How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent for HE Washers
If you aren’t one of those people that just LOVES to make everything themselves, then you might not be thinking this post is relevant for you. Let me just tempt you with this – I am going to tell you how to spend only $20 for a year’s worth of laundry detergent! Are you interested now? Let’s talk about how to make Homemade laundry detergent. Keep reading.
I thought this would be the perfect post in my House Cleaning Tips and Tricks series.
If you have ever looked into Homemade Laundry Detergent, you know there are literally HUNDREDS of “recipes” for making your own! I first started experimenting with my own laundry detergent about a year ago and after 4 different blends of ingredients, I have finally found something that I love! Not only does it working amazing, but this Homemade Laundry Detergent recipe will save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Easy Ingredients for Homemade Laundry Soap
Most basic laundry detergents have 3 core ingredients: Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and laundry bar soap (like Fels-Naptha or Zote). I have incorporated a few more ingredients because we need something that is great at getting stains out AND leaves clothes smelling clean and fresh.
Homemade laundry detergent borax:
Borax is one powerful cleaning agent. I mean… let’s get serious about it for a minute. It is very frugal friendly but has some really nice benefits. Make sure you read my post on Easy Frugal tips for Cleaning with Borax. You need a box to make this homemade laundry soap but I would grab an extra box for other uses around the house. 🙂
Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients
Here are the products you’ll need to make this:
- 20 Mule Team Borax
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda
- Oxi Clean Stain Remover Powder
- Purex Crystals Laundry Enhancer
- Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap (only $.98 per bar and located in the Laundry soap aisle).
Like I said before, there are simpler recipes out there, but this homemade laundry detergent will get the dirtiest of clothes clean and leave them smelling oh so fresh! After a year of testing and trying… I know. 😉
If the ingredients are making you nervous…. don’t worry, you can find it all on the Laundry Detergent aisle at your local store or on Amazon by clicking the links above.
Homemade Laundry Detergent for HE Washers:
The first thing many of you may be asking is, “But is it safe for my HE washer?” With absolute certainty I can say yes! Why is it safe? Well, HE washing machines are High Efficiency because they use less water (and energy) to wash your clothes. Since they use less water to wash (and then rinse) the clothes, it needs a detergent that doesn’t suds up like a typical laundry detergent. This homemade laundry detergent is VERY low suds! Don’t let that fool you though, this cleans very well, just don’t expect the bubbly soap suds that a typical detergent gives you. So for those of you with HE washers, you will save even more money by making your own laundry detergent.
Is it Worth It?
Another question you’re probably asking is, “Is it really worth my time to make my own detergent?” Again, I say yes, but let’s see the proof. I am going to do a cost breakdown for you so you can see for yourself. Let’s say you are a loyal Tide user. If you use the powder (which is cheaper than the liquid), you will spend about $18 for a big box of powdered detergent (I looked at Walmart prices). This big box will give you 102 loads, so if you do about 10 loads of laundry a week (give or take a few), this Tide will last you about 10 weeks. $18 for about 10 weeks. If you use a different detergent, obviously your price per load would be different but this gives you a general idea. If you are willing to invest about $20 up front, then you will be able to create enough laundry detergent to last you about a year (depending on how many loads you do a week). Here are your up front costs:
- (3) Fels-Naptha Bars – $0.99 each
- 20 Mule Team Borax, 4 lbs 12 oz – $3.38
- Oxi-Clean Versatile Stain Remover, 3 lb – $7.44
- Purex Crystals, 28 oz – $3.76
- Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 4 lb – $2.14
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, 55 oz – $2.03
I bought these items at Crest Foods in Oklahoma, so your prices may vary slightly depending on where you shop. Don’t forget to look for coupons before you go shopping, too. 😉 Ok, I don’t want to get into a bunch of crunching numbers with you, but let’s just say this: throwing all of these items together you will have about 287.5 ounces of powdered detergent. YES, this is VERY heavy (nearly 18 pounds plus the weight of your container). It only takes 1-2 tablespoons per loads to get your clothes nice and clean. So… using only one tablespoon per load would give you 575 loads!! If you do about 10 loads a week (yours may be more or less), then you will be able to do laundry for about 57 weeks – that’s more than A YEAR! Can you believe that? $20 for a year’s worth of detergent?! Are you ready to make this now? 😉
How to grate bar soap for Homemade Laundry detergent.
Grate the soap? You heard right. The Fels-Naptha laundry soap is a bar and in order for you to get a little bit in every load, you need to grate it. Simple enough, right? Well, let me give you a few words of advice.
- Don’t use your food processor. It creates a mass of mush and clumps and is really not worth all of the clean up. Trust me. 😉
- Speaking of clean up – do NOT put your grater (or food processor blades) into the dish washer to clean up! Warm soap and water and a little time will work just fine. In the dishwasher the film from the grated soap spreads to every single dish in your dishwasher and will take several loads to make them clean again.
- One more tip – I noticed that when I took my cheese grater straight from the dishwasher, still warm, the soap grated quickly and easily. You can still grate your soap if your grater has been sitting in the drawer, but it will be a little bit harder (but certainly not impossible).
How to make your own Homemade Laundry soap:
- You will need a great big container to mix everything in. If your husband has a clean 5 gallon bucket, that would work perfectly.
- There are only 3 things you need to do to make everything – grate the soap, dump everything in the bucket and mix.
- That’s it! Once you are done mixing it up, put it into your pretty container and you are good to go.
- When you are looking for a container, be sure to select one that is air tight. If too much moisture in the air gets into your detergent, you will have to chisel it a bit because it will harden. Again, just trust me on this one. 😉 I bought my pretty glass jar (it’s about 5 gallon size) at Hobby Lobby when the glassware was 50%.
Homemade Baby Laundry Detergent:
Did you know that his also works great as a Homemade Baby laundry detergent. Don’t wast your money on over prices laundry detergents like Dreft. This Homemade laundry detergent is actually very safe for babies. It is perfect for those with sensitive skin making it perfect for babies too! This homemade baby laundry detergent would also make a great Baby shower gift idea. 🙂