homemade laundry soap and my green/cheap endeavors continued…

By March 5, 2012 6 Comments

I mentioned making laundry detergent…and a few people asked me about it. I found the recipe here like I mentioned in my homemade baby wipe post but I realized that I have “tweaked” it a bit and decided I would go ahead and blog about it. There are tons of recipes online for making laundry detergent but this is the only recipe I have come across that doesn’t need borax or washing soda. I can’t find either of those ingredients here.

Why make your own detergent? Simply, it’s dirt cheap. There are other reasons, but this was my motivation. I need sensitive detergent which is not cheap in Moldova. It isn’t really cheap in California either. The cheapest I found was All Free and Clear. Even on sale, you end up spending about 30-45 CENTS a load. I bought a bar of sensitive washing soap for about 75 cents and a box of baking soda for about 75 cents. For less than $2 I can make 8 liters of laundry detergent which washes 35-65 loads of laundry! So you are looking at 2-5 CENTS a load. Why would you not want to make your own laundry detergent?!

It is nice to have a laundry detergent only pot and grater…clean up is simple because you don’t have to scrub it clean. Make sure you buy washing soap, not body or hand soap. It is in the aisle with laundry detergents.

This is the bar of washing soap grated and 2 cups of baking soda measured out. Oh and that is one heck of a cute Cinderella princess helping me.

This one thinks she is helping me by pushing this stool around the kitchen. 🙂

Here’s a tip I got from Teresa and I loved it. Boil 2 liters of water, add the grated soap, cover and leave for 5 minutes or longer. Stir and most of the soap will be melted. This is much nicer than cooking and stirring the soap and water (no strong scent, no headache).

Add the baking soda and start mixing and stirring. It is going to foam a lot! It came pretty close to the edge. Stir really well because the baking soda wants to clump together. Start making dinner. 🙂 Keep stirring off and on as the foam goes down and the liquid cools down. When it is room temperature, add 2 liters of warm (similar temperature) water. Keep stirring and letting the liquid cool down.

Try to keep your kids distracted just a little bit longer. Let your youngest child eat an entire banana if needed while your oldest child does her hair.

Once the mixture is cool-ish, split it between two 6 liter bottles (so 2 liters in each bottle). Add 2 liters cool water to each bottle. You should have 4 liters of detergent in each bottle, 8 liters total. Shake the bottles up a few more times as the detergent comes to room temperature completely. The idea is that you don’t want a layer of soap solidifying at the top.

It should separate like this when it is sitting still for some time. That’s fine as long as when you shake it up, it looks like this:

I add a 1/2 cup detergent to my cloth diapers or my lightly dirty loads or 1 cup to my really dirty loads of laundry. I also like to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar to my loads of laundry (put it where you would put bleach).

Ohhhhhh and one last tip…I also can’t find stain remover here. I found this simple recipe and it works like a charm. Add 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide to hot water (in a washing tub). Stir it well and add your soiled items. Let them soak overnight, wring them out in the morning and wash them normally. So far every stain has come out!

Oh and sorry for the poor quality pictures! I used my phone because I didn’t want my camera in the kitchen and even then getting pictures was a lot of work!

Marie Klein Burtt

About Marie Klein Burtt


  • caceyklein says:

    I make that same recipe and love it! I also found a really easy fabric softener recipe that you should try. Might help your cloths feel a little softer since you have to air dry 🙂 I can email it to you or you can find it on my pinterest board $ saving ideas.

    • Marie says:

      Cacey, I found the recipe and I am so excited to try it out…our clothing is pretty stiff and crunchy without a clothes dryer!

  • NicoleFariaRamirez says:

    Nice!  My “ghetto version” of what you’ve been doing is to shake a little borax into the washer after I turn the water on, shake a little “super washing soda” (which I know you said you don’t have access to) and grate a little soap (fels naptha) in there, shake it up with the agitator, then add the clothes.  Has been working well.  I like the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda idea for stains!  

    • Marie says:

      Nicole, I have heard of people doing that…but my washing machine is a little ghetto itself so I have to mix the laundry detergent throughout the clothing, ha!

  • Annaliese Foote says:

    I make my own too! If you want it to work better you can find “washing” soda (called calcified soda in Ukraine) and it cleans better than baking soda. Also you can find boric acid in the pharmacies if you want it to fight stains even better.

    I love the fun blog posts about life in Eastern Europe. Fun to experience these things together!

    • Marie says:

      Annaliese, I have only looked for borax and washing soda at the grocery store and haven’t found it yet…but we went on a hunt and found coconut oil so I probably just need to keep looking. I don’t know to ask the pharmacy for borax though and I didn’t know washing soda is also called calcified soda…that helps! What is the Russian for washing/calcified soda? I am going to keep looking because it would be really nice to find those two ingredients!