I discovered this recipe for homemade laundry detergent about 7 years ago. (Wow, it’s been a long time!) That’s how long we’ve been married. I stumbled across a great blog that I’ve followed ever since. (The Prairie Homestead. Jill Winger is the author. I’ve used so many of her recipes!) I’ve tried several different laundry soap recipes, one other I have used is a dry detergent. This is liquid. I personally like the liquid better. Since I first found this recipe, my mama and a few friends have used it too! I based my recipe off of The Prairie Homestead, tweaked a little over the years. Here’s how I do it.
-One bar of Fels-Naptha soap, grated with a cheese grater into a large soup pot of water.
I run the water in the pot first, then grate the soap in to reduce the amount of bubbles. Running water into the grated soap tends to make lots of bubbles.
-Heat the water and soap until the soap dissolves. This doesn’t take very long, just a few minutes. Just heat slowly, no need to bring to a boil. When it dissolves, turn the heat off.
-Add 2 cups Borax. Stir well.
-Add 2 cups washing soda. Stir well. Washing soda and baking soda are two different products. Washing soda by Arm and Hammer is found in the laundry detergent section just as Borax is.
-Once all the ingredients are dissolved, I pour my soup pot full of detergent into a 5 gallon bucket. If your farm is anything like ours, we have buckets laying around everywhere. Just clean out a good 5 gallon bucket, and you’re set.
-Fill the bucket ¾ of the way with warm water from the sink. Stir it all up!
-Let the detergent sit overnight. By morning, it will be thickened.
I have used essential oils to give this a scent before, but really, I like the way it smells as is. I have added lavender and lemon, and eucalyptus essential oil in the past.
I fill a half pint jar about ¾ of the way with detergent, and pour in the bottom of my washer. For a very soiled load of laundry, such as dirty farm clothes, I might use a little extra detergent. In my experience with this laundry soap, my clothes have always came out very clean. If you know us, we are not sticklers for bright and vivid whites to say the least…haha. All I know is this do-it-yourself recipe saves me money and cleans just as well as store bought detergent. I stay away from strong smelling detergents with all the yucky additives. I will not use fabric softener because first, I think it’s a waste of money, and second, its full of crazy chemicals I don’t want on my family’s skin. I have never missed fabric softener. Same with dryer sheets. I never have problems with static-y laundry. So I don’t need dryer sheets either. I really prefer to dry my towels and sheets on the clothesline. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh towels that come from the laundry line after a day in the sun.
Try this recipe out! It’ll save you major bucks on store bought detergent! It’s fun, easy, and I always feel better about using minimal ingredients.