Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gone Green...

Well, not completely.  
Maybe just a light shade of "green."

Hopefully by now you know how much I love to save money,  whether it's redoing furniture or making my own body scrub. 
Also, some of you may be familiar with my sister Kelly's story and how she had heart surgery last year.  Smells and perfumes have always bothered her and it seemed to worsen after the surgery.  Weird huh?  So my BIL looked into making their own laundry detergent.

My sweet mother came over this weekend and brought me the whole kit and kaboodle to make my own detergent, complete with the 5 gallon bucket and all the supplies.  I wanted to share this with you because I am totally amazed at the cost comparison. And with four boys in the house, I do a lot of laundry...

So the ingredients first...
1 Bar Fels- Naptha Soap
1/2 bar Zote**
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

 Now don't worry.  All of these things my mom found at Wal-mart or Kroger  I've pictured them here because they are unusual.  
 *****Since I've written this post, Zote now makes flakes so you don't have to grate the bar.  I used 1 1/2 cups of the flakes.


So...the cost.  Ready?  About $3 per recipe!!!
This recipe makes about 3 gallons of detergent.  You use 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of liquid for each load.  Needless to say, this bucket is going to last a while!

I will include the recipe at the end of this post.  There are a ton of other recipes online but I know this one works because my mom and sister already use it.  Pretty cool, huh?  Saving a ton of money, making it your own using gentle produts, and helping the environment with no plastic waste.   Get the kids involved too!

If you make this, please let me know how you like it!

Have a great week!

Laundry Detergent Recipe

4 cups water
1 Bar Fels-Naptha, grated
1/2 bar Zote, grated
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

In a pot on the stove add 4 cups water and grated soaps.  Melt on low heat, stirring occasionally.  Fill your bucket with 2 1/2 gallons of water.  Reserve 3 cups of this water on the counter.

When soap is almost melted in pot, strain out liquid into bucket.  Dump what is in the strainer back into the pot along with your 3 cups of reserved water.  Continue to simmer and stir until dissolved.
Turn the fire off and add your Borax and Washing Soda.
Stir until mixed.
Dump remaining soap into bucket.
Let ingredients sit over night, stirring occasionally to break up lumps.  My middle son helped me by sticking his hands in there and squeezing the lumps to separate.  He seemed to have fun!

For easier everyday use, you may add some of your detergent to a used and empty detergent bucket.


  1. I work at a grocery store and today a customer bought the Fels-Naptha. I asked if she was making her own laundry detergent like I'd seen on your blog. She wans't, but instead said she uses it for getting red clay stains (we live in Georgia) from her son's white baseball pants. She can't use bleach (the pants have a black & red stripe) but the Fels-Naptha works great.

  2. I've been making this for over 2 years ( well slightly modified as fells Naptha and Zote are not availible in Canada)

    A few things to note - 1/2 cup is WAY too much 1/4 cup is PLENTY ( less on loads that are not very dirty like towels) and my husband is a landscaper so I know dirty.

    Also that whole section you have about straining when its almost dissolved then adding it to bucket and putting the stuff from the strainer back into the pot with the reserved water - PHEWF I'm exhausted just reading it...lol
    Save yourself the greif.
    Here is my method, I 'promice' you will get the same results!
    Grate soap into a pot of water - I would say a little more than 4 cups ( dosent really matter)
    Turn the water on an stir constantly as it comes to a slow boil.
    When the soap is pretty much dissolved add the Washing Soda and Borax 1/2 cup at a time to allow it to dissolve properly, keep stirring until all Borax and W.S. have been added. Soap will have dissolved all on its own by this point - no need to strain

    Dump everything from the pot into your 5 gallon bucket. Carry the bucket to the tub and top it up with HOT water from the tap.
    Stir every time you go into the bathroom for the next 24 hours.
    You will have the same results without straining or reserving water ect.

    Also you can EASILY get away with those measurements for 4 1/2 gallons water and still only use 1/4 cup per load ( again hubby is a landscaper - a muddy, mucky, grassy landscaper, with REALLY stinky socks)

  3. How does this work on HE machines?

    1. My mom uses it in hers. It's just a little thicker than the liquid detergent at the store but works wonders.