Homemade laundry detergent, one of the simplest DIY projects, can be really confusing for a first timer, so here’s an updated tutorial. But first……..
*LIQUID DETERGENT LOSES POTENCY IF NOT KEPT ABSOLUTELY AIR TIGHT*
I just needed to get that off my chest before people start asking me about it. ANY baking soda, washing soda, or other basic solution (like lye) reacts with air and completely loses potency over time. In a chemistry lab, these things are kept in liquid form, but only in tightly stoppered little bottles.
So, I no longer make liquid detergent. Our old liquid detergent post is still popular, but I want to make it clear that it’s obsolete.
Borax is found in commercial LIQUID detergents only. It’s not very strong compared to washing soda, and requires HOT water to really do it’s thing. I have omitted it, and am VERY pleased with the results.
However, if you insist on making liquid detergent, PLEASE use borax. The gelling will help keep it stable for a while longer than washing soda alone.
You will need:
- 2 cups washing soda
- 3 bars of soap
- cheese grater
- some sort of electric grinder
- measuring cups
- scale (optional)
- an old baby formula container, or the like
1. If you have whole bars, use 3- 4oz bars. If not, you can weigh out 12 oz of random chunks.
2. Grate on a cheese grater.
3. Add the washing soda NOW. (Soap doesn’t grind well without the dry soda in there to break it up.)
4. Put batches in your grinder and make it tiny.
5. Use three tablespoons per standard load. Half that if you have a high efficiency.
More about laundry
To see how I use it in my laundry, go HERE.
To hear all kinds of nerdy chemistry babble about detergent, go HERE.
For all kinds of troubleshooting, or if you have sensitive skin, go HERE.
For a DIY stain routine and lots of nerdy babble, go HERE.
For my hundred-years-ago tutorials that are out-of-date, but still frequented, go HERE.
Tips and FAQ
- You do not need a dedicated grinder, bowls, etc. Just run it through the washer.
- The finer the grind, the better your dissolving
- The older and more dried out your soap, the easier it is to grate and grind
- Borax is unnecessary for powder and absolutely necessary for liquid (if you want it to keep any potency).