What's that on your shoulder? Oh no, could it be teriyaki sauce spillage from lunch? We all like our clothes looking clean and fresh, and free of eye-catching stains. Usually, our store-bought laundry detergent does a good job of keeping up appearances, but could get pricey fast. Here's a simple 5 minute do-it-yourself at home laundry detergent recipe that doesn't require soap grating! Best of all, it'll cost you pennies per wash load!

Step 1: Supplies

The Dream Team:

1/3 cup Super washing soda
1/3 cup Borax
1/4 cup Dawn dish soap (any flavor works great)

1 container that can hold at least 6 cups of liquid. I used an 8-cup (64 ounce) mason jar.
Can you provide an approximate cost here of the ingredients. Thanks.
I bought of Borax (76 oz.) at Wal-Mart for $6-7.00 The washing soda (76 oz.) and Dawn (52 oz.) should be priced about the same. $23.00 should get all three. <br> <br>For laundry I use Gain. Buy a 1 1/2 gal. jug of it for $8.00 or so that'll do 120 loads using 2 0z. for each. This formula costs $23.00, requires heating the water then mixing and will do 280.5 loads. Gain is cheaper! Get some borax and TSP to combine for a pre-soak. I use a big Rubbermaid bin for that and hang the clothes above it when removed so the excess water can drain back into the tub. Then I put the lid on and save it for the next batch of clothes, adding more water/soap solution when it gets low. Borax is a disinfectant so nothing funky grows in the water.
Come on, Bill... let people decide, you don't need to keep posting your strategy on here over and over. He posted what he paid, and it's less than what you did, so maybe the issue isn't the instructable, maybe it's that you aren't shopping around.
edit: sorry, really old post. I stand by my point, though.
Borax $3.30 (target) <br />Super Washing Soda $3.24 (walmart) <br />Dawn dishsoap $7.99 (costco- w/ coupon) <br />for a total of $17.77 <br /> <br />You could make more than 20 quantities of this detergent for $17.77. The amount I outline in my instructable will last you at least 12 washes. That adds up to about $.063 a wash load.
I wanna make this
I figure the 3 ingrediants will run around $23 and will be enough for 281 loads. I buy Gain detergent at the Dollar Store for $8 that'll do 120 loads. This custom mix cost per load is $.082 while Gain's is $.067 . It's even cheaper when you add in the cost to heat the water and your time required to mix it up.
That's not right 281 loads for one batch you have enough Washing soda and borax to make at least 12 to fifteen batches so redo your math at 1/3 cup of each
<p>Anyone know the answer to the question about using it in and HE washer? (low water, ultra efficient)</p>
Because of the newish water/energy saving mandates, new front loading washers use very little water - about a few gallons to do a large wash. The results are dirty clothes. After a year of fighting with the repair companies and the manufacturer I was able to exchange my new washer and dryer for a top loader that uses more water - but the &quot;hot water&quot; setting went to only about 96&ordm;F. My clothes were still not getting clean. I switched the cold and hot on the back of the machine (yes, you can fool machines) so that now I actually get hot water with a wash (I have to set it on 'cold'), but before I did this the hot cycle was only cool. Everyone should test their water temp and see if this, along with this recipe, helps get clothes cleaner with one of the stupid new washers. If you have an old one do whatever it takes to keep it, you will not be happy if you have to buy a new one. By old, I mean about 2006 or older.
Your problem is likely the washing powder, especially if you use the cheap stuff. or even worse, DIY recipes like this one. Have you tried using a washing powder that's designed to work at low temperatures? With enzymes responsible for most of the cleaning process? It works wonders, and you'll save a lot more on your electricity bill than you're doing now by buying cheap washing powder. <br> <br>We wash most of our clothes at 40C (104F), some at 30C (86 F), and the wool (mainly NZ merino) at 15C (59 F) with special wool washing stuff. Never had a problem with not getting them clean, and we have a 1 1/2 year old, so they get plenty messy.
