Thursday, December 10, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent & Fabric Softener

About 10 months ago, I decided to experiment with making homemade laundry detergent. I had read about this on other blogs and thought it sounded intriguing. I was willing to give it a try especially since the ingredients for the detergent cost much less than 1 bottle of the liquid I was already using. First, I did alot of research because I wanted to make sure it was safe for use in a High Efficiency Washer. I didn't want to have suds spewing from my washer. The following was a recipe I found on

Clothes Washing Detergent

1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
1 bar Ivory Soap

Grate the bar of Ivory into a large saucepan, add 6 cups of water. Heat & stir until soap melts. then add the washing soda & borax, stir until dissolved.
Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot tap water into a 5 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture & stir. Then add 2 gallons water & stir again.
Let soap sit for about 24 hours & it will gel.
Stir one final time.
Use 1/4 cup per load (front load HE washer)
Use 1/2 cup per load (top load washer)

*I buy the Ivory soap at Kroger when the bars are 3 for $1. The bucket I got free for asking in the Kroger bakery department. My mom saved me some of her detergent bottles and after the final stir I transfer to these other bottles. Its just easier for me to pour out of instead of using the big bucket daily.

And just how much do I save using this.....I was spending $10-$12 twice a month for detergent. This cost me about $6 in supplies for the first 3 buckets of detergent which equals about 1/2 cent per load. I still have plenty of the borax and washing soda (get on the detergent aisle at the grocery or walmart). Those 2 items will probably last another year, I buy the Ivory when I find it on sale and store in the cabinet. So $22 per month (average) for 10 months is $220 but I spent $7 for the same amount of time for my supplies (did have to buy another 3 bars of ivory). So I have saved $213 just in laundry detergent costs for the year! Thats exciting! I would much rather spend that money on food and not on something that will be washed down the drain.

*You can also put a small amount of the detergent on clothes stains. Just drop it on and rub it in, then wash as usual. Works really well and you just saved more money not buying a stain remover!

Homemade Fabric Softener

3 cups water
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1 cup hair conditioner

Combine ingredients & mix well. Put into a pourable container (I use an old fabric softener bottle). Shake well before each use.
Use 1/3 cup in each load in place of commercial fabric softener.

*I buy the vinegar in the largest bottles walmart sells ~ price is less than $3 a bottle. Hair conditioner is usually Suave because I can get it for about .50 a bottle at Kroger with their sale and my coupon they double. I bottle of conditioner makes 2 batches of softener. I haven't really figured out the price savings on this, its not as significant as the detergent, but its still at least 75% or more cheaper than using Downey.

*Put the ing. in the bottle in the order shown, it will mix up better and not foam as much. I did the conditioner first one time, I had a really foamy mess on my hands.

*My bottle is big enough to double this recipe. Instead of measuring the conditioner, I just put in 1/2 of the bottle...even when doubling it. It still works great.

****For white loads, I just use vinegar in the rinse cycle and not the conditioner. It works great and your towels are more absorbent. And the vinegar smell rinses away so your clothes will not smell like pickles!

Making the softener takes less than 5 minutes. Making the detergent takes 10-15 minutes. These were very worthwhile and profitable experiments for our family.

Oh yeah, I read that instead of buying the expensive cleaners for the flat top, ceramic cooking surface, to use baking powder and a damp plastic scrubber instead. So I gave it a try...looks just as good as the ceramic cleaner just need to use a tiny bit more elbow grease!


  1. Thanks I will have to try those recipes. I do "water down" commericial liquid fabric softener by about a third. (2/3 softener 1/3 water) that saves a little money and works just as well.

  2. I will have to try the vinegar for the towels. And someday I will get around to the laundry detergent.

  3. We currently make the detergent recipe, but I can't wait to try the softener! Great post!

  4. I bought Suave conditioner I am off to make softener! Thanks.


Welcome to the farm ~ we are a blended family with 7 children (3 are married), 4 grandsons, 5 dogs, 3 rabbits, and 15 chickens living on 3 acres in Georgia. I love crafting, sewing, cooking & canning, recipes of all kinds, reading, playing with my little buddies, family time, travel, pinterest and most of all the Lord.