Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Have you ever paused in a store aisle and been struck by the sheer number of choices available to consumers in a product category? Take laundry detergent. It’s a wall of plastic jugs and boxes that can span an entire aisle in a big box store.

The reason is profit. The product is easy to make and the markup is high. If big companies can do it, what’s to stop us from creating our own detergent using common household ingredients, then pocketing the savings? Here are a few recipes for savings:

Three-Ingredient Concentrated Soap

1 bar of natural soap (like castile or a gentle glycerin soap)
1 cup of Arm & Hammer’s Super Washing Soda
1 cup of borax

Use a cheese grater to finely grate the bar of soap. Sprinkle in the washing soda and borax. Store the mixture in an airtight container. Use one to two tablespoons per load.
One batch yields 40 to 50 loads. Safe for high-efficiency washing machines.

High-Yield Recipe

1 box of Super Washing Soda (3 lb., 7 oz.)
1 box of borax (4 lb., 12 oz.)
1 box of Arm & Hammer’s Pure Baking Soda (4 lb.)
3 bars of Fels-Naptha laundry bar soap (5.5 oz.) or Ivory soap
1 container of OxiClean (1.3 lb.)
Optional: Purex Crystals (28 oz.) for scent

Finely grate the Fels-Naptha. Mix all the ingredients together and store in airtight container. Use only 1-2 tablespoons of detergent per load. Yield estimated at 500 loads.

Citrus Savings Soap

2 boxes of Super Washing Soda
1 3-pound box of detergent booster or pre soak (comparable to Biz or OxiClean)
2 tablespoons of Epsom salts
Essential oil of choice (10 to 15 drops)
3-4 bars of Zote laundry bar soap

Blend essential oil and Epsom salts. Orange and lemon oils work well. Reduce bar soap to powder with grater or food processor. Blend ingredients and store in airtight container. Estimated yield is 250 loads.

Five-Bar Soil Fighter

1 box of 20 Mule Team Borax
1 box of Super Washing Soda
1 4-pound box of baking soda
2 bars of Zote laundry bar soap
3 bars of Fels-Naptha laundry bar soap

Reduce soap to powder using a cheese grater or a lemon zoster for a finer, faster dissolving powder. Mix ingredients and store in an airtight container. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons, depending on the size of the load and dirt.

Borax-Free Soap

6 cups of Super Washing Soda
Three bars of 4.5-5 oz. soap containing coconut oil, finely grated
Lemon essential oil (optional)

Cut soap into small chunks. Add to a food processor with the washing soda. Blend to a fine powder. Cover the top of the food processor with a towel to prevent a fine mist of powder from floating into the air. Let contents settle before opening. Store in a clean container. Use 2-3 tablespoons of laundry detergent per load, adding five drops of lemon essential oil as a degreaser. When washing in cold water, dissolve the detergent in hot water before adding it to the washer.


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