Warm Fuzzy feel good from DIY =/= Advanced Chemical Engineering Degree <br>(Unless you're Mr. RealGuy.) <br> <br>Dad made me do this science when I was a kid and Mother Earth (not so) News (worthy) was getting her feet wet in the Mrs Jones genre of feel good social act(ing out)tivism. Home made detergent is not up to scratch, besides, unless you are mining the borax, etc, this whole exercise is moot. <br> <br>The basic assumption that everyone missed, including you Mr RealGuy, was that TIME = MONEY. At my place of employment, I am worth 32.50 an hour. At my side gig consulting my speciality, I'm worth about 50% more. One batch of this stuff takes over half an hour if your good at managing your time. (Managing my time helps me get paid these wage levels. So thats about 40.72$/hour. <br> <br>Add $20.00 to the bottom line. <br> <br>Then as Mr RealGuy &quot;nuff&quot; said, unless you got an advanced chemical degree or are just some sort of chemistry nerd, chances are, 9 times outta 8, you are gonna get the wrong formula. <br> <br>Bottom line, when you try to circumvent the open market on a mature product, in this case Tide came on the scene in 1946, you are usually gonna be the one cheated. In this case, definitely. <br> <br>amalkhan, I appreciate where you're coming from, I think lon and hard about what I put down the drain, more so than what I put on my own skin. (Ergo Seven Gen for me. And I tolerate clothes that my great grandfather wouldn't have washed till Saturday) <br> <br>So what is the ballance? Least effort for most effect. In this case, buy a box of well considered store bought, and spend that extra half an hour in a bath of DIY FizzyBombs. <br> <br>(What, wait, <br>NO, those things too.....) <br> <br>How's a guy supposed to get his DIYon? <br> <br>Later peeps.
Time may be money, but so is the time you pay someone else for fixing your HE machine (or other machines that use high pH solutions for efficacy) because you're eliminating critical ingredients that stop dyes from fading, your missing elemental sodium silicate which lubricates parts of your machine, and you're fatting up (remember that you soap people are using combinations of beef fat and palm oil (sodium tallowate an sodium palmitate) by grinding actual soap into this mix. <br> <br>Just like drains, the lines and pores of the basket (and other areas) will need flushed out with a high power alkaline, and while the usual stuff in a good detergent is quickly biodegradable, when you go with high concentrations of sodium metasilicate and other versions of the same &quot;purpose&quot; chemical, including ultra high concentration chlorine, well... THAT's going to have some trickle down into your septic system - destroying the very bacteria that keep the system going - especially in the colder months, when fatty acids and glycerins are apt to start getting sludge-like over time, as they flow through cold drain pipes. <br> <br>Last - again, the number of chemicals that are so very carefully balanced to achieve a certain level of cleanliness on a piece of ASTM grade cotton fabric, agitated in an ASTM agitation container of 250mls, for a precise number of minutes according to (again) the ASTM standards (or ultimately, ISO, if you prefer) and then measured to determine how much UV light is properly reflected off the fabric, and the absence of stains (which are always the same - across manufacturers, whether it is for laundry or dishwasher) - and you have the ability to rate and rank (how are your Design of Experiments skills? Do you have a copy of Design Expert by Stat-Ease? Are your Six-Sigma skills up to the task? <br> <br>Do you have a home version of the CIE whiteness index (WI) so you can calculate for each fabric type using AATCC Test Method 110-1995 (a textile manufacturing reference point). Do you have the ability to see if it's REALLY clean? You know... Measure the reflectance values with a Datacolor Spectraflash SF 600 Plus-CT using illuminant D65 (specular included &amp; CIE 1964 supplemental standard 10) just to be sure! <br> <br>And by God, don't go messing with cationic surfactants when you really need to be using ionic surfactants! OR using ionics that are nullifying your cationic peroxide bleach activators! <br> <br>Worse yet -- you could deny yourself the sterilization effects of the various polyquaternium additives, never have the bacteria properly separate, and introduce those Chicken Pox serums on the pillowcases back onto the wrong bed if you aren't paying attention!! <br> <br>Why stop with Washing Soda? Real DIY who know how to make soap from fat or oil (and diesel as well) - they know how to mix in the right amount of NaOH to make a proper wash liquor. <br> <br>It's sort of like the people who think Granny Clampett was the only person who made &quot;lye soap&quot; -- when in reality... ALL SOAP (with rare exceptions made by phosphates and enzymes at significant expense) are made by essentially mixing fat, Drano and water together. <br> <br>And that SCUM you have to wipe off your bathtub, the faucets and/or the hairy drains? That's what you'll need to be doing to your machine as well -- EXCEPT UNDER THE WASH BASKET, and in/around all parts that come in contact with it, including the interior of the water pump. <br> <br>Think you can clean those Ivory flakes out and not destroy the seals/gaskets on the pump? Or the metal to metal parts that need the lubricity of the sodium silicates? <br> <br>This is great -- print this, and keep it, some Dawn, Ivory or whatever, and Borax and Washing Soda handy for after World War III. You'll want to be able to mix up a 5 gallon bucket of concentrate that will last until someone figures out who knows how to invent a calculator (give it a hundred years or so) so that machinery will be back in vogue long after you are gone from the radiation sickness (but clean! Except the fall-out in the river... well, NEVER MIND). <br> <br>Just go buy some 4x or 8x Free and Clear, add some Biz if you need a booster, or use the Tide pod system (which also comes in Free &amp; Clear) or the Seventh Generation / Method brands - which as noted before, are all excellent. <br> <br>**I've been able to make something better than Tide or Seventh Generation, but it is costly, definitely &quot;fun&quot; as a do it yourself project - when you are known for being able to get ANY stain out! (I even buy the occasional small tank of &quot;Enviro-Friendly&quot; dry cleaning fluids from Exxon... (DF-2000) because I have a reputation to uphold!). But outside 1000 knowledgable people in the USA on this topic, once it gets to performance in a machine on a fabric?? <br> <br>Throw in the towel. Really. <br> <br>And add Purex or something to CLEAN the towel, and quit kidding yourself.
