With God at the center of our lives, even the simplest of things are infused with peace and joy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back By Popular Demand

Today, I had a request from Renee to put up my homemade laundry detergent post. Why? Because she didn't want to have to look for the recipe! lol

Here you go, my friend.....THIS ONE'S FOR YOU! :> )

When we decided to homeschool, I knew I had to find ways to help us live a more frugal lifestyle, now that we were going back to one income. Not only that, I just LOVE things that are home made, no matter what it is. (unless they are dust bunnies) My kids have always known that I have a very hard time spending money, but when I started making the detergent, they thought I had gone "CRAZY!" We have been making and using this recipe for 2 years now. I just love it and I don't thing I will ever go back to store bought.
So, here are the directions.......and with pictures too! :> ) I am a "visual" person and need to see how things are done. I have a hard time reading directions sometimes, so when we first made this, I had my husband read the directions and do it with me. For some reason, I can read the same directions, book passage, scripture verse, etc., and get something out of it completely different than you. So, the last time I made the detergent, I decided to take pictures in case someone wanted to make it.

There are 2 ways to make this detergent, liquid and powder, but they both use the same 3 basic indredients. Also, if you can, whatever utensils you use to make the detergent, it is a good idea to label them and keep them separate so you won't cook with them. I can't remember if I got my untensils at the thrift store or at a yard sale. This detergent will not suds up very much, which also makes this great for front loading washers, but it is still cleaning your clothes. The first time I used it, I put in my detergent and the clothes, but I forgot to close the lid. When I went back and looked at the water it was dark. I thought something had run because of the BORAX of the Washing Soda. Looking more closely, I realized that nothing had run, it was the dirt from our clothes. Y U C K !!!! I know, I know.....stop talking and get on with the directions!
The 3 basic ingredients you need for your detergent are:
1 cup of Grated bar soap - (Fels Naptha, Ivory, Coast, Irish Spring, basically any kind you like...scented or not) you can add a little bit more soap if you want a stronger scent or you can add essential oils to scent it.
(Now you know what to do with all those bars of hotel soap)

1/2 cup BORAX - you can get this at Wal-Mart or almost any grocery store down the detergent aisle

I purchased mine at Wal-Mart for $2.97 for a 4 lb 12oz box.

1/2 cup Super Washing Soda (not to be confused with Baking Soda....they are NOT the same thing) You can find this at Martin's, Kroger's, and Farmer Food's here in VA. You would need to call your local grocery store to see if they carry it. I purchased mine at Martin's for $1.99 for a 3 lb 7oz box.

Other items you will need:
5 gallon bucket or container with a lid (if making the liquid or some other container for the powder)
Grater ( or you can use a food processor, but you need to grate the soap for both kinds )
Cooking Spray or something else to "lightly" grease your grater for easy clean-up later (trust me on this one from personal experience!
Pot - big enough to hold 1/2 gallon (this is needed to dissolve the ingredients)Measuring cup - 1/2 cup size
Mixing spoon with a long handle - to stir your mixture in the bucket
Ok, we are going to make the powder first.

The first thing you need to do is to "lightly" spray your grater with cooking spray to make cleaning the grater easy later on.
Now, grate your bar soap. Grate the whole bar even though you only need 1 cup, as you can save the remaining soap for another batch. Put soap into a bowl or container.

Measure out a 1/2 cup each of BORAX and Super Washing Soda. Put them in the bowl/container with the grated soap.
Stir or shake your 3 ingredients together.

Now if you have a food processor, some have even used a coffee grinder, you can grind it up to make a finer powder. I did that to mine. The picture above is with the soap just grated, the pictures below, is what it looked like before and after I used my Ultimate Chopper. I prefer to make a finer powder.
See the difference? It is just a matter of preference. Now all you need to do is store it in some kind of container.
How much powder do I use? I use 1 tablespoon for a normal load and 2 tablespoons for a large or extra dirty load.

Onward to the liquid~

Follow the same directions for grating and measuring the soap (you do not need to put this in the food processor because you are going to dissolve it in water), BORAX, and Washing Soda only this time keep them separated.

Take your pot and put about 2 quarts of water in and put it over a medium flame till heated.

(you don't have to be EXACT with this recipe. As my mom would say, "It's not rocket science, Laura!" ha ha (LOVE AND MISS YOU, MOM!)
While the weather was warm and we cooked outside, I would make my detergent on the grill using the left over coals. This way I was not wasting the charcoal or using the electricity.
Ok, now we are going to add our ingredients ONE AT A TIIME, stirring and dissolving each one before adding the next one. The mix will get thicker but to what degree all depends on the soap that you use.

1 cup grated soap,

1/2 cup BORAX,

and 1/2 cup Washing Soda

Are you still with me? It's pretty easy, huh? It's okay, we are almost finished!!!
Alright, after those three ingredients are dissolved, turn off the heat and remove pot from burner. Get your bucket/container and put again about 2 quarts of water in it.

I like to use warm water for this part, only because I am ALWAYS FREEZING and if I get my hands in it, it's WARM!

Next, pour your soap mixture into the bucket and stir.
Now add about a gallon of warm water and stir again.

Coming to the home stretch..........................Now all you have to do is put a cover on it and let it sit overnight, however, I have used it right after making it because I waited to long to make more and I really NEEDED to do laundry.

