Okay, okay, we know what you are thinking…these girls have turned into super hippies that make their own laundry detergent now! Well, you are partly right. While we haven’t gone full-fledged hippy, making our own detergent has been something we have wanted to try for a while now, if only just to see how well it works and how difficult it is. As it turns out, while it is a bit more time consuming than buying a ready-made detergent from the store, it isn’t really all that hard, and it actually works quite well!
There are many reasons that people decide to make their own laundry detergent. For some, the artificial scents and additives that go into commercial detergents can present a big problem for their allergies. Therefore being able to control what goes into the product that comes into contact with all of their clothes and bedding can significantly improve their day-to-day life.
For others, it is a cost saving measure. We found a 24 pack of Ivory bar soap on sale for three dollars, which will last us through 24 batches of detergent! We have yet to work out the cost per load of this particular detergent recipe, as we made it a while ago and still have yet to finish the batch! Most homemade detergents that we found online while researching other recipes to develop one of our own work out to around three to six cents per load, whereas buying Tide brand liquid detergent at a store like Walmart works out about 36 cents per load! It may seem like only a few cents now, but if it is a habit you can get into, it can work out to long term savings!
1 ½ cups washing soda*
1 bar soap
1 ½ cup Borax
2 Tbsp Epsom salts
3 Tbsp hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup vinegar
Orange oil (or any essential oils)
Using a vegetable grater, grate the bar soap into fine shavings (keep in mind that this may dull a good one you use in your kitchen, so consider buying a cheap one from the dollar store to use just for this if you intend to make this detergent in the long term!). In the largest bowl you have (to give plenty of room to mix), combine the shaved bar soap, washing soda*, Borax and Epsom salts.
Pour in the hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. The liquids will fizz and hiss a bit, but don’t worry! Stir the liquids into the dry ingredients VERY well. Try to make sure that the mixture reaches an even consistency with no lumps of liquid. This will ensure that the end product is a powder detergent with the least possible amount of lumps. The better you stir in the liquids, the less lumpy the end product will be! Once the mixture is at a nice even texture, mix in some essential oils to give the detergent a nice scent. We use orange oil because we make it ourselves. Mix the essential oil in well, and let sit uncovered overnight to let the detergent dry out. For best results, spread detergent out onto baking sheets to dry overnight. Voila, it is ready to use! We use an old coffee scoop and use one to two scoops depending on the size of the load (and the smelliness of what we are washing!).
*Washing soda can usually be found in the detergent aisle of your local grocery store, but if you have trouble finding it, you can actually use baking soda to make washing soda using your oven and a large baking sheet! Follow the instructions here to make your own washing soda.