What he sed. ;)
I let it cool... Poured it into the old Detergent bottle... A LOT easier to dispense from... <br>I just shake it before I use it every time... I've done six loads and just use the first line in the cap as the measure... And have quite a bit left... this stuff WORKS great!!! <br>
Does anyone know what the home made stuff does to the washing machine?
You people are defeating the purpose of the chemistry with both this recipe and these other polychemi-wannbe versions. <br> <br>Washing soda is sodium carbonate and has a given purpose. It is pH ~11, vs. Borax having a pH of 9.5. In addition, grating soap (Fels Naptha is not the Fels Naptha your grandmother used) is idiotic, as it does not rinse cleanly and leaves scum. Why is that? It&rsquo;s because it&rsquo;s SOAP. It&rsquo;s fat that has been saponified, and the purpose of &ldquo;detergent&rdquo; is to also mimic the effects of soap by having lipophilic and hydrophilic opposite ends, without leaving the scum behind. It is no longer a naptha based cleaning agent. <br> <br>Choose your pH based on the water you have. Most if not all detergents that are not using zeolites are not using borax because of the cost vs washing soda. Plus, the higher the pH and the binding ability of sodium carbonate to tie up the metals (primarily calcium and magnesium, as well as iron) softens the water and permits the detergents to work better. The high pH also works to break down oils. <br> <br>By adding Dawn instead of a cheap no-name detergent, you&rsquo;re wasting your money and adding suds because of the SLS and other surfactants, that are &ldquo;pleasing&rdquo; when hand-washing dishes, but not when washing clothes. You won&rsquo;t get the suds out on the first rinse or the second rinse unless your adding polyDMsiloxanes to control suds, which you don&rsquo;t have in a laundry formulation - not suds that last very long and in the best laundry detergents, you&rsquo;ll find that there are often no suds at all - because they are not necessary to do their job - and that job is to separate dirt, oils, proteins, etc., from the fabric, and keep them suspended while in the wash water, rinse clean, and NOT seek out the fabric as the water changes and the pH changes, so that what&rsquo;s left over can redeposit again. <br> <br>You can try all you want to get your cost down as low as possible, and when necessary, throw in some Clorox 2 or Biz or other additive with oxygenates typically attached to either what is borax or sodium carbonate (sodium perborate or sodium percarbonate) but even the best of the peroxides require a catalyst, ultra high temps that we don&rsquo;t use in the States or both. <br> <br>Seriously - if you want the best of the best, Tide is it. Gain is a secondary, but the Tide system, with proper balance of fluorescents, the mix of 4 enzymes, oxygenates and the proper catalyst to release the peroxide at lower temps - you&rsquo;re just not going to get better than that without trying to get your hands on an institutional (hospital, etc.) detergent that has all of the above, but uses phosphates instead, as the primary water softener and pH adjuster. <br> <br>AND NO&hellip; Home Depot bought TSP is *NOT* the same thing. <br> <br>Seriously&hellip; if you can&rsquo;t manage on 25 cents a load, then buy a lesser laundry detergent and add Biz, let sit for 1 hour, after agitating for a few minutes, in the hottest water the FABRICS can take (and their dyes) and you&rsquo;ll be clean as you can get. Either way, you should dissolve the Biz at about 160-170 degrees before adding it to the laundry solution - but not hotter, because you&rsquo;ll inactivate the enzymes prior to giving them a chance in the laundry liquor. <br> <br>And never spend money on non-chlorine additives and then add chlorine. You might as well flush dollar bills into the toilet or send them directly to me. <br> <br>Furthermore&hellip; despite the nature of any of the cleaning products, be they oxygenates, enzymes or chlorine, a second rinse will help remove them from the fabrics and your clothes will last longer. Unless you&rsquo;re a chemist and you&rsquo;re familiar with dechlorination (products are available for institution and for laundromat use too), and were interested in trying to do something yourself (think Eastman), just stick with mid to high