I have made homemade liquid laundry detergent with much success with my older washer. However, with the way my new washer is set up, I don't think my old recipe will work as successfully. Therefore, I have decided to make homemade powdered detergent. (I like making my own because I know exactly what goes into it and there are no phosphates or other sudsing agents that are harmful to the environment). Based on scouring the web for recipes along with my old liquid recipe, here is the recipe I have used for the past week with great results and it requires just 3 ingredients:
Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe
- 1 cup borax
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 bar fels-naptha laundry soap (some people say you can use ivory or ZOTE but I have had good luck with fels-naptha with my liquid soap so I am going to stay with what I know works).
- Optional, 5 drop of lavender essential oil (this is optional but I love how lavender has some disinfecting qualities and smells wonderful!)
Note: borax, washing soda, and fels-naptha are available in the laundry section of your grocery store or discount store. If you cannot find them in your local store, you can order them from amazon.com (see the links at the end of this post). Lavender essential oil will be available at a natural foods store but keep in mind that this is not a necessary ingredient in your detergent.
- Grater or Food Processor with grating blade
- Food Processor with "s" blade or blender (if you do not own either of these, see the note below at the end of the instructions)
- Measuring Cup
1. Using either your hand grater or food processor fitted with a grating blade, grate the fels-naptha.
2. In a bowl, add the grated soap along with 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda. Mix together. Add the essential oil if you opt to do so.
3. I find that I have difficulties keeping the soap evenly mixed with the soda and borax. To aid in this, I place the ingredients either into a blender or a food processor fitted with an "s" blade and process until smooth. (This will also help ensure that the soap dissolves in your washing machine)
4. Transfer your laundry soap to a storage container with a tight fitting lid. (I used an empty instant ice tea jar -- leftover from making chai latte).
5. Label your soap and include usage instructions (I just used a sharpie and wrote them directly on the jar)
- 1 Tbsp for small loads
- 2 Tbsp for regular loads
- 3 Tbsp for heavy loads
6. To ensure this soap dissolves completely, either use it in warm or hot loads. If I am using it in a cold water load, I take 1 cup of hot water from the tap and dissolve my laundry detergent in this water before adding it to my machine.
- If you don't own a blender or food processor, unwrap your soap and allow it to dry out for a couple of weeks. If your soap is dry, it will be much more powdery when you grate it and much easier to incorporate into your mix of borax and washing soda.
- You will have a lot of borax and washing soda leftover. These are both great general cleaning agents for other uses and you can use borax to make flubber! I pulled my borax and soda off my shelf so I do not have a cost. I will add that later.
**update 29 Mar 2012 the cost of this detergent. I purchased my items from my local grocery store, Buehelers. The cost of my fels naptha was $1.29. The cost of a box of borax (which contained 10 cups of borax) was $4.19 and the cost of a box of washing soda (which held 6.5 cups) was $3.15. So, to make one batch of laundry detergent cost just $2.19.