Mom Hacks Monday: How I Make Laundry Detergent

We’ve all seen the different homemade laundry detergents floating around the internet.  Some people make liquid.  Some people make powder.  Some make a little.  Some make a lot.  We’ve been making our own laundry detergent for quite a while now – so long, that I don’t remember but I know it’s been well over a year.  I’ve looked at various recipes, and liked and disliked things about many of them.  I’ve tweaked and adjusted here and there and these days I am quite happy with the recipe we use.  So, I thought I’d share my own edition of homemade laundry detergent with all of my readers!

I started off with the basic soap, washing soda and borax recipe.  I found that it worked well, but that it didn’t leave the clothes quite as bright and shiny as I would have liked.  Also, it was a pain in the butt for us to make small batches of laundry detergent all of the time.  We are a family of 5, going on 6, with one still in cloth diapers.  Also, we don’t use very much in the line of paper products, so we have about a load a week of extra laundry from hankies, cloth napkins, not paper towels, and cleaning cloths.  So when I saw this large batch recipe, I was excited.  It also contained oxygen cleaner, which I was excited about, because I thought it might help to brighten up the laundry.  However, there were some things that I wasn’t over the moon about.

For starters, I don’t use toiletries or cleaning products that won’t tell me what they contain.  No ingredients list?  Not coming in my house.  So, Zote Soap is out for me.  At a minimum, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ingredient list.  Also, I don’t use Ivory, which is the general replacement, because it contains “fragrance” which is basically a nice way to say, “really nasty chemical ingredient that you actually don’t want to know what we make it from, but it makes you smell yummy!”  Our choices are also limited by our allergies, as we can’t use soap with dairy, soy, corn or gluten in it.  Yes, all of these things are regularly used in toiletries.  Our pick for soap is Kiss My Face brand Olive Oil and Aloe soap.

Another ingredient that bothered me was the fabric softener crystals.  Fabric softener is just nasty stuff all around.  There are many ways to achieve the same results with less toxic materials.  We’ll talk about that a different day.  For today, suffice it to say that I didn’t want this in my laundry detergent.

So, I used recipe from How Does She? and omitted the fabric softener and used Kiss My Face soap instead of Zote.  So my recipe looks like this:

1 (4 lb 12 oz) box of Borax Laundry Booster
1 (3 lb 7 oz) box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 (3.6 lb) container of Oxygen Cleaner
3 Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Bar Soap, 8-Ounce Bars
4 lbs Baking Soda

The first thing I do is to grate my soap.  I use my good old fashioned crank operated food processor.  You can also use a hand grater like one would use to grate cheese, or a food processor.  Our hand crank processor has an attachment that really powders the soap, which makes it dissolve well in the washer.  I grate one bar, add it and one third of each of the other ingredients to a large tin (the type people gift popcorn in at the holidays), and let the kids stir it well.  Then I do this again for the other two bars.  Then I take a turn mixing and make sure it is all mixed well.  Sometimes I add some essential oils to scent the detergent, but usually not in such a big batch.

My fancy popcorn tin to hold it all.

This laundry soap is what we use for everything – including the cloth diapers.  My mom gave me the handy dandy 1 tablespoon scoop from something she purchases, and it is just perfect to store in the tin.  We use 2 scoops for a large load of regular laundry and 4 scoops for the diapers.  We wash the diapers on warm, but pretty much everything else on cold.  The detergent does really well on all of our laundry.  I’m actually surprised sometimes at the things that easily come out of the kids clothes (and the diapers).  The one difference is that she claims that hers lasts a year to 18 months, while ours lasts closer to 2 – 3 months!  But, our family is nearly three times as big as hers and we wash a load of diapers every other day or so.  Either way, we are saving pretty significantly over the commercial brand we used to buy and not using sls or any other ingredients that we don’t like.

Do you make your own detergent?  What recipe do you like?

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2 thoughts on “Mom Hacks Monday: How I Make Laundry Detergent

  1. I’ll have to try your soap, I’ve never added the Oxygen Cleaner –and need to read the ingredients in it. I’ve used Mrs.Meyer’s soap Basil scent- smells wonderful. I’ve also used Dr Bronners peppermint soap and the Kirk’s castile.

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