Monday, August 6, 2012

No-Grate DIY Laundry Detergent

After reading numerous blogs and seeing endless pins on Pinterest, I finally decided to make my own laundry detergent. Most of the ingredients were the same. Some of the formulas called for more or less of certain things. I was mostly seeing posts on powdered laundry soap. Years ago, before I met my husband, I faithfully bought powdered detergent. Granted, it was definitely messier than liquid but I liked the way it cleaned and for whatever reason, I had it stuck into my head that it worked better than its liquid counterpart. Well, after meeting my husband I changed my tune! He only used liquid and after giving it a try I was eating my words, if you will. So for the last 10+ years I have only bought liquid. 
I kept seeing pins on Pinterest for homemade laundry detergents. I really loved the idea of making my own and thought it would be a neat thing to try. Even if I didn't like it what was there to lose?? Except maybe the $8 of ingredients I would need to buy. 
Well, I went to Wal-Mart one night and picked up everything I needed to make the liquid version. I even bought 2 bottles of Sunny D orange drink so I could use the empty bottles to store my homemade concoction in. 
After making a couple batches already, I have to say that I will most definitely be making this for a very long time. It is so cheap to make, it works well, and the clothes come out clean and smelling fresh! What more could a penny-pinching mom ask for?

Here is the formula I used for mine. I had found others online but this is what worked best for me. 

1/4 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup Borax
4 Tablespoons Dawn Dish Detergent
Essential Oil (optional)

Put all 3 ingredients into a one gallon jug. Pour 4 cups of boiling water into the jug and gently shake all the ingredients together until completely dissolved.
Let liquid cool and then fill to the top with cold water. Be aware that adding the cold water will make a lot of bubbles at the top so it may take a few minutes to fill it up to the top. Just be patient and go slowly. Once you have filled the jug with cold water, give it a few good shakes to mix everything up. You will also need to shake it before each use.
This formula will be watery and that's okay! It's supposed to be. It is also low-sudsing so it is safe to use in HE washers.
The great thing about the Dawn dish detergent is that it comes in different scents. I personally think Dawn is the best dish detergent because it works quickly at cutting out the grease. You can also add some drops of essence oil after you have finished making your mixture. I used the Original Dawn blue dish soap and added about 8 drops of violet essence oil and it smells clean and fresh!

 I even found some free label templates online and printed them out! :-) I think it adds a nice touch to the whole DIY thing!


  1. How much detergent do you use per load?

    Thanks, Peggy

    1. Hi Peggy, Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! I usually just use 1/4 to 1/2 cup per large load. You can use more or less, it's up to you.

  2. Love this recipe! Simple, easy, and totally realistic! :)
    I am thinking about doing two types, one for our cloth diapers and one for our regular loads with a pretty scent like lavender. (I am in love with lavender) :)

    Thank you for the tips!

    Sustaining-in-Training in Seattle

  3. when you say washing soda are you refering to the dawn soap?

  4. Koren,
    Arm and Hammer makes one. It's a type of laundry booster.