Duo Ventures

Saturday, May 4, 2013

DIY: Homemade Laundry Detergent

We're definitely not the most green/organic/all natural household out there by any means, but we have made minor adjustments here & there.  A couple of years ago we switched from the generic scented laundry detergent to one that was fragrance & dye free.  While I initially missed the scent of fresh laundry, I felt like all those extra chemicals that were used to perfume & color the detergent were ultimately not necessary.  

Then recently, I started seeing some DIY detergent recipes on Pinterest that seemed even more natural & more cost efficient.  There are many different ways to make your own laundry detergent, but most recipes seemed to use the same basic ingredients with the combinations & quantity of ingredients varying only slightly. 

I essentially chose the ingredients I liked best & made my own version.  Pinterest led me to two blogs that I referenced the most: Happy Money Saver & A Diamond in the Stuff.  So thanks to you ladies! :)

Some recipes called for 2 or 3 bars of either Ivory, Fels-Naptha, or Zote soap.  I couldn't decide, so I just went with 1 bar of Ivory & 1 bar of Fels-Naptha.  I also noticed most recipes called for the regular Oxiclean, but while I was shopping I noticed they offered a version that was free of dyes, perfumes, & chlorine...so I went with that instead.

Here's my version of DIY Laundry Detergent:
-borax: one box (4 lb)
-baking soda: one box (4 lb)
-washing soda: one box (3 lb 7 oz) 
-oxiclean: one container (3 lb)
-fels-naptha bar soap: one bar (5.5 oz)
-ivory bar soap: one bar (4 oz)

OK, so here's what you need to get started:

I started by grating the soap onto some tinfoil, using the second largest slot.  It came out looking like finely shredded cheese - tacos anyone?  Some people use a food processor to get a finer consistency, but the grater worked OK for me:

Next, I mixed everything together in a large bucket & once everything was incorporated thoroughly I transferred it all into a 2 gallon glass jar.  I also bought a stainless steel coffee scoop which is 2 Tbls (the recommended amount per load is 1 or 2 Tbls depending on the load size):

That's it! It's that easy.
With all the ingredients added, it filled about 3/4 of the jar as you can see.   There is a small amount of fragrance in the soaps, which I was initially hoping to eliminate completely, but it's such a trace amount per load that I don't think it should matter too much.

I literally just made this batch a couple of days ago, so I've yet to wash anything except for a load of white sheets, but it seemed to work great so far!  Most of the reviews I've read were awesome too.

Cost Breakdown:
-borax: $3.38
-baking soda: $2.24
-washing soda: $3.24
-oxiclean: $7.52
-fels-naptha bar soap: $.97
-ivory bar soap: I already had some @ home
-glass jar: $9.97
-stainless steel scoop: $ 1.67
Total cost for approximately 15 lb of detergent:  $17.35 

I normally pay around $12 for my regular detergent, but I have a feeling this is going to last me much longer since you only need 1 or 2 Tbls per load.  I'll be back with an update once I do a few more loads - Happy Washing!

Side Notes:
We happen to have an archaic hand-me-down washing machine from my parents, but these ingredients are safe for those of you with High Efficiency washing machines too.

Also, our DIY version is fragrance free.  While we don't mind the absence of frangrance, I would recommend adding a scented laundry enhancer (like Purex Crystals for example) for those of you who prefer that 'clean laundry smell'.   Other than that, we plan on DIY-ing more laundry detergent when we run out of this batch!

Update:  We have been using our DIY laundry detergent for about 4 months so far.  It has been working great for us - clothes come out nice & clean.  That being said, our clothes are typically not heavily soiled/stained.  It's just the two of us right now - no kids or pets, so I don't know if that would be a game changer at all  ;)



  1. Can i used this on an HE washer?

    1. Yup! HE washers just require a detergent that creates little or no suds. :)