The Home Economist: Detergent with Whitener Recipe

Jan 27, 2016 | A Well Kept Home, The Home Economist | 9 comments

Homemade Laundry Detergent with Whitener Recipe

I love Instagram. But what does that have to do with my Homemade Laundry Detergent with Whitener Recipe?


Allow me to backtrack. I posted in my “Debt” post the other day that during our plan of attack I got rid of my cell phone. I hated that thing anyways, I was totally anti-texting, I was tapped out with the blog and Facebook (which I also used to hate but felt I needed to join), I was in survival mode.  Three kids at the time. I hate the sound of a ringing phone and so I was happy to have one less noise in my life.

Fast forward from those years to last summer. My oil team was begging me to get a phone… and so after years of just having a landline (that was lost half the time somewhere out in the potager), I treated myself to a new iPad and a lovely, gold, iPhone 6. WOW. (My husband called it my Golden Calf which made me laugh up my spleen!) That was a decadent move indeed for Miss Frugal Pants but it was a fun and good business write off. I quickly came to see how “texting” was super handy with my business and then I got the Instagram app.


Serious. I’m a total nerd. I heart Instagram. I keep my phone on the counter. Handy. (I’m freaked about brain cancer… or any kind for that matter so I don’t carry my phone on my body and I use speakerphone all-the-time.) But anyways. I keep my phone on the counter and if something during my day strikes me as pretty or inspiring or if my kids are just too dang cute I will post on Instagram and then I share it to my Facebook business page and Twitter. Call me modern. Call me a social media junkie… fine. If you must. But I heart Instagram.

So yesterday I posted a lame photo of a five-gallon bucket.


I had just experimented with a new batch of homemade laundry detergent, the day was gloomy and grey and I had nothing else to share. Truth be told I was kind of annoyed with myself for posting something so uninspiring as laundry detergent but… the feedback? Geesh! Y’all wanted my new recipe even with its super-lame-January-gray photo so here goes.

I learned how to make homemade laundry detergent back in the day of trying to get debt-free. It was a horrid time for I think we were pretty much out of work too. It was one chapter of many during our debt-free struggle where we were trying to do it under extreme financial stress. This was one of those things that made me feel empowered. Sadly, a few years later I got savvy to horrible cancer-causing chemicals in one of my original ingredients; Fels Naptha. I mean that stuff cleans like the dickens, and it’s totally “old-timey” but wow. I now use it for extreme oil-based stains only.

It was time to tweak.

Here’s what you need for my new recipe. I doubt it’s not all that different from most of the recipes out there but I gave it a test run yesterday on a white load and was very pleased.

Homemade Laundry Detergent with Whitener Recipe

I love the old-fashioned look of the washing soda box, don’t you?

You will need:

Essential oils of your choice (I had tons of Wild Orange and Peppermint so that’s what I used) About 30 drops of each (contact me for my store link, I’m prohibited from sharing it with you here, as stupid as that sounds).

Pour the Borax and Washing Soda into the bucket and fill the bucket with hot water. (To help them dissolve). On a sturdy cutting board cut your soap into 1/2 chunks. Take a medium sized saucepan and when your bucket is about full, scoop it in and fill it halfway. Heat it over medium/high heat and put your soap chunks in to dissolve.  Stir with a whisk. Don’t let it boil over! Yuck!

While your soap is cooking/dissolving on the stove top stir your bucket with something like a yardstick or long. Once your stove top soap has dissolved pour that soapy water into your bucket. Your bucket will be just full. Add the peroxide, stir and add your oils. Stir. Be sure to cover your bucket and keep it away from little ones who could drown.

This detergent doesn’t do that gel thing like my old recipe so a couple hours after I felt everything had had a chance to meld I took an old detergent bottle and gently (so it didn’t overflow) filled it.  I filled a whole bottle with about one inch of my concoction! This stuff is going to last forever! I ran a  dingy white load with a cap full of this new detergent and I have to say I’m pretty pleased! I hate dingy whites and could burn thru a box of Oxy Clean in a week… Freak.

Homemade Laundry Detergent with Whitener Recipe

(Look at those clean washcloths? Not bad for a girl that wears 40 pounds of mascara??!!)

