Monday, May 16

Homemade Laundry Detergent

It was a productive weekend at our house. Instead of going to the grocery store to pickup a few items, we stayed in on Sunday and made an old recipe I found for homemade powder laundry detergent. It's all natural and smells heavenly (which means it's laced with lavender) - and it cleans beautifully!

Here's what you'll need to make yours:

4- 4oz. bars of grated Castile soap
1- 78 oz. box of Borax
8- 16 oz. boxes of baking soda
3 tsp. (15mL) lavender essential oil



I buy my bars of Castile soap and the lavender essential oil through an online drugstore, and if go through Ebates.com you can get 4% cash back (and 8% if it's a Double Day). Woo!

We grated our soap using a plain ol' cheese grater, which was a big hit with the little man. He wanted to get in on the action (see below) which saved this Mama a ton of forearm effort.

You can also use a food processor to do this step, if you don't have free labor available in your house. :)

Once we had the soap all grated, we threw it in a large plastic pail and tossed in the other ingredients. I used my hands to mix it all up and voila! Homemade powder laundry detergent!



Each load only takes 2 tablespoons of detergent, so this one batch will cover 288 loads of laundry. All together, the ingredients cost me about $25, which equals about 9 cents per load. Talk about saving money!


UPDATE: I've had quite a few questions about this recipe so I'll update you with some of the FAQs --


1. As far as I know, this detergent is HE/front load washer safe. You may have to adjust the amount you use slightly, but it's up to you to figure out how much more/less you need to get the same scent power as the 2 tblsp. I use in my top load washer.

2. You can substitute the castile soap with Fels-Naptha. I've always seen Fels-Naptha in the laundry detergent section of my local Wal-Mart, so it ought to be easier to find than the castile soap. I'm not sure how Ivory soap or any other similar soap would work out - I'm afraid it might be a really "sudsy" outcome though.

3. You can use washing soda instead of baking soda, if you prefer. I don't see a need in doubling up on the cleaning power since I'm already using Borax (which is pretty awesome on its own) and the castile soap.

This post does contain an affiliate link to Ebates.com. If you sign up through it, it does not cost you a thing, and does give my account a small credit which helps me keep this site going. Thank you!

Update 4/13/16 -- I've turned off comments on this post since the majority that it gets nowadays are spam. If you have any questions that aren't answered already, you're welcome to email me at shop@thehenpen.com. Thanks for stopping by! 

144 comments:

  1. Ohhh I like this idea! Laundry detergent can be so pricey so I am sure you are saving $$!

    Delighted Momma

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    1. I have followed another blog's instructions- exactly the same, but left out the soap -- My clothes are laundering fine. I left out the soap because it just made me think of the ooey gooey bar of soap left in a pool of water in the BR -- anyway, mine is a much thinner liquid, but when I make it, I have four gallons --- I just love making my own soaps and detergents.l

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  2. does the lavender oil not make the powder clumpy?! i've been making mine for a while and thinking how much i'd LOVE for it to be "better smelling" -- i'm so glad you linked up at SIDAC!!

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    1. i make it in smaller batches.. i end up with a quart jar of laundry soap that lasts me two or three months.

      but if you whirl it up in a food processor with the essential oils there is no clumping.. i only add a few drops of the essential oil and i don't always use lavender.

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  3. Hope: The lavender oil does not make it clumpy at all since there's so little of it among about 36 cups of powder. As long as you start mixing it up with your hands immediately after you add it, it shouldn't give you any fits. Thanks for stopping by and visiting!!

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  4. awesome.. me and my sister just made liquid...i have always been a powder fan...thanks for sharing:)

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  5. I really try, it inspires me to detergent washing. Thanks

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  6. Awesome! I have been wanting to try this. I need to!

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  7. Must you use Castile Soap or can you swap it out for something like Ivory ???

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    1. If you use anything other than castile/or/Fels Naptha, you DEFEAT the purpose of using an all natural product......so why bother?

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    2. Have you ever read the ingredients in Borox? How is this all natural?

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    3. True - I'm reading more and more about how Borax isn't good. I found a Borax free laundry detergent recipe to use.

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    4. The ingredients in borax, at least in 20 Mule Team borax, is 99.5% sodium tetraborate decahydrate. That's the chemical name for borax, which is a mineral that they mine in the desert (and used to pull out in carts driven by teams of mules. That's where the name came from).

