Friday, April 16, 2010

5 Gallons of Laundry Detergent - $2.00!!

My sister-in-law gave me some laundry detergent to try, that she had made herself! I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it worked, and had to ask her what she did. Well - she got the recipe from a cookbook her sister's church put together. The recipe makes 5 gallons of detergent - that should last me a little while :)

All you need are these three ingredients and water!

It looks a bit like runny jello, or maybe more like lemonade with lots of pulp, but all the little jelly parts dissolve in the wash.

Here is the recipe:

4 cups hot tap water
1 Sunlight soap bar
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup Borax

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. Fill a 5 gallon bucket 1/2 full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken. Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispensers. Shake before each use (will gel).

Optional: You may add 10-15 drops of essential oil/2 gallons. Add once soap is cooled.

Recipe cost approximately $2.00!!
Top Lad machine - use 5/8 cup per load.

Front load machine - 1/4 cup per load.

I have a large front load machine, and I'm using about 1/3 cup per load (do really large loads). I also managed to find enough containers at the local thrift shop to put all the detergent in :) Didn't want to be scooping out of the 5 gallon pail, or have someone bump it and have it tip over! There is a slight lemony scent when you first open the container the detergent is in, but once the clothes are washed - you can't smell anything. Try it!! It's amazing how well it works and how little it costs!

Addition: I should mention that my sister-in-laws Dad is a mechanic and gets his clothes quite dirty some days. She lets the stains soak in a bit of detergent for a while before she throws them in the wash. Apparently it works as well or better than SHOUT!

The recipe does call for filling containers 1/2 full with detergent - then adding enough water to fill the container. Everyone I've talked too didn't do it, thought the detergent was to diluted then. I did end up adding a little water to mine, just because it was almost the consistency of jello and hard to get into containers with small openings (using milk jugs, they fit nice into the washing machine drawer)

Have a wonderful Saturday!


  1. Wow - thanks for sharing this, Audrey. Lots of folks are always looking for economical - and safe - alternatives to those chemical-laden commercial laundry products. This looks like a winner!

  2. I am seriously going to try this.

  3. I've always wanted to try making my own laundry detergent. The only thing that has stopped me is that my husband swears that the only thing that gets his clothes clean is Tide and he won't use anything else.

  4. I had gotten a recipe quite similar to this one. However, it didn't ask for SUnlight soap bar. It was another and I can't remember the name. All I know is I could not find it! I will ahve to look for sunlight bar soap. Then I can make it. The other two ingredients have been sitting on the shelf in the laundry, waiting.... LOL

    Have a wonderful day!

  5. Wow, how great! We've been getting the 'natural' liquid laundry soap and while we love it, it does get expensive to spend $14 per bottle every month. I'm definitely going to try this, thank you so much!

  6. hello I gotta say I make my own with a recipie almost the same as this. I started doing it to be more cost effective but I also did it because I get easily irritated skin from the regular detergents. Since I started making this about 3yrs or so ago I have had no more skin irritation. So that is another bonus :)

  7. Almost any bar soap that is nonperfumed and doesn't contain colors or crazy ingredients will work for this. I used to use Ivory bar soap and once used Lever 2000 because those were what I had on hand. I preferred the Ivory over the Lever 2000 though because my nose is SUPER sensitive. No one else could smell the difference but I could smell it every time I got dressed! LOL!

    Found you via the Etsy forums...I'm moving to NYC from California and needed to look up this recipe again! Time to get SUPER frugal for our move!


  8. Great recipe!!!

    Thanks for sharing!

    I'm going to try it.


  9. Here is a recipe I recently found but haven't tried yet--I wasn't sure if I would find castile soap. Thanks for sharing your recipe--gives me another option to try!

  10. So glad to meet you! I love this recipe for making your own detergent! Brilliant! I'm almost out.. I think I'll have to whip up my own batch! So exciting! :)
    Cheers, Chrissy

  11. Thanks for sharing, Audrey!
    Does the soap have to be Sunlight brand? OK. I just read the comments.

  12. I make my own powder soap, its so easy and I have two versions, one with ZOTE soap that is more gentle and one with Fels Neptha soap, that works for jeans and really dirty clothes, our wash is so wonderful I love it.
    Will never go back to buying it again.


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