Do you hate to pay up to $20 for a jug of laundry detergent that is mostly water?
Do you buy it anyway because it is convenient?
Would you make your own if it was cheap, quick, and easy?
If so, this is for you.
The only three ingredients are Dawn Ultra, borax, and washing soda.
I picked up all three at my local Walmart. If you can’t find the washing soda, use this great Arm & Hammer store finder. You could also go to a home center or pool supply store and see if they have a bulk container of soda ash (sodium carbonate). It might also be called “pH Up” or something similar. I paid a little under $1 per pound for the Arm & Hammer washing soda. The alternatives may be more expensive.
Next we need a bottle to put it in.
I found these 2.2L bottles at my local Dollar General. Walmart and Publix have them as well. They are slightly larger than 1/2 gallon. I like them because they are clear, sturdy, and the lid seems to be watertight. Also they are not super-heavy when full. A gallon jug of detergent weighs around 10 lbs. That is a lot of weight to hold and try to precisely pour.
These only weigh about 5 lbs. when full and the location of the handle provides good balance of the bottle when pouring. I found that it is easier to pour if you just unscrew the cap instead of trying to use the little spout.
We will also need a set of measuring cups and a standard funnel.
To make a half-gallon of homemade laundry detergent, we will use:
- 1/3 cup borax
- 1/2 cup washing soda
- 1/2 cup Dawn Ultra
- hot tap water
If you want to make a gallon of detergent in a gallon container, just double the amounts of each ingredient.
Place your funnel in the 1/2 gallon bottle.
Pour 1/3 cup of the borax into the bottle.
Pour 1/2 cup of the washing soda into the bottle.
DO NOT put the Dawn in yet . It will make too many suds at this point and we don’t want that.
Now fill the bottle about a 3/4 of the way up with hot tap water. You want to leave enough headroom for the Dawn.
Put the lid back on and shake up until most of the borax and soda is dissolved.
Now measure 1/2 cup of Dawn Ultra and pour it into your bottle.
To mix it up, just turn the bottle upside down and then back upright a few times until it is all the same color like the bottle below on the right.
Using Your Homemade Laundry Detergent
To use, just measure and pour 1/4 cup of detergent to an average load. That is all you need. If you have very hard water, an old washer that uses lots of water, or you are washing a load of greasy shop rags, you can use more.
Just be aware that most people use far too much detergent when doing normal loads. I used to fill up the cap when I washed clothes. Now I realize that I was using around 10 times the amount of detergent that I really needed.
Too much detergent wears your clothes out faster, shortens the life of your washer, and creates an environment for mold and mildew.
I have used this homemade laundry detergent recipe in my new LG WT1201CW high-efficiency top loader. This is a huge washer that will easily wash a king-sized comforter. The detergent seems to be doing a good job. I have noticed a “fresh” smell to the clothes when I take them out of the washer.
I ran the numbers and came up with the following:
- The ingredients to make 1/2 gallon cost about $0.90.
- 1/2 gallon of this detergent will do about 32 loads.
This comes out to less than 3 cents per load !
I am very happy about this because I love to save money !
I hope you found this article useful.
Please feel free to make your comments and suggestions below.