Friday, April 6, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent - Hard Water

I've been wanting to make my own, homemade laundry detergent for a LONG time.

Almost all the recipes I found for homemade detergent called for "Borax".
Then, I kept reading how bad it is. So, I had to research it.

I read and I read and I read. I came across this post on Crunchy Betty.
I'm concluding that I'm okay with using Borax for washing my clothes.
There are probably tons of other chemicals in the store bought detergent that's not labeled that I'd be worried about.

Dry or liquid? This time, I made dry, powder detergent.
Next time, maybe I'll make liquid. We'll see. :)

Okay, to the good stuff.

Here are the ingredients:
- 2 cups Washing Soda
- 2 cups Borax
- 1 bar Fels Naptha

You may wonder why this recipe calls for more borax and washing soda than other recipes found online.

It's because we have hard water.

Geez, water issues again?? I have to make our No 'Poo recipe a special way because of our hard water.... and now, our detergent? Well, I guess I'll just deal with it...

So, I grated the entire bar of Fels Naptha (which, by the way, is a laundry soap).

I tried putting it through our tiny little food processor to make them into tinier pieces, but it ended up just balling up. lol. no good. It crumbled anyway when I crushed it with my hands, but next time, I'll just keep them shredded like the photo above.

Then, I put everything into an empty, huge coffee container and mixed and mixed and mixed until the yellow soap seemed evenly distributed.

- We put in 2 tablespoons (we're using the scoop that came with the coffee container) as the water is filling up in the washer. I first start off with hot water and then if I need to switch to cold, I switch it after I know that the soap has dissolved completely.

- We add Oxy Clean to the "1" line before adding clothes.

- We also use white vinegar in a Downy ball for the rinse cycle as our "softener". :)

So far so good. It's been 2 weeks and everything seems to be working great!

I even did a test wash and put tomato sauce on a hand towel and let it sit for 2 days before washing it. No stain! :D

MUCH cheaper than store bought detergent and less chemicals. Yay.

Here's where I need your help.
I read that Fels Naptha may not be the "greenest" soap to use.
I wanted to use Dr. Bronner's Castille soap, but I also read that it doesn't get as clean. That's no good. I also read about Ivory, so I might try that.



  1. Thank you : ) I can't wait to try this!

  2. Ok i am just trying this out! how is it still working for you? do you have anymore tips? have you tried any new soaps yet?? Thanks!!

    1. We are still making our own detergent! I liked it a lot and I found how to make it in bulk, so I do that now. Here's the link to the bulk recipe: I don't put in the fabric softener and instead of baking soda, I added another washing soda instead (I read somewhere that you shouldn't use baking soda if there's washing soda... and the recipe I blogged about didn't use baking soda, so I didn't use it). I can't find Zote soap, so I'm still using Fels Naptha. HUGE tip for grating: Microwave the soap using small increments (like 10-15 seconds at a time). Your soap will get huge and hot. After it cools down, it is SO SO SO MUCH easier to grate. If you like the small batch recipe, it would probably save you time to make the bulk one. :) Let me know how it works out for you!

  3. I use the same recipe from and I also have very hard water. It isn't getting stains out at all for me, especially the tomato stains. I use 4 tablespoons!


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