Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
The amount of laundry required for 2 kids and a husband who works outside is staggering! To save money and ensure a non-toxic product, I’ve started making my own laundry soap. It’s a “quick and dirty” version of my friend Annie Tryon’s recipe and takes about 5 minutes to assemble (not counting cooking time). Here it is!
Ingredients needed: 2 cups Borax, 2 cups Washing Soda, 1 bar Castile Soap (I use Kirk’s castile because I can buy it locally but any natural castile brand is fine, scented or unscented depending on your preference). This makes 4 gallons of laundry soap or enough for 128 loads.
Using a food processor or hand grater, grate the bar of soap into a pot. The larger your pot, the faster your soap-making will go because you can add more water to make everything dissolve faster. As I type this I’m realizing you could probably just buy liquid castile soap if you want to skip the step of grating the bar soap, but I’ve found the Kirk’s castile bars to be a lot cheaper than any liquid castile soap out there. And I don’t know how much liquid soap is equivalent to a bar of castile so if there are any soap experts out there who want to share that info in the comments section I would appreciate it!
Add the Borax and Washing soda and enough water to cover everything. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until everything is dissolved. You can turn the heat higher if you want it to go faster but do not step away for even a minute on high heat or you will have an overflowing volcano of crystalline soap that gets down in your stove and takes so long to clean up that you will WISH you had just gone to Costco and bought expensive and possibly toxic laundry soap instead. Not that I know from experience…
Personally, I set it to low and then go about my day around the house stirring it whenever I’m in the kitchen and within an hour or so it has all dissolved to a clear (if I was really good about stirring occasionally) or somewhat cloudy (normally the case since I forget to stir) solution. Once everything has dissolved and there are no large chunks, you can pour it into your containers. If you have a 4-gallon container that’s great but if you don’t, just use any combo of containers that will add up to 4 gallons. The best way to do it is to have several of the same container so you can eyeball it when dividing it up rather than having to measure it. I personally use 3 empty vinegar bottles from Costco. Since they are plastic and the soap solution is hot, I fill each halfway with cold water and then divide up the soap in thirds, pouring it through a heat-resistant canning funnel. Then I fill each container to not quite full since each holds 1.5 gallons (I fill each to approximately 1 and 1/3 gallons to make 4 gallons total). Give each a good shake, and continue to shake each time you walk by them for the next couple of hours to help everything homogenize as the solution cools. Here’s a photo to help you visualize this, sorry it’s out of focus – it was hastily snapped before the little Godzilla attached to the tiny brown foot in the photo was able to exert destruction on his intended target (my laundry soap).
After the solution has cooled you should be good to go! Just give it a quick shake before you use it each time to help break up any little clumps that might have formed in the cooling process. Use 1/2 cup (4 ounces) per load. Works well for everything from baby clothes to super dirty work clothes and anything in between.
Cost breakdown vs. Seventh Generation Free & Clear Concentrated Laundry soap from Costco:
- Costco natural soap: $24.72 for 1.17 gallons @ 1.5 ounces/load = 25 cents/load
- Homemade natural soap: $8.23 for 4 gallons @ 4 ounces/load = 6 cents/load