Monday, January 10, 2011

Make your own laundry detergent

When my wonderful sister (Marcia) was here over Christmas, we made our own laundry detergent and I'm totally hooked. I'm attempting to be super frugal and making your own detergent costs close to $.01 PER LOAD! Umm, ya, this is an amazing savings. I do so much more laundry with Lily and I'm so glad Marcia suggested we try it out. I tried to take pictures, but only ended up with a few random shots, so take this for what it's worth.

I started out needing a bucket to put the soap in. I went to the grocery store and asked for an empty bucket and they gave me an empty frosting bucket for free!

Marcia used an empty laundry container. She had obviously planned ahead better than I did. We used an empty water bottle for the funnel since I don't own a funnel.


1. A bar of soap, like Kirk's Castile. I've heard Fels Naptha or Ivory work, too.

2. Washing Soda, in the laundry isle.

3. Borax, also in the laundry isle.

Put 1/2 quart of water in a large saucepan. Boil water. Meanwhile, grate the soap with a cheese grater.
Add the soap to the boiling water and stir until it melts.

Then, add 1 cup of borax to nearly-boiling water and 1 cup of washing soda. If you're Marcia and I, the water will boil over and make a HUGE soapy mess all over your entire kitchen.

Then, start completely over again. :) Ha! We cleaned up the mess and started over. This time, we took the pot off of the heat after the soap melted. We poured in the washing soda before the Borax and then poured the Borax in a little at a time. Marcia grated the second time around.

Stir the mixture until it's all dissolved. We didn't have a 5 gallon bucket, so we split it into two buckets (trash cans that we washed out). We put 8 cups of hot water in each, then added the cooked soap. We then added 16 cups of hot water to each and stirred.

We covered the mixtures and let them sit for 24 hours. Marcia has an HE machine, but this soap works for her. I use about 1/2 cup of soap per load. So far, it's great! The soap is a little funny. It's really just liquid with bits of gel in it. But, that's how it's described on lots of recipes, so I think we did it right. :) We didn't, but some people add essential oils to add scent. That also increases the cost.

Hurray! I am definitely going to do it again. Our clothes seem clean and I love that it's better for the environment, my wallet AND it's gentle for Lily's skin. Anyone else out there make their own soap!?


  1. Super Cool. I might just have to try that.

  2. Hooray for homemade! Thanks for humoring me, Lay. Next time I'll try the dry version.

  3. Wow- that's coolio! COngrats on being thrifty- I gotta try this sometime!

  4. I'm so proud of my thrifty girls! I bet Jenn will like the idea and maybe even try it too! Thanks for sharing and educating us all! Love, Mom

  5. This is awesome Malea! Sounds like something I will definitely try to do.

  6. Wow. I like how cheap it is, I will definitely try this at home. I just have to figure out where to buy the stuff. We live in Farmer Jon's back yard. Thanks for all the pictures and thorough instructions. Yeah for Malea and Marcia! I miss you girlies!