May 17, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Since I use cloth diapers, I actually go through quite a bit of laundry detergent to keep them clean. I had known others who made their own laundry detergent, but never tried it until today. It's actually really easy to make and doesn't take very many ingredients. My sister sent me her recipe on how she makes it and I also did my own research online to see what other people recommended. There are lots of different ways to do it.

To make it, I only used 3 ingredients (2 for cold wash): a bar of soap, borax and baking soda.

Powdered Laundry Detergent for Diapers
1 bar soap
1/2 cup borax
1 cup washing soda

Powdered Laundry Detergent for Cold Wash Laundry
1 cup finely grated bar soap
1 cup washing soda

First, I grated up my bar of soap. Pretty much any bar soap will do. This site was really helpful to me to know what the ingredients were in detergent and what exactly I needed. She likes to use ivory soap.

 It can't have any chunks in it and the more fine it is the better. If there are chunks, they may not dissolve in the wash. To accomplish this, you can either grate it very fine, or in this case, I blended it after I grated it.

The next ingredient is washing soda. Since I couldn't find washing soda in the store, I made it from baking soda by cooking it in a layer on a baking sheet at over 400'F in the oven for an hour. I followed the instructions here to do it. And it worked very well. The science behind turning baking soda to washing soda is really neat and it's totally safe because all that comes off of it while cooking is evaporated water and carbon dioxide.

The final ingredient is borax. If you use this ingredient, it is important to use hot water in the wash because the borax is activated in hot water. I use hot water for the wash cycle with my diapers anyway, so this works fine for me. Having it hot, also helps dissolve the soap in the water.

And here I have the finished product. I'm storing it in a washed and reused ice cream container. I add between 1 and 2 tablespoons to the wash cycle for my cloth diapers.

After making this, I realized that for my regular laundry I use cold water for washing. So this recipe would not work as well for washing cold since it has borax in it. So for my regular laundry, I made a mix of laundry detergent that is half grated bar soap and half washing soda according to the way the author makes hers here. This time I only grated the soap on the smaller grater setting instead of blending it so I wasn't sure if it would dissolve well in the cold water. But it worked great. 

Some people add scent to their laundry detergent by adding some drops of essential oil. I didn't bother with it since it is an added cost and I don't think it is necessary. I was always looking for unscented laundry detergent before anyways for the diapers.


  1. This is nice information blog. Thanks for Sharing.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I use this same recipe. I think it works great. I do add some vinegar in the slot for fabric softener. I also mix 3 Tbs of the soap mixture with 3 Tbs of vinegar and HOT water in a spray bottle to spray on poopy diapers as soon as they are messed as kindof a prewash before actual washday. I think it helps with the staining. :)