Save Money on Laundry by Making Your Own Detergent!

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Are you tired of the rising prices everywhere?  What really gets me going is the price of laundry soap.  The most used brand, Tide, costs nearly $.12 an ounce, or $.19 per load.  That sounds pretty inexpensive, right?  Well, due to a skin allergy in my family, I started making my own laundry soap.  I pay $.0059 per load, my clothes have never been cleaner, and no one in my family is allergic to it.  Add a great savings in fabric softener by switching to plain white vinegar, and your laundry just became affordable!

People ask me, “Isn’t it hard to make your own laundry soap?”  No, actually, it’s really easy, and you probably have most of the equipment already in your house!  I make five gallons at a time, storing them in empty vinegar bottles.  I’ve found that thinner milk jugs can’t hold the weight of the laundry soap for long.  You can split this recipe in thirds if you prefer to make smaller batches.

First off, let’s look at the ingredients.  These three things make the base: Fels-Naptha bar soap, which you can find in the bar soap or laundry soap section of your local grocery market.  I pay $1.04 per bar.  Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, for about $3.29 per box, and is found in the dry goods section of the laundry soap aisle.  Nearby, you’ll find 20 Mule Team Borax, for about $3.49 per box.  I get about 5 batches of laundry soap out of each box of powder.

Now, for the equipment.  You need a cheese grater or food processor, medium sized saucepan, metal or non-porous spoon, a clean 5 gallon bucket, long handled spoon, and for pouring into the containers, a funnel and cup or measuring cup.

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Now, to make the liquid soap!  Grate, or grind in a food processor, the entire bar of Fels-Naptha into a medium sized sauce pan.  Cover with water, about an inch over the shreds, and heat on medium, stirring to dissolve the soap.  This might take a few minutes, but melt it gently, without letting the mixture come to a boil.  Set it aside to cool slightly.


In the 5 gallon bucket, place about a half a gallon of cold water.  Add 1 ½ cups each of the Super Washing Soda and Borax.  Stir to dissolve.  Slowly add the dissolved Fels-Naptha, stirring quickly.  This will become a gel quickly.  Fill with cold water, stirring constantly, until the bucket is nearly full.  You can then place it in your containers and use like your regular laundry soap.   Sometimes the soap separates.  Just hold the cap on tight and give it a good shake.  It comes out lumpy, but works amazingly.  I average about 409 loads out of one 5 gallon batch of laundry soap, which in my house, is about 10-11 months, for $2.40 per batch.

Note that this recipe does not create a lot of suds, so if you don’t see them in your washer, don’t worry.  It’s still working.  And if you have a high efficiency washer, this works fantastic!

Do you like scent in your laundry soap?  Add a few drops of essential or fragrance oil to the mix before you pour it in the containers and it will work like a charm.  I love a little bit of lavender in the summer and sandalwood in the winter.

Now, for the super easy part.  Because of the same allergy, we can’t use fabric softener in my house.  Instead, we buy white vinegar for $2.39 a bottle, add some scent to it, and use it like regular fabric softener.  Even without the scent, you don’t get a sour smell to your laundry.  Just an amazing clean that doesn’t get staticky in the dry winter months.

Laundry is a chore for most people.  Don’t let it be an expensive one!



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