Skip to comments.Do-It-Yourself Laundry Detergent
Posted on 04/21/2010 6:25:54 AM PDT by goodwithagun
While having clean clothes is obviously both hygienic and neighborly, how they get that way may be more open to imagination and experimentation than you may have considered. And consider you should, because as it turns out, the companies supplying the soaps you use to make your attire springtime fresh may be doing little more than taking you to the cleaners.
(Excerpt) Read more at finance.yahoo.com ...
1 bar Fels-Naptha, grated 2 cups washing soda 2 cups Borax
1 tablespoon per load, large or small, will do. I do add more for my husband's work clothes. He's a firefighter and it takes a little extra to get that smoke smell out of the clothes he wears under his gear.
A variation if you like liquid detergent, via http://www.survivalblog.com
Homemade Laundry Detergent — Makes Enough for About 180 Loads
1 Bar - Fels Naptha soap ($1.29 for a 5-1/2 ounce bar)
1 cup - Washing soda $3.99 55 ounce box (do not confuse this with baking soda)
1/2 cup - Borax ($3.49 for a 76 ounce box on sale price, regular price is $3.99) This is the old 20 Mule Team brand, and this can be found at Wal-Mart.)
1 - 5 gal. HDPE plastic utility bucket with lid. These are often available free from bakeries, or approximately $4-tio $5 at [Sam’s Club or] Wal-Mart, or your local paint store)
Grate the Fels Naptha soap into small pieces. You can chop it with a knife, cheese grater, or food processor. Heat four quarts of water in a large, heavy saucepan on top of stove and add soap, stirring constantly till melted. This will take a while depending on the size of your grated pieces. Meanwhile, fill the five gallon bucket half full with warm water. Add the 1 cup of washing soda and the 1/2 cup of Borax and stir well. When soap is melted pour into bucket, then continue to fill bucket with warm water until full. Stir well and let sit overnight until cool. This “concentrate” will thicken as it sits. Stir before using. Now, I use this concentrate straight out of the bucket and use 1/3 cup per large load.
What is “washing soda”? I’ve never heard of it.
4 cups of water. 1/3 bar of cheap soap, grated. 1/2 cup washing soda (not baking soda). 1/2 cup of Borax (20 Mule Team). 5-gallon bucket for mixing. 3 gallons of water. First, mix the grated soap in a saucepan with 4 cups of water, and heat on low until the soap is completely dissolved. Add hot water/soap mixture to 3 gallons of water in the 5-gallon bucket, stir in the washing soda and Borax, and continue stirring until thickened. Let the mix sit for 24 hours, and voila! Homemade laundry detergent.
no, no, no,,,,
first you steel the bags of fat from the Liposuction Clinic...
I think that’s what the Borax is.
There’s also something called a soap nut that can be used by itself. I guess if you were really interested and lived in the proper climate you could grow your own. You just throw the things in the wash, get several uses out of them and then throw them in the compost pile.
Interesting. Thanks for posting.
The article implies that soaps and detergents are the same. Chemically, that’s untrue. They both clean though, and there’s really nothing wrong with using soaps in place of detergents. The disadvantage to soaps is that they tend to form a soap scum, which the washing soda alleviates. You’ve seen this as the white scum in sinks after using soap. There’s nothing wrong with it, but for folks that have sensitive skin, it can cause skin irritation. Detergent can be just as irritating, or worse.
If the washing soda doesn’t take care of the soap residual problem, you can remove it by running another rinse cycle with just a bit of acetic acid (white vinegar) in the water. This should put the residual back into solution and remove the irritant. It seems like a bit more trouble, but it is invaluable to those with skin problems.
Two rocks and a shallow stream is also an option. ;-)
The washing soda is a water softner.
>>> What is washing soda? Ive never heard of it.
Nor had I, so I just had looked it up.
Washing soda is a highly alkaline chemical compound which can be used to remove stubborn stains from laundry. It also has numerous uses around the house, and it is used in a range of industrial applications as well. Washing soda should not be confused with washing powder, which is a powdered soap used as a detergent; it is also not the same thing as baking soda, although the two compounds are closely related.
The chemical formula for washing soda is Na2CO3, and it is also known as sodium carbonate. It is a salt of carbonic acid.
In laundry, washing soda accomplishes several things. The high alkalinity of washing soda helps it act as a solvent to remove a range of stains, and unlike bleach, washing soda does not usually stain. It is also used in detergent mixtures to treat hard water; the washing soda binds to the minerals which make water hard, allowing detergent to foam properly so that clothing will come out clean, without any residue. Sodium carbonate is also used by some textile artists, since it helps dyes adhere to fabric, resulting in deeper penetration and a longer lasting color.
