If you want to save money and be kinder to the environment, try making homemade laundry detergent. There are many benefits to making your own detergent.
Not only will you reduce plastic packaging, but it could minimize symptoms like headaches or irritated skin. Homemade laundry detergent is also more cost-effective. We’ll break down costs to show you how much money you’ll save.
Our homemade recipes work just as well as your regular detergent to clean your clothes. Our chosen ingredients are great cleaning agents, so we’re sure you’ll be happy with these detergents.
- Make homemade powder laundry detergent by mixing grated organic soap, Borax, and washing soda in an airtight container.
- Use one tablespoon of the homemade detergent per load and save about 12 cents per load compared to store-bought brands.
- Homemade liquid laundry detergent can be made by combining lye-based bar soap, Borax, washing soda, baking soda, and essential oils in hot water.
- Switching to homemade liquid detergent can save approximately 23 cents per load, potentially saving around $60 per year.
How To Make Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent
If you like using powder detergent, you don’t have to switch to a liquid formula when making your own. Making powder laundry detergent is easy and cheap.
What You Need:
- Grate the soap: Use a cheese grater to grate the soap chunks.
- Mix the ingredients: In a bucket that’s suitable for storage, mix together the soap, Borax, and washing soda. Toss the ingredients in the food processor for a finer mixture that dissolves easily in water. If using a food processor, let the mixture settle before taking off the lid, so you don’t breathe in the particles.
- Store it: Keep it in an airtight container to preserve it well. Keep a tablespoon in or near the bucket for measuring.
Cost Savings Breakdown For Powder Detergent
Exactly how much money are you going to save? Knowing that will help you determine if it’s worth your time.
First, let’s talk about how many loads of laundry this recipe can clean. One batch will be about 32 ounces. If you’re using about one tablespoon of detergent per load, you could wash up to 62 loads with this recipe.
If you used double the amount of detergent per load, you’d still get 31 loads of laundry clean with this recipe.
Compared to store-bought laundry detergents, let’s break down the cost.
For an eco-friendly brand, we took three laundry detergents, calculated the cost per load for each one, and took an average of the three costs. The results were that store-bought eco-friendly brands averaged out to cost 20 cents per load.
With the homemade laundry detergent recipe, the cost breakdown is this:
|Washing Soap||14 oz||$1.26|
|Ivory soap||4 oz (1 bar)||$0.96|
|Total per recipe||32 oz (62 loads)||$5.23|
|Cost per load = $0.08|
How To Make Liquid Laundry Detergent
If you prefer liquid detergent to powder, it’s time to get cooking. This is a bit more of a science experiment, so if you want to play the part, you could get a fun lab coat for this.
Ingredients And Equipment:
- Hot water.
- 1 cup Borax.
- 1 cup washing soda.
- ½ cup baking soda.
- 1 cup of lye-based bar soap (unless you’re cleaning cloth diapers).
- 10-20 drops of essential oil (recommended: tea tree, lemon, eucalyptus, and lavender).
- Dust mask.
- Protective gloves.
- 5-gallon bucket with lid.
- Cut the bar soap: Cut the bar soap into large chunks using a knife.
- Wear your protective gear: Put on your dust mask now to avoid inhaling the fine powder. Wear your gloves, too. Because of the high alkaline levels, baking soda, washing soda, and Borax can irritate the skin, so it’s best to stay covered ( source).
- Grate the soap: Use a cheese grater or food processor to grate the soap into a fine powder. Let the dust settle before taking the lid off the food processor.
- Melt the soap: Put the grated soap into a pot. Pour enough water to cover the soap and simmer on medium heat until all soap has melted. Stir occasionally.
- Pour the soup: Pour the melted soap into your large bucket.
- Mix the ingredients: Add the Borax, washing soda, and baking soda to the bucket and mix it up until the ingredients are combined.
- Add hot water: Fill the bucket with hot water, leaving only five inches at the top. Keep mixing the ingredients. You can use a ruler or another long household item for this part.
- Let it cool: Let the mixture cool all the way down.
- Add essential oils: If you’re scenting your homemade laundry detergent with oils, add them once the mixture has cooled completely. Add 10 to 20 drops depending on your preference.
- Leave overnight: The mixture needs to transform into a gel-like consistency, so leave it overnight. The gel will be thin and gloopy, like store-bought liquid detergent.
- Transport into bottles: You can leave the detergent in the bucket if you have the space, or you can funnel it into smaller bottles. This is an excellent use of your old laundry detergent bottles, so you aren’t wasting any plastic. Make sure to keep the detergent out of reach of children and pets.
- Use it on laundry day: Give it a good shake or stir before using it. Use ½ cup to one cup per load, depending on your machine.
Cost Savings Breakdown For Liquid Detergent
It’s important to see how much money you’re saving to decide whether to use liquid or powder homemade laundry detergent.
Let’s analyze the costs of store-bought liquid detergent compared to this homemade recipe.
We took three eco-friendly liquid laundry detergents and averaged the cost per load. The results averaged out to 28 cents per load.
With this homemade laundry detergent recipe, you make around 640 ounces of detergent, which is up to 160 loads of laundry if you use ½ cup every time.
|Borax||8 oz (1 cup)||$1.76|
|Washing Soda||8 oz (1 cup)||$0.72|
|Baking Soda||4 oz (0.5 cups)||$0.24|
|Lye-based soap||4 oz (1 bar)||$5.24|
|Essential oil||10 drops||$0.15|
|Water||Fill up to the brim (about 615 oz)|
|Total per recipe||640 oz = 5 gal (160 loads)||8.11|
|Cost per load = $0.05|
We did not include the cost of the mask, gloves, or bucket, as you can reuse these items.
Here are some additional tips about washing with homemade laundry detergent, so you aren’t left in the dark on this new journey.
- Label, label, label: You might think this is a silly tip, but it’s easy to forget the ingredients you put in your detergent. Label your detergents, so remember what’s in there. Plus, this makes it easier to make the recipe again.
- Watch for the ingredients in the store: Although all of these items can be bought on Amazon, look in your local grocery store for the ingredients. Try an international grocery store if you can’t find them.
- Wash hot or cold: This homemade laundry detergent is fantastic because it can clean your clothes at a hot or cold temperature. If you aim to be as eco-friendly as possible, use cold water on laundry day.
- Add homemade fabric softener: There’s no point in making your own laundry detergent only to use store-bought fabric softener. Simply add ½ cup of distilled white vinegar to the final rinse of your load as a non-toxic softener for your clothes.
- Low on storage space: If you live in an apartment, you might be low on storage space. You could opt for powder detergent over liquid as it takes up much less space.
Homemade Laundry Detergent FAQs
These homemade laundry detergent recipes are easy, eco-friendly, and better for your health. Be sure to follow the safety instructions and wear your protective, yet somewhat unflattering, gear.
Once you’ve made your detergent, you’ll save lots of money in the long run, which is always a bonus. Plus, your clothes will be just as clean as they were with store-bought detergent.