Are you my Mommy?

Are you my Mommy?
Are you my Mommy?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Homemade and so Easy Laundry Detergent

In some ways laundry detergent represents the dawning of The Compromising Mother.  Picture me "nesting" in third trimester and finding a recipe for laundry detergent. "What?!?! You can make this yourself!!!" said the side of me that loved the PBS shows as a child where they went to a factory showing something being made....really anything...I didn't care as long as they showed me the process as I watched in slack-jawed-curiosity.  The compromising part is that it combines frugalness with environmentalism with being better for my family since I control the ingredients.  And remember how I choose new compromises in my life is that when it fulfills a few of my aspirations, is fun, and fairly easy; it is a sure win.  This is exactly that.  Let me show you since today is a detergent making day...and it doesn't happen often as it lasts us several months.  When there were just two of us, it lasted about 4-5 months.

Here are the ingredients (by the way, I use all of these for other diy cleaning...stay tuned)
all can be purchased easily. The washing soda and borax and Ivory soap all came from my grocery store
The small bottle contains castille soap and can be purchased at many stores, including Trader Joe's or Target

The Ingredients
4 cups of water
1 bar of any soap grated (I like Ivory)
one cup of Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1 1/2 Tablespoons Castille Soap
3 gallons of water
5 gallon bucket leftover from cat who couldn't compromise

heat 4 cups of water to boiling and lower to a simmer
meanwhile grate 1 bar of soap
 I like to grate half of two different bars so I am left with two small bars perfect for handwashing.  The energy expenditure for liquid soap is not environmentally friendly so we switched a while back.
There is something very beautiful about pure white soap curls...Give me a minute

 I like to add the curls slowly and mix with a whisk, keep stirring until it dissolves, about 2 minutes.
Now add soap soup, Borax, washing soda, castille soap, and three gallons of water to your bucket
 Here's what it looks like all mixed up.

ooo tiny bubbles...I love up close and personal shots

Now let the whole thing set in its bucket for 24 hours

To be honest, I only let it sit 8 hours this time because I had too many piles of laundry waiting.  So, I sped it up by asking my in house muscles to mix it using the drill and a spade girls like me should always find a diy guy...thanks D!
After using the drill it looked like this.
Use one measuring cup of detergent per load.  If it separates with gelled solid on top and liquid on bottom (mine does), just make sure to get some of each part in the measuring cup.  I simply keep a spare measuring cup on top of bucket in laundry area of basement.

I did a little experiment this time.  The castille soap is new.  It is used as a stain fighter in my other cleaning products so I am hoping it will get the job done with all the stains my messy boy gets on his clothes.  The goal is to use less store bought stain fighters.

The Compromise: Every few months take about 5-10 minutes to make laundry detergent
The Sweet Reward:  Huge savings, no unpronounceable ingredients, having a large supply of detergent on hand, oh and I get to grate soap (seriously when was the last time you made soap curls)

Cleanfully Yours,


  1. AWESOME. For anyone else wondering, I did some searching to see if this was good for HE machines. Consensus is it's fine since it's very low suds.
    Tracy, I came across some non-cooked powder versions. Have you experimented with the different types? Also, is Castille Soap usually sold with laundry stuff?

  2. MB, thanks for the advice and legwork in doing the research. I dream of owning an HE machine in the future. Please either post your non-cooked recipe here or email to me and I can do a trial of it for myself and document how it went for a blog post that all can use.