Easy Does It

I make my own laundry detergent.  Weird.  I know.  I could buy it, but for me it’s not about saving money as much as it is fun.  Sometimes I feel between my two smartphones, netbook and now tablet I’m losing a connection to a hands-on life.  Life is too convenient these days.  I used to love learning how and why things worked.  My childhood was filled with devices taken apart to see what made them tick (it was also filled with the parts left over when I tried to put them back together).  I loved science class, even learning the extraordinary details behind even the most ordinary items.  Learning the chemical makeup of table salt or how I could use chemistry to analyze the effectiveness of my sunscreen.  I’ve lost a lot of that.

I’ve become dependent on things that make life easier.  I use the microwave instead of the oven, despite the fact I do like the quality a slow heating provides.   So that’s why I make my laundry detergent.  It’s simple, yet satisfying to know that I am putting the ingredients together to make something I will use.  A small victory in this world of easy buttons.  However, I will not give up the washer, dryer or dishwasher…there’s no reason to be uncivilized.

In case you’re curious, here’s the recipe I use to make laundry detergent:


  • 4 cups of hot tap water
  • 1 Fels Naptha bar soap
  • 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup of borax
  1. Grate bar of soap and add to sauce pan with water. Stir continually over med-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
  2. Fill a five gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, soda, and borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket with more hot water, still, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken.
  3. Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of the way with water.

Yield: 10 gallons Top load: 5/8 cup per load (normal medium loan
amount) to make approx. 180 loads.

Front load: 1/4 cup per load (approx. 640 loads).
Shake before each use. Cover the five gallon bucket with a lid and shake or stir well before refilling your bottle from it.