Do It Yourself: Laundry Detergent

There are TONS of laundry detergent recipes out there on the good ol’ world wide web.  The one that I use is only slightly different than the one I got from my cousin.  It uses oxi-clean.  I think that most of the recipes I’ve found don’t call for it, but I like to use it in mine because I think oxi-clean is pretty awesome.  The oxi-clean gives the finished product more of a liquidy result versus the more goopy egg-white texture without it.  But it works fine with or without.  Our clothes always come out as clean as they did when we were using the expensive store-bought detergent.

Now, I should say here that I’m not a Going Green renegade.  I like the idea of it and I like to incorporate it into my life as much as possible, but sometimes it just isn’t affordable for me to scrutinize every product we use and turn it into something that is environmentally friendly.  I do the best I can on my budget.  If you are a person who is, admirably, committed to Going Green, then some of these recipes may not be for you, but I would wager that you could find some greener alternatives online…


1 bar Fels-Naptha soap (or any bar soap of your choice)
1 C. Borax
2 C. Washing Soda (Not the same as Laundry Booster, you have to really look for it at the store – I got mine at Kroger – the box should say “Washing Soda”-it kind of looks like a cereal size box)
1/2 C. Oxi-Clean
4 C. + 2 Ga. water
5 Ga. bucket (with or without lid – I use a lid now because my laundry is in the basement and every once in a while I’d end up with a drowned spider in there.  Ew!)

Grate soap and melt on stove in 4 C. water.  Water needs to be hot, but not boiling.
Add Borax, Oxi-Clean & Washing Soda (stirring after each)
Pour into 5 gallon bucket & stir
Add 2 Ga. water & stir
Let sit overnight.

Use 1/2 C. per load.  I use a full cup on my towels.

I’m not exactly sure on the cost of this because I’ve tweaked the recipe a little bit to my liking.  Previously I was using only half the amounts borax & washing soda, so I believe that it now costs somewhere around 6 cents per load.  Still beats store detergents by a mile!

So, do you guys make your own?  If so, how do you like it and do you have anything to add?  If not, do you think you might be interested in trying it?

One of the things I love, besides the savings, is that you aren’t stuck with a bulky plastic bottle every time you run out that either needs to be thrown away or recycled.

Next week I’ll post the recipe for fabric softener.


11 thoughts on “Do It Yourself: Laundry Detergent

  1. Gretchen August 4, 2009 at 3:16 am Reply

    You know I like it. But I am going to try the powdered version next I think and see if I like that.

    • klutzymama August 4, 2009 at 7:25 pm Reply

      Let me know how you like it. I’ve been wondering about it too. You’ll post about it won’t you?

  2. Lil August 4, 2009 at 1:42 pm Reply

    I have a question for any of you out there. I have a high efficiency machine so I can only use HE products in may washer. Do you know if you can use this in these type of washers or not?

    • klutzymama August 4, 2009 at 7:25 pm Reply

      I would think that you definitely wouldn’t want to use this in your HE washer, but you could try searching online to see if there are any recipes for them out there. I’m jealous, I want a HE washer & dryer!

  3. Gretchen August 6, 2009 at 1:44 pm Reply

    Yes, you can use this with an HE because it does not sud up like other detergents do.

    • klutzymama August 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm Reply

      Thanks, Gret.

  4. Fencepost August 6, 2009 at 2:28 pm Reply

    I really need to try this and the fabric softner. Thanks for posting it!

  5. Amy August 7, 2009 at 3:45 am Reply

    I use this in my HE washer and it works just fine. I’ve been using this soap for several years now. Love it!

    • klutzymama August 7, 2009 at 7:07 pm Reply

      Thanks, Amy – I had no idea that you can use it in them, that’s great news! Now I just need to get my own HE washer & dryer!!

  6. Kristi Smith August 13, 2009 at 3:35 am Reply

    You are a great mom and you are frugal . . . I don’t think I like you anymore! lol I wish I were more like you and don’t tell me I can be . . . I don’t think I can. lol I think I am too lazy to make my own laundry detergent. I take it that it isn’t any harder on your clothes than reg. detergent?

    • klutzymama August 13, 2009 at 5:51 pm Reply

      You are a nut Kristi! You are also a great mom AND you like really awesome in an afro! Not many people can say that, now can they???
      And no, the detergent hasn’t seemed to be any different on our clothes than regular detergent.

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