Have you thought about making homemade laundry detergent? Is it easy to make? Does it really clean? And will homemade laundry powder ruin your washing machine?
In 2011, we made the switch. I walked away from expensive detergents and decided to try homemade powdered laundry detergent. I was nervous because I have a
I was nervous because I had a one-year-old HE washer, but I put on my brave face and went to the store. I picked up a box of washing powder, a box of borax, and two bars of Fels Naptha soap.
I was worried about putting a bar of soap in my food processor since it is not a quality machine. (The first time I tried to shred cheese, the grating blade broke!) So, I chopped the bar into smaller pieces using my utility knife.
Using the chopping blade, I put my food processor to the test. Doing a little at a time, I finally had the big bar chopped into a fine gravel. I really thought that this was not going to work since the pieces were still large – from my point of view. (See the notes below!)
I mixed the soap bits with 2 cups of washing soda and 2 cups of borax, placing it in an old detergent box.
My friends told me that I only needed one tablespoon per load. I thought that they had probably never seen a full load in my high capacity washer. I mean, come on! I have four kids! Bill and I were very skeptical but we decided to make the first load a heaping load of towels.
Guess what? It worked!!!
Our clothes are fresh, clean, and static free (with help from wool dryer balls.) I love it!
If you think you might forget the instructions, just remember the power of ONE:
Tips for using homemade laundry detergent
After using this recipe for years, here are my best tips:
- When you put your Fels Naptha into the food processor, add a scoop of washing powder. The powder adds friction and allows you to create a finer chop on the soap meaning that it dissolves easier.
- Run your washing machine on the highest temperature allowed based on the garments in each load. The soap does not dissolve well in cold water.
- Avoid homemade laundry detergent recipes that call for Zote Soap. Zote did not dissolve well in my HE washer and caused a thick residue I had to remove with a knife.
- Reader-submitted tip: When using homemade laundry detergent, your whites might get a little dingy. To stop this, you can buy Mrs. Stewarts Liquid Bluing and use a cap full per full load. Be careful not to pour directly on clothes as it will stain. Instead, mix it with a cup of water then add to whites.
UPDATE: Fast-forward five years… Do we still use homemade laundry detergent? No, because I noticed my whites were not white anymore. However, as I consider the facts, I think it was the washing machine causing the problem and NOT the detergent. Even after switching back to an expensive brand-name, we still struggle with dingy whites.
Love homemade cleaners?
Be sure to check out these other great homemade cleaner recipes: