Sunday, February 10, 2013

Green Clean: Laundry Detergent DIY

Earlier this week, I talked about my MYO (Make-Your-Own) recipe for laundry soap. My last batch just ran out, so today is the perfect day to make more and show you how. I found the original recipe on pinterest, which lead me to this post from That recipe inspired me to create my own using the same ingredients, but modified to a much smaller batch which is better suited for my family. (We just don't have room to store a huge 10 gallon bucket, like Jen's family can.)

I've said it before, and I will say it again. I never thought I would be making-my-own of anything, especially when it came to cleaners. I always thought that purchasing those green cleaners was my only option. I also thought that making it myself, was more trouble than it's worth. I couldn't have been more wrong. Getting rid of those chemical cleaners, and replacing them with my homemade "green" versions, was the easiest thing I've ever done for the health and well-being of my family.

Sure... it takes a lot of effort to gather supplies, go shopping for the essential ingredients, and make and bottle it yourself. But believe me, it's all worth it. 1.) You know all the ingredients of products coming into your family's home. 2.) You can easily modify a recipe and make adjustments to suit your needs at that very moment. 3.) Purchasing those "Basic & Essential Green Ingredients" to get you started, may seem like a lot upfront, but they are so versatile in Green Cleaning. (i.e. A big bottle of vinegar can be used in Homemade Liquid Fabric Softener, EcoFriendly Drain Cleaner, and Window Cleaner. A dry ingredient like Baking Soda has many uses too.)

So if you want to "green" your family in a small way, how about trying the following recipe? A small and easy step towards a "greener" life...


  • Half a Bar of Zote or Fels-Naptha Soap - Finely Grated
  • 2 1/3 Cups Borax
  • 1 1/2 Cups OxiClean
  • 1 Cup Baking Soda *Not Pictured
  • 1 3/4 Cups Purex Crystals - Provides Fragrance & A Softener
  • 2 Cups Washing Soda

  • Container to Store your Backstock of Soap -- I Reused an Old Soap Container
  • Smaller Container for Easy Everyday Access -- I Reused a PUREX Crystals Container (Bonus: It has lines on the purple cap that measures Tablespoons.)
  • Cheese Grater -- Preferably with a Small Grate (Mine allows me to grate the bar of soap to a powder.)
  • Funnel
  • Measuring Cup
  • Large Mixing Bowl & Spoon
The hardest and most time-consuming part is definitely grating the bar of Fels Naptha or Zote soap. So that is going to be the first thing you want to do. Through trial and error, I learned that you want to grate the soap as finely as possible. The larger the pieces of Fels-Naptha (or Zote), the harder it will be to dissolve in the wash (although, I never really had a problem). It's also gonna be a pain when you are trying to dispense the soap into the little cup. (Large pieces clog the hole on the PUREX container's dispenser.)

Once that part is done, add the rest of the ingredients directly to the grated soap. Give it all a good mix. From that point, I place the funnel directly onto the spout of my old laundry container, scoop up the mix from the bowl using the measuring cup, and funnel everything into the large container. *For easy cleanup, I would recommend doing it over the kitchen sink.

I went ahead and added the recipe directly to the old container for easy reference. The recipe can also be doubled or tripled to fill the container completely. (This container is considered my backstock.) When full, it lasts me about 4-5 months. And I keep it in the laundry room. Easy storage.

I go the extra step and reuse a PUREX Crystals container for my everyday storage. It easily dispenses the soap and has handy Tablespoon markings on the purple cap. (Middle line marks 2 Tbs.) Remember, this recipe is concentrated. You only need 1-2 Tablespoons per load! That's right...Only 1-2! Some may not believe it, but this soap really works. It doesn't suds up like normal soap does, and that may be the biggest shock to you. But just because it doesn't get sudsy, doesn't mean it will not clean your clothes. In my opinion, this soap surpasses all of the name brand liquid laundry soap our family has ever used.

This bottle (when full) usually gets me a little more than 40 loads. And I have about 3/4 of the large container still full. My family of 3 goes through a batch of this soap every 4 months or so. I used to buy laundry soap every month!

It's so very cool.... that I actually made it myself, that the ingredients I purchased to make it myself cost less than a bottle of regular laundry soap, and that I have ingredients left over from that initial purchase to make another batch of soap in a few more months when I need to restock!

*If you're looking for more "green" ideas, you can now refer to my Fabric Softener DIY (the perfect companion to this laundry soap recipe) or my Dishwasher Detergent DIY. If you are still feeling inspired to create more natural products, be sure to check out my "Earth Mama" pinboard on Pinterest. It's full of all sorts of ideas, recipes, inspiration, and other DIYs for everything from health and beauty products to more green cleaning essentials.

I hope you enjoyed my post and feel inspired to try this recipe for yourself. I would love to hear what you think about it! Also, please feel free to leave me any thoughts, questions, or comments about anything I've talked about in today's post.

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Thank you for stopping by!


  1. I have often wondered if the homemade laundry soap works - now I may get around to trying it!

    1. I wondered the exact same thing Emily! As far as laundry soap went, I didn't think I could make anything as good as what was sold on the store shelves... and "green" too, get outta here! Well I was wrong, and so glad I tried it. I was a bit skeptical, but after 4+ months of using it, I won't ever go back to store bought. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me :)

  2. If you cut the bar of soap into smaller segments and put it in the microwave for a minute or two it will expand and when it cools it crumbles! So much easier than grating! I've been using this recipe for almost a year and it works like a charm!

    1. Hi Becca! Thanks so much for the great tip! I've come across it before and have been meaning to give it a shot. I'll keep it in mind for my next batch of soap. If it works for me, I'll add an update to my post.

      Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts!

  3. You know they say that making your own laundry detergent is one of the easiest ways to guide you through the switch to natural living. And I believe that. Once you start making products for your own consumption, the thrill of producing and saving money gets addicting. Plus, you get to avoid the chemicals that can trigger allergies and the sort.

    1. I totally agree with you Larry! I make about 95% of our family's household cleaners. The other 5% is natural, store-bought stuff. So I'm proud to say we have a chemical-free home! But I definitely find pleasure in making my own stuff :) You don't need to tell me about allergies... my little one had pretty bad eczema since birth, which runs in the family. Since I removed all of the chemicals over a year ago, it has cleared up significantly! We also only use organic and natural health care products on her which really helps her sensitive skin.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!


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