How to Make Detergent

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A few simple ingredients and a little time and effort can trim your annual laundry budget significantly when you make your own laundry detergent. It's safe to use in any washing machine, rinses out completely and will leave your laundry clean and fresh-smelling for just pennies a load.

Things You'll Need

  • Fels Naptha bar soap
  • Washing soda
  • Borax laundry booster
  • Hand grater
  • Cereal bowl
  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Funnel
  • Empty plastic detergent containers
  • Break or cut off about 2/3 of a 5½ oz. bar of Fels Naptha soap. Hold the hand grater upright inside of the cereal bowl, and grate the chunk of soap into the bowl.

  • Transfer the soap flakes to a large pot and add 12 cups cold water. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until most of the soap is melted.

  • Add 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup Borax to the soap mixture. Continue stirring over medium heat until the soda and Borax are dissolved. Remove the mixture from heat.

  • Pour 8 cups cold water into a 5-gallon bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir to mix.

  • Add 2 gallons plus 12 cups of cold water to the mixture in the bucket. Add a few drops of concentrated fragrance for soap, if desired. Stir to mix.

  • Let mixture set for 24 hours to thicken. Some soap flakes will remain undissolved.

  • Hold a funnel over the top of an empty plastic detergent container and scoop or pour liquid from the bucket into individual containers.

  • Shake the mixture well before each use. Use 1/2 cup of homemade detergent for each large load of laundry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the same pots, graters and buckets each time you make detergent. Keep them in your laundry area.

References

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