      The other 0.5% is trace minerals that coexist with the borax in the borax deposit where they do the mining. While they test it and clean it to make sure there are no other, hazardous minerals in there, it is a natural product that comes directly out of a mine in the desert.

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    5. You could also make your own all-natural soap and use it in this recipe. I would just recommend making it with oils that create a minimal amount of lather once saponified, since you don't want to overflow your washer with suds. Personally, I'd use olive and palm oils for this, as both are great for cleansing and stain removal and are low lather when saponified.

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    6. Borax is a naturally occurring mineral. You can drive yourself crazy if you try to be too crunchy!

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  8. Kellybean32, I wouldn't recommend it with Ivory soap. Castile soap contains only a few all-natural ingredients, while Ivory contains a number of "sodium blahblahblahs" and and other synthetic ingredients. I'm not sure of how the Ivory soap would affect your clothing or react with the washing machine. I'm afraid Ivory might cause a similar "dish sink soap in the dishwasher" reaction - a laundry room full of suds. :)

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    1. I use ivory since the fels- Maptha has added fragrance (son is allergic to EVERYTHING) works fine. very little sudsing. love it in powder form...not so much liquid.

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    2. I use Dove and it works so good and smells so yum!!!

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    3. Sodium blahblahblah *IS* the chemical name of oils once they have been saponified. Once you take an oil and convert it into soap through use of lye (which is the way all soap is made), it becomes a mild salt. That's why it has the name sodium something. If you make a soap entirely out of olive oil (castille soap), it has only ONE ingredient (other than water), and that is sodium olivate. It is an entirely natural soap.

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  9. On that note, you can also use Fels Naptha soap in place of the Castile soap. Fels Naptha is usually pretty easy to find in Wal-Mart's laundry detergent section next to the Borax and the Arm Hammer Washing Soda.

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  10. Hi, I noticed you said "baking soda", did you mean "washing soda"? Just wanted to make sure! :-)

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  11. Hi grace! Baking soda is correct - that's what I use. :) thanks for stopping by!

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  12. is this safe for HE front load washer and dryers?

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  13. It should be, Tracy. I've seen a few recipes before that said they are HE safe that have the Borax, castile, and soda, so I'm assuming so.

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  14. I make a recipe similar to this. I use Borax, Washing soda, & Baking soda. My hunny is a coal miner and he gets really dirty. His uniforms are just as clean as when they are sent out from the company. It works great & I will never buy the commercial stuff again. I plan on ordering some essential oils soon to make some scented detergent & fabric softener.

    Oh....I have an HE washer & it works fine. It doesn't sud much so it doesn't bother the washer. The only suggestion I would make is to add distilled white vinegar to the rinse cycle in place of fabric softener & not only will it soften your clothes but it will also keep the lines of the washer clean. After you run the clothes through the dryer you can't smell the vinegar.

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  15. I wanted to try this but when I put all the ingredients into my online drugstore cart it equals $49.

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  16. @sudzzzystory - Thanks for the extra tip on the vinegar and on confirmation of being HE safe!

    @Jessie - Ewww. I'm not sure what online drugstore you're ordering from, but I was able to get the Borax and baking soda from Wal-Mart and the castile soap and essential oil from drugstore.com for about $23 altogether.

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  17. I'll try Walmart then. I tried ordering all of it from drugstore.com. Thanks!

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  18. What store do you get 12% cash back in ebates? My search there did not find anything that good.

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  19. Hi Sew Lambitious! When I posted this tutorial originally back in May 2011, the cashback amount offered for drugstore.com was 12% through the ebates site. It looks like since then, it has dropped down to 6%. It's still a good way to get some cashback on your purchase anyway! Thanks for stopping by!

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  20. is it 76 or 78 ounces of borax?
    i just wanted to make sure
    thanks so much for posting this awesome recipe

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  21. It's 76 ounces, ambreish. Sorry for the typo!

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  22. I just found this through Pinterest and made up a batch. I was looking for a recipe that didn't use zote or f.n. and here it is! Thank you! I got the soaps in a 3 pack at Walmart for 3.28 fyi. :)

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  23. Got my essential oils in today. Going home this weekend to make my first batch. Very exciting stuff.

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  24. Yay! Let me know how you end up liking it!

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  26. This is a great idea! I can't wait to try it! Where did you find a jar like that?

