Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crunchify Two: Laundry Detergent

In 2008 we made the switch to cloth diapers with Owyn. I needed a new laundry detergent for washing his diapers in, but wasn't up for buying two different kinds of detergent for our family. We were already spending enough on just one jug at a time.

I decided to look into making my own detergent. And to my surprise it's actually really easy. So I set out to make my first batch and after that I never looked back.

Not only are we saving our clothing and skin from harsh chemicals but we are also saving our landfills from being piled with more plastic bottles. Annnnd we are saving money. I think we figured it to be somewhere around $250.00 a year, figuring that we were buying two jugs of detergent a month. And we have a lot of laundry with all of the family cloth so we may have even been using more than that. And since it saves us funds Matt likes to help with the making of it. He loves saving money. And I like that he helps because after grating a few bars of soap this mamas hands/wrists/arms get worn out.

When I first started making my detergent I was making a liquid. Which was the recipe I'd found online. While searching I found a ton of woman who would claim that they just did their own thing and no longer followed recipes, but they would say that they had started out with something similar to what I was planning on using and that it worked well .They'd just found their own niche. Soooooo yeah, I started with this liquid recipe, and saved my old detergent jugs and reused them over and over again.

Here is that recipe:

1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/3 bar soap grated. (I use Fells Naptha or Ivory)

-In a large pot heat 3 pints water. Add grated soap and stir until melted. Add in washing soda and Borax and stir until fully dissolved. Remove from heat.

-In clean pail pour 1 quart hot water and add heated soap mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well. (It never clarified the exact amount of cold water and I usually just used 2-3 cups.)

- Use 1/2 cup per load. Shake well before each use as it will harden a bit. (I always left a bit of space in the jugs for shake room to start off.)

I have simplified my recipe now. And am making a powdered detergent rather than a liquid. I decided that I would like to use even less Borax in the mixture and I kind of just went with what felt right and it works just fine. It only takes me about 30 minutes to make three months worth. And with two busy boys and a five month old, it works much better!

I'd say my recipe looks something like this

1 cup washing soda
1/4 cup Borax
1/3 bar soap grated

Mix it all together. Shake up, and you're done. It's that easy. I use about 2 tablespoons per load and it seems to get the job done. I always double, triple, etc. to make how ever much I feel I need or am in the mood to make at that time. It just works.

We are saving money, the planet, and our health. Does it get better than that?


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I had found someone else's post about making their own detergent months ago and have been looking for washing soda and borax ever since! I finally just decided to look online and I've found Borax on now for washing soda... Any suggestions besides hardware stores, Home Depot & grocery store?


  2. I found washing soda here:

    I remember the shipping being pretty pricey when I ordered online though. Could you check with your local grocier to see if maybe they can special order the products for you? I had the same dilema when I started but my small town grocery store helped me out. :)