I have been wanting to try my own laundry detergent now for years. My dreams are small, guys. However, most recipes call for borax, washing soda, and fels naptha. I have never in my life found these items easily. They hide them or don’t carry them at all. My Giant grocery store had all three proudly displayed with the cleaning products, side by side. Giant knows what’s up. So now that I’ve run out of commercial cleaner, I finally get a chance to make my own liquid laundry detergent recipe.
The Fels Naptha that I used was lightly scented, so I didn’t add any fragrance. There are also unscented soaps for anyone who has fragrance sensitivities. Also, while I half-hoped that it would break my food processor trying to break it down because I hate it, it did actually break it and now I have a broken food processor. *sigh* Back to the drawing board. That is the short story of how I ended up making liquid laundry detergent.
Now, I have limited space and small containers so I decided to half the recipe. I also improvised with the containers I had to mix. Lucky I move a lot, huh?
Directions for Liquid Laundry Detergent
1. Start by slowly heating 1 quart (4 cups) of water with half a bar of grated soap. I think this should be obvious, but if you have large chunks of soap like I did, it will take a while to melt. Stir frequently until the soap is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
2. Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 a cup of washing soda in a large container with 9 quarts (36 cups) of hot water. Stir until the powders dissolve.
3. Pour the melted soap mixture into the borax/washing soda mix. Stir. Cover, then let set overnight. It will turn out a little like jelly. Don’t freak out.
4. Distribute into containers. A normal size load will take 1/2 cup to 1 cup of mix.
Now let’s do some math.
The original poster assumed that the liquid detergent cost her $.05 cents per load, which is about $.20 cents cheaper per load. She estimates that a 5 gallon recipe can wash at least 80 loads. My costs were as follows.
1 Bar of Soap = $1.29
1 76 oz box of Borax = $4.35
1 55 oz box of Washing Soda = $2.89
Tax = $.52
Total = $9.05
Now I really don’t want to do the math to figure out how many cups are in a 76 ounce, 4 pound box of borax, ect. so I’m going to be EXTREMELY lazy and assume that 1 cup equals 8 ounces. Then I rounded up for tax. Because that’s what I do. It’s probably less, but this way we’ll get a nice upper range. So 1 bar of soap plus 1 cup of Borax ($.46 ), and 1 cup of Washing Soda ($.43 ) = $2.18. Let’s say $2.25 to be safe.
$2.25/80 = $0.028 per load.
Less than 3 cents a load? Okay. It’ll do.
I’ve used it for the last several loads of laundry and everything has come out clean and smelling nice. I’d say it was a success. Has anyone else made their own detergent? Or has anyone tried the powdered version? Let me know in the comments!
If you can’t find the ingredients where you live, you can buy them on Amazon. I’ve included affiliate links for them below.