More Green For Less Green

Living more eco-friendly for less money


Even More on Homemade Laundry Detergent

It is almost time for me to make my third batch of homemade laundry detergent, and we are still going strong with it! We are a household of two adults and each batch is lasting us about six months. You can read about my first batch here and my musings going into my second batch here.

Below are some pictures and tips from my second batch in April. See Tip Nut's Recipe 1 for the amounts. Update: I've added the amounts in bold below (scattered throughout). Visit Tip Nut for a cleaner looking view of the the recipe.


**Grated Soap- 2 cups
I use Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby bars as my soap. Many people like Fels Naptha, but it has artificial scent and color in it and has petroleum-based ingredients, plus is contains tallow so it is a no-go for vegetarians. It is a "better" product, but not a "best" product in terms of being EF.

To shred it, I use the grater attachment in my food processor (bought used from Craigslist). I've tried the standard blade with the whole bar, but it gets violent in the food processor and make me afraid the thing will bust apart. If you want a fine shred (dissolves more quickly), use the grater attachment first to get the soap to shredded-cheese consistency, then use the normal blade to turn it into a cornmeal consistency.

A canning funnel works well for moving the soap into a (recycled) storage container.

**Borax- 2 cups

I store my Borax in a repurposed plastic container to keep out moisture which causes clumping. Some people think Borax is not a good choice for an eco-friendly household because it should not be ingested. But remember that a big part of eco-friendly cleaning is what is produced in an eco-friendly manner and what it does (or rather, does not do) to our water supply after we're done with it. In my opinion, the benchmark should not be if a substance okay to ingest. Borax is eco-friendly in terms of production and being in the water supply, so it gets my seal of approval. After all—you shouldn't eat soap, yet it is a great, safe cleaner. Also, if you have kids, even if you are 100% green clean in your home you should treat cleaning supplies as though they are toxic because your kids will inevitably go somewhere where conventional cleaners are used and they need to have healthy respect for the dangers of those things.

**Washing soda- 2 cups

I store my washing soda in the same way. Be sure to label your containers clearly both on the lids and the containers. They look similar to each other and to baking soda. Not things you would want to mix up!

You'll also need
**4 cups of boiling water in saucepan
**two gallons of tap water
**a spoon
**a whisk (optional)

**a large storage container


It just takes a saucepan to melt the soap. You don't need a special pot, after all you are making a detergent here—almost the exact same thing you can use to clean your dishes.

**On the stove top, boil 4 cups of water.
**Add the 2 cups of soap, stir until it melts

**Pour in the melted soap mixture from the saucepan into your storage container.

Down with the milk jug storage method I used for my first batch! My dear friend gave me a 40 pound kitty litter bucket to use. Perfect!

**Add in the 2 cups of borax and 2 cups of washing soda and stir (or whisk)

**Add in an additional 2 gallons of water and stir

We use a ladle (from a yard sale) to move the right amount of detergent from the bucket into the washer. It lives permanently in the bucket. So, when it is time to use the detergent, we just

**Stir it up before each use and ladle some out.

**For us, about 1/4 cup per load is the right amount.



At October 26, 2009 at 6:49 PM , Blogger Shoebotmom said...

I just made my third batch of laundry detergent a few weeks ago. As a family of 4, each batch is lasting us about 3 months. I totally vetoed the use of the Fels Naptha soap since hubby is vegetarian. I have used Ivory soap and Dial Hypo-allergenic soap. They both seem to work equally well. I love your idea of storing your washing soda and borax in old containers....I was wondering how to keep mine from clumping! Thanks!

At November 9, 2009 at 11:32 AM , Blogger vm said...

Thank you for the info about clumping. I was wondering why my powdered detergent was doing that and never thought there would be such an easy fix.

At September 8, 2012 at 1:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can this be used in front loading HE machines?

At November 23, 2012 at 8:24 PM , Blogger P said...

Responding to your comment got lost in the newborn haze. Sorry about that. I do not have an HE machine, so I have not tried it. But, it is a low-sudsing mix, so I suspect it would be fine. Other folks I know do use homemade detergents in their HE front-loaders.


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