Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Well, what do you know...

I recently found a recipe for powdered laundry detergent.  Thought I'd give it a try, so I got the materials, thinking that if it didn't work, I could sprinkle the borax in some of the places I'd seen bugs coming in.

It worked.  It worked better than the commercial liquid soap I'd been using for years.  Fairly inexpensive, to make, too.  About a third of the cost per load of the soap we'd been getting.  And it doesn't break me out like some soaps can do.

Laundry detergent*
1 bar Fels Naptha laundry soap, grated**
2 c washing soda
2 c borax

1. Grate the soap.  This step will take the longest if your food processor doesn't do it for you.  2. Mix soap, soda, and borax.  3. (optional, but advised)  Run the powder through a blender or food processor to turn it into powder fine enough to dissolve in cold water.

You'll need about 2 T of powder per soiled load of laundry.   Depending on how soiled, you may need a bit less, for less dirty, or a bit more for really nasty clothes.

One batch of homemade detergent will do about 40 loads.  But each box of washing soda and borax will make three or four (or more) batches. 

The interesting thing is that it works better to get whites really clean, when you do a warm cycle with nothing but, than the commercial detergent does.

*This link is to a kit on Amazon that is a bit more expensive, but will show you exactly what you're looking for.  You can probably find the same things at your local Walmart or grocery store for a lot less.

**Or you can substitute Ivory.


  1. Your post reminded me of a man I used to work with. He'd buy scrap from butchers, render the tallow, mix it with lye, and make his own hand soap.

    He claimed it would take off grease better than any hand cleaner, or Lava soap.

    1. Well, yeah--takes the skin off, too, if you're not careful.

  2. We do something similar to make a liquid soap. Powders don't do well in our water. It's a bar of soap, grated like pizza cheese, then melted in water. Mix the hot water in a five gallon bucket with oxyclean, washing soda, borax, and a little glycerin. Once the foaming does down, fill up the bucket with cold water and let sit for a couple of hours. Makes enough for a month or so around here.

    1. Powder does fine in our water, thank goodness--although, I think it doesn't work for you for the same reason most of the country's whiskey-making resides in your area. I kinda envy that...


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