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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent - Updated Recipe

I previously posted a recipe for homemade laundry detergent. Now having made and used it for a little over two years I have tweaked the recipe some and changed the way I use it so I wanted to provide an update. One of the changes I made was I started using Kirk's Castille Cocoa bar soap instead of the Fels Naptha. Big G has sensitive skin (and taste and smell!) and he did not like it. He doesn't seem to have any issues with the Castille. So far I have only been able to get it in regular but there is a peppermint one I would love to try. 

 Homemade Laundry Detergent

What you'll need:

~ 4 Cups of water
~ 1/3 bar of cheap soap, grated (I use Kirk's Castille)
~ 1/2 Cup Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda) I use Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda)
~ 1/2 Cup Borax (20 Mule Team)
~ 5 gallon bucket for mixing (a lid is helpful)
~ 3 gallons of water

**Optional Additions:  Peppermint and Le Savonnier Marseillais All-Purpose Natural Liquid Soap

First grate the bar soap and put into saucepan with 4 cups of water. Heat on low until the soap is completely dissolved. While soap mixture is heating, add 3 gallons of water ( I used warm water) to the 5 gallon bucket.  Add the Borax and Washing Soda to the water in the bucket and stir to dissolve. When the soap in the pan is completely dissolved, add it to the mixture in the bucket and  continue stirring until thickened. Let mixture stand for 24 hours.

After it sits for 24 hours, it is ready to use. Some people leave it in the bucket. I saved my empty laundry jugs in preparation of making this.
It may thicken up or have globs of gel-like material in it when you uncover it. I just used my Tupperware hand mixer ("stick" type mixer) to blend it well, then transferred the detergent to the bottles.


I have a GE Duet front load washer. I have started adding the detergent directly to the load instead of using the dispenser on the machine. In talking about homemade recipes with others this came up and so I tried it. I don't know why, but I feel like it works better.

Notes: You'll find the Borax and the Arm & Hammer on the laundry aisle. At my Walmart it is on the opposite side of the brand name detergents. If you want to use Fels-Naptha bar soap, you'll find it there as well

~I have started using Kirk's Castille bar soap instead. It can be found in the health and beauty department (past the pharmacy) with the other bar soap brands.

Additional Notes:

~ I added small amounts of two other things to my detergent with my last batch. The first was a couple of tablespoons of Le Savonnier Marseillais All-Purpose Natural Liquid Soap. I am not sure if this is available in stores. I received a bottle of it for the purpose of writing a review of it. It is a 100% natural olive oil soap. They offer a couple different varieties. I used the natural eucalyptus essential oil one.

~ The second thing I added was a couple of tablespoons of peppermint extract. I didn't have any peppermint essential oil so I improvised. I liked the results of adding these two things, but they are not necessary for the cleaning properties.

~  I didn't have a lid for my bucket so I covered and secured wax paper over it and it worked fine. I have transferred the mixture to detergent bottles I had been saving for easier handling and shaking, should it thicken. I have read others statements that they just keep it in the bucket with the lid on.

~*~  Always use caution with the bucket around children and do not leave it where a child could get get into it as it is a drowning risk. ~*~


There is a powder version of this recipe and it can be found online in various places. I have not made it but it is basically the same ingredients without water.
1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda
1/3 of the bar of soap, grated

I believe you simply combine the ingredients into an air-tight container and add 2 to 3 tablespoons to the wash.


So there it is. My recipe has evolved a bit. I use what works for me and my family. If you haven't done this and wanted to, I hope I've inspired you to give it a try. If you have any questions, ask away. I'll do my best to help any way I can.  :)


Felicias Red Door Life said...

I've yet to make a liquid laundry soap, I think I am a little afraid of the process which is totally silly. I'm going to pin this as a project to tackle this summer.

The Happy Clown With A Frown said...

I have written a lot here, but once you have the materials gathered, it literally only takes about 15 minutes to have it all mixed and ready to sit for the 24 hours.