Day 161: DIY Laundry Detergent

Day 162: Ugly Christmas Sweater Time!
Day 160: Kaftantastic!

By now you’ve probably figured out that I’m fairly friggin frugal.  :)  I came to the decision to start making and remaking my own clothes when I walked by an expensive dress shop and thought, “Hey…I can do that!”  Since then, I’ve been looking at other things I think I pay too much for that I could probably make for myself.

One of these things is Laundry Detergent.  Fella and I pay just under $10 for a bottle of Tide about every few weeks (we do a LOT of laundry).  This is silly!  We’re saving for a wedding!  We don’t need to be tossing our hard-earned dough out the door!

It's just not working out. :(

As an avid couponer (ah yes…there is no end to my cheap-assedness!), I can tell you, there really aren’t that many great deals on laundry soap out there.  :/  Plus, we don’t have space to stockpile the stuff.

What’s a gal to do?!

I started researching different ways to make my own.  I opted out of making a liquid detergent.  All that soap boiling and slime making didn’t sound that fun.  Plus, I’d have to find a place to put FIVE GALLONS of the stuff!  I decided to go with the easier powder detergent recipe that could make a smaller batch.

Here’s what you need.

All you need!

You’re looking at:

1 box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

1 box of Biz Stain Fighting Enzyme Cleaner

1 bar of Dial Soap

If you’re doing this at home, make sure you get washing soda, not baking soda.   Washing soda has a higher alkaline content.  Make sure you don’t get the Biz detergent, but the stain fighter.  Here’s where I deviated from most recipes: I used Biz instead of Borax, because I thought it would be less harsh on my clothes, but still fight any stains.  I used a bar of Dial soap instead of Fels Naptha laundry soap because I liked the smell better (Mmmmm!  Springtime Fresh!).  The only thing you’ll want to remember is if you’re substituting soaps, don’t use the kind with moisturizers in it, as you don’t want to lotion your clothes!  :)

So now what?

The first step in this process is to grate the bar of soap.  I used my awesome food processor, so this took about 5 seconds.  Here’s what it will look like when you’re done.

Mmmmm! Looks like shredded Mozzarella!

Next, add 1 cup of Washing Soda and 1 cup of Biz to the shredded soap in your food processor (or blender, if you don’t have a processor) until all the bits of soap have been ground into powder.

It will look like this:

Powder!

That’s it!  You now have your own laundry detergent!

You’ll want to use less of this soap than what you’re used to.

Small Loads:  1 Tablespoon

Medium Loads:  2 Tablespoons

Large Loads:  3 Tablespoons

If you’re like me, you’ll want to peer in your machine to see how your new detergent is working.  Don’t worry when you don’t see any suds.  This detergent is sulfate-free (it’s the sulfate that makes the suds in the store-bought stuff), so you won’t see any.  Don’t fret!  Your duds don’t need suds to get clean!  :)

So…How does it work, you ask?  Great!  I did a big load of darks to test my new soap, and they came out super-clean and smelling great!  I wash everything with cold water, and there was absolutely no residue on anything.  I would definitely say it works just as well as the expensive stuff.

Fancy Packaging, Eh?

I’m really excited about how well this worked and how easy it was.  For $6 in supplies, I have enough detergent to last us for months and months!  AND it doesn’t have as many additives as store-bought detergent.  :)

What fun things have you learned to do for yourself lately?

4.6 (92.26%) 31 votes

16 thoughts on “Day 161: DIY Laundry Detergent

  1. I’d really like to do this. It gives me a fun rebellious feeling, just like when I started hanging my clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer. It feels like cheating “the man” from taking my money plus it’s, fun, the dogs enjoy me doing it, my clothes smell fresher and don’t shrink although I have to iron some things no big. I’m guessing that this laundry recipe would be safe to use in front loading machines because it is low or no sudsing, huh?

  2. I have been making and using my own dry laundry detergent for about 4 months now and absolutely love it! I was so skeptical at first because of how little you have to use–only 2 Tablespoons instead of a big huge scoop! But not only does it save lots of money it also leaves our clothes just as clean and fresh smelling as the expensive detergents! I personally use both the Fels Naptha and Borax and haven’t had any problems.
    And also, I LOVE your refashions!!!

  3. I make my own skincare products. I googled every ingredient in some basic lotions I had around here and I could have cried. Shea butter, coconut oil and grapeseed oil melted together and whipped up as it cools is the way to go! I am 40 and it is doing wonders for my skin! $16, all natural and it will last for about a year or so. It has a natural SPF of about 6-8.

  4. I don’t usually comment on blogs, but I have been enjoying reading your blog for quite a few days now. I also make my clothes (when I have the time!) and I definitely enjoy it. But, what I wanted to share was that you really can use even less soap because the friction created in most washing machines really is enough to clean your clothes!! So if you have an especially dirty something you can spot treat it, but you can save a TON of soap by cutting what you normally use in half or more :).

  5. I cannot wait to start making my own laundry detergent!! Being here in Germany it is sometimes hard to find the ingredients needed. I do make my own household cleaner. I will fill a jar with Orange peels (having three boys it isn’t hard to do) and then pour vinegar over the peels and let it sit for 2 weeks. When the 2 weeks is up I will pour the vinegar into a spray bottle about half way and the other half with water. It will clean, disinfect and smell good because of the oranges. On particularly hard stains (like when my sister in law got red food coloring all over my counter when I was out of town) I sprinkled some baking soda on the counter and then sprayed with the vinegar mixture. Let sit for a couple minutes and then scrubbed with a sponge. It came up no problem with no trace of red left.

  6. Hi! I’ve been using your recipe here for about 6 months and I love it! I just wanted to leave a tip I’ve discovered: I don’t have a food processor, and when I tried this in my blender it just melted the soap at the bottom and clogged it up, so I’ve found that an easy (while slightly more time-consuming) alternative is to grate the soap with a cheese grater and then mix all the ingredients with a pastry blender. Ends up nice and powdery!

  7. I LIVE by Biz– we just moved across the country, from AL to CA and I brought about 4 new containers of this same BIZ with me bc I didn’t know if it’d be available here! Gets out anything that my two kids can slop on their clothes.

    Great “recipe”- might need to try it!

  8. I made a similar laundry soap. The recipe called for Zote, but I substituted Fels Naptha because Zote has tallow in it. Tallow? I am making laundry detergent, not gravy…or candles.

  9. 3 Tablespoons Borax
    3 Tablespoons Washing Soda
    2 Tablespoons Dawn Dish soap
    Dilute in 2 cups hot water. Add to gallon jug of cool water. Liquid laundry detergent with NO GRATING. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup per load, depending on the dirt level

  10. I love the idea of making your own laundry detergent, it’s is much less expensive and like you said, far far less chemicals and nasty ingredients. If you want to save a bit more on the cost of making your own, you can MAKE washing soda instead of buying it! It’s easy, I did a post on it here:
    ~Amy

  11. I think that you made a mistake by substiting biz for borax. Biz is 40% washing soda or sodium carbonate. The other ingredients in biz are enzymes and oxygenating chemicals. You would be better off by using Biz in lieu of washing soda. Just increase the amount of washing soda that you use with 60% more biz and just drop the washing soda from your recipe. Also, the Fels Naptha cleans clothes alot better and removes plant and natural stains alot better than the soap that you are using. Take it from a pro, Ive been making my own laundry detergent for 20 years.

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