Author Topic: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent  (Read 39192 times)

Offline Nicodemus

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Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« on: July 26, 2011, 01:09:37 PM »
I wanted to see if it were worth it to make my own Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent. I saw a thread titled Homemade Laundry Detergent in the "Show Discussions, Fan Mail and Topic Suggestions" section of the forum.

The thread linked a recipe for Liquid Laundry Detergent that Jack had mentioned on an episode of "The Survival Podcast". You can find a link to the recipe in the blog House Full of Love: Homemade Laundry Detergent

I ran the numbers on cost, and they looked really impressive. The following is a post regarding the cost that I did in the thread mentioned above.

"Fels-Naptha Bar 5.5 oz: $0.97
A&H Super Washing Soda 55 oz (approximately 5.5 cups): $3.24
20 MT Borax 76 oz (approximately 10 cups): $2.98

For a 10 gallons batch of Liquid Laundry Detergent the recipe calls for:
4 Cups hot tap water (skipping the price of water)
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar: $0.97
1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda: $0.59
½ Cup Borax $0.15

So the approximate cost per batch, minus the cost of water, is $1.71

There are 16 cups in a gallon so 160 cups in the batch.

The type of washer I use calls for 5/8 of a cup of this recipe per load, so I can do 256 loads per batch. (someone might want to check my math here because the recipe page says "Approx. 180 loads")

So, by my math the Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent comes out to $0.007 per load.

The last bottle of Tide that I purchased after a little math comes out to about $0.23 per load, and that was with a coupon during a sale. It might have been a little less if I'd purchased it at Walmart.

That's a pretty nice savings provided that I'm satisfied with the Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent. It means I could do 32 loads of laundry per load of Tide to equal cost."


This is my adventure in Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent...

Step 1: Gathering the Ingredients


Step 2: Heating 4 Cups of Water


Step 3: Adding 1 Shredded Bar of Fels-Naptha to the Water

I didn't know if any particular spoon material would make a difference, and I didn't feel like washing a spoon, so I used a paint stirrer to mix.


The Fels-Naptha has completely melted

Step 4: Fill a 5 Gallon Bucket Half Full with Hot Water

This picture features my helper Lydia Deetz Longcat.

Step 5: Add the Ingredients to the 5 Gallon Bucket

Here I've added the melted Fels-Naptha and water as well as one cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and half a cup of 20 Mule Team Borax to the 5 gallon bucket and stirred until the powdered ingredients dissolved completely.

Step 6: Add Hot Water to Mixture Until the Bucket is Full


Step 7: Put a Lid on It and Wait

The recipe suggests letting it sit up for a day. To use the mix, fill a jug half full of laundry detergent, fill the rest of the jug with water, give it a shake to mix, measure the appropriate amount for your type of washer and add to your wash.

Altogether this took me about an hour to complete. However I was setting things up and taking pictures so it probably doubled the amount of time it would have taken otherwise.

We'll see how it goes...
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 01:29:50 PM by Nicodemus »

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2011, 01:24:30 PM »
Great write up.  LOVE making the soap myself.   

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2011, 01:30:53 PM »
Great write up.  LOVE making the soap myself.

Thanks Doc!

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2011, 01:33:35 PM »
Cute cat!! and this is a goo topic for guys like me!!

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2011, 02:08:07 PM »
By the way, your right,  It takes roughly 30 minutes to make a batch.  Good call.

Offline archer

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2011, 02:24:02 PM »
thanks for the pics! when do we see a side by side comparison on removing stains and cleaning clothes.

Offline Thanson_V

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2011, 02:59:13 PM »
Did you make a control batch without Cat supervision? Did it make a difference?

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2011, 05:13:14 PM »
The recipe seems light on the fels naptha. I would be interested on how well it cleans. The dry recipe I found was 6 bars of fels naptha, 3 cups of washing soda, 3 cups of borax.

