I made my own homemade laundry detergent! (and dishwasher detergent, too!)

by jolyn on January 29, 2010

in recipes

One of my goal’s for 2010 was to try making homemade laundry detergent. I am happy to say that January has nary gone by and I have not only attempted my first recipe, but it was a resounding success. And not only did I make detergent for laundry, but for the dishwasher as well!

There are many recipes floating out there around the internet. I found this recipe for a powder detergent, because I’m just a powder laundry detergent kind of gal. Plus, it looked easier than the gel recipes I found.

Powder Laundry Detergent: 1 Tablespoon/load

  1. 1 bar Fels Naptha soap
  2. 1/2 cup Borax
  3. 1/2 cup Washing Soda

I found a dishwasher detergent recipe from a blogger who also makes her own laundry detergent, but I noticed her recipe for that was a bit different from the one above. (Feel free to try both recipes and let me know the difference!)

Powder Dishwasher Detergent: 2 Tablespoons/load, divided

  1. 1 cup Borax
  2. 1 cup Baking Soda
  3. 1 Tablespoon Lemi Shine

I made the laundry detergent first. First, I grated the Fels Naptha.

And I grated.

And grated.

I highly recommend doing this while watching a good show — “24” works well. Jack Bauer keeps the adrenaline pumping.

I finally called in a willing backup.

Whew! Now that’s done, time to add the Borax and Washing Soda and stir.

And stir.

And stir.

It finally occurred to me that I might have found a good use for my sifter.

Again, I highly recommend some Jack Bauer to keep the adrenaline going. This took a bit.

The finished product.

At 1 tablespoon a load (2 for heavily soiled), this ought to last awhile.

I tested this right away on some, um, soiled sheets. My 5yo had just gotten a cold… Ever since he contracted e-coli back in August, every cold or little sniffle he gets seems to go right to his bladder control, poor mom guy. I was washing sheets every morning for a couple of days straight. The new detergent worked like a charm. I even stuffed my face in them and took a big whiff.

The dishwasher detergent was easier than making oatmeal. You just mix these:

Into the finished product:

Again, it works fine. I’ve also followed a tip to add a little vinegar as a rinse agent. Just today I found some name-brand rinsing agent buried under my kitchen sink. I’ll go ahead and use that up; I’m curious if I’ll notice a difference.

I’m not going to try to cost-compare a batch of this stuff vs. a batch of store-bought detergent — just not in the mood to geeky-crunch numbers right now. Based on the cost of buying the ingredients in bulk, it’s pretty darn cheap.

Ingredients for Homemade Laundry and Dishwasher Detergent (powder versions):

  1. Box of Borax: $2.79
  2. Box of Washing Soda: $2.05
  3. Bar of Fels Naptha: $1.29
  4. Box of Baking Soda: $1.99
  5. Thing of Lemi-Shine: $3.19

I found everything but the Fels Naptha at the commissary on base. The super wally-mart here didn’t carry it either– they looked at me like I was from another planet when I told them what I was looking for. I finally found it in the detergent aisle at Kroger’s.

Any homemade cleaning recipes you’d like to share? I’m kind of on a roll here.

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