3 simple ingredients for homemade laundry detergent

Boy, your interest in a FOX 5 I-Team story on lowering laundry costs launched another one - how to make that low-cost homemade detergent.

It's really easy to do and it saves a lot of money, and quite frankly, I think my clothes are softer with it.  But let's remember the bottom line here: You can wash a load of clothes for pennies. Seriously. Pennies.

Here are our three main ingredients. There's Borax, washing soda and a bar of laundry soap. All of these can be found in the grocery store. Now, about soap. You can use old-fashioned Ivory soap. Or, try Zote or Fels-Naptha. I have Dr. Bronner's bar soap because I got a bunch on sale. And they come in different scents which is nice.   


Borax - 1 cup

Washing Sode - 1 cup

1 bar of laundry soap

Decide what you want to store your detergent in then put a cup of each of the powders in there. Here's the hardest part, you need to grate that bar of soap. Give it to the kids as a chore. Mix it and you're done. You use a tablespoon per load for a light wash, double it if your clothes are really dirty. That's it.

But I also like to add scents like orange, lavender, lemon, or whatever you like. Start with eight drops of an essential oil then build up to as many as 30 if you like the smell.  But is it worth it?
Let's look at what this costs.

We're assuming eight loads a week. Annually, we calculated one of the leading detergent brands cost about $54 a year.  Our homemade version is $16.64 a year. That's about four cents per load. Seven cents if you double it. So it's truly a great way to save.

Some folks prefer brand name detergents to make their lighter clothes brighter. If that's you then you can use your homemade soap to wash your dark clothes. You are still saving money.