Offline P_Coltrane

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2011, 05:48:30 PM »
I've been using this same mix for the past three months and it cleans everything adequately; even in cold water.  My wife is not a big fan of this as she really really likes the smell of Tide.  She doesn't complain about the effectiveness of the detergent at all  --  just the lack of the Tide smell.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2011, 06:31:34 PM »
thanks for the pics! when do we see a side by side comparison on removing stains and cleaning clothes.

I'll do a couple of tests, but I don't know about the side by side.  ;D

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2011, 06:36:53 PM »
The recipe seems light on the fels naptha. I would be interested on how well it cleans. The dry recipe I found was 6 bars of fels naptha, 3 cups of washing soda, 3 cups of borax.

If you do some division on that you come down to a ratio 1 Bar Fels-Naptha to .5 cups of washing soda to .5 cups of borax, so I'm running a similar ratio with two times the washing soda.

The difference might be in concentration though. The recipe I've used might be weaker overall on concentrations of each ingredient per load. How much of your recipe do you use per wash?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 06:42:39 PM by Nicodemus »

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2011, 06:47:43 PM »
I've been using this same mix for the past three months and it cleans everything adequately; even in cold water.  My wife is not a big fan of this as she really really likes the smell of Tide.  She doesn't complain about the effectiveness of the detergent at all  --  just the lack of the Tide smell.

I've been trying to get all scents out of my products including shampoo and soap, so this might work for me. Right now the batch has the smell of citrus that comes from the Fels-Naptha. I'm hoping this smell is a little more subdued after washing.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2011, 08:26:43 PM »
First report: I couldn't wait to test the detergent.

I did a load of laundry in cold water with 2 white shirts, 2 black shirts, 1 heather grey shirt, a number of pairs of socks and a bright orange beach towel.

Everything came out clean.

There were no problems with colors running.

The laundry had no scent that I could detect after washing and drying.

The clothes felt soft afterward.

Thus far the Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Experiment seems like a success. I'm happy with the results. next I will see what the detergent does on set stains.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2011, 08:49:32 PM »
2 tablespoons.

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2011, 05:51:22 AM »
My wife liked to use 2 bars rather than 1 bar of the Fels,  1 bar comes out almost scentless, 2 bars is a mild, very clean smell (She likes the smell too) I really like the smell of the light fels, just smells clean and not overpowering.

Offline idelphic

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2011, 08:40:51 AM »
This has me interested..  Looks like I'll need to be on the look out of the materials...

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2011, 08:45:13 AM »
2 tablespoons.

Even though I'll be using 5/8 of a cup, you are probably getting more concentration in the two tablespoons. If I find that the liquid laundry detergent isn't powerful enough with that measure, I can easily add more.

My wife liked to use 2 bars rather than 1 bar of the Fels,  1 bar comes out almost scentless, 2 bars is a mild, very clean smell (She likes the smell too) I really like the smell of the light fels, just smells clean and not overpowering.

I'm really liking the lack of scent with the current batch.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2011, 08:50:06 AM »
This has me interested..  Looks like I'll need to be on the look out of the materials...

They had every ingredient within a few feet of one another at Wal-Mart even though it took me a few moments to find the Borax because they changed the box.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2011, 08:07:52 AM »
Wonder how it would work in one of the HE washers.  Anyone know if there is any actual difference in regular vs. HE detergent?  Maybe have to make it stronger?

Oh yeah, was your batch 5 or 10 gallons?  The numbers say 10 gallons, but your bucket is 5, correct?

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2011, 08:19:49 AM »
We have been using it in an HE washer for 6 or 8 months (I think sorry can't remember when we made the first batch).

No problems at all.   I believe the HE stuff is just low sudsing, but don't know much about it.  In ours which is a high capacity, we use about twice as much deteregent as the HE stuff we used to use.  After experimenting, this keeps the right amount of scent in it for my wife. (I think I could get away with 1/2 that but she likes the scent LOL).


Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2011, 09:35:39 AM »
Wonder how it would work in one of the HE washers.  Anyone know if there is any actual difference in regular vs. HE detergent?  Maybe have to make it stronger?

