• Make Your Own CHEAP Laundry Detergent (No Cook Method!)

    frugal living

    Homemade No Cook Laundry Soap

    I must say I’ve been intrigued with the whole “homemade laundry soap” idea for a while now, but just couldn’t bring myself to going through all the time and trouble of making the liquid form.  Then a friend suggested this efficient no cook method.  So easy!

    Ingredient List:

    • 1 Cup Borax
    • 1 Cup Washing Soda (Found mine at Winco)
    • 1 Bar of Ivory Soap OR 1/2 bar Fels-Naptha

    Fels-Naptha is stronger for tough stain removal.  I use Ivory because it has fewer chemicals and is easier on my kiddo’s eczema.  Plus I have a ton of Ivory soap from couponing!

    Ivory Soap Melt

    Take your bar of Ivory and stick it in the microwave for 90 seconds.  Yeah I know it sounds silly, but just watch…

    After Microwaving 90 seconds Ivory Soap

    Once finished, it will look like this!  Weird, huh?  And the cleanup, if any, is awesome because it’s just soap.  If your microwave is stinky, it won’t be after this!  (FYI – I don’t recommend microwaving the Fels-Naptha because of the fumes it creates. You’ll probably want to finely grate it instead).

    Make sure it feels dried and powdery when crumbled.  If you mash it with a fork or spoon and start to see powder forming in the bottom of the bowl, you should be fine.  If not, you can let it sit out for a 1/2 a day or so if needs be.  (From this point on, the fine powder can easily become airborne, so if you are at all sensitive, you may want to do this outside.)

    Blend up the Soap

    Gently mash the bar, er uh, blob, in a bowl until you get dime to nickel size lumps.  Then transfer into a Cuisinart or Magic Bullet.  A blender isn’t really a good choice for this as it can burn out the motor.  Some people use a Vitamix, but I haven’t personally made this with one so I won’t recommend it.  The Magic Bullet just saves time (and your arms) and the detergent ends up more uniform in appearance.  Do a about a half bar’s worth at a time in the bullet.

    Put Soap Ingredients in a mixing bowl

    Place back into the bowl and thoroughly stir in your remaining ingredients.  Then just pour it into your favorite container and you’re set.  This laundry powder really has no fragrance to it, but the cool thing about that is you get to choose whatever fragrance you want!  Essential oils work best for this, just be sure you mix it really well, a small drop at a time.

    Detergent good for HE or Regular Washing Machines

    Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load, depending on soil level.  This has no sudsing agents so it is perfect for both regular and HE machines.  I did not shop around for the best price on my ingredients and I still made this for just under $0.04 a load.

    You can also adjust the mix ratios for preference.  I’ve found people using 1 bar – 2 borax – 2 soda ratio and use 2 Tablespoons per load.  Depending on your water softness or hardness, you may choose to.  Some also choose castile or other pure soaps, but you will want to hand grate them and let them dry thoroughly before mixing.

    If you are looking for a cheap fabric softener, use 1/2 cup of vinegar in your last rinse (really, it works).  It also strips any leftover soap residue in your wash.  And no, it won’t make your clothes smell like pickles.  Be careful never to mix bleach and vinegar as it creates Chlorine Gas, which can be fatal. You can purchase 2 gallons of vinegar at Costco for about $3.


    Do you make your own laundry soap?  What ingredients or tricks work best for you?


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    22 Responses to “Make Your Own CHEAP Laundry Detergent (No Cook Method!)”

    1. ashley says:

      I just made 10 gal liquid. It was not challenging my son(age 4) did most of the work, but next time I think i’ll try the dry method.
      Also, If you bake regular baking soda for 60 min at 350 it is washing soda, but you have to store it in an airtight container as it becomes baking soda again when exposed too long to oxygen.

    2. carrie says:

      I’ve made this soap for some time. It worked ok but often my clothes didn’t get as clean. I decided to buy powdered laundry detergent and add that to my homemade power to kick up the stain fighting power. Seemed to do the trick. I also use Dr. Bronners Lavender soap because I am such a sucker for that smell and I love Dr. Bronners. I didn’t microwave it though, and wonder if i can? We used vinegar for fabric softener and as our dishwasher rinse aid. Keeps the dishwasher clean too!

