How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergent can be pricey and harmful to the environment, but is there a better option to get dirt and stains out of your clothes? Turns out, there are plenty of ways to make your own laundry detergent right at home. It’s cheap, easy, and it can even be more effective at fighting grime than commercial detergents. Follow these simple recipes to make two homemade detergents at a fraction of the usual cost.
What You’ll Need
Making your own detergent only requires a few basic ingredients. They can be found online or in most grocery stores for just a few dollars. Make sure to have these on hand before you get started:
• Washing soda
• Bar soap
• 5-gallon bucket
• Jars or old detergent jug
• OPTIONAL: Essential oil
How to Make Liquid Detergent
1. Start by grating your bar of soap using a normal cheese grater or food processor. Be sure to break or cut up the soap first if you’re using a food processor, to avoid damaging the machine.
2. Add 4 cups of water to the shredded soap and place in a pot over medium-high heat. Stir for about 10 minutes, until the soap is completely melted.
3. Once the mixture is melted, transfer it into a 5-gallon bucket and add 4.5 gallons of hot water. Mix in 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups of washing soda and stir until the powder is completely dissolved.
4. The detergent will smell naturally soapy and clean, but if you’d like to freshen up your clothes with a particular scent, now’s the time to add in the essential oil of your choice. Citrus scents like lemon and orange typically work best. You can add as much or as little as you’d like, but an ounce of oil is typically all that you’ll need.
5. Cover the bucket and let the mixture sit for at least 24 hours to turn into a gel. When it’s finished, stir until the mixture is smooth, then transfer into jars or an empty detergent jug. Use ½ cup to 1 cup of detergent per load of laundry.
How to Make Powder Detergent
1. Powder detergent is even simpler than liquid detergent. Grate your bar of soap, then blend until finely chopped in a food processor or blender. Coconut oil-based soaps typically work best. Be sure to select a scented soap if you want scented detergent, as it’s more difficult to add essential oil to a powdered detergent.
2. Place the blended soap into a large bowl. Add 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of washing soda and mix together thoroughly.
3. Store the powder in tightly sealed jars, with a small scoop inside. Use 1 or 2 tablespoons of detergent for an average load of laundry, and be sure to pour it into the machine before adding the clothes. Each batch of detergent should wash about 40 loads.
These recipes work for all kinds of washers, and you can even customize the recipes for your needs. If you prefer to do away with harsh chemicals like Borax, just increase the proportion of washing soda. Some DIYers also recommend adding half a cup of vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of the machine, to help dissolve excess detergent, lower pH levels to prevent skin irritation, and keep your clothes soft.