Sunday, March 30, 2014

DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent

Hope everyone is excited for the warm weather coming next week!! I can't wait. I am very busy with end of semester tests, group projects, and reports, so every hour counts during the next 4 weeks. But, I wanted to write really quick and give you my recipe for laundry detergent.

I have been making this laundry detergent for well over a year. It works well, is super easy to make, and very inexpensive! I ran out of our homemade stuff during the move in January and didn't have time to make a new batch. That week we had to go to Dollar General to get detergent, and even buying the 'ALL Free and Clear' unscented laundry soap I thought the scent was way too overpowering. We finally used it up 2 weeks ago and I made a double batch of our powdered detergent so we won't run out for a long time.

 I like this homemade laundry detergent because the clothes don't have any fragrances when they come out of the dryer. They smell clean because they don't smell like anything, if that makes sense :). We are not a big fan of synthetic fragrances around here. At some point I will experiment with adding some essential oils, so that is an option. You can also buy a fragranced bar of soap if you want your clothes to have a particular scent after washing.

I didn't want to run out for a long time, so I made a double batch with 2 bars of soap. 

First I cut each bar of soap in half and grated it with my food processor. 

The result will be little flakes of soap. But, the flakes of soap still have trouble dissolving in the water. To make it finer, I add in some of the washing soda, to keep the soap flakes from clumping together, and blended it in smaller batches until it reached a fine powder. 

After blending the washing soda and soap together, I added the borax. I didn't blend the borax in food processor because I didn't want to inhale puffs of borax dust. Borax is great for washing clothes but not so good to inhale. So, I added it in at the end. 

I ended up with 7 cups of laundry detergent which will clean around 112 loads of laundry. All for less than $4.00. 

Next on the list is learning how to make soap.  Then I will be making laundry detergent with homemade soap, and it will be even cheaper! 

DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent
Makes 3 1/2 cups detergent 

1 bar laundry soap (I currently use Kirk's Castile Soap)
1 1/2 cups Washing Soda
1 1/2 cups Borax

With a box grater, or grater attachment on food processor, grate the bar soap. Then blend the flakes of soap with the washing soda in the food processor with the blade until you reach a fine powder. Mix in the borax. Store in an airtight container. 

1 Tablespoon for small/medium loads
1 1/2-2 Tablespoons for large or very soiled loads


  1. What kind of washer do you have? I've been wondering if I could use that kind of detergent (at half the amount??) with an HG front loader and cloth diapers, that's a major part of my (laundry life right now).
    If you ever find yourself in a pinch and need to buy detergent, look for JR Watkins. They have a nice powdered detergent (I usually get it at Home Depot via online order.) that does not smell or have funky ingredients (and it works with HE washers and cloth diapers).

    1. We have a top loading washer. But I have heard that powdered detergent works just fine for front loaders. I just don't have any experience with them. Thanks for the tip on the JR Watkins detergent! I will keep that in mind if I ever am about to run out and don't have the time or inclination to make it :).


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