Saturday, August 6, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Well I finally did it... I finally made homemade laundry detergent.  I have been seeing it pop up on the internet over the past year and a half. I always thought "Hmm... maybe".  With a family of five, some things you just go through pretty quick... laundry detergent being one of those things that seem to disappear not too long after it's opened.

The recipe I kept seeing pop up was Mary Jane's recipe from The Beehive Cottage.  [Click on her name or blog name to read more details about the recipe].  She is a sweetheart and has such a fun blog!  I suggest you go follow her even if you don't make her detergent.  She loves all things vintage... a girl after my own heart.  =]

There are only 4 ingredients:
3 bars Fels Naptha bar soap (each one is 5 1/2 oz)
4 lbs. Borax
4 lbs. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
4 lbs. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
Mix and store in airtight container.  2 tablespoons per load.

Copied from Mary Jane's recipe:
Cost to make: $12.63 = 8 1/2 cents a load!
16 pounds of detergent!
This recipe makes:
150 full loads = 2 Tablespoons per load.

The hardest part was grating the Fels bar soap.  I used my little hand held Pampered Chef grater and had to take a few breaks.  If you have a Kitchen-aid, this step would be a cinch.  The only other difficult thing about making this detergent was finding something big enough to mix it all in.  I used my two biggest Pampered Chef stainless mixing bowls, 4 quarts and 6 quarts to slowly combine it into a 2 gallon apothecary jar that I bought at Walmart for 10 bucks.

I hadn't had lunch yet and this was making me so hungry because it was looking like shredded cheese, lol!  Only, the soap smelled so much better than cheese.

Mmmm... my home was smelling so fresh and clean.  I bought "Tranquil Waters" essential oil to add a nice clean scent to my detergent.  As I was mixing this up, I realized how much I loved the clean linen smell so I didn't add the oil.

My favorite part of this whole process?  Reading the boxes as I was grating the soap.  How refreshing to read these words:
"Naturally Derived Since 1891"
"All Natural, Always Has Been"
"Pure & Natural Since 1874"
"Purity for Over 165 Years"

That's the whole point in making your own homemade laundry detergent... YOU can be in control of what chemicals do NOT go into the clothes of your family.  The cheap cost is just a fabulous benefit!  

My personal testimony for this detergent?  First of all, I LOVE the fresh, clean smell.  I am a suds kinda girl.  The more suds, the better because that means cleaner, right??  So wrong!  I didn't know that.  I really thought that suds = clean.  There are no suds with this detergent so don't sit and wait for them.  No suds, only a pure clean scent.  I went to the utensil aisle at Walmart and found this perfect 2 tablespoon scoop for around $1.60.  I wondered how such a small scoop could clean a super load of laundry.  We don't do any small or medium loads around here, only super.  I opened the lid on the washer and it smelled so good.  I have to say here that it was quite odd to see the little yellow pieces of Fels floating around in the water... they kinda resembled little worms because they were wiggling around, hehe!  When I transferred the clothes to the dryer, the fresh clean scent was so strong.  Mmm!  When I took them out of the dryer, yes the clothes were definitely clean but they still had a freshness about them.  Wonderful!

I did another load right after this one with my store bought detergent and I was amazed at the difference in scent!  I truly was shocked that the clothes didn't smell near as good when all this time I thought they smelled perfectly fine, haha!

That was one load, I will be back in about a month or so to give another review.  I'm really excited about sticking with this new detergent.  Plus it looks so much prettier in my laundry room than a big jug of Purex or All... don't you think?

I can be grateful that I even own a washer and dryer since there are so many all over this world that don't have this luxury.  Yes, I am blessed to own them and so are you.  But what I'm most grateful for is the all natural ingredients.  I love that God allows us choices every day.  I am choosing to change the things in our home and I'm grateful to be getting away from harsh chemicals.

Slowly going green.  Wanna come along?  Next up... dishwasher soap!


  1. Good girl Angie! This is the very same recipe I use! It works quite well! I have mine in a big, 5 gallon container, I make double batches at a time. I agree~ the grating is the worst, but I put my son to work and he likes to help.
    Do you use Vinegar for your rinse agent? It works VERY well, and it doesn't leave a smell. Very economical

  2. This is awesome Angie...I would love to try this....
    I've never heard of the Fels Naptha soap and washing soda...where do you find these items? I'll be waiting for your next review!!

  3. Wow, I've seen these recipes around on different blogs and have thought about doing this myself. You may have just convinced me Angie. I'll be looking forward to your review later this month to see if you're still just as happy about it. Thanks so much for this info. and recipe. Thanks for stopping by Lillie Mae Acres again, your sweet comments always bless me.

  4. Good for you! We make our own detergent, too, I've followed both dry and liquid recipes, and have had only success with clean clothes. The hardest part is to get the rest of the people in the family to use the small amount required, lol. Our fragrance we added was a pineapple coconut blend, and yes the smell is wonderful!

  5. I have wanted to try this..seems like you really like it, so is it worth the effort?

  6. Great job! I haven't made my own yet, but I order from Shaklee company all natural! Have a great week!


  7. Wow that is impressive. I am going to have to try this. Sure hope you can make it Saturday for the Loose Caboose Fest. I would love to see you. We will be across the Street from McClain Bank in front of Cudd Tax Service.


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