Natural Cleaning: Home Made Laundry Detergent

Before Ari came along, I was in the process of trying to find some suggestions for home made and/ or natural cleaning products. There has been such a movement lately towards removing chemical products from our homes that it isn’t too hard to find recipes for everything from bathroom cleaners to laundry detergent. (I even found one for baby wipes, if I give it a try, I’ll let ya know!) Plus, an added bonus is the cost savings of making it yourself; you can see my OCD cost breakdown after the recipe.
I decided to start with laundry detergent first, since it’s something that I didn’t use everyday (again, before the munchkin arrived!). I figured if it didn’t work, I hadn’t spent a ton of time trying to clean something without success.

The one thing to keep in mind with home made laundry detergent is that you likely won’t get that heavy perfume-y smell when you unload the laundry from the machine. People with allergies love this, those used to that ‘mountain fresh’ or ‘summer breeze’ scent may not like the change. For large laundry jobs, like workforce clothes, businesses could consider commercial phs Besafe Laundry Services.
An interesting little tidbit I came across while doing my research: fabric softener makes clothes more flammable! I don’t use a whole lot of the stuff- not even the dryer sheets- but when I saw that, it confirmed that removing as many chemicals as I could was at least worth a try. Because really, who needs to be more flammable??? I don’t think it’s a sought- after trait.
I have used this home made detergent for a few months and find it works well. However, I still turn to a store bought (but as natural as possible!) detergent for my hubby’s work grubbies and any other items that need an extra kick. You’ll need a large jug to mix & store it in (how about an old detergent jug???) 😉

Natural Laundry Detergent:

Makes 1 Gallon/ 3.79litres
Good for 16- 32 loads, depending on size & soil level (1/2 cup for small- regular loads; 1 cup for large loads and/ or dirtier items)

3 tbsp each:
– washing soda
– borax
– castille soap
– several drops essential oils (I used orange Dr Bonner’s castille soap, so I added orange & lemon essential oil for a fresh citrus scent)

4 cups boiling water

Pour all dry ingredients into container

Add boiling water & shake well to mix (please put the lid on before shaking!!!!)

Fill remainder of container with cold water (you may have to pre measure a gallon of water into the jug before and mark it with a Sharpie like I did). Let cool before screwing on lid.

I use a dollar store measuring cup for each load 🙂

And now for my OCD cost breakdown (don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
I did the conversions and then divided how many batches I could make per product.

Cost of Ingredients:

Castille Soap     $16.49 32 oz/ 1 Quart
Laundry Soda       7.99 1.6 lbs/ 726 g
Borax                  10.99 4.4 lbs/ 2 kg

Total Cost:                 $39.73

Cost Per Batch:

Castille Soap     $0.79
(based on 21 batches per bottle)
Laundry Soda     0.47
(based on 17 batches per bag)
Borax                  0.23
(based on 47 batches per box)

Total per Batch: $1.66 That’s 5- 10 cents per load!

And as a final note, the great thing about the ingredients is that they have many applications, so you can whip up a variety of other cleaning goodies. 🙂


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