The Home Economist – Homemade Laundry Detergent

Mar 6, 2010 | Uncategorized | 12 comments

I know, I know…
You’ve heard of it.  You’ve questioned it.  You’ve wondered if it really works… You’ve been meaning to try it.
I know, I know…
It’s all over the internet; the Homemade Laundry Detergent recipe that is, BUT if just one of my lovely readers benefits from this post than I will be happy.
If you have been reading for any amount of time you, I am sure can tell I’ve got that whole champage taste on a beer budget thing going on.  We’re talking Cristale VS Coors Light here girls!!! Oh, Coors Light, I almost gag just thinking about it!*
There are certain things I am willing to spend money on and other things that I find excruciatingly painful to swipe that debit card for.  For example; I think $48 for Caudalie’s to-die-for Beauty Elixer is TOTALLY worth it but I think $10 for a bottle of Tide Detergent is…quite frankly…a bunch of crap and I simply won’t do it!
 How about spending $10ish dollars on A YEAR’S WORTH OF LAUNDRY DETERGENT!  
Sound’s deserving of a trip to Caudalie dot com to me!  

Et Voila – You will need:

One bar of Fels-Naptha soap.  (Buy a couple bars cause the other products below will last forever and if you buy 3-5 bars you won’t have to run out for more in a few months)
One box of Borax
One Box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
One 5 Gallon Bucket

                         Now, these things weren’t the easiest for me to find…but I live in a hick suburb of Chicago (where the Walmart parking lot is packed at all hours of the day).  Every moron I asked at the stores around here would say, “Are you sure you don’t mean Baking Soda?” 

 Which, really irritated me.  Like I’m stupid or something.  This question came my way the same day I inquired about Red Devil Lye to make bath soap and someone asked me, 
“Are you sure you don’t mean Red Bull?”
God is great.  Beer is Good.  People are Crazy.
Fill the bucket with 3 Gallons of water.  Cut up your soap, nice and small and melt it on the stove in a quart or two of boiling water (taken from the bucket).  Add 1/2 cup of Borax and 1 Cup of the Washing Soda to the bucket and add the water full of the melted soap, stir, cover with a lid and the next day you will have a HUGE amount of gel like goo.  If it’s runny you can stir it a bit.  Sometimes it forms to a gel and other times it looks like that soup you get as an appetizer at the Chinese restaurant.
Simply use a detergent scoop and enjoy your clean clothes.  I use a big scoop for just about any size load.  This stuff lasts forever – I made mine in October and just had to make a new batch yesterday.  (I had made a batch and a half.) As a gardener with three small children and a husband who has two jobs – one painting and the other delivery… I do a lot of laundry.
Green?  Not really but it’s not loaded with colors and tons of crazy stuff, I mean come on, didn’t our Great Gramma’s use Borax and Fels Naptha?…I am tempted to add lavender oil and even a cup or two of Oxyclean to see what happens.

I hope you enjoy this and do something fun… or, I suppose, responsible, with all the money you save!

*I could drink champagne every day all day… seriously… but, as far as beer goes, I am a Budweiser girl myself.


  1. Sophia Mnemosyne

    ah, yes Champagne … no other beverage can turn an ordinary time into a special memorable moment. – I’m a Veuve Clicquot fan.

    I recently started reading your postings and fine them very witty and great tips.

    From one Champagne taste on a beer budget to another – Have a bubbly week-end!

  2. Bonjour Madame

    Laundry detergent prices are out of control. I’m so glad you posted about this with pictures of what the packaging looks like so it will be easier to find. I’m going to try this.

  3. Pam

    Funny timing – I just made a batch this morning…I’ve been making this stuff for about a year now and we actually prefer it to Tide. Go figure. I think it smells really nice, too. I make my own fabric softener, too. The prices they charge for laundry supplies is highway robbery. Also, I’ve been making shampoo using your recipe for quite some time now and love it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Laura

    I been using this recipe for over a year and love it!! I can’t believe how much money it saves me!!! Anyone thinking about trying it should, it is so worth it!

  5. Teri

    Great post. I think I’ll try my inner scientist, and see if I can duplicate your recipe.

    Do you have a recipe for fabric softener like Pam mentioned? The price for it is out of control too.

  6. Lorilee

    Can the homemade stuff be used in the front load washers that say they require the HE detergent?

  7. Jenny

    I do watch TV and saw this same recipe followed by the Duggar family on 19 Kids and Counting. And at the time thought…good idea..then forgot. Now with your encouragement I feel ready to give it a go. Here at the ranch we see many a mud/manure caked work clothes….poor, poor washing machine. The lavendar oil sounds nice…any ideas for natural softeners? Also I am a Shiner Bock girl myself..hehe. Champagne wishes to you.

  8. Belle de Ville

    I too think that $10 plus for laudrey detergent is exhorbitant.
    I would love to try this…but I’m afraid that I would blow something up.

  9. Joy

    I’ve seen several recipes for laundry detergent, I’m going to try this since you say it works. I hate the cost of commercial laundry detergent also. thanks!

  10. Farmgirl Cyn

    I now make the same soap, but don’t mix it with the water. Just put it in a coffee can and use a very small amount per load. (like a shot glass full) Was just easier than mixing with the water and it works the same. I just make sure to add it to warm water in the washer…at least till it dissolves. I have heard of adding lavender oil, but what I read was by the time it is done washing, the scent is gone. If you try it, let us know?
    SO glad you gave it a try!

  11. Maman de trois petit rois

    I can’t wait to try this. I still have some bars of Sunlight that my Mother brought back from Belgium, wonder if that would work…. definitely going to try the lavender oil!

  12. Berlin Deluxxe

    Have you ever tried doing the wash using all natural soap nuts? I haven’t but I am curious to know if someone has.
    As for champagne, I prefer Prosecco di Valdobbiadene and my beer, well, So Cal’s own Red Trolley!
    Cheers to clean laundry 🙂



  1. The Home Economist: Detergent with Whitener Recipe - Parisienne Farmgirl - […] The Original Recipe […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search Posts

Blog Categories

Archives by Date