Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Homemade HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

Happy Leap Day!  I'm going to make a little "leap" today from the normal cooking and gardening stuff to laundry detergent.  It's not too big of a leap because we're still talking about home stuff, so don't worry about having to stretch out or pulling a muscle or anything like that.

This simple recipe was given to me by my friend Karen J.  Homemade laundry detergent is so easy to make and yet works so well.  I have been using it for several months and can honestly say that it is great.  Tom was the first to mention it because sometimes he comes home with some pretty dirty insulated overalls...and they were coming out of the washing machine looking beautiful...for insulated Carhart overalls.

The cost to make a batch is so economical.  I've found the real factor that would raise your price is the cost of the soap you use.  I've used both Dr. Bronner's bar soap and a bar of Lever 2000 with no difference in the washing power of the detergent.

If you prefer a powdered version, click here for that recipe.

Also, I've found that where I live, the most challenging ingredient to find is the Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.  This is NOT the same as baking soda.  So if you live in the same neck of the woods that I do, head on over to Walmart or Fred Meyer.  They've got the Washing Soda and the Borax there.  (They are far less expensive at a store, too, than shopping for them online...that stuff is heavy and $$$ to ship it to you.)

So, save those old liquid laundry detergent bottles (or anything else for that matter) and make yourself up a batch or two. 

Liquid HE Laundry Detergent
(makes enough for 64 loads if using 1/2 C per load)

  • water
  • 1/3 to 1/2 bar of soap, grated
  • 1/2 C washing soda
  • 1/2 C borax
  • large kettle or pot that can hold 8 quarts (2 gallons) of water
  • grater
  • mixing spoon
  • container(s) to hold your finished detergent
  1. In a large pot, put 4 quarts of water on to heat. 
  2. BEFORE water comes to a boil, add grated soap and stir until dissolved.  (If you add the soap after the water has started to boil, it will foam over...everywhere.  Trust me.)
  3. Turn heat down to medium and add the washing soda and borax.  Stir until dissolved.
  4. Turn off heat and add 2 quarts of water.  Stir well.
  5. Add remaining 2 quarts of water, again stirring well.

  • Depending on the container you are putting your detergent in, you may want it to cool a little first.
  • The detergent will thicken as it cools and will become gel-like. 
  • Your soap easily dissolves in your wash water, even if using the cold cycle.
  • Do not add Oxy Clean to your detergent recipe as it will cause your soap to separate from the water and get very, very me on this one, too.  Instead if you want to use Oxy Clean, add it to each load in powder form for best results.

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