range products, and if you don&rsquo;t have a water softener, read the box on Washing Soda and Borax and decide if those are right for you. <br> <br>Finally&hellip; where additives like the new Resolve (fading Spray &amp; Wash logo), which are heavy on enzymes, when they say DO NOT LEAVE ON CLOTHING, WASH IMMEDIATELY (within 5-10 minutes) they mean it. Don&rsquo;t believe it? Look for holes in your clothing after a couple of applications - with it, Biz, Oxi-whatever, etc. Peroxide and enzymes will chew cotton and other fabrics away just as mortally as chlorine does, when overdone (and when NOT overdone!) without the neutralization or the extra rinse. <br> <br>That&rsquo;s just the way it is. <br> <br>Dawn and washing soda isn&rsquo;t going to get you anything but suds &mdash; and for what it&rsquo;s worth, in both the South and the NorthEast, both of those boxes run between $3.50 and $4, for the ones shown. Biz should run no more than $1 per 10 ounces. <br> <br>The rest of this is the wrong surfactants for the purpose, and you&rsquo;ll just be wasting water and leaving detergent building up on your fabrics - which is what causes them to turn gray after repeated washings (and you can test this yourself by washing gray fabrics without detergent and watch the suds develop, in plain water!). <br> <br>Seriously, people. Whether it&rsquo;s liquid or the little pouches, if you don&rsquo;t know what you&rsquo;re doing&hellip; don&rsquo;t bother. You&rsquo;re wasting precious fresh water, which is far more costly in the long run than what you spend on an excellent biodegradable laundry detergent. With Lever / Unilever all but out of that business, stick with Procter &amp; Gamble or Church &amp; Dwight (Arm &amp; Hammer) detergent products, on the higher end. <br> <br>Sun detergents are water heavy junk. Method and Seventh Generation are excellent products as well - and rank up there with Tide - having the right combo of enzymes in both the liquid and plain white pouch form. They are often more expensive than Tide.
I like your evaluation of this Instructable, but have some questions: <br>1. What type of side effects will this sort of stuff cause on the High Efficiency machine? <br>2. How will these products affect the septic tank? <br> <br>Thanks in advance! <br> <br>P.S. I made something similar using bar soap, washing soda, borax, and vinegar for my HE machine. The results seem to be very pleasing, for now.
<p>As I noted - but since there are multiples, your answer is in the post that begins &quot;</p><p><em>Time may be money, but so is the time you pay someone else for fixing your HE machine...</em></p><p>Dishwashers and washing machines make use of the sodium silicates as metal lubricants in addition to their effect of raising water pH. They are essential to the life of the machine - and why (not just for money) specific detergents in both cases, get the endorsement of the manufacturer.</p><p>Yes, there is always marketing money involved - but you won't find a P&amp;G detergent that is marketed to the &quot;all natural, this is as good as we can get it, given your demographics requirements...&quot; being included with a machine + coupons, because it is ultimately not good for the machine - in the event you add chlorine or other additives.</p><p>Whatever you use that causes ultra clean clothes, will strip the plasticizers and whatnot from the seals on pumps and rotors, etc. Lesser detergents don't have as great an effect. Same with dishwasher detergents. They still include sodium silicates - despite typically not having chlorine, but peroxides (sodium perborate or sodium percarbonate) are still oxidizers and also (@ ~3% upon entering solution) work to sterilize dishes where chlorine would have otherwise.</p><p>There is no side-stepping the physics here.</p><p>Laundry detergent works on three simple principles:</p><p>- Water Temperature</p><p>- Force of Agitation to push wash liquor through the fabric matrix</p><p>- Relative Efficacy of Chemicals to create liquor from H2O.</p><p>That's it! The rest is just disastrous to your machine, plumbing, etc., over time, as well as to your fabrics not coming clean because of the wrong surfactants for the job - especially &quot;soap&quot; (true soap, of saponified oils and fats).</p>
answered (basically) above just a few minutes ago.
