Introduction: DIY Gel Laundry Detergent

Picture of DIY Gel Laundry Detergent
Years ago, a friend shared with me a recipe for homemade gel laundry detergent. I made some and really liked the results. I have since shared this recipe with my Mom and my sister and they both use it regularly.  It works really well, even fading old stains with time.  It was very inexpensive and lasted a long time; right now one batch lasts 6 months or more and cost around $5.00 for all 3 ingredients to make a batch.  This is how I make it.

Step 1:

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1 bar ZOTE soap ($1.09 a bar)
2 cups (10oz - 283gm) 20 Mule Team Borax ($5.15/box - $.35/cup)
2 cups (20oz – 566gm) washing soda ($3.59/box - $.70/cup)

1 gallon (3.79 liters) cooking pot
5 gallon (19 liters) plastic bucket with lid
Large spoon or rubber scraper
Measuring cups

Step 2:

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Put 3 quarts of water on to boil. 

Step 3:

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While the water is heating up, use the grater to grate the Zote soap (you may use Fels Naptha, or Kirks Castile) into a pile of flakes.  Beautiful! 

Step 4:

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Pour the soap flakes into the boiling water; turn the heat to medium and start stirring until all the flakes

Step 5:

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have dissolved into the water making it pink. 

Step 6:

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Slowly add one cup of the borax, stirring until dissolved. 

Step 7:

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Add the other dry ingredients one cup at a time, stirring after each one until fully dissolved. 

Step 8:

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The detergent will become thicker after each addition.

Step 9:

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Dump the detergent into the 5 gallon bucket. 

Step 10:

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Fill the pan two more times with hot water and dump them into the 5 gallon bucket.  Stir well and let set for 12-24 hours.  During this time the detergent will gel, and with time try to separate, so I stir it into a lumpy mess each time I use it.  ¼ cup per load of  laundry.   Enjoy!


joeldovev (author)2015-11-28

Any reason why that soap works ( as opposed to others) is there an ingredient in it specifically? Love it btw

craftknowitall (author)joeldovev2015-12-06

You can use any soap. The soap I used was made to do laundry so, I went with it. Thanks for commenting.

joanna.howard.925 (author)2015-01-20

great recipe. I just mix the dry ingredients, place in a container to keep it dry. The night before I want to do laundry, I mix a cup of my dry mixture with boiling water. The next morning I use a stick blender to mix it up. This usually lasts six weeks or so, washing five or six loads a week. Takes up less space, and no cooking soap.

creaky (author)2015-01-18

I use a similar recipe. The grating of the soap bar takes a long time, so I use a knife to cut the soap bar into little pieces then let it set overnight in the water that I heated to a boil. It dissolves for the most part and I might have to smush up the smaller bits in the morning.

nulo77 (author)2015-01-16

Where do you buy ingredients? Hardware store?

craftknowitall (author)nulo772015-01-17

Local grocery store. Walmart carries them too. Look in the laundry supplies isle.

SparkySolar (author)2015-01-13

I love your Soap, I have been using a recipe as your for 5 years .
I love that 5 Gallon last me 16 Months

About This Instructable




Bio: In a valiant attempt to keep myself from dying of boredom, I create.
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