Homemade Laundry Detergent Redux

Here we go again…

As part of my ongoing quest to live a life that is more sustainable, I’ve been implementing a few changes to further lessen our family’s footprint.¬†This week I’ve finally gotten around to hanging up an outdoor clothesline, and I’m making the effort to switch to washing most of our clothing in cold water only. What this means is that my trusty and tested powdered laundry detergent isn’t going to work. Like at all. So I set out to make a great big old batch of homemade liquid laundry detergent. I used the recipe from Wellness Mama, because it seems to be a pretty common and popular method. Check out her site for the full directions and measurements.

I can’t report on efficacy yet, because strangely for someone with pets, kids and a gardening habit, I actually don’t have any major laundry to do today. I’ve got one load in now, because my son had a small overnight accident¬†– woo hoo! So, my first test will be on how well it gets out urine smells.

I do have a few thoughts on the process though, and the final resulting product.

  1. It’s a good thing this makes 5 gallons of detergent, because making powdered is way easier. I’m not sure I like this much work.
  2. The final product is REALLY watery. I’m not sure what I expected, but I guess something more gelatinous, like commercial laundry detergent? This could totally be my fault though. Maybe I didn’t stir long enough, or add enough soap or whatever.

Basic Process

Shred a bar of soap. I used Dr. Bronner’s because I have a ton of it from my previous laundry making experiences. I did this in my food processor, because after taking giant chunks out of my thumb not once, but twice with my box grater, I’m scared of shredding anything by hand ever again.

shredded soap flakes in food processor

Shredded soap

Add your shredded soap to 2 quarts of water in a large pot. Heat slowly and keep stirring to get all the bits of soap dissolved. This took ages for me because some of my soap chunks left behind by the food processor were kinda big.

soapy water

Soap and water after heating and stirring for a while

Once all the soap is dissolved, pour the soapy mixture into a 5 gallon bucket filled with about 4.5 gallons of hot water. Add 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda and give everything a good stir.

laundry detergent in bucket

All ingredients combined and stirred. There’s my foot again. Always with my feet in pictures. Sorry.

Cover your mixture and leave overnight. The next day give everything a good stir again and you’re done.

laundry detergent in bucket

This is what my mixture looked like this morning when I took the lid off. Weird. But cool.

laundry detergent in bucket

Final product after stirring some more. And more grubby feet. I garden barefoot.

So, I unfortunately can’t say much about how it works, and I’m not totally satisfied with the texture, because it’s sloppy and I keep spilling and sloshing it everywhere (since it is essentially just really soapy water). But, I’m eager to give it a try, especially since washing in cold water is a much better choice environmentally and financially. Still I already kinda miss the ease of my trusty powdered detergent… I’d better like it, because I’ve got 5 gallons of it!

Do any of you make your own liquid detergent? Got a recipe you love? Is it supposed to be so watery?

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One thought on “Homemade Laundry Detergent Redux

  1. This looks like a great laundry detergent recipe! I’ve been researching the different ones and I think I’m going to have to try this! Thank you for sharing!

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