Unlike most of my other ridiculously frugal friends, I’ve been slow to join the latest “make-your-own-laundry-detergent” craze. After all, I can usually buy the leading brand on sale. Add in some coupons, and it hardly seems worth the effort to make my own detergent. Seriously, who wants to grate a bar of soap every month?
Then came the day when I had more laundry and month than I had money in my household-cleaning budget. I’m super committed to staying within budget, so while I couldn’t afford the leading detergent, I did have enough money to buy the Borax, Washing Soda, and Fels Naptha soap I needed to make my own. (I already had a box of Oxi Clean on my laundry room shelf.)
Reluctantly, I brought my ingredients home and began mixing up my first batch of homemade laundry detergent. At first, I wasn’t super impressed with the results. It took a little while to grate the soap in my old blender. (Since then, I’ve found that—for me—it’s much more effective to grate the soap by hand. This takes me about 3 minutes, much less time than I thought it would.)
The first few loads came out fine. Occasionally, I noticed a stain that didn’t come out, but no detergent is fool-proof, so I kept using the homemade variety.
It was after a few weeks of using this recipe that I discovered a big difference in my clothes. As I was pulling my towels out of the dryer, I noticed that they were extra soft. Same for the kids’ soccer uniforms, all of our jeans, and my husband’s T-shirts.
I’m not sure if the leading brand of detergent leaves a residue, or if the washing soda actually softens the water while it cleans, but I’m really happy with the outcome. Add in the fact that it costs me about $.05 a load, as compared to the $.25 per load I was spending when I bought the national brand, and I have to say, “I’m sold!”
If you’d like to start saving a ton of money on laundry detergent—and get softer clothes in the process—here’s my recipe:
Homemade Laundry Detergent
1 cup Borax
1 cup Super Washing Soda
1 bar Fels Naptha soap
¼ cup Oxi Clean (optional)
Grate the Fels Naptha soap into a bowl.
Add the Borax, Super Washing Soda, and Oxi Clean. Stir.
Pour the mixture into a blender (about a cup at a time) and blend until all the ingredients mix together.
Store in an airtight container.
Note: I use 1 Tablespoon of laundry detergent per load. (I own a high-efficiency washing machine, so you might have to experiment a little to determine the right amount of detergent for you.) For heavily soiled loads, I add a little Borax and Super Washing Soda to the soak cycle. That’s really all it takes to get a whole load clean!