Homemade Laundry Detergent, Soap, Stain Remover, Softener

Commercial laundry detergents are a rip-off. They are expensive, hard on the environment, hard on your hands and tough on you clothes. The manufactures don't say what's in commercial laundry detergents. Ever wondered why? The cheapest brands simply don't work. All brands are very hard on your clothes. The good news is that you can easily make laundry detergent at home using readily available ingredients and minimal equipment. Homemade Laundry Detergents and soaps clean you clothes, as well as. or better than commercial detergents. They are cheap, effective and good for the environment.

A typical batch of homemade laundry detergent costs only one quarter or a half of the commercial varieties. These detergents have low suds and are safe an very effective in both front and top loading machines. You can also make your own stain remover and fabric softener at home.

Washing clothes is so much cheaper, safer and more efficient using homemade detergents - see the great range of recipes here
Washing clothes is so much cheaper, safer and more efficient using homemade detergents - see the great range of recipes here. Source: Public Domain

How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

All you need to make homemade laundry detergents are three simple ingredients:

Simple Bar Soap - These simple soaps that have no perfumes or other additives gives the detergent its cleaning power. There are many varieties available Kirk’s Castile, Dr. Bonners, Sunlight Soap, Fels Naptha, or Zote. These soaps can be found with the other soaps and labelled natural or simple soaps. Similar soaps can be found in the laundry section. 

Borax (sodium borate) - is a naturally occurring mineral that acts as a deodorizer and whitener. It can be found in supermarkets, hardware and health food stores.

Washing Soda - although similar to baking soda, washing soda is much stronger and is caustic. Washing Soda is Sodium Carbonate and Baking Soda is Sodium Bicarbonate. Washing Soda has a pH of 11. Baking Soda is much less alkaline with a pH around 8.1. Incidentally dishwasher detergent contains sodium or potassium hydroxide (pH of 14) which are extremely strong and corrosive chemicals and we eat of the plates! Washing soda is sodium carbonate, also known as soda ash, and its function is to remove odors and dirt.

Essence oils and Fragrances - Add some of your favorite fragrances and oil essences to provide a pleasant fragrance to your detergent and clothes. Use about one to two ounces (50-100g) per load. One of the best is tea tree oil which is a natural and mild disinfectant. 

Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe
1 bar of soap
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
Powdered Fragrances

Use a coarse cheese grater to grate the soap bar into small flakes. Mix well with washing soda and borax to produce an even powder mixture. Store in a properly labeled, air-tight container (be careful when reusing food containers). This recipe makes approximately 2 lb (1 kg) of detergent, which will keep indefinitely. For washing use 1-2 tablespoons per load depending on the size of the clothes and your washer. If you like you can dissolve in a jug in warm water prior to adding to the wash to ensure all the powder dissolves.

Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe
This recipe makes laundry detergent for about 90 front load washes or 45 top loads. It will store indefinitely. You can downsize for smaller batches.

4 cups hot boiled Water
1/4 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 natural Soap Bar
30 drops Lemon essential oil
30 drops Lavender essential oil
30 drops Grapefruit of Clove essential oil

Pre-Wash Stain Spray
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 cups water
Mix and pour into a labelled spray bottle. Use to spray on soiled areas just before washing. Always test the spray on a hidden spot or the clothes if you are worried about bleaching or staining.

Brightener and Bleach Substitute
12 cups water
1 cup hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup lemon or grapefruit juice
Store in a labelled plastic container or jug. Use about 2 cups per load along with the detergent.

Fabric Softener Recipe
Simply use 1/2 -1 cup of white vinegar per load or just fill the fabric softener dispenser with white vinegar.

Another fabric softener recipe is:
6 cups of water
3 cups of white vinegar
2 cups of hair conditioner
Mix these ingredients together and use as you would store-bought softener.

Extra tips:

Oh No! What a mess!
Oh No! What a mess!. Source: Public Domain
Simple and readily available ingredients for homemade laundry detergent
Simple and readily available ingredients for homemade laundry detergent. Source: Public Domain
Known toxic ingredients in commercial laundry detergent
Known toxic ingredients in commercial laundry detergent. Source: Public Domain
Natural soaps can be shredded as a the base ingredient for homemade laundry detergents
Natural soaps can be shredded as a the base ingredient for homemade laundry detergents. Source: Public Domain
Shiny Clean and Glimmering as it Should be
Shiny Clean and Glimmering as it Should be. Source: Public Domain
Benefits of Homemade Laundry Detergent
Benefits of Homemade Laundry Detergent. Source: Public Domain