August 29, 2009

Making Your Own Laundry Detergent!

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It's crazy to say, but since I've been doing this whole "frugal" thing I've had a really hard time spending money on laundry detergent. I grew up with Tide and that's the only one I ever used, no matter how tight times got. Honestly, that and dog food have been my biggest expenses! SO, a month ago I decided to do some research and I started making my own. I've had several people ask me about how to do it. It's simple and CHEAP! It smells great and works wonderful.

What you'll need:

*A 5 gallon bucket w/lid (I picked one up at Home Depot)
*Box of Borax (I use 20 Mule Team)
*Box of Washing Soda (I use Arm & Hammer) Walmart and Target do not carry this. I found it at Kroger in the laundry section. Not Baking Soda!
*Bar of Soap (I used Irish Spring, that's what I had on hand)


1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
1 Bar Soap
3 Gal of Water

Use a large pot and fill w/about 6 cups of water-bring to boil, grate your soap up (I cut the bar up in chunks and then put it in a food processor). Once water is boiling reduce heat a little and add soap gradually, put lid on cook until most of it's dissolved. You still will see some pieces, this is fine it will break up in your wash.
Meanwhile fill bucket up w/about 3 gals of water, mix borax and washing soda in and stir.
When soap water is done, poor into bucket, stir and put lid on. Let this sit for about 24 hours.

*When you get ready to use, it will probably have jelled up some, just stir each use, and put about a cup into your laundry.

*I saved some of my tide bottles and put some in it, this way I don't have to stir each time and I can just shake and pour in cap and I'm done.

Let me know how it goes.

It last forever!!!!! plus you have pretty much full boxes of stuff that will last over the year to make more with.

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Anonymous said...

Does it cause more or less fading than regular laundry detergent? Can you use it on the same fabrics? I would worry that borax would be a little hard on the clothes.

My Memphis Mommy said...

I personally think that it's great. It works the same as Tide. I'd recommend if you were worried about fading that you reduce the amt of borax that you use. I have noticed NO fading.

Anonymous said...

Can you use it in HE washers?

My Memphis Mommy said...

I had someone email me that question. I have NO clue. I do not have a HE washer, so I don't know what you can and can not use. I know that it is liquid and it's similar to Tide. I wouldn't think that washing soda or Borax would do any damage b/c those are normal products used to treat clothes. If you read your manual on what you can and can not use, please let me know. Sorry!

Angelia said...

It should be fine in your HE washer. I used Borax in mine all the time. (living with parents right now) Also if you want your whites whiter try using BLUEING during your rinse cycle. A little bit will do you. It did not work so well with my mom's machine (my husbands white bathrobe now has blue spots) but great in my HE washer. I just put it in the fabric softener place. It will turn the plastic blue...but hey i didn't care my whites were WHITE WHITE!

My Memphis Mommy said...

Everyone that I have talked to says that you could use it in the HE just not as much as you would in a normal washer. Thanks on the tip of Blueing. I've never heard of that.

Anonymous said...

I am a just now reading this post so I hope someone will respond even though I am a little "late", to change the smell of the homemade detergent would you sugest just using a different type bar soap? Would it matter if it was maybe a fruity smelling caress bar soap?

My Memphis Mommy said...

I actually have used Dial and Lever and both have smelled fine. Honestly, by time I was and put int he dryer I don't notice much smell at all. My Fabric Softener is what I smell on my clothes and my hubby has even made comments that the clothes smell good.

Freedom said...

I dilute mine even more than this. I use the recipe off the Duggar family website ( and it says that when you take it out of the 5 gallon bucket and put it into bottles you use 1/2 water and 1/2 of your detergent mix. So you actually get 10 gallons. There are 3 of us and I have about 1/3 of a bucket left and made it in February. Cost about $2.00 per bucket not counting the bucket. You can also call arm & hammer and they will tell you who in your are carries the washing soda. If none close by they have a program where they send it to you in the mail. Think it was $11 for 2 boxes including shipping.

Welcome! said...

Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for these instructions! I printed them out, made up the solution, and have been really happy so far! I have an HE washer and it's worked fine, infact because HE washers use LESS dteregent, I've used less of my homemade and it's worked great! I smile to myself everytime I do laundry because I know how much money I'm saving!!!

Stop By Sometime!

Stayathomedad said...

Instead of bar soap, can i use a liquid body soap? If so, how much would i need to add into the recipe. Thanks.

My Memphis Mommy said...

You know I had someone else ask me that this week too! I don't know why not. I don't know for sure but I think you could and I'd use like 1/2 to 3/4 cup. If you do do it, please let me know what you think. I have several bottles laying around the house and it'd be easier than having to grind up the bar soap.


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