I ventured into the world of making my own laundry detergent a few months ago when I realized that the cost of commercially available soap couldn’t compare to the cost savings of making my own. Homemade laundry detergent can be made for pennies compared to commercially produced detergent. I also liked the idea of eliminating more chemicals from our daily lives. Laundry detergent has some really nasty chemicals in it when it comes down to it.
I spent quite a bit of time researching the pros and cons of detergent making, especially when it came to cost since I never buy detergent without a coupon anyway. Ultimately, I decided it was worth my time to at least give it a try.
Making homemade soap is simple once you find the recipe you want to try and decide which variety of soap you want to make. There are a couple of approaches you can take to making homemade detergent. First you need to decide whether you want to make liquid laundry detergent, powdered laundry detergent, or try something really different like soap nuts.
Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent
For my first batch of homemade laundry soap, I chose to do dry laundry detergent. First, homemade dry laundry detergent is easy to make with just a few ingredients. Borax, washing soda, and a bar of soap and you’ve got everything you need, although some people also add Oxiclean or Baking Soda. Which kind of soap? It’s up to you – some recommend Zout, Fels Naptha or Ivory, and a lot of people also really like Dr. Bronner’s, but its a little pricey. Second, making dry batches of laundry detergent takes less time and doesn’t dirty up pans. Third, you can make small batches of dry laundry detergent powder, which I liked since this was an experiment of sorts.
I decided to go the Fels Naptha route since I already had some on hand that I used for stains, and I liked the smell.
Step one, grate up your soap. Let me tell you that Fels Naptha is hard. Like really hard. It will take you forever to grate that bar! Next time, I think I’ll use Ivory. Once I got past the grating portion though, mixing up a batch was quick work. Measure the ingredients, combine and mix well. Done! It was that easy.
For the exact ingredient measurements: Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe – Cheap and Easy!
I do suggest that you shake your storage vessel (jar, bucket, bag, whatever) before each use to redistribute from settling.
Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
The other method for making your own laundry detergent is to make liquid detergent. Homemade liquid detergent is great because it is already dissolved out and readily mixed (but you will have to stir it since it will settle) and you usually make large batches at one time. Another fun benefit of using the liquid laundry is that you can add essential oils to get your favorite detergent smells if you like! You can add essential oils to dry detergent but it works better with liquid varieties.
The biggest downside I see to homemade liquid detergent is storage. If you make big batches, you have to store it. Where? Good question. I didn’t like the idea (or temptation for my boys) of a 5 gallon bucket of detergent just waiting to be turned into a slip-n-slide in my kitchen – because that would happen to me. I’ve seen several recommendations for better storage methods like old detergent bottles, milk jugs, etc. – even some glass drink dispensers will work.
Learn more: Clean Naturally With Essential Oils
Homemade liquid laundry detergent does have the same basic ingredients as dry powder does, just usually in larger quantities. Here is a simple liquid laundry soap recipe from The Coconut Heads Survival Guide that your kids can even help you make.
Another Option for More Natural Laundry Detergent
If you still aren’t interested in making your own detergent, consider trying soap nuts. Soap nuts are simply a dried fruit that has been used for centuries to wash clothing. Soap nuts are very easy to use and also have a variety of other uses. Wellness Mama wrote a bit about soap nuts and Eco Nuts explains exactly how to use soap nuts to get the best results.
Learn more: How To Make Natural Beauty Products
The Results of My Homemade Laundry Detergent Experiment
I really liked my homemade soap and thought it did a great job. My husband, however, said that he didn’t think his clothes came as clean as they would have with store-bought detergent. When I asked him to tell which ones I’d used homemade detergent for, he rolled his eyes so….who knows! In all seriousness, I do plan to keep making my own homemade laundry soap for at least part of our clothes. The money savings alone makes it worth it. I may eventually try the liquid version but for now, my homemade dry laundry detergent works great and is keeping more of my money at home!
What about you? Do you make your own homemade laundry detergent?