Around the house, washing soda can be used to descale things like coffee machines and bathroom tiles which may accumulate mineral deposits as a result of exposure to hard water. It can also be used to strip floors of wax so that they can be refinished, and for other touch cleaning jobs like scrubbing the stove. You should wear gloves when cleaning with washing soda, because it can cause skin irritation.
Thanks so much for posting this, goodwithagun! I’m going to check into mixing up a batch to try it! I buy Seventh Generation detergent currently, which is a little pricey.
I also might add that you stay on the line to be transferred to an operator..
We’ve made this - and used it - twice, but I just can’t get past the fact that my clothes don’t smell good when they’re done. We have a large household - 9 people - including three athletic teenagers, a toddler still in diapers, and a dad who works for the railroad and often comes home with an oily metallic smell on his clothes. We have switched from Gain to Arm & Hammer, which leaves a nice smell and is half as expensive, but I wish there were some way to scent the homemade mixture. I did check on essential oils at the local health food store, but couldn’t seem to find anything appropriate. Any ideas, anyone?
We use this formula. We got away from the detergents and make our own. It’s a lot cheaper, and cleans better than anything we’ve used prior. Plus, it’s septic system approved.
1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
* Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
* Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
* Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
* Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1 Soap bar
* Grate the bar soap and add to a large saucepan with hot water. Stir over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
* Fill a 10 gallon pail half full of hot water. Add the melted soap, Borax and Washing soda, stir well until all powder is dissolved. Top the pail up with more hot water.
* Use 1 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/3 bar Soap (grated)
* In a large pot, heat 3 pints of water. Add the grated bar soap and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat.
* In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 1 quart of hot water and add the heated soap mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well.
* Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).
Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe #4
Picture of Cup Of Powdered Laundry Detergent - Tipnut.com2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
* Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
* Use 2 tablespoons per full load.
1 bar (4.5 oz) Ivory Soap grated
1 cup Washing Soda
* In a large saucepan add grated soap and enough hot water to cover. Heat over medium-low heat and stir until soap is melted.
* Fill a large pail with 2.5 gallons of hot water, add hot soap mixture. Stir until well mixed.
* Then add the washing soda, again stirring until well mixed.
* Set aside to cool.
* Use 1/2 cup per full load, stirring well before each use (will gel)
2.5 gallons Water (hot)
1 Bar soap (grated)
3/4 cup Washing Soda
3/4 cup Borax
2 TBS Glycerin
* Melt bar soap over medium-low heat topped with water, stir until soap is melted.
* In a large pail, pour 2.5 gallons of hot water, add melted soap mixture, washing soda, borax and glycerin. Mix well.
* Use 1/2 cup per full load.
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Washing Soda
2 2.5 gallons hot water
* Melt grated soap in saucepan with water to cover. Heat over medium-low heat and stir until soap is dissolved.
* Pour hot water in large pail, add hot soap and washing soda. Stir very well.
* Use 1 cup per full load.
2 gallons Water (hot)
1 bar Soap (grated)
2 cups Baking soda (yes baking soda this timenot washing soda)
* Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until soap is melted.
* In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted soap, stir well.
* Then add the baking soda, stir well again.
* Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.
Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe #9
Picture of Cup Of Powdered Laundry Detergent - Tipnut.com12 cups Borax
8 cups Baking Soda
8 cups Washing Soda
8 cups Bar soap (grated)
* Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub.
* Use 1/8 cup of powder per full load.
Recipe #10 (Powdered)
Picture of Cup Of Powdered Laundry Detergent - Tipnut.com1 cup Vinegar (white)
1 cup Baking Soda
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup liquid castile soap
* Mix well and store in sealed container.
* I find it easiest to pour the liquid soap into the bowl first, stirred in the washing soda, then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small batches at a time (the recipe foams up at first). The mixture is a thick paste at first that will break down into a heavy powdered detergent, just keep stirring. There may be some hard lumps, try to break them down when stirring (it really helps to make sure the baking soda isnt clumpy when first adding). I used 1/2 cup per full load with great results.
Liquid Detergents Note
Soap will be lumpy, goopy and gel-like. This is normal. Just give it a good stir before using. Make sure soap is covered with a lid when not in use. You could also pour the homemade soap in old (and cleaned) laundry detergent bottles and shake well before each use.
*If you cant find Fels-Naptha locally, you can buy it online (check Amazon).
You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade laundry detergent. Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover.
Essential oil ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil
*Admin Update: clarified instructions for Recipe #10 and liquid detergent notes.
try adding a cup of non-suds ammonia to your wash....does a great job of getting out stains and odors without fading colors....
Baking soda? Make a solution somehow? Or enzyme solution?
the odor is bacteria, figure out how to kill it
Pet stores sell enzyme solutions that do this
A scented bar of soap perhaps?
