Homemade Laundry Detergent
Thanks to Debbie Carman for sharing her recipe and how-to's for homemade laundry detergent.
Laundry detergent recipe:
makes 2 gallons
1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated
1 c borax (as in 20 mule team)
1 c super washing soda-not baking
3-5 gallon bucket
In large pot over medium heat, dissolve grated bar of soap in 6 c water, stirring occasionally.
Add the borax and super washing soda, and stir until dissolved.
Heat to boiling, watching closely. Once it begins to boil, it will boil over very quickly and make a big mess!
Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Put 6 c hot water into the bucket.
Pour in the hot soap and stir well to disperse evenly.
Next add 5 quarts of cold water, once again stirring well to disperse evenly. It will begin to thicken.
Let soap sit overnight. In the morning mine is always a very thick gel. I use a large wire whisk or slotted spoon to break it all up as well as I can. It is alright if you end up with a liquid with blobs of gel in it.
Now decant the soap into your containers. We use two 96-load laundry detergent bottles.
Most laundry detergent bottle lids are almost exactly 1/2 cup. This is the amount I use.
Debbie says: When I first started making this recipe 2 years ago, it cost us $1.50 per month...for a family of 8...with 3 little boys ages 3,4, & 5, and our son-in-law who worked in construction and came home filthy every day.
We found that we hardly ever have to pre-treat stains. Before using this detergent, we were going through a warehouse-sized bottle of Spray and Wash per month! Now if we feel we need to pre-treat, we just wet that area a nod rub in a little of the allotted amount of detergent.
The original recipe only called for 1/3 bar of the Fels Naphtha and 1/2 cup each of the borax and super washing soda. But some dear person mentioned in their reviews that they increased those ingredients to 1 cup each, due to their hard water. As our well water is quite hard, we do that as well.
Somewhere along the line, I started using the whole bar of Fels Naphtha as well. Since it only costs 97 cents here, I feel we can afford that luxury!
We also use white vinegar instead of any other fabric softener. Even my clothes-lines dried clothes are soft, and never get rigid as they sometimes did before.
As there is no fabric softener dispenser in my washing machine, I just fill a downy ball about 3/4 full of white vinegar, and toss it in the machine after I fill it.
A couple of members of our family have very bad cases of excema, yet this laundry detergent does fine for their skin.
**The Walmart super center 15 miles from us carries all three of the products for the detergent. They are in the same aisle, and are very close to each other, in-between the fabric softeners and air fresheners.
I have read of folks using other bars of soap, but the Fels Naphtha has a nice, clean scent.
I must say that I had saved the laundry detergent recipe for literally years, and once I got brave enough to try it and found out how easy it was thought that should kick myself in the behind 87 times for every year I didn't do it! The very first time I made it, 30 minutes was all it took.