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  27. @C- I got the jar at Walmart. Thanks for stopping by!!

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  28. I use a similar recipe with a combo of Fels Naptha and Pink Zote Soap. They grate up to a pretty pink and yellow color and it looks so pretty in the glass jar on my washer. Not to mention that I am no longer throwing jugs in my recycle bin. I have a HE washer and use only 1 TBL per load and it has been wonderful. I also add white vinegar to the softener cycle (1/3 cup) or so. I have wonderfully clean clothes and no smelly towels which was a problem for me. It was the smelly washer problem that started me on this quest.

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  29. Where did you find your lavender essential oil?

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  30. @Katie C - I got my lavender oil (Aura Cacia Pure Essential Oil brand) through drugstore.com, and got cashback on my order by going through Ebates.com first. If you haven't used Ebates yet, click the link on the right side of my blog and it'll take you there. Then you can shop Drugstore.com and get 10% cashback plus free shipping right now! Yay!

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  31. I can't wait to make this! I love the smell of lavender! I was wondering what size bottle of essential oil you need for 3 Tblsp... Thanks!!

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  32. Can't wait to try this! Just placed my order at drugstore.com. My first homemade product!

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  33. @Katie The .5 fl oz size worked just fine for me. @Christie Let me know how you like it!!

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  34. I just made some up without the oil (I don't have any right now, but I will bet getting it soon), and I needed detergent. I used the Fels-Naptha because that's what they had at the Wal-mart right here. It actually smells pretty nice on it's own, and I have dryer sheets that I will continue to use at least until I get the oil! I can't wait to see how this works! Also, I only did half the recipe because that was all that would fit into the jar, and I didn't have anything bigger to mix it in! It looks like it will last me a while! =) Thanks again for this recipe!

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  35. Sorry... One more question. I used this for the first time today, and it didn't suds up at all. Is this normal? I'm used to detergent getting sudsy, and I've never made my own before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I just figured with the soap (I used the Fels-Naptha) it would have some suds. Thanks!

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  36. Katie, it won't suds up like store-bought detergent. I think it has something to do with the lack of sulfates in the ingredients (which is what makes the suds in hair shampoo, detergents, etc.) It's still getting them clean though, no worries! In glad you're batch turned out great and smelling good!

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  37. ok I made this but I used Ivory bar soap, because I was unable to find the laundry bar soap. So I am thinking this will be fine I will let you know. Also, I had to use 5 bars because they where only 3oz bars.

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  38. Sadie, let me know how it works with Ivory soap, would you? Thanks for stopping by!

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  39. I pinned this recipe like 2 months ago and have FINALLY made it, haha! It's great! I used the Fels-Naptha and I really like the clean smell of everything. Thanks for this!!

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  40. So glad you like it!! Thanks for stopping by!

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  41. I found this on Pinterest. I love it. I have a HE washer and depending on the load size I use 1 Tbsp to 2 Tbsp per load. I also use the vinegar for softener. I also used a lemon E.O. instead of the lavender. In a house full of guys I was out voted on the scent to use. Thanks for posting this.

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  42. can you use a food processor to grate the soap?
    has anyone tried it?

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    1. I use a food processor to grate my soap... what a wrist saver.... however I make liquid laundry soap

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  43. Lynell - Yes, since posting this tute I have used my food processor's grater attachment to do the soap. As long as it's one of the more heavy duty, larger food processors and you cut up the soap into quarters, you should be fine!

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  44. .5 oz would convert to 1 Tbsp, so we would need 3 bottles of essential oil???

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  45. LexisMom, the recipe I had called for 3 tblsp., so yes you would need the 2 oz. bottle of oil to get that much. However, I just used a 0.5 oz bottle in my most recent batch and it turned out smelling just fine, just wasn't as strong as if I used 3 tblsp. The great thing about this recipe is you can adjust the scent power up and down as you like (or according to what you want to pay for the oil). :) Thanks for stopping by!!

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  46. I have also found essential oils at my local indian and whole food markets. If you don't want to wait or buy online.

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  47. Do you need a food grade essential oil? I've seen both food grade and another kind that says not for consumption. Which kind is best to use?

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  48. I've not used a food grade oil in mine, so I'm not sure if it would make a difference.

