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DIY Laundry Detergent

DIY laundry detergentThis DIY laundry detergent smells wonderful.
It is super easy to make. (Seriously. Writing this blog post took more time and energy.)
It costs about $1.40 to make 5 gallons. Yeah, you heard me.

Do you know what 5 gallons of Tide would cost you? About $75 according to Amazon prices. $75!!! I am horrible at math, (my sister got lucky with the math brain, not me) but even I can figure out that I would rather pay $1.40 instead of 75 big ones.

Are you convinced? Great. Here’s your shopping list.

Basically, the main ingredients (not the containers) will cost you about $17. You will have a lot of washing powder and borax left over, but do you know what you can do with it? Make dish detergent! I have been making my own for a while now and can’t believe I haven’t shared this info with you sooner. It works great! Now back to the original task at hand.

First, grab your bar of soap and a cheese grater.


I like to grate mine onto a medium size plate.

Grate soap on plate

When you’re done, there will be flakes all over your counter, but the kitchen will smell heavenly and your grated soap will look good enough to eat. Roo was totally fooled by the looks of this and asked if she could eat some cheese.

Grated soap-NOT cheese

Pour 4 cups of water into a medium sized pot, and add the soap. Melt together over medium/high heat, stirring occasionally.

4 cups water + soap

While the soap mixture is melting down on the stove, put your 5 gallon bucket in your sink, and fill half way with hot water.

Fill 1/2 way with hot water

Don’t forget to stir!

Stir soapy water

Now measure 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and pour into your 5 gallon bucket.

1 cup Washing Soda

Next, measure 1/2 cup of Borax and add that to the bucket as well.

1/2 cup Borax

By now your stove top mixture should be frothy and all soap dissolved like this.

Frothy soapy water

Pour the melted soap mixture into bucket.

Add soapy water to bucket

Now, you are going to need a long stick of some sort to stir this up. The original blogger suggested a yard stick, but my hubs found me this PVC pipe from his workshop. It worked! Stir until everything is dissolved and mixed well. About 50-60 turns. Yes I counted.

Stirring stick

You are ready to fill up the bucket with more hot water and stir. (I filled up my soapy pot and poured it into the bucket so I could get all the soap that was left behind.)

Fill up with hot water

Ok so this is the hard part. I couldn’t lift the bucket out of the sink! I have recently started lifting weights with Jillian Michaels (via dvd) so I thought I could handle the bucket. Um, no. I needed my heavy duty hubby to help me. Next time, I will remove the bucket from the sink after filling it half way, and continue to use my soapy pot to transfer hot water from the sink to the bucket.

The detergent is ready to sit overnight with a lid on.

Put a lid on it

Tomorrow, I will fill up this water jug 1/2 soap and 1/2 water, and shake well.

water jug

For front load washers, use 1/4 C – 1/3 C per load. For top load washers, use 1/2-5/8 C per load. *Shake before using.*

Don’t forget to check out the original blog post where I found this great recipe. She talks about adding essential oil to the detergent and also about how this detergent is safe to use in HE machines. Plus she has over 60 comments with tons of positive feedback that THIS STUFF WORKS! Oh my and I forgot to mention, she has a recipe for DIY fabric softener. Who knew?

Also, I’m doing a giveaway! Two lucky people will win a bar of fels-naptha soap to jump start their DIY laundry detergent project! Just click the link below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Mary W. March 28, 2013, 5:34 pm

    I’m glad you addressed HE machines, because this was my next question. 🙂

  • Kristin wardwell April 5, 2013, 2:10 pm

    I use the same ingredients but keep them all dry to use as powder detergent (1-2 tbsp), I had no idea you could use them to make liquid too! Cool cool.

    • Janna April 13, 2013, 9:28 pm

      Absolutely. The liquid detergent works better for us because we are on a septic tank, but powder is great if you’re not!

  • Brittany October 15, 2013, 2:03 pm

    This is fantastic!!! I am definitely going to try this out soon! A single mom definitely can use tips like these 🙂

    • Jesse October 15, 2013, 9:51 pm

      Thanks Brittany! We hope some of these tips help you save some dough. Good Luck!


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