Thursday, February 3, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I am finally out of my laundry detergent “stash” that I built up before leaving Virginia.  The best place to get more would probably be Target, or BJ’s Wholesale, but I don’t go to either one very frequently.  My friend Carrissa had mentioned that she was saving a lot of money by making her own detergent.  I asked for the recipe a while back, and then procrastinated.

Carrissa’s recipe is for a liquid variety of detergent, which I usually prefer.  However, it makes a {very} big batch and requires a 5 gallon bucket.  I neither had a bucket, nor do I have a place to store the bucket full of detergent.  I searched online and came up with a powdered version.

I made it, I used it, I like it!  It works out to about 4 cents per load, and it took me all of about five minutes to make.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cup of Arm &KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Hammer washing soda (not baking soda, and not Arm & Hammer detergent)
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 bar of soap (Fels Naptha, Ivory, etc.)  I chose Ivory, because it was accessible at the local store.  Next time I want to try Fels Naptha, as it is designed for laundry.

:: First, grate the soap.  My picture ended up being no good.

:: Second, combine all ingredients and mix well.  I decided to store mine in a quart sized canning jar, so I just added the ingredients, put on the lid, and shook it up really well.


To use, add 1-2 Tablespoons to wash.  I also use Biz in most of my loads.  The Ivory soap does not dissolve well in a cold wash, but everything seems to be “uber” clean.  (I learned that new word this week from my friend Shannon and a new blog I’m reading).  I already have a magnetic laundry scoop on my refrigerator for the diaper detergent.

Maybe there isn’t a connection, but I was thinking about this as I made my detergent last week.  I had read Colossians 3 in my devotions.  The opening verses instruct us to “set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” 

I know that brand name (or store bought) laundry detergent isn’t something we usually “set our affection on”.  But I was already thinking about materialism and this world’s lust for things.  I thought before that only ultra-frugal people would make their own detergent.  I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal to buy detergent at the store.  It’s a necessity to have clean clothes.

But I have found myself inwardly desiring certain things lately.  A nice, painted, decorated, organized house (with many closets, of course!).  The ability to just go out to a restaurant for dinner without considering the budget.  Starbucks when I go shopping.  These are material things that I don’t need to be dwelling on so much. 

I have determined that part of my problem has come from the blogs I have been reading.  There is nothing wrong with these particular blogs, but they don’t share my belief in Christ and my goal to please him with my life.  They blog about the latest find at the store, the newest baby accessory, the best dining experience, etc.  I even have a list in my planner of the little household or organizational items I want to purchase as the budget allows. 

But by reading so many of these blogs with their worldly perspective I have been causing myself to desire to live as they live, and have the things that they have. I have been setting my affection on things on this earth.

How does it all tie in?  Back to the detergent…if I make my own soap, then I will have more of what God has given us to use in other areas.  Like giving to a mission’s trip or helping a friend in need, or preparing for the baby.  For me, doing this little chore to make laundry soap was also little reminder to keep my focus where it belonged.  And today I cleaned up my blog list and facebook list a little bit so that I can read what matters most.  That will probably free up not only my affections, but also some time for better pursuits.

Did that make any sense?  It makes sense to me.  I’m grateful for the little reminders that God gives us day by day to make the right choices.


  1. It made sense to me :) thanks for sharing it's defiantly something I need to ponder

  2. Thank you for bringing me back down to the simply things in life and in a nutshell reminding me the difference between wants and needs. I will try the recipe when done with our detergent. I used to use the washing soda in addition to the normal soap. But it was probably a bit much.

  3. Good for you!!!!! I would love to learn the liquid recipe .. I have a front loader that will only take the liquid. Care to share?


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