Homemade Laundry Detergent is as much effective as the one bought from the store and it costs less than it. My Laundry Soap which is homemade I’ve shared before but due to the large number of questions I have got over the past years I choose to make a post.
The idea of laundry detergent which is homemade came to me when a friend’s mom made hers while I was visiting their house 15 years ago (wow, I just felt old!) and I’ve been experimenting with recipes since I have lived alone and had to do the laundry by myself (except when I was at college- back then I have used the most aromatic detergent… live and learn!). This version is an updated take on my original creation.
Laundry Detergent Vs. Laundry Soap
It is essential to note that it is not the same when we talk about laundry detergent and laundry soap. A soap, is by definition a mixture of base or alkali with oils and fats, like this recipe for a soap called a crock pot that is made of a mixture of coconut and olive oils together with water base and a lye.
Detergent, on the other hand, is typically synthetic (at least partially) and is typically designed for a specific purpose, such as to dissolve even in hard water or cold water.
A simplistic definition is that soap is (or could be) made naturally while detergent most often is made synthetically. So recipes for “natural” laundry detergents are in most cases intended for soaps, and the recipes intended for detergents are rarely natural.
Since the versions bought from the store are named “Laundry Detergents,” I’ve decided this tutorial or detergent recipe to be named a DIY Laundry, because soap base is used. I’ve used these recipes (or variations) for years and find them as effective as regular store bought laundry detergent when used correctly.
High Efficiency Safe?
That is the question I’ve gotten the most in the 100+ comments on my original Laundry Detergent recipe. I don’t have a washing machine which is highly efficient but dozens of my readers that do have, said that they have used it in a HE washer with no problems.
Too much suds are created with the usage of an HE washer which is concerning so it is suggested a low-suds detergent or soap to be used. This recipe is low-suds by definition and should be safe for HE, but check with the instructions that came with your machine to make sure before using.
Safe Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients
Many readers questioned the safety of Borax in my original recipe. After much research, I am entirely comfortable with the usage of borax in laundry soap and as well as other uses which are directly not in contact with food. Here’s my take on Borax but do your own research and make sure you are comfortable with using it (or any ingredient) before using! If you are still on the fence, here is a recipe that is borax free…
Why Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent?
I started using homemade natural laundry soap or detergent to refrain the harsh additives, chemicals, colors and fragrances found in many regular detergents, but it turns out that homemade is also much less expensive and incredibly easy to make.
Even if you’re just starting out with natural living and wouldn’t dream of making your own deodorant, you can start by using a laundry soap because it doesn’t take much work and is without expensive specialty ingredients.
Laundry Detergent Components…
The laundry soap homemade recipe is based on three ingredients:
– Borax: A naturally occurring mineral- I get mine here.
– Washing Soda: Also called Soda Ash, this helps remove oils and residue. Available at most local grocers or here.
– Grated Bar Soap: Like Dr. Bronners or you can use homemade. At the moment I use coconut oil for the recipe for laundry soap for homemade detergent. Most of the recipes are based on Fels Naptha which is effective but has some ingredients which are questionable and therefore we refrain it. I personally think the coconut oil laundry soap works better anyway.
Add- Ins which are Optional: I’ve also tried with adding Oxygen Boosters or Oxi-Clean to the recipe. I’ve revealed that they don’t do much good when mixed into the recipe, but can be great when added to especially dirty loads of laundry along with the homemade soap.
Another optional addition for scent is some essential oil. I mostly use lime or lemon essential oil which are I add to the powder although usually the aroma fragrant vanishes after the process of drying.
Clean Laundry: Two Ways
This recipe can be made two ways: as a powder or a liquid. It is so much faster to produce the powder and less place for keeping is needed, but the liquid is much more active in the process of removing the stains. The liquid also seems more effective for those with hard water.
At the moment I am using the version made from powder and for the stain treating I use some other products which are natural (written below). The two recipes contain the same natural components, so choose the one that most suits you. This version of the recipe is for the powder and the other one for the liquid is in this post.
Laundry Detergent Ingredients
– grated bar soap, bought from a natural store or homemade (1 bar)
– 1 cup of washing soda
– 1 cup of borax (or additional washing soda)
– Essential oils of Lime or Lemon (20 drops)
– Optional: 1 mug of Oxygen Booster (When you buy it, it serves for a year)
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent
1. Grate the soap using a hand grater or food processor. Grate into fine particles so it dissolves easily.
2. Carefully mix with the washing soda and borax (use gloves or a spoon as these can by drying if used directly on skin)
3. Add essential oils and stir.
4. Store in an air-tight glass jar.
5. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. Put Oxygen booster (1 tablespoon) if necessary… I usually use it for white clothes.
Natural Stain Treatment
Homemade laundry detergent works well, but it won’t work as well as chemically formulated stain-release and cold water formulas from the store. I store a various natural ingredients intended for stain treating in the room for laundry and use some of them according to the origin of the stain.
Do you make your own homemade laundry detergent yet? Will you consider starting now? Share your experience and recipe if you already do!