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  50. just made this and wandered..my grated Nelspa looked so big? So I ground it up in my food chopper. It made it into little tiny circles of soap. My question is..do you think this will gum up my washer? And have you had any problems with the essential oils discoloring clothing? I haven't put any in yet due to worried about it? Thanks so much for your help. I think this is a fantastic recipe and hope it works in my washer cause heck it smells good already without the oils anyway.

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    1. I used Fels in my processor and the result was the same, but then I added the borax and soda to it in the processor and commenced to blending them altogether...the powder helped to break down the Fels to a very fine texture. perfect!!!

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  51. Hi Jessie! I have not had any problems with the soap (even the fell naphtha) gunking up my washer, nor have I had any discoloration in the clothes bc of the oil. I've been using this particular recipe exclusively in our washer since last Spring, and love it. I hope you enjoy it too!!

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  52. love it .. I make mine with Fels Naphta ( SP) soap.. & use washing SodA , not baking soda..
    to make grating easier , I use my salad shooter :-)
    I love your use of lavender :-)

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  53. Do you have to wash in hot or warm water only for the soap to work? I have used the cold water detergents from the store and was just wondering about the homemade kind.

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  54. Has anyone tried using goats milk soap. I like the gentleness of both this and the Castille soap.

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  55. @nanay2 I've had no problem using this detergent with cold water. It works just the same with hot or cold.

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  56. I found a recipe just like this on Pinterest months ago and loved it! I found though,that a couple of times the leather labels on our jeans would leak color. So I ended up with big brown rectangles on other pieces of clothing. I love the detergent otherwise and want to continue to use it, but it makes me nervous. Has anyone else had this problem? Am I using too much?

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  57. I found on drugstore.com Kirks Coco Castile soap is that what you used? I can find Fels Naptha at our local Walmart and I have used it to make homemade liquid detergent but I was wanting to try the powdered. I am so loving making my own soap at this point! Great recipe thanks for sharing :)

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  58. OH nevermind lol it reloaded the page when I posted my last comment and pictures I hadnt seen before appeared and I see that it is indeed the Kirks Catile soap lol

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  59. I was wondering if it would be bad to use an already scented castile soap

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  60. Not that I know of, residentelle87. Thanks for stopping by!

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  61. I was also wondering if the regular Zote Soap (white not pink) would be fine instead of the Kirks? I forgot to pin the grocery list to my hubby's shirt (lol) and he picked up the wrong kind. At least he got the white and not the pink... out of curiousity would the pink zote soap work just as well?

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    1. I've never used Zote soap before, so I'm not sure about the one either. Try it out and let us know if it does work!

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    2. I use pink Zote in my detergent and it works fine. The citronella smell doesn't stay on the clothes, so they just smell clean when all is said and done. :)

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    3. Wouldn't ANY bar soap work? Especially if it's a laundry soap bar. In Canada we have Sunlight Bar Soap for Laundry and I've used that in other recipes like this and it's fine. I want to try this version of homemade laundry soap as well!

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  62. I just pinned this and I'm so super excited to try it! Question: Could you use Dr. Bronner's castile soap? Or are all castile soaps not created equal? I have a bunch of bars of the unscented on hand already so I was just wondering!

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    1. I'm guessing all Castile soaps are created equal. Dr. Bronners is a great all-natural product company. I love their stuff! Thanks for visiting, Linsey!

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  63. Has anyone tried this with diapers?

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    1. Rachael, I don't cloth diaper, but I have had quite a few "blowouts" in white onesies with my own breastfed 4-month old here recently. :) The laundry detergent did a pretty darn good job on its own cleaning the onesies, but for the ones that were a bit more stubborn, I pre-soaked them in a homemade Oxiclean solution (1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide, and 1 cup water) before washing them. Hope this helps!

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  64. Is it safe to use Fels Naptha? I'm having a hard time finding the Castile soaps... Is Fels Npatha all natural and chemical free?

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    1. It isn't all-natural, but it will work in this recipe. I've used it myself in a Castile soap pinch before. :) The ingredients are listed at www. Felsnaptha.com. Thanks for coming by, Megan!

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    2. You can also order Castile soap through the Ebates link above on drugstore.com and get cash back on you order. I usually order my Castile soap that way because I can buy it in packs of 3 and keep a goo stock

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  65. Hi Danni- Guess what? I'm Dani too; and I'm just moved to (east) Tennessee, and I love crafting, so we have things in common! ;-D
    I found you b/c I was looking for a homemade laundry soap, and here you have a recipe. But I'm curious if you know if its safe for sensitive skin? My baby (she's 7, but she'll always be MY baby! ;) has severe eczema and sensitive skin, so we have to use free and clear laundry soaps. I'm assuming this is probably going to be good for sensitive skin, but I'm hoping someone has used it on sensitive skin and has feedback. (I think I'll make it sans lavender, if I make it, to help w/ the sensitivity issue.)

