Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DIY Laundry Detergent

I saw a post on Pinterest the other day at sparked my interests about making your own laundry detergent and I've been dying to try it! So this morning K and I trudged off to our local WalMart to stock up on what we needed and as soon as she went down for her nap this afternoon I tried it out!

Here's what you need:
1 (4lb) box Borax
1 (4lb) box Super Washing Soda
1 (4lb) box Baking Soda
3 bars (15oz) of Fels-Naptha soap or 2 bars of Zote soap
1 tub of Oxi-Clean (optional)
1 jar of Downy Un-Stopables or other scent booster (also optional)

I found everything that I used in the laundry isle at Wal-Mart. You can choose whether or not you want to use a scent booster. If you want to make your laundry really smelly add 2 bottles, I just wanted a nice light scent.

Here's how you make it:

1. Grate your bars of soap. This is the most time consuming part of this process. **Update** The last time I made a batch I used the small holes on my cheese grater and I think it worked better than using the large side, the soap dissolved faster.

2. Grab a big bucket and mix it all up! I used a big plastic pail and a wooden spoon. I found it was easier to put a little bit of each ingredient in at a time rather than all at once, or else it would have been really hard to stir. 

3. Dump your mixture into whatever container you're going to use. 

I split our recipe because my daughter has somewhat sensitive skin and I didn't want to put the scent booster in hers. The container I chose for our laundry is actually a cereal container with a hatch for pouring out the cereal. It works perfect to fit a measuring spoon in!

Here's what K's batch without the scent booster looks like.

And here's what the batch looks like for my husband and I. The purple dots are the scent boosters.

Here's the breakdown:
You only need 1 or 2 Tablespoons per load. My husband will need 2 because his clothes are so dirty! This will last FOREVER!

$3.24 - Super Washing Soda
$2.66 - Baking Soda
$3.38 - Borax
$2.91 - Fels-Naptha ( .97 each)
$6.97 - Downy Un-Stopables
Total: $19.16 

I didn't have to buy Oxi-Clean because I had lots from a Sams Club trip a few months ago so I didn't add it the price for that. The total is still going to be less than $25 for months and months of laundry detergent! And if you opt not to use the Downy and go un-scented you'll save even more since that was the most expensive part!

I just pulled my first load out of the dryer before writing this and they smell so yummy and my white towels are just as clean as they were with Tide!

***UPDATE*** Today (7/15) I finally got low enough on detergent that I made a second batch. That means my first batch lasted me for exactly 5 months. As I said, S always uses to TBSP in his laundry because of how dirty he gets. For my laundry and K's we only used 1TBSP for most loads, 2 if they were very big or very dirty! I think that's pretty good. For $19.16 I got 5 months of clean clothes. Worth it? Absolutely.


  1. When you said only use 1 to 2 tablespoons I about died!!! That tub is going to last you for a year! You'll have to let me know how "K" does with it cuz our girls have sensitive skin too and it will be interesting to see how gentle it is on the skin.

  2. I know, isn't that awesome! I know S will be using 2 on his dirty barn clothes but I should only need 1 for mine and the baby's! I will let you know how K reacts to it. So far everything I've seen from other who have used it, they've had great luck. I am doing her laundry tomorrow so I'll update you in a few days!