On my chaotic counter, the "Clean Team"

Homemade Laundry Detergent

A few months ago the hubs and I were going over our finances to try and figure out what we can cut out of the budget since we have had to tighten our belt on one income. Driving down to Children’s Hospital to be with Kaitlyn every day for 20 weeks really took a chunk out of our monthly earnings, and so we looked at things we used a lot of that cost a good chunk of money. One of them being household cleaners, mainly laundry detergent. We were spending about $60-$65 a year just to do our laundry, and instead I found a recipe online that would only cost me about $28 for 18 months! I figured I had nothing to lose, and about $40 to gain. I just wanted to make sure that my laundry came out clean and smelled good.

I promptly ran to WalMart and gathered the supplies I needed:

  • 1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax – found on the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda – found on the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean – Found in the detergent aisle (Optional, but I highly recommend it)
  • 2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap – Found in the detergent aisle (I chose pink for the scent, but white would be fine)
  • 1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda – found in the cooking aisle
  • 1-2 (55 oz) Bottles of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener – found in the detergent aisle. (Optional, but will make your laundry smell divine)
  • A large container to hold your new money saving mix. (I purchased a 5 gallon plastic bucket with lid to store it)

On my chaotic counter, the “Clean Team”


Once I returned home and assembled my Clean Team, I faced the most laborious part of this whole process: grating the Zote Soap. Now, I’ve never touched most of this stuff before – and the Zote Soap was VERY soft, almost the texture of a fresh mozzarella. I used my fine grater, because I didn’t want huge chunks of soap in the detergent and I felt that if I grated it finely it would distribute more evenly through my mixture.

Once you finish grating, all that is left is to mix everything in the large bucket/container. Just throw in small amounts of each ingredient and give it a stir in a layering fashion and voila! You’ve just made your own laundry detergent. Instead of throwing away those Purex bottles I refilled mine and used them to store my detergent in a managable fashion. The best part? Instead of having to run to the store when I run out I can just refill from my bucket!

This detergent only requires 2 Tablespoons per load, which is to the middle line on the Purex bottle. TWO TABLESPOONS! That’s nuts. This detergent also doesn’t get sudsy, so don’t think you need more than the two tablespoons and pour in half a bottle trying to make it bubble.  We have a High Effieciency washer and this soap is actually better for it than the super bubbly liquid detergents. Color me happy!

That’s right, take that overpriced store bought HE Detergents!

So here’s my review of it: I actually just busted into this detergent last week for the first time when I ran out of the last Tide I had. I was surprised to find that the detergent had totally clumped in the bottles and required a lot of banging to loosen up. The Zote Soap clumped together a bit despite my grating it with the fine grater, and sometimes clogged up the Purex spout when trying to dispense. I might throw a silica packet or two into the big container next time to try and help it, or add some citric acid to try and help with the clumping issue. The detergent cleans REALLY well. I’m going to sound like a Clorox commercial, but my whites really never have looked whiter and brighter. The laundry came out very clean – but I was a little let down with the scent. I like to sniff my laundry and have it smell good, and the Purex Crystals didn’t really seem to add a lot of noticeable fragrance to my clothing. I think next time I make this laundry detergent I will be using the Downey Unstoppables scent boosters instead of the Purex Crystals.

Sorry Clorox, you don’t have anything on this detergent’s whitening power!

Overall, I highly recommend this recipe for its cleaning power and economical value… so what are you waiting for?! Go get your own Clean Team assembled and start mixing! Happy washing!

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