Thursday, September 8, 2011

8 Steps To Making Your Own Natural Laundry Detergent

Did you know that many store bought laundry detergents have some serious chemicals in them that are no good for your or your little tot's skin &/or the environment? It's true. 

The Ickies

Here are just some of the chemicals in many name brand detergents.

  • Alkyl benzene sulfonates or ABS
  • Alkyl phenoxy polyethoxy ethanols
  • Artificial fragrances
  • Diethanolamines
  • EDTA (ethylene-diamino-tetra-acetate)
  • Optical brighteners
  • Petroleum distillates
  • Phosphates
  • Polycarboxylates
  • Polyethylene glycol (also PEG)
  • Quaternium 15
  • Xylene sulfonate

This list is from so if you're interested in finding out more about these particular chemicals, just click the link & it will take you straight to the page that explains what each one is.

All I know is I can't even pronounce 1/4 of those words & from their descriptions, they don't sound too good for your body. They may help clean your clothes & make them look whiter & brighter, but there are plenty of other natural ways to do the same thing - minus the harm!

So today I thought I'd share with you how I make my laundry detergent for my family. I posted this recipe on a while back, but today I'm gonna take you through the steps with photos so you can actually see what everything looks like!

8 Steps to Homemade Laundry Detergent

 Here's what you'll need:

  • saucepan
  • measuring cups & spoons
  • grater of some sort
  • borax
  • washing soda
  • fels-naptha soap {or other: Dr. Bronner's is great!}
  • water
  • essential oil
  • 5 gallon bucket & detergent containers

Step 1

Grate your soap & add the flakes to 4 cups of water. Heat in a saucepan until all the flakes have dissolved.

*Note: This takes a while so be patient. Don't heat to high & constantly watch it. It will boil over & you'll have a soapy mess!

 We're getting there!!

Step 2

Fill your 5 gallon bucket up 1/2 way with hot water.

Step 3

Take 1 cup of washing soda, 1/2 cup of borax, & your melted soap water & add it to your 5 gallon bucket of water.
 Mix well!
Step 4

Fill your bucket the rest of the way up with water. Let it set overnight to thicken.
Step 5 

The next day take a spoon or your hand & mix up your thickened soap. This is a bit of work & may take a little time. I use my hands because it works better for me than a spoon.
 Step 6

Take your mixed soap & pour it into your containers.
Use a funnel! If you don't you'll have more soapy mess to clean up!
 Fill your bottles half way up!
Step 7

Add in you essential oils to suit you. Remember it doesn't take much.
I use 1/2 tsp. for each bottle.

*Note: You don't have to scent your soap at all. I think it smells great with the Fels-Naptha smell only!
Step 8

Fill your containers the rest of the way up with water & voila! You're done & you have a ton of simple, pretty easy, healthy, & super cheap laundry detergent that will clean your families clothes!

I got 6 big containers of detergent which equals to about .33 cents a bottle & I don't even know how long it lasts. I'd say I make this every 6 months or so.

This recipe yields about 10 gallons of detergent. For top-load machines, use 2/3 cup per load {180 loads} & for a front-load machine, use 1/4 cup per load {640 loads}.

Some final thoughts! 

  • There are many natural laundry detergent recipes out there. You have to find one that's right for you.
  • Don't just assume that because a store bought detergent says it's for babies that it's good for you. Dreft & All Baby have icky things in them.
  • Also don't just assume that because a store bought detergent says it's natural & eco-friendly that it is. Seventh Generation also has some no-nos in it as well. Not as many, but some.

Have you ever made a homemade laundry detergent? What were your thoughts?