The next day when you remove the lid, there are a few different ways it may look. There is no WRONG way, as again, it all depends on the kind of soap you used. I don't have a picture because mine looked the same as before.

  • It may look just like it did before you put the lid on
  • It may look like nothing but a big blob of gel
  • It may have the look and consistency of egg drop soup
In any case, all you need to do, if it has gelled, is to stir/shake before use.

How much liquid do I use? I use 1/2 cup per normal load and up to a cup for large and extra dirty loads.
Well, there you have it in a nut shell. Homemade laundry detergent. I hope you enjoy making this as much as I do.
Should you have ANY questions, please feel free to e-mail me.

~COMING SOON TO A BLOG NEAR YOU.....................

Do I really need a DISCLAIMER? Should this say something different? "As with any recipe, please take caution using any/all appliances. Results may vary. I do not assume any responsibility for your results." Unless they come out amazing, then I will! :> )


Anonymous said...

thank you :)

Goose Hill Farm said...

You are very welcome, my friend! :D

Andrea said...


You should contact Mary at http://justbefrugal.blogspot.com
She is a good friend of mine and would probably like to post a link to this on her new blog. She is an accomplished author, but her heart is in being frugal. She truly lives it out. I am excited about her new adventure and I know GOD is going to use it in these economic times.
Blessings, andrea

Goose Hill Farm said...

Thank you, Andrea! I stopped by yesterday quickly. She has a wonderful blog! :D

Deborah said...

I love your blog. Thank for posting Penny's button. That is so very sweet of you. You are a blessing to me.
I am going to find out more on Thursday on what her doctor says in Boston. It is stage 4 tounge and tonsil cancer. She was in remission for 3 1/2 years. Very sad. She is such a beautiful person inside and out.

homeschool101 said...

Bahahaha! Lol. That is good! Have a wonderful week my friend. The blog looks great!

Susan said...

Thank you for posting that. I purchased laundry detergent this weekend and was AMAZED at how the price has gone up. $14 for normal size bottle!?!?! I don't even think that is a gallon or may be just a gallon.

I'm going to try your recipe!

Susan at Charm of the Carolines

Cathy said...

I think this is something I could do. I may have to try this.

Goose Hill Farm said...

Cathy, it's so easy! :D

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

The only thing I do differently is to leave it in powder form. I use a scoop that you get with baby formula as my measurer and use a little less than a full scoopful. :o)

Anonymous said...

you have a blog award over at my blog

Katia said...

Hello Laura, I've come from Renees blog, you have a nice blog here.
I am a "homesteader at heart", but live in the city with a very small backyard....one day.....
Thank you for posting all of the pictures, it really helps, I am a visual person too.

Susan said...

Laura, the more I think about it, the more I would like to repost your post on homemade detergent on my blog. May I have your permission to do that? I'll reference your blog and send readers over for the full story.

Thank you!


Goose Hill Farm said...

Absolutely, Susan. You have my permission to repost anything you wish!


Susan said...

Thank you Laura! I'm leaving town today and have written several posts set to a timer. This one should appear next Monday or Tuesday.

Thanks again!


Anonymous said...

WOW - that's LOTS of work - I don't think I'm up to it ... yet! :)
I LOVED the pics of the soda going in there - the light was COOL on those couple pix. :)
As I use 1-2 tbspons ALREADY with my front loader I guess I would use a teaspoon of your powder detergent huh? :) LOL!
Thanks again...

chili pepper said...

OK... Laura. I was just going to drop by and I can't stop reading! How will I ever get my post written for tomorrow before the kids get up from naps???

I am excited about this. I have very severe allergies and asthma and a number of my kids have severe eczema which can be exasperated by fragrances and dyes. I have been using a wonderful organic scent and dye free product but like you I would love to save money anyway I can. I have a question, though. I have a high efficiency machine that requires super concentrated detergent. How much would you suggest I use? If you could tell me how much you use compared to regular tide or gain then I could figure it out from there.



Cathy said...

Laura: I made the powder detergent for the first time today. I'm washing my first load now! I feel very domestic now. lol

Seesagirl said...

Hey I use this recipe and LOVE it! I add a little bit of baking soda to mine to take care of nasty smells. Roughly one scoop of baking soda to every four scoops of grated soap.

Also, I use hair conditioner as fabric softener. Use up any extras you don't like, kinda like those bars of soap from hotels!

Anyway, I made a gallon size container of the powdered soap recipe about 2 months ago. I've washed over 50 loads and I've got almost half the container left. This is saving me a FORTUNE!

chili pepper said...


I have been meaning to come by and talk to you about this for over a year now and never think of it when I am on the computer, just when I am doing laundry.

After I read your first post on this, I started looking for a powder version. I found one that uses the same ingredients and the same business with chopping it up in the food processor. And that is where you stop. Just put it in the machine and go for it. A lot less work than the water and cooking deal. Anyway, I have been using it since last February and love it. For my super sized high efficiency machine (which is about double a standard machine) I use 1 Tablespoon of the powder. If the boys have been doing something extremely messy I toss in 2 T... just in case. Anyway, I hardly have to worry about stains not coming out of clothes, they smell great, best of all, those of us who are allergic to the dyes and fragrances of standard detergent have no worries anymore. Oh, and it is oh so CHEAP!!! I love that.

Thanks for the inspiration,