Monday, July 20, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent- an update

I have been using the liquid recipe for a couple of months now- and my clothes are as clean as ever! I am, however, very excited to try this easier dry version- very similar to what I am using except no melting on the stove or sloshing around wet ingredients. Woohoo!

I found these on a cloth diapering message board-

The first recipe is a gentle, greener version of laundry detergent, and the second recipe especially for cloth diapers!

Use amounts will vary depending on your water and machine! The amounts provided are general estimates.

These are non-sudsing recipes, so they're safe for HE and FL machines!

Super Gentle Homemade Laundry Soap

1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 bar Kirks Castile Soap (or other laundry soap)

Slice soap into strips and run through grater on kitchen aid, food processor, or by hand to make soap flakes.

Combine soap beads, borax, and washing soda. Done!

Use 1-2 tablespoon for small loads, 3-4 tablespoons for large loads.
(more or less depending on your water quality)

Homemade Diaper Detergent

1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 cup Oxyclean Free

Combine all ingredients. Done!

use 2 tablespoons for a small load, 1/4 cup for a large load.
(again, more or less depending on your water quality).

Tips and Notes:

My personal notes on the detergent....

-I find that I can just throw the powder in a hot wash, but I have to dissolve it in hot water before adding to a warm or cold wash

-be careful not to overload your washer!

-DO NOT use a blender! Slice soap and then use a food processor, or grate the whole bar by hand...a blender is not designed for this kind of chopping!

-washing soda can be hard to find...try calling your local grocery store to see if they carry it, or look for "PH up" where you buy pool supplies (or 100% sodium carbonate which is washing soda!)

-almost any soap can be used, I chose Kirks because it was as close to homemade as I could find locally. The original recipe called for "Fels Naptha" but that is some harsh stuff!

-both recipes are safe for sensitive skin and ezcema!

-there are little or no suds, but your stuff is still getting clean!

-the first time I used the laundry soap the water turned brown from the stuff that was left on my clothes from my previous detergent!

-both recipes are perfume-free, dye-free, enzyme-free, phosphate-free, and biodegradable!

-if you find that the *diaper* detergent isn't working as effectively after a few months, try switching to another brand and then switching back. ....*many* mamas who are switching between homemade & Tide or homemade & Allens every 3-6 months and finding that to be the best washing routine! I haven't heard from anyone who needs to switch with the laundry soap!

- non-sudsing, so it's safe for FL and HE machines!
- washing soda is available at Kroger, Hannafords, Acme, Biggs, and Publix
- washing soda is "sodium carbonate" and might be with pool supplies
- you can order washing soda at
- Kirks is available at Kroger, Frys, and Cracker Barrel
- you can use Dr Bronners soap instead of Kirks
- Fels Naptha is yucky stuff, and Ivory doesn't work well for laundry
- NO soap on diapers (the soap is in the *laundry* recipe)
- use oxyclean FREE and it's safer for your diapers
- mix this after the kids are in bed, in case you spill!
- don't subsitute baking soda!
- washing soda & borax ARE safe for your diapers used in this small amount!
- you can also use a cheese grater for the soap
- you can add essential oils to the powder and stir with a fork
- vinegar in the rinse can cause stinkies in microfiber
- this has been used with hemp without problems
- lots of bubbles is from your old detergent build up!
- always use a cold rinse first for diapers, so you don't set in stains
- with liquid Dr Bronners instead of soap there is a chance of staining from the oils
- you can use the diaper detergent for your clothes too
- sun oxygen cleaner is a cheaper alternative to oxyclean
- call 1-800-781-7529 to get Oxyclean Free for $6.99 (ask about free ship!)
- *approximate* costs: 3-bar pack Kirks $4, Borax $4, Oxyclean Free: $7, Washing soda $3.50 (all costs will vary by region)
-Canada moms: Borax at Zellers, A&P, Superstore and Walmart...Washing Soda and Oxyclean free at Walmart.

-Originally from the post Green & Thrifty...Making Your Own Detergent!


Anonymous said...

Well hello there. I've also been using homemade laundry soap for a few months now and couldn't agree more on how it works. However, I used fels naptha in my first batch because that was the recipe I found. Then I found other recipes with different, supposedly more gentle soap. Now I should let you know that I have eczema, break out in hives, and asthma. I know what a combo. When I started using the first batch my hives and eczema went away. I was thrilled. Then I started using the other soaps in place of the fels naptha. I used zote, kirks, and ivory. Well I'm sorry to say that my hives and eczema started coming back. So I went back to the fels naptha and my symptoms are gone again. Who would have thought it. But, what ever works. Finally my point. Homemade soap works well and is cost effective. But, I don't think fels naptha is as harsh as people think it is. After all there are only 3 store bought laundry soaps that I can use so maybe it's not so bad. I have clear skin that I haven't had in years and I'm sticking to what works. BTW I use the liquid soap as it costs 1/2 - 2/3 per load. Not a big deal for some but enough for us. Happy washing.

Shelly said...

Wow! Good to know that the Fels Naptha is so gentle- I'll try it next time. I also have a problem with occasional hives, so that is good to know. It's also good to know that the liquid is cheaper. That would be a big factor. I actually just made a batch of the dry detergent last night before I read your thoughts on it. I figure it will be easier to travel with the dry detergent(we are going to visit family across the country for several weeks). I am curious to see if it washes as well as the liquid because the liquid recipe washes great. Thanks for the great comment :)