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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DIY: Powder Laundry Detergent

Check out how you can save 91% just by making your own laundry detergent...

I've come across many recipes for powdered laundry detergent so there's plenty of wiggle room to experiment and decide what combination works best for your needs.  I am NOT chemist and have no knowledge based on the chemical compounds of these products.  I chose this recipe because there is no measuring and each batch should last between 6 months to a year for my family of 6.  Other recipes only call for one bar of Ivory, but I'm putting three. You can use any bar soap of your choice. Maybe next time I'll make it with only one bar and see how I like it.  I bought the Borax and A&H Washing Soda in the laundry isle of my grocery store, Publix.  There is NO expiration date on the detergent. =)

To make enough to last my family all year I would have to double the recipe below.


3 bars Ivory soap, 13.5 oz
1 Box Borax, 76 oz
1 Box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda , 55 oz
(NOT Baking soda)

Grate the bars of soap or cut it into chunk and use a food processor to grate them.
Mix ingredients well in a large container.
Keep covered with lid and out of reach of children & pets.

Use 1 Tablespoon per load, 2 Tbs for heavily soiled loads.
For whites you can add some OxiClean to the wash to help with stains and brightening.

Price Breakdown

I have a family of 6 and wash about 8 loads of laundry each week.
8 loads x 52 weeks = 416 loads/year

Tide Ultra Powder HE Formula
56 oz, 40 loads, $9.45 x 11 boxes =
616 oz, 440 loads, $103.95

$9.45/40 loads = $.24/load
56 oz/40 loads = 1.4 oz/load


2 pk Ivory (3 bars, 13.5 oz) $4.74
Two76 oz Box Borax $8.78
Two 55 ozBox Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda $6.38

289 oz, 578 loads, $19.90

$19.90/578 loads = $.03/load
289 oz/578 loads = 0.5 oz/load

Quick Comparison

              Tide 616 oz, 440 loads, $103.95/year, $.24/load
Homemade 289 oz, 578 loads, $19.90/year, $.03/load

Savings; $84.05/year

That's a 81% savings!!  AWESOME! =)

You can increase that savings by using coupons on the Ivory. I usually get them for free when they go on sale at CVS for 10/$10. If I have a $1/1 manufacturer coupon, it's free.

Here's what my savings actually were since I got my Ivory soaps free with coupons...

2 pks Ivory $0
2 boxes Borax $8.78
2 boxes Washing Soda $6.38
= $15.16

$15.16/578 loads = 2.6¢/ load

$88.79 savings/year

Another GREAT thing about this is that it's safe for HE washers because it doesn't have a lot of suds like commercial detergents and it cleans just as well as they do.  However, because it is a soap and not a detergent I recommend running an empty load of hot water and 1 cup White Vinegar once a month to cut any soap residue from the inside of your washer.

Another tip: White vinegar is great as a natural fabric softener. It cuts soap residue, naturally whitens and brightens clothes without bleaching them, absorbs odors, and softens cloths and "fluffs" towels perfectly. =D  Just add 1/2 Cup of White Vinegar to the wash during the rinse cycle. =)

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  1. I'm confused, your recipe at the top of your blog says 1 box borax 76 oz & 1 box arm & hammer 55oz & 3 ivory bars 13.5 oz

    Then towards end of the blog is says,
    2 pks Ivory $0
    2 boxes Borax $8.78
    2 boxes Washing Soda $6.38
    = $15.16

    1. They're both correct, but the list at the bottom is doubled because that's how much my family needs to last us a year. The recipe is 3 bars of soap, grated. 1 box Borax. 1 box washing soda. For the soap, lately I've been usin either zone or Fels naphtha laundry bars. You can find them in the laundry isle near the borax and washing soda. Hope this helps. Thanks for reading 😃

  2. Hi Valerie,
    I love your video! I am experimenting with homemade soap. I made my first batch out of olive oil and coconut oil and lye in hot process method. That got me thinking about making all my soaps and how I came across your blog. My next batch with be with lard and lye and will use those bars with your mix. I know ivory is made from tallow. Since I am on a septic system using vinegar or bleach that alters the ph is not a great idea for rinsing once a month. I have a Bosch washer and it has this very hot setting called XXtra Sanitary that heats to 167-174 degrees for 3 minutes. I know that most bacteria is killed off at 140 degrees. I think I will run that once a month in lieu of the vinegar for cleaning out the machine from soap residue. I have seen others use a mix similar to yours but turn it into a liquid and store it in big 5 gallon buckets. I just think your way is much more practical and easier to handle. Have you tried the liquid version of this and what did you find out?

    1. Thanks for checking out my blog and video. I've seen many homemade recipes in the huge 5gal bucket. I have 4 young kids and no space to store such a large bucket so the powder is much easier and convenient for me. I've been interested in learning to make soaps too and candles. I love doing all kinds of crafts so I'm sure I will eventually get into soap and candle making too.

  3. Thanks for this video! I made with with doTERRA essential oil bar soap and it works and smells great !

  4. Thank you for this video! It's so simple and easy! My husband found this on the web, and showed it to me, and this is what we are now doing! (only I'm using sunlight bar soap grated instead).