I’m thinking “Grandpas Pine Tar Soap” maybe. A bit pricey per bar, though.
ps. From #21:
“You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade laundry detergent. Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover.
Essential oil ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil”
I just started with the same 3 months ago. Much better for the machine, the septic system, and the clothes.
It smells wonderful too and is cheaper.
Are these safe to use in HE washers? In other words, do these create excessive soap bubbles which can harm the HE system?
I’ve made this and have had trouble with getting stains (even pre-treated) out of my kids clothes.
Also, I use distilled white vinegar instead of fabric softener. It does just as good a job, it’s an additional way to eliminate odors, and it keeps the machine clean.
A fantastic pretreater is Fels-Naptha straight up. Either rub the bar on the stain, or put the bar in a jar of water and let it melt into a gel. Either way, I have had no trouble. It even takes the stain and smell out of clothes that have baby spit-up on them. Plus, Fels-Naptha is $1.12 at Walmart. Much cheeper than fancy pretreaters!
Thanks. One more question, is this homemade detergent good on cloth diapers?
Not sure. My cousin uses cloth and she puts them in a bucket of water with baking soda and I think soap first. She lets them soak a while before she actually washes them. I have used hydrogen peroxide successfully instead of bleach, if you want to avoid bleach on sensitive baby parts! It’s pricey, but I have stocked up using my flex savings plan since I won’t be able to use it on OTC meds next year. You would only be using it for dipes though, so it might not be too bad.
takes up too much space
true. I am going to try the powdered version next time.
I’ve been using the powdered version for about 2 months now and I love it. I originally tried Fels Naptha, but didn’t care for the smell. Then I tried Yardley’s Old English Lavender and loved it. I’ve also used a green tea soap which was subtle and nice. I won’t be going back to manufactured detergent any more. I also dry my clothes on a line (I have no dryer and don’t want one).
I’ve also just started making my own bread with a $25 breakmaker - yum! I feel like Ma Ingalls 2.0
Yep - looks alot like my Breadman TR570. Good stuff right out of the baking pan, slathered in butter.
I would like to know more about this. How much vinegar do you add, and when in the cycle do you add it?
You’ve got a photo for everything JoeProBono - I like!
Thanks! Is this the agitation during the wash cycle or during the rinse cycle? Sorry if I'm asking a dumb question. This just seems like a great idea, and I want to be sure to get it right.
The rinse cycle, but you clothes won’t smell like vinegar. Also, vinegar is naturally anti-microbial, bacterial and viral. You can use it in a spray bottle instead of Lysol or other cleaners. It works beautifully for windows. Mix one part vinegar to two parts water and wipe away with old newspapers. Your windows will gleam.
I could never find the arm & hammer super washing powder in my area....upstate SC.....
I also buy the cheapest fabric softener I can find and then water it down in the dispenser and it lasts for months! I buy maybe 2 bottles of fabric softener a year this way.
I have used vinegar as well but my Dad, a chemistry teacher, warned that it is corrosive and will eventually wreck the metal parts of my washer. How long have you been using vinegar in the rinse cycle?
Citrus essential oils like grapefruit and orange are good, you could add more drops, and they are quite cheap, especially orange, when bought in bulk. I buy my EOs mostly from Essentil Oil University (do a search for it, it’s .org). They sell to producers, not retail, but you just need to write something up, no paperwork needed. I do sell stuff anyway. I recenently ordered a bunch of oils, the orange was something like $13 for 16 ounces. Pure, good quality.
I’ve used white vinegar in washing for years. When it’s very diluted in rinse water I doubt it harms the metal parts.
You don’t need a bread machine to bake homemade bread. I have been doing it for over 30 years. I keep a pound of yeast in the refrigerator and if you store it properly it will keep for a years. Moisture is the thing you have to be careful of. I store mine in a tupperware container and only take it out of the refrig long enough to measure the appropriate amount.
I use 3/4 teaspoon of yeast for a recipe that calls for a “packet” of yeast. 3 packets in the grocery store run over a $1 most places. You should be able to find a pound of yeast for around $3-4.
We often find 25# bags of general purpose flour for $5-7. I usually keep 50# on hand.
Make homemade pizza dough, yeast rolls, cinnamon raisin swirl bread, cinnamon rolls, sticky buns and french bread.
You don’t even need yeast to do homemade biscuits. I do recommend using ARGO (or Rumsford) baking powder, it does not contain aluminum phosphate. (many Alzheimer’s victims have high concentration of aluminum in the brain)
And try dumplings, my family is nuts over my chicken & dumplings. And German potato soup made with leftover ham is a reall hit too.
We buy a lot of potatoes & rice. Both are great staples and you can sure cook a great meal on little cost with them.
I actually enjoy baking, my wife does not. But she sure likes to eat what I cook.
Eat good with much less cost, I learned that during college. I became a good cook then.
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