How NOT to make homemade laundry detergent.

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This post is going to be short and sweet because Peanut is stirring!
Yesterday I decided to make some homemade laundry detergent.  I love the stuff and it works great with our cloth diapers.  I had run out of the pre-packaged SAHM stuff that I bought online a while ago.  So I searched for some recipes, found them all the be almost identical, and then decided to follow my friend Amy’s recipe instead.
I had to use what I had around the house so our mixture included Ivory soap, Borax, and OxyClean (for the washing soda).
I want to let you know that the part in her recipe where she says LOW HEAT… she means it ya’ll.  LOW HEAT.. as in DO NOT BOIL or even let it simmer…
Ever act stupid and put bubble bath in a jacuzzi or hot tub? Yeah, you get that effect when you boil soap on the stove.  Taderbug was stirring for me and once I dumped in the oxyclean my pot started to look like something from a Halloween display!  I grabbed the pot and moved it to the sink where I think it overflowed bubbles for over 5 minutes(with no added heat!)
All came out well in the end, my kitchen sink is clean, and for hours last night the entire house smelled Ivory clean.  I scored 2 gallons of laundry detergent (four bottles) for less then a couple bucks!  I think I might bag some ‘kits’ up and sell them at our yard sale.
Do you make your own detergent?  Do you stick to a tried and true recipe or do you swap out whats available?

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16 thoughts on “How NOT to make homemade laundry detergent.

  1. Sara says:

    I wonder how that detergent will work with hard water? We have extremely hard water, and most detergents can’t handle it. 🙁

  2. T Biggers says:

    Sorry you had a “mishap” hopwfully this doesn’t prevent you from attempting one more time. Just want to add that the reaction also took place b/c Oxy Clean IS NOT a substitute for Washing Soda. Its reaction with the other ingredients was more because of its chemical nature than because of the temperature. I’ve been making detergent for over a year and usually add the OXYCLEAN to the bucket after the water has been added.

    • TaderDoodles says:

      Thanks for explaining it better! I had read somewhere that oxyclean was washing soda plus other ingredients and that I could substitute one for the other if I couldn’t find washing soda. Was that info wrong? My detergent (after the bubbles settled LOL) gelled up and washed laundry just fine. At least it looks like it did, I only did one load today. I couldn’t find washing soda anywhere near here (and the arm and hammer website didn’t list any local stores). I love homemade detergent and made it before, but it was from prepackaged ingredients.

      • T. Biggers says:

        I’ve “stumbled upon” your blog post today b/c I’m having problems with CD’ing and low and behold I’ve commented on it before!! How crazy i s that?
        Anyways. last year i wasn’t cloth diapering. Now I have a question for YOU. Have you had any buildup with this recipe? I was thinking the IVORY would cause buildup and subsequent repelling in your dipes? LMK! I’ve switched to All Free and Clear till i figure out a better recipe.

  3. Peggy Brister says:

    No, I definitely don’t make my own laundry soap. I buy liquid GAIN from Sam’s in a giant side dispensing container that cost like $20 but it lasts me almost 6 months it’s so big.

  4. Angela says:

    Borax is a water softener & whitener. If you have hard water, just add more borax. For my batch, I use: 1 cup washing soda, almost 2 cups borax, 1 bar ivory soap grated. I use 2 tablespoons/load. For my whites, I use 4 tablespoons.

    • TaderDoodles says:

      Do you ever have problems with the powdered version? Does it dissolve all the way? I have been considering trying it this way next time I make some up.

      • Sheila says:

        i make the powder and have for a few years now and never have any problems with it. also you dont have to use only ivory. I use whatever i find cheapest or hav on hand

    • TaderDoodles says:

      Thanks Amy!! I’m going to try dry as soon as I run out of this batch. I’m saving up plastic tubs to store it in. Hopefully, since I run my water first and add my clothes after it has filled up some, I can get the soap dissolved without a problem.

  5. Melissa says:

    I have been making my own for about a year and I love it, I don’t like powder though since i wash everything in cold water so i do mine as a liquid.
    I solved the gloopy glop problem by substituting liquid castile soap (dr bonner’s from Target) I use 1 table spoon of it in place of a bar of soap. its like $9 for a decent size bottle that i use for a ton of things besides laundry soap!
    I use 2 cups borax, 2 cups washing soda (try a hardware store), 2 tablespoons of Castile soap and i heat the slowly in water until well dissolved, I pour the water into the pot from the containers i plan to pour the detergent back into so I know I have the right amount of water. I fill my old bottles about 3/4 of the ways full and dump em into the pot, once i pour the made detgent in i slowly add cold water untill the bottle is full and cap and shake. this makes 2 36load (2x concentrate) bottles of detergent. i reuse my old bottles so I can shake it before use easily and use the same amount of detergent I am used to. I use the smallest amount of detergent from the lines inside the cap. This is very low sudsing and can be used in HE machines!!!
    My hubby works in a foundry pouring molten aluminum and this gets his clothes clean! My boys have a mud pit in the yard they constantly play in and my DD loves to paint and use “make-up) and this gets those clean too as well as my cloth diapers and everything else we own. 3 of the 5 of us have eczema and can’t use commercial detergent and this is the ONLY detergent that we haven’t developed a tolerance to.
    Some of the other things I use castile soap for: (there are several different kinds I like the tea tree oil one because it is a natural disinfectant as well)
    *Kids bodywash… doesn’t irritate the eczema at all!
    *General household cleaner: 1 1/2 tsp in a normal size spray bottle (I reused an arm & hammer essentials one)
    *Spot treatment (I spray the cleaner on my couches, recliner, carpet etc).
    *Pet wash!

    • TaderDoodles says:

      I will have to check out the Castile soap! I love tea tree oil…and my daughter and I have mild eczema so this might be a great thing for us!
      Lisa B

  6. T. Biggers says:

    Let me know if you tried the Dr. Bronner’s with your CD’s.
    I was thinking:
    Dry Mix:
    1c Washing Soda
    1c Borax
    1-2tsp Dr. Bronners
    Add 1T dry mix and 1-2teaspoons of Dr. Bronners per diaper load. Wonder if that would cause buildup? I’d have to probably do extra rinse and 1/2 c. vinegar in the rinse. But I think it may work.

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