After many experiments, Pinterest pins, trials and errors, I have found the BEST homemade laundry detergent out there. It’s super inexpensive – $2.39 for 35 loads – and takes less than 10 minutes to make. It smells great, works for HE and non-HE washers and is perfect for sensitive skin, baby clothes and precious keepsakes like the afghan my great grandmother made me before she passed away. But let’s get to what you really want to know when picking a laundry detergent: Does it get the clothes clean? And the answer is YES! Not only does it get them clean, but it does a better job using less detergent than any store bought detergents I’ve ever used.
We have had the flu bug running rampant in our home this week, and let me tell you it hasn’t been fun. I’ve been cleaning puke and poop and snotty tissues up for what feels like a lifetime. I thought we were finally on the back end of it (no pun intended – which you’ll understand in a moment) until I woke up yesterday morning to find our 2 year old covered literally from head to toe in explosive diarrhea. Literally. Head to toe. I’m already feeling tired just thinking about it again!
Not only was he covered, but the 3 blankets (the kid loves his blankies), 4 stuffed animals, sheet, pillow case AND pillow were all immersed in poop. It was horrendous, to say the least! And it was, by far, the biggest poop disaster I’ve ever dealt with. Once I got him showered and clean, I started in on the laundry.
I’m not the kind to put poop straight into the washer, so I did rinse everything off in the bathtub so there wouldn’t be any clumps or pieces lingering around for the wash. But honestly, the stains from the mess were so horrid even after rinsing, I really didn’t expect fantastic results. I had given up any hope that the stains would come out, and being exhausted from a week of no sleep and being under the weather myself, I was not in any mood to apply stain remover regardless of his favorite blankie being in the mix.
I threw everything together in the wash including the stuffed animals and the pillow. I used my homemade detergent and crossed my fingers for the best. I already know how well it works since we’ve used it for so long now, but as big as the mess was, I honestly figured I’d have to run a couple, if not more, wash cycles. I washed everything on cold (just as a little extra nudge for those stains to not set), and
patiently impatiently waited for the results.
Guess what?! One wash cycle. No stains. No smell. No nothing except clean, fresh, and wonderful smelling items! I had to hand it to my homemade laundry detergent. Even I didn’t expect these results!
You want to know how to make it, right?! You’re thinking “Just shut up and tell me how to make this wonderful, poop stain ridding, magical laundry detergent in a jar”, right? Okay, here’s how:
What you need:
- 1 bar Fels-Naptha
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 1/2 cups Super Washing Soda
You can generally find all of these items in the laundry detergent aisle of most stores. This recipe will yield 1 Quart of detergent.
- Using a cheese grater, grate the bar of Fels-Naptha into a bowl.
- Add the Borax and Super Washing Soda to the bowl, mix well.
- Pour mixture into a blender and blend until the Fels-Naptha is very fine. (This step is especially important for HE washers as it helps the detergent dissolve much easier in the smaller water amounts.)
- Pour blended mixture into a container and keep covered when not in use.
I use 1 1/2 TBSP per regular sized load, 1 TBSP per small load, and 2 TBSP per large or heavily soiled load (like the poop fiasco, for instance, or my husband’s greasy clothes from working on cars all day).
Because this homemade laundry detergent doesn’t have any additives in it like store bought detergent, you’ll want to add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar to your fabric softener container in your washer. If you don’t have a fabric softener container, you can use a Downy ball to put your vinegar in. It will NOT make the clothes smell of vinegar. Not only does the vinegar help get the dingy-ness out of clothes, but it also helps break down the soap in the wash and leaves your clothes feeling just as soft as store bought detergents and softeners. I personally love the smell of this homemade laundry detergent. It smells fresh and clean. However, if you’d like to add your favorite scent, you can always add a few drops of essential oil to the wash for fragrance.
I know a lot of people generally ask with an HE machine if they should put the soap in the soap tray or directly into the washer. I put mine into the soap tray just the same as I would with store bought detergent. Everything I’ve researched and found myself shows no problems with build up, residue or complications in my HE machine. In fact, this homemade laundry detergent is also safe for septic systems as well!
Making this recipe yields 1 Quart of homemade laundry detergent. How much does that mean in terms of loads of laundry? I hand counted when I made my last batch to make sure I was as accurate as possible and not guessing. Most of your store bought detergents will calculate the loads for the smallest load size. But who out there is doing tiny loads every week?! Certainly not the majority of us. I wanted to give you a really good number to judge loads by, so I used the size for regular loads – 1 1/2 TBSP – and 1 Quart came out to exactly 35 loads.
Now, obviously the prices in stores and towns and states vary quite a bit, but to give you an idea based on what it cost me to purchase these items, here’s how it breaks down for the recipe size shown:
- Fels-Naptha $0.97
- Borax $0.55
- Super Washing Soda $0.87
All together, one batch (35 loads) cost me $2.39 and less than 10 minutes to make! That’s HUGE savings! Plus, you’re ditching all of the harsh chemicals and additives from the store bought detergents that have been linked to cancer. That fact, in itself, was enough to make me switch 4 years ago to this homemade laundry detergent.
Let me know what you think! Do you use a similar recipe at home? Have you been wanting to switch to a natural, more cost effective alternative but didn’t know where to look? Try this recipe out and see how much you love it!