Saturday, August 16, 2008

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I made my own Liquid Laundry Detergent today for the first time. I used the recipe from Down-To-Earth and it was very simple.

Here are the ingredients:

You can buy the sunlight laundry soap anywhere, and the borax is relatively easy to come by, but I did have a job finding the washing soda. I got mine in Wal-Mart, along with the Borax. The total of all three ingredients including taxes was just over $14.00

Here is the recipe for the liquid detergent:

Ingredients :

1½ litres water
1 bar Sunlight or generic laundry soap or any similar pure laundry soap, grated on a cheese grater
½ cup washing soda – NOT baking or bicarb soda
½ cup borax

This is what the soap looks like when grated:


Into a medium sized saucepan add 1½ litres of water and the soap. Over a medium heat, stir this until it is completely dissolved. Make sure the soap dissolves properly or the mixture will separate when cold.Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. It sort of resembles a very thin lemon pudding mix now.

Pour this mixture into your 9-10 litre bucket then fill the bucket with hot water from the tap. Stir to combine all the ingredients.

The laundry liquid will thicken up more as it cools. When cool, store in a plastic container. Use 1/4 cup of mixture per load or monitor to see what works well for you.

I had to buy a container so spent another $8 there. However for the amount of ingredients I used I will get pail upon pail of this detergent for very little money.

Here is the recipe for the dry mix:


4 cups grated laundry soap
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a plastic container with a lid. Use 2 tablespoons per wash. This powder will not make suds and this is perfectly okay.

*****Evelyn asked about Borax and Septic Systems, as we don't have a septic system it's not a concern for me, so have no idea about that. I did look up on the Internet and came up with a couple of things.

From this site: • Use mild detergents or baking soda, borax, vinegar or rubbing alcohol rather than the stronger and potentially system-damaging chlorine and commercial household cleaners.

From this site: 20 Mule Team® Borax is made of 100% Borax, a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen and water. 20 Mule Team® Borax is not harmful to washing machines, plumbing or septic tanks and does not contain phosphates or chlorine.

From this site: Consider using biodegradable alternatives for routine cleaning chores. Oxidized bleaches, borax, vinegar, and baking soda are less hazardous alternatives to common household cleaning products.

Hopefully this will help you make up your mind. :0)


Lib said...

Hi Gill,
I make my own laundry det. also. I have for sometime now.
Hope you have a great wk.end!

~Niki~ said...

Hey Gill. Sorry I've been a bad blogger friend. My week was crazy, as you've prob'ly read. So I'm saying HI now ;) and have a great weekend! Thank you for the laundry soap recipe! niki

Evelyn said...

is there any truth to the fact that it is hard on the septic system? that is what has held me back from making my own. evelyn

Niki said...

Gill, what kind of washing machine do you have? Mine is a front loading HE machine. I wonder if that would work in my machine?

Gill - That British Woman said...

Evelyn I have posted some links for you re: your septic system.

Niki I have a front loader too, and have been told this laundry detergent is good for both front and top loaders, as it doesn't create the suds like a store bought laundry detergent does.

If you read the responses from Rhonda's thread on Down To Earth I think she mentions somewhere about using on her front loader. She must have done, as I wouldn't even have attempted it, if it wasn't any good for my machine.

I have a Kenmore machine and just love it.


Laura said...

I've been using the liquid homemade detergent for a few years - my septic has been just fine. It cleans our clothing as well as anything commercial I ever tried. With a toddler, I still keep some 'Shout' handy for pretreating stains, but I'm really happy with the laundry soap. :)

-Laura at tenthingsfarm

Niki said...

Thanks Gill, I may give it a try, after canning ;)

Pam said...

Hi GIll, thanks for stopping by my page. This is interesting about the detergent, I was talking about Borax with my sister just yesterday! Anyway, yes, Vegas is something everyone should see at least once! We didn't gamble much, just the odd $20 into a slot machine on occasion. It is Disneyworld for adults -- the hotels are all themed and have wonderful restaurants and interesting things to see. We really enjoyed the Grand Canyon skywalk - the trip there was part of the experience for sure. We'd love to go back to the more famous part of the canyon too. Will stop back by and have a read of your page soon!

xxxAmber said...

I love the laundry detergent idea! Approximately how much detergent do you end up with- enough for how many loads?

Unknown said...

I'll have to try your recipe after I run out of my stockpile! I'm hoping to get a new washing machine soon. You said you have a Kenmore, which type or model?

Gill - That British Woman said...

10 litres = approx 44 cups.

You are supposed to use 1/4 cup per load, so that means you should get 176 loads of laundry per batch of liquid detergent.

Remember these figures are only approximate figures, you may get more, you may get less.

I worked out it cost all of $1.50 to make the batch, so its going to work out to less than a penny a load. Please correct me if I am wrong with my calculations.


CannedAm said...

FINALLY got around to making my laundry powder :) I just had to run out of detergent in order to muster the motivation to shred that danged bar of soap. Lordy I think I have carpal tunnel now. LOL :) I'll probably blog this and link to your posting about it. Thanks for the posting. Knowing it was here I was able to just come here and get the recipe instead of hunting the net for it. :)

Woman out of the Norm said...

Hi British Woman :) I am originally from North Carolina living in Canada now for almost 9 years. I stumbled upon your blog trying desperately to find where I can buy 20 Mule Team Borax...No one I know up here has even heard of it lol....So I will try to find it at Walmart and THANKS!! Also I saw you have a dog allergic to almost everything...SO DO WE!! and we have been battling her problems which are really severe this year the best we can without using the venectal P (spelling) from the vet since it is a steroid. Also the allergy shots did not work for her so I'm hoping to review your blog and maybe you have some helpful ideas for us..Would be a God send..
Thank you for having this blog :)


Gill - That British Woman said...

thanks for popping by Debra, you should find it at Wal-Mart no problem.


momworkdc said...

I got all of the ingredients on Easy peasy. Just made my first batch and actually can't wait to go do my first load of laundry! (Making the softener, too) Thanks for posting!

Wimbledon cleaners said...

Great post. Really useful and informative. You should be congratulated for sharing this great tip with all your readers.

Lil Tush said...

Going to try your recipe this weekend, hopefully, if my order for washing soda comes in. I have 5 kids to wash for, so this is a blessing to find :D Thank You!!!

Lil Tush said...

OH! and my name is Gillian :D thought I'd share lol

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