So that’s it.

All over a lame Instagram photo. (I had to take some cuter ones for this post didn’t I?)

Let me know what you think of this new Laundry Detergent with Whitener recipe!

Oh my gosh! How could I forget? Why don’t you come and “suivez-moi” on Instagram? Just click the little camera link over on my right sidebar! I’d love to see you there!

So, if there is such a thing… Happy Laundry Day!

Thanks for reading. Angela Parisienne Farmgirl

Other Parisienne Farmgirl Laundry Related Posts:

The Original Recipe

My Homemade Lavender Scented Homemade Starch Recipe (and everyone’s favourite apron post!)


  1. Dore @ Burlap Luxe

    I have a hate love relationship with all media, it really sucks all the time life out of you.
    When I think of all the stuff I could be on track with if I was not answering calls, texting, clients, trying to stay healthy while cutting corners, I.G, Facebook, and blogging, as well as building a bit of a side business on etsy and planning a website catalog for my French farmhouse pottery that I am getting ready to launch, one needs to stay in touch. So I just this last month purchased the NEW IPHONE 6S Plus in silver.
    I am a grey kind of girl, love the huge screen, and I don’t have to do a thing, it does it all but the laundry and making the bed.

    I love that I can just ask it to call who ever is in my contacts… Or what time a cafe closes, what’s the weather like here or there. And I can talk text and send without even looking or holding my IPhone 6s Plus this is the next one for you, while feeding the baby you need not even touch the phone you can voice demand it to do it all.

    I have been wanting to make a bulk of laundry soap that a friend makes, and yours is much like hers.
    You go girl, keep inspiring what takes place on your farm.


  2. lynnatthevintagenest

    washing soda is the best! but it’s hard to find around here for some reason

  3. ~ ~Ahrisha~~

    Good morning Farm Girl,
    So what you are saying is this is a concentrate. You put 1″ in an old detergent bottle then fill the rest with water. How much do you use per load? Is it equal to a store bought laundry detergent per wash load. This is intriguing and I am going to give it a try. Thanks for answering.
    ~ ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~ ~

    • Margaret

      I don’t think you dilute it further. I think after filling her bottle, the level of the bucket had just gone down by an inch.

  4. Pam Moore

    First of all, I love Instagram. I’m new to it, too. I like that it feels like a much nicer, friendlier, I-won’t-cram-my-crappy-petty-arguments-in-your-face version of Facebook – which I’m pretty over.

    Secondly, I used to make my own laundry soap for years. I quit for 2 reasons. 1) I burned up 2 food processor attachments grating that dang soap, then had to suffer doing it by hand. 2) Our water is SUPER hard (and sometimes brown) and all of our clothes were getting dingy and the whites were turning grey.

    I may give your version a try again. I like that it doesn’t involve grating the soap. And, if you say it whitens – I trust your judgement enough to see if it would beat out our crappy water.

    P.S. I didn’t realize Fels Naptha caused caner. How do you use it for the heavy grease stains, if you don’t mind sharing.

  5. LBDDiaries

    Question: can this be used with colors and items that don’t need whitening?

    It sounds similar to one I made before but I am going to make yours next. It’s been awhile but your bucket made me realize I needed to get back to making my own (smile)!

  6. RMF325

    I’ve been using that recipe for about 15 years, but I use it as a powder, not a liquid. I chop up the soap in my food processor and then dump it into a container with the washing soda and borax. Could not be faster or easier, and I get great whites too. I use distilled white vinegar as “fabric softener”, and my whites are dazzling. Wouldn’t go back to “normal” detergent for anything.

  7. kinderhausfarm

    I have fiddled with several different detergent variations over the years, always feeling not quite satisfied. Never had tried liquid until your version. Absolutely love it. Can’t believe how bright it gets our whites, & I have seven boys! Only change I’ve made for our family is to use Herbaria soap. They actually sell 1 pound bags of shredded soap, which will make 2 buckets of detergent. So, I don’t have to shred or chop, just dissolve. They call their shredded soap Burano, & I can order it online directly from them. Great soap with only pure essential oils. Thanks so much for sharing your detergent recipe!


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