According to a survey by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), most adults in the U.S. call laundry their favorite chore. Even if you don’t love the jobs of pretreating, sorting, washing, drying, folding and putting them away, there is something comforting about fresh, clean laundry. And if you want to feel even better about your laundered items, you can make your own homemade laundry detergent.
DIY detergent has many benefits. Since you control the ingredients, you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals, fragrances, dyes or other additives that you don’t want to use. Homemade laundry detergent can cost much less and last much longer than store-bought varieties.
Plus, it can be surprisingly easy to make, and there are recipes to fit practically every preference. Whether you are partial to powder, liquid or even something else, there is likely a concoction you can make at home. Here are some of the best recipes out there for creating a laundry soap you’ll love.
Fabulous-Smelling Homemade Laundry Detergent
You can make enough powdered detergent to last a year in one sitting, depending on how large your household is and how often you do the laundry. Laurie Hise at Passionate Penny Pincher states that her recipe only costs about $20 to whip up, and it smells amazing as well.
Her recipe calls for Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, a box of Borax, pure baking soda, crumbled or grated bars of Fels-Naptha Soap, a tub of Oxy-Clean powder and, if desired, a scent booster such as Downy Unstoppables.
Mix all of the ingredients and store the detergent in an airtight container. Since it does make quite a bit, you might want to keep a smaller container in your laundry room and refill it as needed.
Liquid Homemade Laundry Detergent
Crystal Faulkner from Mrs. Happy Homemaker has a recipe that costs about $2 for 5 gallons if you would rather have liquid detergent. The ingredients are quite similar to the powdered recipe, with the addition of lots of water.
To make this recipe, you will need grated Fels-Naptha Soap (Zote or castile soap work, too), Borax, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and water. You should also have a 5-gallon bucket to mix and store it in. You will need to melt the soap and have a couple of gallons of hot water available.
If you want the homemade laundry detergent to smell extra nice, you can add some of your favorite essential oil to the water. However, it’s important to note that this mixture needs to sit for at least 24 hours, so don’t plan to use it right away.
Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs
While there might not be a recipe for homemade laundry “pods,” Mavis Butterfield developed a recipe for DIY laundry detergent tabs that are just as convenient. This recipe is quite similar to the others listed as far as ingredients go. You will need to combine Borax, white vinegar, washing soda and grated soap (Fels Naptha, Zote or Ivory). Essential oil, for added fragrance, is optional — but an ice cube tray is necessary.
The difference in this homemade laundry cleaner is that you will pack the mixture into the ice cube tray sections and allow it to dry, so it hardens. Then, store the tabs in a container; the recipe makes about 45 tabs.
Borax-Free Homemade Laundry Detergent
For some people, Borax can be a skin irritant. For others, it isn’t easy to find. Cassie Johnston of Wholefully discovered a laundry soap mixture that doesn’t require this cleaning agent to work well in your washing machine. This recipe calls for lots of very hot water (14 cups, in all), baking soda, salt, unscented liquid castile soap and optionally, lavender essential oil for fragrance.
Combine half of the water, baking soda and salt, then repeat the step. After all ingredients have been mixed to create a clear liquid, you can add in the liquid soap (and essential oil, if desired) and give it a gentle swirl. Store the liquid detergent in a gallon-sized container with a lid. This mixture could easily last all month, if not longer.
Next time you are running low on laundry soap, why not try your hand at making your own?