That Time I Made My Own Laundry Detergent

A few weeks ago, I found a recipe for homemade laundry detergent on Pinterest.  One of my goals is to do more crafts or DIY projects.  So, this past weekend, I decided to give it a shot and see if I could do it for myself.  It was much easier and quicker than I thought it would be (that’s what she said) and it must be one of the nicest smelling home projects you can do, haha.  Here’s where I got the original recipe for it from.  I figured I would share my own experience with everyone, both good and bad.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

  • 4 Cups of hot water
  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha soap, grated
  • 1 Cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1/2 Cup of Borax
  • Essential oil (optional)
These ingredients are supposed to make 10 gallons: 640 loads for a front load HE washer, 220 loads for a top load washer.  I was able to easily find all the ingredients at Wal-mart.  In fact, all three items were next to each other on the shelf:
I have a tendency to mess things up, so I decided to only make half of the volume described in the recipe.  So where it said “1 Cup,” I did a half of a cup.
  1. Grade the soap.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together the grated soap and water until the soap is completely dissolved.
  3. Fill a 5 gallon bucket 1/2 full of hot water. Add the washing soda, Borax and melted soap mixture. Stir well until dissolved. (I didn’t have a 5 gallon bucket, so I used a large pot; in the future, I’m going to get the bucket.)
  4. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot water and stir well. Cover and let sit overnight. The finished mixture will resemble a loose, liquid form of Jello. At this point, you can add 50 drops of the essential oil of your liking to the soap. (I don’t add any to mine)
  5. Fill your soap dispenser 1/2 with water and half with soap. Shake well before each use. For front load washers, use 1/4 C – 1/3 C per load. For top load washers, use 1/2-5/8 C per load.
So here’s where I ran into trouble.  I didn’t have a big enough old detergent container.  I also didn’t have a funnel and I wasn’t really prepared for how jello-y and lumpy it would be after it sat out overnight.  So, I had to get a little ghetto-fabulous in my creative problem solving:
Luckily, I manage to get as much as possible into this container and ended up finishing a second one that I had open in order to free up another container and get everything in there.  In the future, I am definitely going to make sure that I have more space.  Be sure to add the water in and shake it up really well before you use it.  I didn’t smell the soap for the first couple of loads, but now I do and I like it.  I think I’ll 100% make it again in the future, but not until I can get a bigger container so I can make sure I add enough water to the final product.
If anyone else out there has made their own laundry detergent, let me know how you did it in the comments.  I’d be down for trying other methods.  If you make this one, also let me know how it turned out.  Thanks! 🙂
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