Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homemade laundry detergent....mayo or powder form?

Ok, so I'm all about saving money around here, and needless to say I have tried a few different recipes for the homemade laundry detergent.  I finally found not one, but TWO that I love!  When I came across the recipe over at The White Silk Purse blog I knew I just had to try it out. The first recipe ends up with the consistency of mayo and the other is made from the same ingredients but you just leave it in powder form instead of adding the water.  They both work great and I'm hooked.  When I made the mayo form, I used one of my husbands empty protein powder containers to store it in.  The recipe actually made two of these containers.  I gave the other one to my mom.  I just used my Silhouette to cut out the words Laundry Detergent onto white shelf liner.  Stuck it to the bottle.  Just in case anyone decides to help me do laundry, I also put a note on top letting them know how much to use.  I've got a $1 store Tablespoon in the laundry room that sits right next to the container.  The recipe makes 256 loads (that's if you only use the 1 T per load, and to be honest, 1T is plenty.  Every now and then it makes me feel better to put 2 if the clothes are just aweful dirty.  You know, when the 2yo doesn't make it to the bathroom in time, or when the clothes are a sweaty mess from exercising or working in the yard...anyway!) The cost comes out to only 1.7 cents per load! When was the last time you paid $4.35 to wash 256 loads of laundry???  OK, OK, maybe if you're one of those extreme couponers, maybe.  But still.
So!  Wanna make some?  All you need is:

  •  2 bars of Fels Naptha soap
  •  2 cups of Borax
  •  2 cups of Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
  •  and 6+ cups of hot water
  • Containers to store your new sauce (FYI: any and everything that is a liquid, paste, mousse, etc, I call "sauce")  In this case, your new laundry detergent
  Kitchen utensils/appliances you'll need are:

  • A cheese grater to grate the soap, or you can cut it up with a knife.  Sounds like a chore, but it only took me 10 minutes to grate both bars. P.S. If you're close to an IKEA, they have a cool little cheese grater that snaps onto a container so when you're grating it falls right into the bowl.  I want one and went online to purchase it, but apparently they only carry them in the store.  Pffft!  My IKEA is way on the other side of the metroplex, so it's a day trip for sure.  
  • Saucepan to heat up the water and melt the soap
  • Blender
Put your 6 cups of water in the saucepan and heat it up.  Grate the Fels Naptha and the add it to the water.  Stir, stir, and stir until it's all melted.  Remove from heat. Add the Borax.  Slowly add the Washing Soda.  I say slowly because if you just dump it in there then it will bubble up & over and that'll just be a big mess.  Stir, stir, stir until the powder has all dissolved.
I just left the new sauce in the pan, covered it and left it overnight.  Or you can make it in the morning and then it'll be ready in the evening to finish up.  When you go back to it after it's sat, you will notice that it's hardened quite a bit.  You're right on track.  Here is where you get the blender out.  I used a butter knife to cut through the new laundry detergent and break it up into chunks. I just filled up my blender about half way with detergent chunks and started adding water to thin it out, about 1/2-1 cup. You just want it to be the consistency of mayo when you're done blending.  If you feel like you put too much water, then just add a little more of the detergent.  The first time I made this I didn't use enough water and it hardened up again.  Not rock hard, but very dense and still crystallized. Which is fine because it'll just dissolve in the wash anyway.  But I like the mayo consistency.  So, make a blender full, and pour it off into a container.  Repeat with the blending until it's all mayo"like".  Use 1T per load.  Drop it in the washer as it's filling with water and then add your clothes.  That's it!
For the powder form, just don't use any water.  I cut up the Fels Naptha into little chunks instead of grating it for this one.  I poured 1 cup of Washing Soda, 1 cup of Borax and 1 bar of chopped up Fels Naptha into the blender and blended it all up.  I had a smaller container for my powder form, so that's all I made instead of the 2 cup recipe.  Use 2 tsp per load.  Yeah, just 2 tsp, NOT Tablespoon.

P.S.  Pay attention to your pots/pans, utensils, blender when you're cleaning out the soap that was left behind. They will be sparkling clean!  Seriously, my stainless steel pot has never shined so much, and the blender looks brand.  I figure if it makes my dishes sparkle, imagine what it's doing to my clothes!  I know my Mom is tempted to start washing the dishes with it.  She was so impressed with the stuff.  :)

This stuff is so easy to make either way and I love it.  Thanks to Dana over at The White Silk Purse for her recipe.  I'm so glad I found it.  This one is a winner!


  1. have you found a recipe that will work with the high efficiency front load machines? I recently had to break down and get new machines and Chris wanted to go with these <3 I love them but this method won't work with them and so, the search is on....

    1. Hey Shannon! I remembered from other recipes I've made that the homemade stuff is actually fine to use with the HE front loading machines. All of the recipes use the same ingredients, they're just mixed different ways. All of them are very low suds recipes. VERY low suds. I went to one of the sites and copied/pasted what they had written:
      Regarding High Efficiency (HE) Front-Load Washers

      HE front-load washers require “special soap” for one reason alone – low suds. Because they use less water, they require soap that is less sudsy. The good news is, this homemade detergent is VERY low suds. The ”special” HE detergent is just another advertising mechanism to push consumers to buy “special soap” for unnecessarily high prices.

      So, there ya' go! Do you guys live in Fort Worth? I was gonna say I can put some in a container for you to try out before you go and make a whole batch. Let me know!

  2. Ok andy mentioned this.... I want to try it seems like a Great deal!! Does it have a smell to it or no?? Also how much will it cost to buy all the necessary materials? Can you get everything at walmart for it?m

    Love that you started a blog! :) I am working on a quilt for addison and may need some help!! I havent got far yet because she has needed so much tlc!

    1. Hey Jess! It smells like the Fels Naptha soap. When you get the bar at the store, you can smell the package through the paper. It's just a strong soap smell, but the clothes don't come out smelling like anything. My clothes just smell like my fabric softener. You can add any essential oil that you want when you make it to give it a certain scent. Cost: Hmmm...If I remember correctly, a box of Borax is about $3 and you can make several batches with the 1 box. I always have a box on hand because you can use it for so many other things too. Check out the label on the box for the 411 on that. A box of Arm&Hammer Washing Soda (NOT baking soda) is another $3. Again, the box will get you several batches. The Fels Naptha bars of soap are about $1 each. So, you'll spend about $8 to get all the ingredients and like I said, the Borax and Washing soda will be around for a few more batches. Yeah, I get everything at WalMart. All 3 ingredients are on the aisle with the other laundry detergents. My WalMart has them on the bottom shelf. Just keep in mind that the Borax and/or Washing soda sometimes get clumpy sitting in the box. I just get a butter knife and stick it in the opening while I'm pouring it out into my measuring cup to help break up any clumps.
      A quilt for Addison! Good for you! I'm more than happy to help wherever you need it. Just give me a holler!

  3. Welcome to blogland. I will look forward to reading what you post. Make sure you follow mine too! Happy Blogging!

  4. We LOVE our laundry soap!! we made the "mayo" kind first next time I am going to do the powder just to try it out too!! But I love it! Thank for sharing!