry detergent. My mom made it. I don’t know what she was thinking”.
That was the last one he delivered.
Despite my son’s eye-rolling comment, all of my neighbors loved the laundry detergent and many asked for the recipe.
I’ve been wanting to do a post about it for a long time but I didn’t want to make more until my Christmas batch ran out. I’m telling you, this stuff lasts forever!
Okay, not forever, but six months for this family of 5 which seems like forever.
Here’s what’s in it and why:
Baking Soda–deodorizes your laundry, fights stains and balances the PH of your wash which gets clothes cleaner, fresher and brighter.
Borax–a naturally occuring mineral that is commonly used as a household cleaner, borax is and effective laundry booster as it helps the detergent work better.
Washing Soda–another detergent booster, washing soda is a chemical compound that can be used to remove stubborn stains from laundry.
Kosher Salt–works as a natural fabric softener (see note below).
Oxygen Bleach Powder–is used in stain removal as the oxygen bubbles help break down dirt, odor and germs.
Fels Naptha Soap–the only actual soap in this recipe, Fels Naptha has been used for over 100 years to remove all kinds of stains.
Essential Oils–kills germs and bacteria in wash water and helps deodorize clothes.
Use any single or combination of oils to get a fragrance you like although that fragrance will be very mild.
The fragrance will be very mild but the essential oils will also kill germs and bacteria in the wash water which, if you have teenage boys, is a very good thing.
If you don’t want to use EOs, no problem, just use the salt without adding any..
Note: This is important, people!
All over the internet I found recipes for homemade fabric softener crystals using Epsom salt instead of salt. Don’t do it as these two items are NOT interchangeable.
A lot of well-meaning people seem to think that Epsom salt is just another type of salt, like grey salt or Himalayan pink salt. It’s not!
Salt is sodium chloride (NaCl) and Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate.
Hard water is caused by basically two minerals: calcium and magnesium. So by adding Epsom salt to your laundry you are making your hard water actually harder.
Hard water causes soap to be less effective, fades colors and causes fabric to feel rough and scratchy. I love Epsom salt for lots of things like Lavender Bath Salts but not for laundry.
The next thing you need to do is get the Fels Naptha laundry bar into a useable form. There are three ways you can do this.The first method is to grate the soap on a cheese grater. This seems easy enough until about halfway through the second bar.
The second method is to cut one of the bars into six or eight chunks, then put it in your blender or food processor along with one cup of the oxygen bleach. Blend until soap is small and crumbly then repeat with the other two bars.
I, on the other hand, always use the third method. Put one bar of soap on a paper plate (image #1) and microwave on high for three minutes. It comes out looking like something from Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. Let it cool for a bit then cut it into chunks (image #3). Crumble by hand, or better yet, process in your blender or food processor (image #4).
–In order to get the Fels Naptha soap to expand properly in the microwave it can’t be old. I always buy it right before I make the detergent. If it’s old it will be a darker yellow and instead of expanding it will melt and burn. If you’re unsure how old your soap is then use method #1 or #2.
–My husband wanted me to tell you that microwaving the Fels Naptha soap makes your kitchen stink like Fels Naptha soap. In his defense, it’s not the prettiest smelling soap in the world but in the end your laundry detergent will smell great. He agrees with that.
–If, after microwaving, you leave the cut up soap on the plate for a while, everyone who walks by will think you made some new delicious bread recipe and may try to eat it (see image #3).
Now all you have to do is dump the ingredients in a big bowl and mix it up.
I highly suggest you do the mixing outside or at least open a window as it does create some soap “dust” which will probably make you cough or sneeze without some good ventilation.
Final Thoughts On Making Laundry Detergent
-If you’re already striving to live a DIY self-sufficient kind of life then making your own laundry detergent is a natural next step.
-If you’re a total newbie to all this, then making your own laundry detergent is an awesome first step.
-It’s easy, it’s cheap and you always need it.
-Because no matter how many times you do laundry, somebody is always out of clean underwear. Sheesh!!
Homemade Laundry Detergent
3 bars Fels Naptha Soap
3 cups borax
3 cups washing soda
1 cup baking soda
4 1/2 cups oxygen bleach powder
2 cups kosher salt
40-45 drops essential oil (I used a combo of lavender, wild orange and cedar wood)
One at a time, put each bar of Fels Naptha soap on a paper plate and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Let cool and cut soap into pieces. Put in food processor or blender until crumbly. (You can also use one of the alternate methods listed above). Set aside.
Put kosher salt in a large bowl. Add 40-45 drops of a single or blend of essential oils to get desired fragrance. Blend well. Add Fels Naptha soap, borax, washing soda, baking soda and oxygen bleach.
Stir until completely blended (preferably in a well ventilated room or outside).
Store in a large container with a tight-fitting lid.
Makes 16 cups, which will do about 128 loads of laundry. That’s a lot of laundry!
To use: For a regular washing machine add 2 tbsp. to washer and wash as usual. For a high efficiency machine (front-loading) use 1 tbsp for a small load or 2 tbsp. for a heavy load and put directly in the drum before adding clothes.