I like using a bar of grated Fels Naptha soap (grate the bar on a metal kitchen cheese grater) instead of Dawn. I make 10 gal at a time in a big bucket. My recipe: 1 cup washing soda; 1/2 cup Borax; 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap, mix in 5 gal of hot water, stir, add the other 5 gal of tepid water. Put a lid on it &amp; let it sit overnight to congeal and then use. I divide it up into old liquid laundry containers to store, but it could stay in the big white bucket. Shaking (or stirring) before use is important. However, if I had to wash greasy clothes I would make the Dawn version because that's a great idea for oil-stained clothing.
Would the baking soda part lose it's power after sitting in the jar for more than a couple hours? I feel like it would
It is Borax you use, not baking soda, No Borax will set like concrete in the bottom of the jar unless you shake the living daylights out of it or use a stick mixer to blend it in. I always add borax on its own, slowly into the hot water, using my stick mixer, then when it is dissolved, add the soap and then the washing soda. Also, if you grate a cake of soap and use this instead of dish liquid (sort of defeating the healthy idea here) it will gel slightly into a gloop when you add the washing soda. This is ideal for laundry. For the rinse cycle, I add half a cup of my fabric softener..... 1 cup of epsom salts dissolved in 1l (quart) or white vinegar with 1 tsp of essential oil. I use about half a cup or what ever your rise compartment allows. Been using this method for about 6 yrs now.. Works great. <br>
Yeah, the Arm&amp;Hammer logo is confusing, but baking soda is &quot;sodium bicarbonate&quot; (NaHCO<sub>3)</sub> and washing soda is &quot;sodium carbonate&quot; (monohydrated--Na<sub>2</sub>CO<sub>3</sub>). I have no idea why it works better than bicarbonate. Maybe because it has two sodium atoms instead of just one as in bicarb, and it has no hydrogen atom.
Baking soda is not a good ingredient for laundry soap. Washing soda is a much better ingredient and what the recipe calls for.
Instead of shaking use a paint mixer attached to a drill motor. I believe he uses a dishwashing liquid to supply a surfactant. This mixture should be a decent all purpose cleaner if mixed 1 to 1 or 2 with water then poured into a spray bottle. I use a mix of borax (8 oz.) white vinegar (8 oz.) and 16 oz. of water for that and then cut with an additional gallon of hot water for cleaning my carpeting. I should try that in the laundry since it works great on nasty carpets.
Can this be used in an HE washer?
I've been using a very similar recipe for over a year now except mine does have soap grating instead of Dawn and I make a 8L at a time (a little over 2 gallons for those not using metric). Works fine for me! <br>With any really tough stains though, you really should pre-soak and use a little of the washing soda in the recipe when pre-soaking. <br>I once was out at an archaeology site where I had a fall and was covered in mud. I soaked my clothes in water to get the excess mud off once I got home and then used my home made laundry detergent and everything turned out fine. <br>The good thing about home made detergent other than saving money is that you can control what goes into it which is great if you're allergic to some soaps and detergents (like me).
Me too. Any idea how the home-made recipes compare to All free &amp; clear? I know that lower wash temperatures remove fewer allergens (cat dander etc) but do you know if any studies have been done into what, if any, ingredients are good for this?
I've been making my owm laundry detergent for a while now. I mix it up in a big pitcher and dispense it out of an old Tide detergent jug. I mix 1 cup of each ingrediatnt for every 6 cups of hot water. I t works well. I fix big jets for a living and lead a very active hunting and fishing life. Cleans my clothes as good as any store bought stuff at the fraction of the price. I do pre treat heavy stains with Shout. I also use white vinegar in the rinse cycle as a fabric softener. I have a Whirlpool Duet HE washer. No problems at all!
so if you take 3 cups instead of water and use 1/4 cup would that work the same? in the sense of making it more potent and less space taken up?
You might not even have to use 1/4 cup if you cut the water in half, but 1/4 cup seems legit.
I like castile soap rather than dawn so I can go as low chemical as possible and it works :)
Nightninja87...In order to maintain the same ratio to halve this recipe, you would use 3 C water, 1/6 C each of the borax &amp; other powder and 1/8 C of Dawn.
I think nightninja's question was whether he could just reduce the water content, making a more concentrated detergent. I don't know the answer, though offhand I don't see why not.
I've been making homemade laundry soap using a recipe similar to this for over a year and it's GREAT! I only use 1/3 cup in my high efficiency washing machine and have saved boo coo bucks.
so..how well does it work? can it handle tough dirt?..would it work well if adding a few soap berries?
remember to add a toxic sign on the jar, to avoid someone confuses it with lemonade ;-)<br> <br> <img alt="TOXIC" height="150" src="http://industrial-supplies.biz/images/s-i/PX01R.jpg" width="150"><br>
Any results?

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