Sunday, November 22, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent: Powder

Yep, that's right. I make my own laundry detergent!

And you know what? I don't care if you think it's nerdy or weird. I'm ok with it! Know why? Because I crunched the numbers.

All Powder: 19¢ per load
Arm & Hammer Powder: 9¢ per load
Cheer Powder: 13¢ per load
Homemade Powder: 4¢ per load

We do about 5 loads of laundry per week, so by using our homemade powder, we're only spending $11.44 on laundry detergent every year. I know my mom will say we're too concerned with money, and deep down I do have some anxiety that I'm going to turn into my Grannie. (Don't worry, though; my hot water heater isn't on "vacation," and I do use my oven regularly - I haven't taken to microwaving everything just to save on the power bill.)

Anyway, I digress. If the cost isn't enough for you to consider making your own detergent, consider the environment! I'll be the first to tell you that I don't know a whole lot about this topic. Apparently, though, phosphates are bad. And also, I guess a lot of laundry detergents contain phosphates. I don't have a clue. My mantra is why not do things that are environmentally friendly, especially when they're cheaper, too? Anyway, consider making your own detergent!

Here's my recipe:
1 bar ivory soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda (baking soda is an OK substitute if you can't find washing soda)
optional: 15 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like orange -- smells good & is one of the cheapest essential oils at our local hippie health food store)

Using a food processor or a grater, pulverize the bar of soap.
Add borax and washing/baking soda. Food process or stir until it resembles powdered detergent that you'd buy from the store.
Add essential oil, if using. Food process or stir until incorporated.

Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.

For a visual, go here. If you try it, let me know!

Next up: LIQUID laundry detergent!


  1. Yay for environmentally friendly and cheap laundry detergent!

  2. You do 5 loads of laundry per week? I have a toddler and I don't do that many... You may need to overhaul your entire laundry system.