Super Easy DIY Laundry Detergent

I used to make my own laundry detergent. Now I have my son do it for me. Hey, it’s a life skill.

Easy DIY Laundry Detergent
Super Easy DIY Laundry Detergent

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There are a lot of recipes for DIY detergent on the web. I’ve been tweaking this one for a few years. I LOVE it. As of September 2016, the products listed below are current – these are the actual sizes you can find today.

We aren’t DIY type of people, but I did go through a phase where I was geeking out over making all of my own household products. I made all different cleaners and detergents and soaps. Honestly, most of them were awful. The only stand-out was laundry detergent.

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Ingredients

4 Bars Fels-Naptha Soap
1 Box (55oz) Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 Bag (5lb) Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
1 Box (65oz) Borax
1 Tub OxyClean
1-2 Bottles of Purex Crystals – any scent you like

Price

Family of five clumsy spillers who like to leave towels on the floor, a three-year-old that changes her clothes six times per day, and a baby. Nuff said.

This is a money saver – but honestly, I wouldn’t bother but I like it EVEN BETTER than what I can buy at the store. Name brand detergents bottom out at about $0.17/load around here, plus OxyClean, plus nice smellies = $$$.

These ingredients put me in at about $0.10 or less per 2TB load. Get the Crystals and OxyClean on bogo and you’re saving even more. One batch lasts our crazy family over ten months. Before the baby it lasted a little over a year.

Now, we average one load of laundry a day – the big kind. So I’m using 2 tablespoons every time.  But I am a chronic over-soaper. If you are feeling frugal, one batch could last you up to two years and cost $0.05 or less per load.

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Directions

This seriously is ridiculously easy. Soap, Mix, Measure.
I’ve added some notes and suggestions along the way.
Really, you can’t mess this up.

Step 1 – Soap

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Crushing up the soap is the best way to do this.* I like the Fels-Naptha because it’s easier to cut than the Zote (which I’ve also used and is harder to work with because of the size and texture).

Chop it up and put two at a time on a glass pie pan or other microwave safe plate.
Microwave it on high for 4 minutes. The soap will be bigger and spongy.

Let it cool completely outside. It’s soapy/stinky. The cooler it is, the flakier it gets.
Crush it up into a powder.

*Note: Hey people, I’ve tried the alternative to microwave – put the bars into a food processor and go to town. This is NOT a good way to do it. Your kitchen will be filled with a huge cloud of soap smoke, and cleaning the sticky soap off of the blades is just plain scary.

Step 2 – Mix

Dig out one of your fancy storage bins or a simple bucket out of your garage.
Pour in each of the ingredients a little at a time.
Mix it up thoroughly with a big spoon.

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This is the hard part.
Okay, not really.

Step 3 – Measure

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The easiest way to portion this out is scooping it right back into your Purex Crystals bottles. The caps even have a measurement guide.

However, we are a family of over-soapers.
You don’t need much of this detergent:
1 tablespoon for small or regular loads
2 tablespoons when you’ve made it through your entire wardrobe

Put one tablespoon at a time and mark it all the way around with a Sharpie.
Make sure you write small and large in case, ya know, anyone else in your family is an over-soaper, too.

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Notes

Washers – I’ve used this in our old top-loader and a newer HE machine. It works well in both.

Sensitivities – I have extremely sensitive skin (psoriasis basically from head to toe), and every scented detergent I’ve tried makes me break out. This detergent has never bothered me – with either type of soap.

Babies – I refuse to buy different types of detergent for our whole family. I defiantly wash everything together without sorting! This detergent has never bothered any of my babies – even during my cloth diaper kick.

Scents – If you don’t like your clothes to smell like a field of flowers, skip the Crystals. I was nervous about them at first and only used 1/2 a bottle in our first batch. I’ve worked my way up to two full bottles. Next time I’m going to use thirty because I love it so much.

Products – The first time I shopped around – Walmart, grocery stores, hardware store… With three kids in tow, it’s a little harder to get what I need when I need it. For convenience sake and to satisfy my prime addition, I ordered almost everything from Prime Pantry.
If cart-shopping is your style, all of these products can be found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store. Except for Baking Soda – Baking aisle, obvs.

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That’s it! Really it is that easy.

My oldest did this literally from beginning to end in about 15 minutes. That was with me making him pose for 154 pictures.

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4 thoughts on “Super Easy DIY Laundry Detergent

  1. April Ward says:

    I love this stuff!! And I love your entertaining spin on it all. (Using 30 bottles of smelly crystals doesn’t sound too bad!) I got some of this from a neighbor last year for Christmas. (Hmm….. a hint???) It was in a cute mason jar, which I know you are fond of, and the “scoop” was a coffee scoop tied on with a red string. It was so nice I decided to make some myself. One batch has lasted almost a year. (But we only have two adults who aren’t terribly messy and one horse who doesn’t wear a lot of clothes, but who still needs laundry done. You know SHE appreciates the softness and gentle, flowery scent on her saddle pads! Yup.) So whoever is reading this should go get all of the stuff, make this and enjoy. Or give it away as gifts to people who need or would appreciate your efforts.

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