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    1. Hi Dani! I haven't had anyone tell me whether or not this worked / didn't work for sensitive skin. My advice would be to maybe ask her dermatologist? I can't imagine that this would be worse than the free and clear brands but it won't hurt to ask a professional. :) Welcome to TN!! We can always use more girls named Danni. :)

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  66. I have a question about this soap. I just found out that I am allergic to glycerin (boo). It's in all castile soaps. Do you think I could make this without the soap part? The only bar soap that I have found without glycerin is Dove, but it is chemically removed.

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    1. I'm not sure how it would work out without the soap part, Sarah. It wouldn't hurt to try though - I'm guessing the worst outcome would be they wouldn't get as clean maybe. Maybe try a half batch without the soap part and let me know how it turns out. Other readers might have a similar issue and want to know in the future. Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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    2. Have you checked Dr. Bronner's Catile soaps? They are more expensive but I think they are all glycerin free.

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    3. I have extremely sensitive skin, and I used nothing but borax powder dissolved in water (enough to leave crystals at bottom of containter) as liquid body, face and hair cleanser for two years. You'll find no problem with this recipe, except you might want to leave out the soap. Also, this recipe will get your clothes very clean without the soap, though you may need to play with the amount used. Also the DIY 'oxyclean' and vinegar rinse should be fine.
      D'Ann

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    4. Glycerin is a natural part of the soapmaking process. When oils are converted to soap by the action of lye water, glycerine is created as part of the process. Sometimes it is removed by soapmakers who then add it to lotion, where it is more profitable. This results in a drier, low quality soap, but some soaps have had their glycerine removed. Any good, all natural soap should still have its glycerine in it, however.

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  67. I purchased everything at Wal Mart and my total was $10.53. Woo Hoo. I already had lavender on hand. I bought a gallon jug of vinegar and added some lavender oil to that for fabric softener. I'm doing laundry today...can hardly wait!

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    1. That's a good deal, Donna! Hope you enjoy it!

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  68. We have hard water. Any thoughts about that with using this soap?

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    1. I haven't heard any feedback from anyone else with hard water on how well this soap works with it. You might just try a small batch of it and see? Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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    2. My sister has well water & the recipe I shared a couple of comments below works great for her. She tried Zote soap & it made everything slimy. Didn't take her long to switch over to the ivory mix we've now used for 3yrs.

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    3. Kirk's Castile is great for hard water! You can also use Fels-Naptha, another bar soap, it's also god for hard water.

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  69. Made my first batch this past weekend (new year's resolution). I substituted one bar of the Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile soap for one bar of the Kirk's so that I wouldn't have to use essential oils. This was much cheaper! Also, Dr. Bronner's comes in ROSE mmmmm (next year when I need more detergent I think I'll go with that one).
    Thanks for the recipe!

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  70. I've used ivory soap bars, baking soda & borax for just over 3yrs now...GREAT results. And only spending $25 PER YEAR to do laundry for five people makes me happier than happy. :)

    My sister uses the same recipe in her HE washer BUT her washer repair guy said to keep a bottle of HE Tide nearby if they come out to repair so they don't know you're using something better (and to keep them from getting out of paying for any warranty work).

    ♥hugs♥

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    1. BTW...I make big batches at a time. A 2 gallon mop bucket from Dollar Tree to mix it all in, 15 bars of ivory soap, (1) 4lb box of Borax, & (2) 2lb boxes of baking soda...sets me up for 6 months of laundry.

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  71. What off I put too much washing soda in. Worried I am going have to buy all new stuff

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    1. I wouldn't think it would hurt it to have too much in there. You might just add a little more soap and/or Borax to just even it out a bit. :) I wouldn't throw the whole batch out, for sure. Thanks for coming by!

