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When's the last time you took a good look at the ingredients on your laundry detergent bottle? Not only is the list incredibly exhaustive, but I'm guessing you can't pronounce a few of the key ingredients, either.

Full of alkyl phenoxy polyethoxy ethanols, diethanolamines and subtilisin, many detergents are incredibly toxic to the environment. (Want to know what's really in your detergent? Check a detergent glossary breakdown here).

According to Consumer Reports, store-bought green cleaners may not be doing the job, so if you're longing for an eco-friendly method, it may be in your best interest to roll up your sleeves and make it yourself.

Try two of our favorite detergent recipes, and start thinking green when it comes to your whites, darks, and lights!

For a
powdered detergent:

1. Grate bar of soap (non-antibacterial) into container.

2. Pour in 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 baking soda, and mix well.

Easy enough, right? Use 1 tbsp. for small or lightly soiled loads and 2 tbsp. for large or heavily soiled loads.

For a liquid detergent:

1. Grate 5 ounces of soap into a pot and add 1 cup of water.

2. Heat on low to medium heat, stirring continually until soap is dissolved.

3. After soap is dissolved, fill pot the rest of the way with water and stir in one cup of soda ash or washing soda.

4. Stir mixture on low until soda ash is dissolved and let mix cool.

5. Funnel into a large recycled container.

You'll need just 1/4 cup per full load of laundry.

Now that you've whipped up your homemade detergent, you want it to last, right? Here are a few tips to make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck in the laundry room:

1. Less is More. Never overload on detergent, as it's better to have less detergent than too much. No one wants a pair of soapy jeans in a thunderstorm!

2. Hard Water Woes. If you have hard water, try adding 1/2 cup baking soda or vinegar as laundry boosters.

3. Pre-treat. For tough stains, try pre-treating your laundry with 1 cup hot water, 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide. Then launder as normal.

Lastly, check out ten more homemade laundry detergent recipes, just in case the above two don't get your juices flowing! Happy washing!


  • vickie

    I can't even walk past tide in a store ...I sneeze forever....


  • Linda

    LOL, me too.


  • D

    I love to clean with borax! It doesn't eat my hands like other cleaners do.

    Reply
  • vickie

    seventh generation company is gettin allot of attention now...they have been out for a long time....products are safe.....

    Reply
  • keeblerele

    I have found that Dr.Bronner's Castile soap is both effective and environmentally friendly. I use it with a little Borax and the whites come out well too. For bad stains on whites, use hydrogen peroxide>

    Reply
  • HomemakerAtHeart

    I've been using a mixture of: 1 bar of Ivory soap, 2 cups of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and 2 cups of Borax 20 Mule Team processed fine with a food processor. I use about 2T in a top loading washing machine. I also pour about 1/2c of vinegar in the rinse cycle (okay, okay I cheat, I use a Downy Ball Lol) and my clothes are always clean and fresh smelling. I also only wash clothes in cold water. I also put a scoop of Off brand Oxyclean in with my whites, we have hard water and after awhile with the homemade soap, they get a little dingy.
    Hope this helps!

    Reply
  • smat4lol

    Why do Alaskins wash thier clothes in Tide? Because it's too cold outtide.

    Reply
  • dodge74grl

    I have been making this since summer and had no problems. It costs about $3.00 for 2 gallons, doesn't make suds, nor does it perfume your clothes. They just smell clean. My mother used Fels Naphtha for as long as I can remember, in the ringer washer,lol. I guess it is just a matter of preference. All soap, doesn't matter what kind it is is toxic, when you think about it, right?

    Reply
  • Jan

    Since the main concern now day is the envirement I suggest we all go nude. That will solve the problem of using bad laundry soap.

    Reply
  • gs

    if any igrediant killed your grass it was the borax - detergent is different in its cleaning action than soap -

    Reply
  • leon

    Hell, why bother with all the mess. Just distill your own wine into booze using a bowl, a crock pot, a cup and some ice. That sounds like more fun to me.

    Reply
  • Heather

    If you load your washer correctly and use the correct temperature of water then you shouldn't have a problem with ANY type of detergent. I use the cheapest brand and I have NEVER sorted clothes in my life and whites ALWAYS come out white and colors don't fade in an unexpected manner. The people I know who "wash clothes" and can't get anything to come out right are either overloading their washer and/or not using warm water. The washer may say to use cold but that is because of the energy ratings on the machine when you buy it (it is tested using cold) and what get the stains out REGARDLESS is the warm water. I have had red wine stains and grass stains on mainly white clothing and it has STILL came out in the wash without pretreatment. No need to switch detergents, just learn how to wash clothes..and THAT'S free.

    Reply
  • tony

    Be careful with the soda ash around aluminum. Where we used soda ash in hot water as a cleaner for parts. We did not put aluminum there because it would get dissolved. Our consentration may have been stronger, but watch out.

    Reply
  • sol suggs

    Why don't you just use plain lye soap to make your laundry detergent like our great grandparent did, It is pure and cleans really well. It is the best soap for your skin, period.
    I use it all the time.

    Reply
  • Brenda (aka) FIRE

    This is all interesting enough but I make my lye soap then I make my liquid. And so sorry but I use my fat from my natural Animals in witch I and other slaughter and eat for food and we trade off soaps and meats to each other. Bartering is what we call it. I cant say its different then store bought but we add no chemicals. We raise our own corn and feed them and never give antibiotics in less a animal was sick. And after seeing all the things that these companies give swine, chickens and beef just as a precaution its scary. I thought the reason antibiotics were getting messed up is because people were not taking there full doze. Then I seen that show other night said they give them as a precaution to swine on that particular one and that was a lot of the reason we were getting resistant. Like I've said over and over again To many people. It sure makes me wonder what people are ingesting. Wow sickening.

    Reply
  • Rosalind

    The recipe is sound, the ingredients just need to be tweaked. I make my own soap using just pure olive oil and the necessary lye for solid soap or potash for liquid soap (okay, so there is a little more to making liquid soap but ALL my products are vegan). That takes care of the animal fat/Fels Naptha issues. Vinegar is the answer to soap scum and Every commercial detergent I have ever used, except Amway's SA8 gives me a rash. This is why I started making soap in the first place.

    Reply
  • Red

    Thank you for this information. I have a front loader - is this make-your-own laundry soap low suds?

    Reply
  • 37 Comments / 2 Pages
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