Oh yeah, was your batch 5 or 10 gallons?  The numbers say 10 gallons, but your bucket is 5, correct?

The recipe is for 10 gallons.

In the instructions you fill a bottle halfway from the 5 gallon bucket of prepared detergent, fill that bottle the rest of the way with water and then use 5/8 cup (or whatever your type of washing machine calls for). Instead, I've just been measuring out a little more than a half a cup straight from the 5 gallon bucket.

Offline abago

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2011, 08:18:39 AM »
I started making my own laundry soap 8 months ago.
I have made several different versions including some powdered versions.
All of them have worked very well.
I just tried your version and I was very pleased with it. Thank you for posting it!
My wife works in a factory that leaves a horrible odor in her work clothes.
This recipe completely removes the odor!

I also make a really easy fabric softener.

Just fill an old fabric softener bottle (or any available bottle) with vinegar.
Add a few drops of essential oil (I use lavender) until the vinegar smell is gone.
Use the same as regular fabric softener.
Put two tennis balls in your dryer.
It's kind of noisy, but you get used to it.
The tennis balls make the clothes soft and fluffy.

Offline ladygaura

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2011, 10:10:38 AM »
Questions--

How well do these detergents work in REALLY hard water?

Is this stuff safe for a septic?? I worry due to the borax.

Can you use Ivory rather than Fels?

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2011, 10:21:46 AM »
We have extremely hard water,  and have discovered that we just need to use about 50% more than what it calls for.  I don't know the amount, but I use an old liquid detergent bottle with a cap that normally used 1/2 the cap of commercial detergent.  I have discovered that if I use the formula in its concentrate form, it takes about 1/2 the cap to 3/4s of a cap to do a load.  If I use it in the mixed ratio, it takes a full cap for a normal load or a cap and 1/3 or so for a heavy load. (Front loading large capacity).

Don't know the answer to the other questions.  But the stuff works great for us.    For particularly tough stains, my wife will soak a little of the concentrate directly on the clothing and rub it a bit then let it sit for 30 minutes before throwing it in the washer.  Works great.

Doc

Offline abago

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2011, 10:27:47 AM »

Can you use Ivory rather than Fels?

I have used Ivory, Fels Naptha and Zote.

Ivory works very well.

Zote adds a bit of a floral smell to the detergent.

Sometimes I add some Mrs. Stewart's Bluing to it also.

Offline atleif

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2012, 09:01:10 PM »
gonna try it for first time. will have a ton of borax and washing soda left over so for future batches only the bar will need to be bought. :)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2012, 10:50:41 PM by atleif »

Offline LibertyBelle

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2012, 09:29:56 PM »
I love my homemade laundry detergent.  I was a die-hard Tide user for years, but after trying the homemade detergent, I discovered that not only did the clothes come out just as clean, but they smelled better. The tide has turned and I'm never going back.  ;D
 

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2012, 09:41:16 PM »
I started usingvthis soap after I saw this thread. I kick myself now for all the money spent on laundry detergent over the years. My husband is a farmer and this soap takes care of grease stains and the smell of rotten grain. It takes care of all the toddler messes as well ( from both ends ). My cat was locked in the car overnight by accident and used my sleeping bag as a litterbox. It came out of the washer completely clean, all with cold water only. ( the bag-not the cat;) I'll  never buy premade soap again.

Offline Michael Johnson

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2012, 03:13:09 PM »
Just finished whipping up a batch myself. I ended up adding more water to the 4 cups during the stove top fels melt, it seemed to dissolve better/faster. I have a question for anyone that has made this already. It seems very viscous right now, does it thicken up after letting it sit for 24 hours.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2012, 04:48:51 PM »
Just finished whipping up a batch myself. I ended up adding more water to the 4 cups during the stove top fels melt, it seemed to dissolve better/faster. I have a question for anyone that has made this already. It seems very viscous right now, does it thicken up after letting it sit for 24 hours.
Mine did.