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  72. this is jsut FANTASTIC! I did it and now this is our new detergant. Im needing to pinch pennies and startb eing frugal about things and this worked perfect. Works great on sensitive skin as well. I blogged about it and left a link to yours :)

    http://www.yourcharmedlifeblog.com/2013/03/diy-homemade-laundry-soap.html#comment-form

    thank you!!
    -kelly

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  73. How do you add the oil? Does it clump or stick to the powder when you add it

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    1. Just add the oil while you're adding everything else. I use my hands to just mix everything up well, and the oil doesn't clump. It mixes in just fine with the fine powder. Hope that helps!

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  74. You can buy a 13.5 lb. bag of baking soda at Costco for 6 to 7 dollars.

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    1. That's a great deal if you have a Costco membership! Thanks for the tip, Morgan!

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  75. How much powder is there when you are done? I am trying to figure out what size container I am going to need when all is said and done :)

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    1. I don't know the exact volume of the bin I use, but it is one of the smaller plastic trash bins (like for an office or bathroom) with a lid. I hope that helps, Mary! Thank you for stopping by!

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    2. I believe it's about 222 oz or 2 gallons! I accidentally bought only a one gallon and had to redo my math!! Oops!!

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  76. where do you get the large glass jars?

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    1. I purchased the glass jar in the photo above at Wal-Mart a couple years ago.

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  77. about the HE washers.. the reason you use less soap in an HE washer is because of the foaming.. you need LOW foaming soap for your HE washer.

    and you really can't get a lower foaming soap than this recipe. i use ONE tablespoon of the soap per load. i make mine with Fels Naptha rather than the Castile soap but the foaming is about the same. nothing to worry about for HE washers.

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  78. Just an important consideration for those of you with cesspools or septic tanks. SOAP WILL clog up you cesspool. The fats in the soap do not allow the drainage to happen through the walls of the pool. My father was an excavator and installed new cesspools for over 30 years. He forbid my mother from using Ivory flakes for the same reason. Detergent is not soap.2 entirely different animals. I wish I could make and use this recipe, but I do not dare start using SOAP in my laundry after 18 years of trouble free cesspools. :) sorry to burst the bubble! ( hee hee)

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  79. For those of you wanting to make your homemade laundry detergent smell better, I put some of the Blue bottle PUREX CRYSTALS in mine. It smells great, like Downey. I also use this detergent in my top loading HE washing machine. I figured up that I will be saving $180.00 per year using it. I also use the vinegar recipe for Fabric Softener and put the Purex Crystals in it.

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  80. I just made it last night without the essential oils since the baby is very sensitive and it works very well. Washed all the bedding in it last night and very nice, fresh smelling.

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  81. Hi Dani,

    I have been meaning to do some soap for a while now, but have been busy with school. I already had a box of borax and of washing soda; after finals I checked out Walmart and they had Fels Naptha. I didn't mind the smell, so I got some. My food processor is a ninja blender, so I chewed up the soap, put it in a bin, added the powders and mixed it up. There was nothing too large in there, some chunks probably larger than a grater would leave it so hmmm. I started scooping it back into the blender and running batches through, and got the soap particles much smaller. I already tried it, two tablespoons into a load of laundry, minimal foaming, I could just see some suds. Clothes smell nice and I have almost 3 containers of detergent, I used some 2.5 lb containers some Kirkland mixed nuts came in, plastic with a nice wide mouth. I may try the castille soap next, but looks like I'm set for a while. All this and no cooking! Thanks!

    Lauren Neher

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  82. Hi, I have a question. Can I use this soap on my modern washing machine, is energy and water efficient...is it going to ruin it, because is powder? and I'm suppose to use liquid please e-mail me at ivyrodz@yahoo.com

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  83. How would you make this as a liquid? I found Dr. Bronner's liquid soap at Target and have always used liquid detergent. Should I just add the Borax and soda to the liquid soap? I think I would need more liquid but wouldn't water make the liquid soap suds up during mixing?

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  84. Hi there,
    I love this soap. It cleans wonderfully and smells divine. However, does anyone know if it's gentle enough to use for baby clothes?

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    1. Hi Vanessa! This is the only soap I've used since my youngest was born last year. He doesn't have skin allergies, so I can't say from experience whether or not this soap works okay with allergy kiddos. Have you read through all the comments? I want to say I remember another Mama mentioning she had used this with her sensitive skinned kiddos.

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  85. I have tried several different soaps like this and for some reason it never turns out like I see it here. I have done the powder & the liquid, Both have proven Faulty. I have made them with ZOTE, Castile soap,Fels Naptha Laundry Bar and Stain Remover, even Ivory and numerous others. All Faulty, they did not clean, Especially the grease and stains. Nothing came out and I had to revert back to the old. What am I doing wrong?

