I’ve seen a lot of recipes for laundry detergent but they all seem to involve cooking a huge pot of water and soap on the stove and endless, arm-aching stirring. I know several friends who make laundry detergent this way and they have issues with the mix congealing.
This recipe though takes only 2 minutes to make. Yes, 2 minutes! You don’t need to heat anything on the stove and it’s just as effective without the fuss and mess. This is also more eco-friendly since you aren’t adding extra (and unnecessary) water. You’re throwing it into a huge vat of water in the end anyways.
So What’s in it?
Of course. I used some old formula Fels Naptha in mine because it’s what I had available. Purex now manufactures the soap and it’s full of some pretty scary ingredients like titanium dioxide, acid yellow #73 and PEG-6. I would recommend Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps. You can purchase a plain bar, or scented if you don’t want to bother adding essential oils. The tea tree or orange citrus would be especially good for laundry.
Another, cheaper option is to make your own soap. Mommypotamus has a great coconut oil laundry bar recipe that yields about 9 large bars and only uses 3 ingredients. This would be enough laundry soap to last you 180-360 loads of laundry, depending on how large/dirty your loads are.
NOT baking soda! Washing soda is sold in the laundry detergent, not the baking aisle. It’s sodium carbonate instead of sodium bicarbonate and will help soften water. It’s just as natural with a high ph, but it’s simply processed a little differently. This is easy enough to find at any Walmart.
Borax is controversial because it’s toxic to ingest. I actually mix it with peanut butter to kill ants in the house. However, it’s used in many natural skin care products and is a naturally occurring mineral.
“Borax naturally occurs from the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes. The largest deposits of this mineral may be found in California, the American southwest, Chile and Tibet.” Mountain Rose Herbs.
I don’t have a problem using it in my laundry, but if you have severely sensitive skin you may need to skip it. Just don’t eat it! Substitute more washing soda for the recipe if you don’t want to use borax.
These are optional but add extra cleaning power and make the laundry smell nice.
Tea tree and lemon essential oils are really good for controlling funky laundry smells, especially with cloth diapers. Lemon also helps to whiten clothing. There are more options out there, but this is a good start.
How To Make Laundry Detergent
What You Need:
Having trouble finding products in your area, or too busy to run to the store? Check the links below to see where you can find these ingredients.
- 2 bars laundry safe soap
- 2 cups washing soda
- 1 cup borax (optional)
- 1.5 tsp lemon or essential oil(s) of choice
- Food processor
- Empty container
If you’re adding essential oils to your soap, which I highly recommend, then you’ll mash that into the washing soda first. Skip this step though if you’re using a bar with essential oils already in it.
Pour about 1/2 cup of the washing soda into a small bowl, add the essential oil(s) and mash it in with a fork. Don’t go crazy with it, this should only take about 30 seconds.