Easy Peasy Homemade Laundry Detergent (on the cheap)

17 Jul

Hi kiddos!  How are you all?  I hope each and every one of you had a stellar weekend!

Ours was frankly marvelous! It consisted of:

  • HARRY POTTER!  (Ok, that’s a bit of a lie – that was more Thursday evening/Friday morn  – but still – killer flick with great friends:])
  • Brother home (and Carolyn – what a sweetheart!)
  • Catching up with a long lost high school pal – and learning the most exciting tip EVER (more on that later – it totally deserves a post of its own)
  • A lovely day at the lake with fam (this past week has literally been PERFECT summer weather – I couldn’t love it more!)
  • A 20+ hour rendez vous with one of my college besties, Jer Bear and my cousin – such a dream team!  Wine bars, smores, bon fires, games, lots of homemade yummies and a walk on the canal – doesn’t get much better than that!
  • Saving gobs of money while making an environmentally friendly choice.   Read on:)

Last week I stumbled onto this great post on Why Not Sew about how to make your own laundry detergent (thanks to another of my alltime favorite sites – pinterest!).

To some of you, that may seem unecessary and silly, but for someone who (is cheap and) has 2 dirty dogs, a golfing/working husband and who happens to sweat quite a bit herself (usually running after one of the aforementioned), this is pure genius.  I don’t like buying traditional detergent these days, they’re made of such wonky chemicals and something or other to do with petroleum.  No thank you!
Previously, I’d been buying Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Laundry Detergent (lime verbena and lavendar are delightful!) and dropping $14 for 64 loads.  Yikes!  And since I’ll start making bigger payments on my student loans pretty soon here, we’ve been really tightening our belts and figuring where we can pinch pennies (without cutting back on my baking budget- heaven forbid;]).
By now, I’m sure you can tell why I’d be so excited about this find!  I picked up all the ingredients at Wegmans for under $10 (including a 3 funnel set) and I should be able to make about 9 batches out of the Borax and Washing Soda ($4 and $3 respectively) by just picking up some more soap.  And the total load count for those 2 boxes?  About 576 loads!!!  (Math courtesy of Erin at Why Not Sew).  Plus, I was impressed at how easy it was to get my hands on Borax and washing soda, 2 things I didn’t know really existed a few days ago!  They were just chillin’ on the bottom shelf of the laundry aisle at Wegmans…
Tonight I whipped up the first batch and it was honestly even easier than it looked.  Plus, it made the kitchen smell like my all-time favorite scent – soap!  And for the first time, potentially ever, I just want to do some laundry already!  I’ll keep you updated on the results but as of now I’m totally sold!  Read on for the recipe!
PS) I’m usually embarrassingly anal about photos that come up on here, so I contemplating skipping pictures on this post altogether.  But then, I figured that perhaps you’d get as much of a kick out of my ‘storage containers’ as I did.  I could have sworn I’d saved my last few Mrs. Meyer’s bottles but since they were MIA I had to scrounge up 2 containers out of the recycling (pickles and Cherry Coke Zero with a mismatched top – classy- and then pour the milk remainder from the fridge into a to-go container so I could use that sucker too).  It is so ghett0-fab that I just had to share!

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Recipe from Why Not Sew


  • 1 bar of soap (any kind you want – I use Dove Sensitive Skin since my flesh doesn’t like me much)
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • a big pot ( that holds at least 2 gallons)
  • a grater
  • a funnel
  • a long spoon
  • 2 empty & clean gallon jugs/containers (or a bunch that add up to about that much)


  1. Grate the bar of soap into the pot.
  2. Fill 1 gallon jug and pour water into pot with grated soap. Heat until the grated soap dissolves.
  3. Add the Borax and washing soda.
  4. Bring to a boil. It will coagulate (bonus points for that fun word).
  5. Turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water. Stir well. (At this point I let it cool a bit because I have melted too many plastic objects in my day.)
  6. Using funnel, pour detergent into your containers.  (If you use a giant pickle jar feel free to forego the funnel;])
  7. Use 1/2 cup per load and do a little money-saving dance each time you bust this out.  Job well done!

Just noticed you can totally see my legs reflecting in the stainless steel- this post is just chock full of embarrassing moments! And I swear I had shorts on - it's an optical illusion:)

Addendum ;)

  • I read on Erin’s blog that people had used this with high efficiency front loaders successfully, but since I’m not quite that high-tech I can’t speak to it myself.
  • Please also note that when you’re using this it won’t be sudsy but you’ve got to remember that bubbles don’t equal clean!
  • Erin, of Why Not Sew, does recommend this for sensitive skin (she suffers like me!) and hopefully I’ll be vouching for that soon too!
  • Thanks again Erin – wonderful work!!

I hope you’re sharing my detergent-ecstasy, happy cleaning:) 


2 Responses to “Easy Peasy Homemade Laundry Detergent (on the cheap)”

  1. Erin July 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    I hope you love it! Just made a batch yesterday :)


  1. Wonky… « Baking Life By The Horns - July 18, 2011

    […] from that page. I also can’t see my latest post on my homepage, so click here to read it: Homemade Laundry Detergent (if it’s MIA on your browser […]

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