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    1. Hi Ann! I still use a stain pretreater such as Zout with this laundry soap. I've also never found a laundry detergent - homemade or otherwise - that removes grease stains without me having to pretreat them with a paste mixture of liquid dish detergent and baking soda. I have two boys at home, so stains are an every day thing here. :) Hope this helps!

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    2. Is there a certain mixture that you use in order to get just everyday clothing to come clean?

      It's not just the stains that worry me. After about a month of using the homemade detergent, my laundry started smelling dingy, like mold & they had a greasy feeling to them. No matter how much detergent I put in the smell wouldn't come out. When I reverted back to the regular store brand, the smell left and greasy feeling came out. Am I missing something?

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    3. No special mixture, other than the exact recipe above. I do mine the way I have it in this post and I've never had a problem with my clothes not smelling clean or feeling "greasy." :( I'm not sure what the problem could be other than something that is unique to your household, like the washer itself, how/where you use your clothes, etc. I'm so sorry I can't offer any further advice! I wish I knew what could be going wrong for you.

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  86. Your detergent appears to have a light lavender color to it as well. Is that true? I'd love to color it just a little but don't know what I'd use. (it would make pretty gifts for my family)

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    1. No, the detergent ends up being completely white. Any color you're seeing may just be a result of your screen combined with the photo itself.

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  87. Do you use the whole box of borax and baking soda ??

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    1. Yes. The exact ounces are listed in the recipe above.

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  88. Thanks for the great article! I just wanted to point out something quickly, as someone who makes soap from scratch as a hobby and who also teaches soapmaking. While you mentioned that Ivory soap has "sodium thisate" and "sodium thatate" as ingredients - those are actually the chemical names of completely natural ingredients.

    When you make soap from scratch, you start out with oils such as palm, coconut and olive and chemically convert them (by adding lye water) into soap. The resulting name is always in the form of sodium something since soap is, in fact, a mild salt.

    So, saponfied olive oil is sodium olivate and saponified palm oil is sodium palmitate. If you had an entirely natural soap made from olive, coconut and palm oils, the ingredient list would be sodium olivate, sodium cocoate and sodium palmitate. There wouldn't be anything artificial in there, though - and the lye disappears in the chemical processing, btw, too. (It is used up in the chemical conversion process).

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  89. How does this work with cold water washing?

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    1. It works just as well as with warm, in my experience. I always just put my soap in first while the water is running and swish it around a bit to dissolve the powder before tossing my clothes in.

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  90. I have spent a total of $25.00 making this. Well, not made yet, but I bought the ingredients. I am excited to try it.

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  91. So ALL the recipes I have seen, liquid or powder, call for both washing soda and borax...why not in this one? I am sure you did some research on it...

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    1. I did not do any research other than using my grandmother's recipe. :) I'm sure you could swap out the baking soda for washing soda without issue, but it's just not what was written on her card.

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  92. My hubby and I have been trying to figure the measures of this by using only 1 bar of Kirks Castile soap. Can you give me an approximate measure for the borax and baking soda and essential oil? Neither on of us are good at math. Want to make a small batch first to make sure hubby isn't allergic to it. Thank you in advance!

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    1. If you're only using 1 bar of Kirk's castile soap, then you would divide all the other ingredient amounts by 4.

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  93. If you have a septic tank is this recipe safe to use and not mess it up because that would be very expensive to get repaired.

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    1. We have a septic tank here at my home, and have never had an issue. However, I am not a plumber or septic tank professional, so if you're concerned I'd check with them first.

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  94. Okey dokey quick qu here. In the ingredient list below does the - indicate either or please? i.e. is it 8 boxes of baking soda weighing 16 oz each OR 8 boxes that would total 16oz in weight all together. I am assuming the latter so basically 16 oz baking soda in total but just checking. And likewise for the other ingredients so 4oz of grated castille soap?
    4- 4oz. bars of grated Castile soap
    1- 78 oz. box of Borax
    8- 16 oz. boxes of baking soda

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    1. It's 4 bars of 4 oz Castile soap, 1 box of 78 oz. Borax, and 8 boxes of 16 oz. baking soda (so 128 oz total). It makes a huge batch, so you can half or quarter it, if you like.

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