Sustainable Saturday: Homemade Laundry Detergent, Part 1?

So far, this is a total bust for me.  I’ve seen so many other bloggers making their own laundry detergent, though, that I just had to try it.  They all have the same ingredients – Borax, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, and either Dr. Bronner’s or Fels-Naptha bar soap.  I already had the Fels-Naptha on hand – it’s great for spot-treating stains – and I found the other ingredients at a local grocery store.  This is a more sustainable option than the big plastic bottle of Ecos I buy at Costco because the homemade detergent requires no plastic packaging – all three of the ingredients are wrapped in cardboard or paper.


If I hadn’t tried to grate the bar soap by hand, I would’ve been more excited about this.  Vegetable peelers hate me, and so do my achy joints, so the two conspired against me to cause my numb/sore fingers to slip toward the end of the peeling and slice a finger.  That was Tuesday, and I’ve held a grudge against them ever since.


I finally went out and bought some detergent today – a cardboard box of regular Arm & Hammer laundry detergent – since we’ve been out of detergent all week and there are no clean clothes.  I used this detergent regularly until about two years ago, and I’m not sure why I stopped.  Perhaps I’ll find out after these first couple loads of clothes are finished?


Now it’s Saturday, and my sliced finger is healing, so I’m starting to warm up to the idea of trying this again this week.  The hardest part is done, so I really only need to put it together.  If it works, then I’ll use something else to grate the soap next time.


5 responses to “Sustainable Saturday: Homemade Laundry Detergent, Part 1?

  1. girl- you need to get you some Charlie’s Soap- this is the only thing I use- It works out to be about 10 cents per load. It is certified biodegradable, safe, non toxic, cheap, made in US of A by small family company, ummmm can I say absolutly wonderful??? They ship for free on orders over 20$- you can get a bag that does 80 loads of laundry for 15$- if you but more than 1 product you get a discount- I also use their all purpose cleaner. I know I know…you could make your own BUT this stuff works like miracles- I buy the big 5 gallon bucket and on a family of 5 plus washing diapers- it lasted more than 18 months- just try it- you’ll be amazed

  2. i use Ecos, and of course would like to switch to making my own, but one thing at a time for me. i’m on day 10 of no shampoo and that’s about all i can handle at this moment. those links you sent me were great though!


  3. I really hope you figure it out because I have been eager to try making my own detergent myself but I am kind of terrified of getting it wrong and having bubbles everywhere but now I am even more scared of bodily harm. So I buy the seventh gen deterg and I use it extremely sparingly. But those little bottles are just one more thing for me to haul to the recycling station and I would love to eliminate them completely. Let me know when you master it!

  4. I buy the Ecos from Costco too! I figure, at least it’s reduced packaging and biodegradeable soap from there! I just haven’t made the homemade detergent priority. Like NAOmni said… one thing at a time.

    I tried to Charlies (it’s made local to me), and I REALLY liked it but it made my clothes really stiff. I think I used too much? Maybe I will get it again. 🙂

    Until then, I have a two gallon jug of Ecos. 🙂

    Good luck!

  5. A friend of mine actually asked me this week if I’d gotten around to finishing this…and I haven’t. It’s been on my to do list for WEEKS. The snag: I need a big pot to “cook” it in, and I don’t want to use one of the same ones I use for food. So hopefully soon! But until then — still Ecos. 🙂

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