    3. Charlee says:

      Hi Amber!
      I personally am hesitant to use Borax because of what I’ve read on it. I thought I’d put this information out there about borax specifically-

      ****Risks Associated with Borax
      Borax is natural, but that does not mean it is automatically safer for you or for ‘the environment’ than man-made chemicals. Although plants need boron, too much of it will kill them, so borax can be used as an herbicide. Borax may also be used to kill roaches, ants, and fleas. In fact, it is also toxic to people. Signs of chronic toxic exposure include red and peeling skin, seizures, and kidney failure. The estimated lethal dose (ingested) for adults is 15-20 grams; less than 5 grams can kill a child or pet. For this reason, borax should not be used around food. More commonly, borax is associated with skin, eye, or respiratory irritation. It is also important to point out that exposure to borax may impair fertility or cause damage to an unborn child.

      Now, none of these risks mean that you shouldn’t use borax. If you do a bit of research, you will find risks associated with all cleaning products, natural or man-made. However, you do need to be aware of product risks so that you can use those products properly. Don’t use borax around food, keep it out of reach of children and pets, and make sure you rinse borax out of clothes and off of surfaces before use.

    4. Sandy P. says:

      I have been making my own liquid fabric softner, and it works great! Just like store bought. I got a really good deal on a bunch of Suave conditioner a month ago, and I am able to make fabric softner for about $0.70 a bottle.

      1 cup hair conditioner
      1.5 cups white vinegar
      3 cups water

      Just mix the three (with a wooden spoon…..don’t shake or it gets foamy) together and use just as you would store bought fabric softner. Buy any good smelling conditioner, or put in any essential oil you like.

    5. Sarah joy says:

      I haven’t bought laundry detergent in over a year and a half, and the only ingredient I’ve needed to buy more of is the fels-naptha. I’ve only made the liquid kind, but it works great! I don’t think I’ll ever buy laundry soap again!!

    6. Gina says:

      I currently using a concentrate version of the liquid recipe. I can’t use the powdered recipe since I’m on a septic tank. I’ve made the 10 gallon recipe and it lasted me over 6 months! But this concentrate version is only 2 quarts… much, much easier to store!

    7. Kristine says:

      I’ve been using white vinegar for the rinse cycle for 2 months now. Gets rid of the extra funk from my hubby’s work clothes and makes the towels extra soft and fluffy.
      I also use it as a rinse aid in the dishwasher. Because I was starting to “taste” the commercial rinse aid on the plasticware. Only time it smells is when adding more to the compartment. Not to mention saves a lot on the grocery funds.

      • Using it as a rinse aid is a fantastic idea! (For our readers I want to make sure I point out that if your dishwasher soap has a bleach compound in it, you probably should steer clear of vinegar to keep safe from the chlorine gas it can create when mixed together.) Great idea!!!

    8. Sarah says:

      For me, I’m not sure I’m ready to take the plunge and make my own laundry soap…but I do feel like microwaving a bar of ivory after seeing this! LOL. That looks so cool.

    9. Wendy says:

      Angela at the Coupon Project has a recipe for making liquid laundry detergent. It sounds like it makes a lot. Has anyone tried this type
      of detergent? http://thecouponproject.com/2012/04/adventures-in-homesteading-homemade-laundry-detergent.html

    10. Emma says:

      I’ve been wanting to try at making my own laundry detergent as well but I have a hard time trying to find Fels-Naptha and BORAX. I live in University Place area, anyone have an idea of where I can purchase these items??

    11. [...] this year I decided to try to make Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent, and I must say, I was very impressed.  At the time, powder seemed to be easier to make and store, [...]

    12. [...] Once you do that your 1/3 on your way to making your own No Cook Method Laundry Soap!  [...]

    13. michelle says:

      I’m not understanding how powdered detergent could “build up” in a septic tank, as the ingredients dissolve in the wash water.

      Since I already have a good year’s worth of cheap laundry detergent stocked up, I won’t be doing this any time soon, but I also won’t be buying any more, as I’ll be making my own once I’m out!

      I have a whole bunch of Irish Spring that my husband mistakenly bought a long time ago… do you think that would work as well as Ivory for the soap ingredient?

    14. [...] will it clean your body, it will clean your clothes! Head on over hear and see how to make your own No Cook Method Laundry Soap with [...]

    15. [...] will it clean your body, it will clean your clothes! Head on over hear and see how to make your own No Cook Method Laundry Soap with [...]

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