Wednesday, April 6, 2011

homemade laundry detergent

A few weeks ago, I decided that it was time to make another batch of laundry soap since I was almost out.  I made a batch for the first time about a year ago and absolutely *loved* it!  I think the soap works really well, makes my clothes nice and bright and is really cheap!  The recipe I used is actually from the Duggar family website and can be found here.  It makes a lot but I was fine with that because that means I only need to make some about once a year.  I am sure that you could half or even quarter the recipe.  They also have a powder version that is listed on the webpage.

Ingredients needed:
4  Cups - hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup -
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

1. Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
Note: I started grating with a cheese grater but it was taking forever so I just threw it in the food processor.

soap boiling on the stove
2. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

3. Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased at   Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: We use Fels-Naptha bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing Soda and Borax can often be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2 per batch.



  1. I used to use this recipe, but stopped when our first son was born because I wasn't sure if it would be sufficient to clean cloth diapers (maybe it would be, I just wasn't sure). Do you feel like it handles the stains on your kids clothes well or do you add something for treating stains? That's always been my biggest problem and I haven't found a good, cheap, natural solution yet...

  2. I found it more than sufficient to clean cloth diapers. That and sunning. It definately handles stains well. I also usually treat with Shout and let it sit for a day or so if I think it's going to be a stain that is going to be hard to get out. I also will soak for a few hours if there are stains. This gets out most stains. I have also heard of people using goo gone on stains but I have yet to use that. Overall, I really like this detergent and think it works well.

  3. Thanks for your input! I think I'll go back to it in the future, but I bought a HUGE bucket of Charlie's Soap before my first was born (about 3 years ago) and I'm still working on that =)