I whipped up a batch of my own DIY laundry detergent the other day and gave it a test drive. I do have a front-loading HE washing machine, so I was a bit wary of trying any detergent that wasn't specifically manufactured for HE machine use. I was pleasantly surprised though to find that my cleaning rags (what, you didn't actually think I would test it on our clothing, did you?!) came out nice and clean, and with a pleasantly faint "fresh" scent.
First thing's first- PLEASE WEAR GLOVES! While borax and washing soda are naturally derived substances, they are still chemicals that can harm your skin, and are poisonous when ingested. As with any household chemical, keep these ingredients and the finished detergent mixture out of the reach of children and animals.
Here's what you will need to make your own laundry detergent:
- Washing soda (please note, this is sodium carbonate, and it is NOT the same as baking soda, which is sodium bicarbonate.)
- A bar of soap. For this batch, I used Fels Naptha, which is a laundry soap. (Update- since making this post, I've also used Yardley London Bath Soap. It works nicely as well and smells amazing.)
- An old cheese grater
- An airtight container for storage
This detergent is extremely easy to throw together, and I chose to make powder rather than liquid detergent since the liquid seemed like far more work and a bigger challenge to store.
Ready to get started? You sure? Okay!
1. Grate the bar of soap into fine flakes.
2. Combine the soap flakes with 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax in your container and replace the lid.
3. Shake, shake, shake the container until your detergent is well mixed. Keep the mixture stored in your sealed container.
And that's it! I use 1 tablespoon of detergent per load, and because I always launder my clothes in cold water, I mix the tablespoon of detergent in a lidded jar with 1/2 cup of hot water and shake it until the soap dissolves, then add it to the dispenser in my machine- this is only because I've read some reviews of people having issues with the soap not dissolving well in cold water. If you have a top loader, you may find that you need to increase the amount of soap you use to 2 tablespoons.