Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Laundry Detergent

If you haven't already, be sure to check out Making Cooley Stuff on Facebook and like the page so you don't miss out on any awesome projects!

In the last couple of years, I have seen several different recipes to make your own laundry detergent.  To be honest, I was a little intimidated by it at first.  The first recipe I found looked rather complicated.  But then I found one that is really easy.  Almost too easy.  I found the best, most easy recipe for laundry detergent here.  I made 2 gallons of it 6 months ago and I just used up the first gallon!  Not bad for a family of 3!  Anyway, for the purpose of demonstration (and because it's so easy), I made another batch.  Here's what you will need:


1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 bar Fels-Naptha Soap (or any other bar of soap)
(All of these can be found in the laundry detergent aisle of your grocery store)


Large Stockpot
Cheese Grater
Large Funnel
2 empty gallon jugs

Step 1: Grate half of your bar of soap into the stockpot.  Add 1 gallon of water and heat on stove top until the soap flakes are dissolved.

Step 2: Add the Borax and Washing Soda and bring to a boil.
Note:  Watch it carefully to make sure it does not boil over.  Laying a wooden spoon over the top of the pot will keep it from doing so.
Step 3: Add 1 gallon of cold water.  Let the detergent cool, but not so long that it coagulates (It will be much more difficult to pour).  An hour or two should be long enough.

Step 4:  Label your gallon jugs if desired.  Place them in the sink.  Using a large funnel, pour the detergent into the jugs.

Beautiful!  I really wish my camera had a "smell-o-vision" lens because this stuff smells wonderful.

This detergent does not make any suds, but it still cleans your clothes just fine.  And since it is a low-sudsing soap, it can also be used in HE washers. You only need about 1/4 cup of detergent per load, if that.  I read an article that said most people use way too much laundry detergent, and it can eventually ruin not only your clothes but your washer and dryer too.  It even said that you don't even necessarily need to use detergent.  Huh.  Well, I still think I need to use at least a little bit in order to feel like my clothes are getting clean.  So you are saving money two ways: by making your own laundry detergent, and by using less at the same time.


  1. How much did it cost you to make?

  2. I will get back to you on that Renee. I already had the ingredients on hand and I can't remember how much I paid for them, but I will calculate it and let you know.

  3. Hi, I made this the other day and followed your directions exactly but as it cooled more in the jugs it got thicker and a little hard to get out of the jugs. Should it be like this or did I do something wrong?

  4. Hi Dani,
    You didn't do anything wrong, the detergent does turn out pretty thick. The original recipe said to use a whole bar of soap, so you can imagine that turned out EXTREMELY thick. You can try using less grated soap, but it worked fine for me after I shook the jug up a little bit. Or you can try stirring it up with a long wooden spoon handle.