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my homemade laundry detergent

April 29, 2009

Well I feel like I’ve been talking about making laundry detergent for months… well one of the main ingredients in the detergent is washing soda. While some people say it’s fine to use Baking Soda other people say there is a big difference and that you must use the Super Washing Soda (or else!!).  You see, (I’m putting on my science hat on) baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and washing soda is sodium carbonate. Apparently there is a big difference… one of the major differences is you can not bake with washing soda, completely different results. (Okay, my science hat is off now…) So I figured, if you can’t bake with washing soda, you probably can’t wash with baking soda. Decision was made. I’m not making this detergent until I have this Super Washing Soda….

They say you can find Super Washing Soda (which is the Arm & Hammer brand) at any grocery store in the laundry aisle. Well let me tell you, I have checked every laundry aisle in Grays Harbor, and it is not found in any of them! I’ve even checked some stores twice just to make sure I wasn’t “kid looking” (I am the #2 master of this). And I’m sure I wasn’t kid looking.

I know you can order the stuff online, but to get a decent price I found that you would have to either order it in bulk or pay shipping fees that make it not so cheap anymore. So that was a scratch. Anyway, my mom started to become interested in making her own soap. I had already called a few stores in Olympia to find out that they don’t carry this stuff either. But one of my mom’s friends gave her some phone number that you can call and find out where they carry this product. So I called, and they told me that it looks like all Fred Meyer stores around me carry Super Washing Soda. This was probably the one store i didn’t think of calling before, anyway, I called the store in Tumwater and Lacey. They both said that they did not carry Super Washing Soda. I even told them what aisle it would be in, what it would be next to, that it was like baking soda but not. Still, they said they did not have it.

On Monday (by the way, give yourself a pat on the back for reading this far if you have ;) my mom and I decided that we could go check Fred Meyer anyway because I felt like the person I talked to at the Lacey store didn’t really look for me. Well guess what! Fred Meyer had 4 boxes of Super Washing Soda! Right where I told him to look. He is awarded the #1 kid looker award. :) Anyway, we bought all of the Super Washing Soda that they had along with everything else that we needed to make the soap. Woo hoo!

Yesterday we got all of our stuff together and made it! It was pretty simple, the only thing that made me think I might not want to make it again was the actual grating of the Fels Naptha soap. The recipe we used called for 3 bars grated finely. It took us about 3 hours to grate all of our bars of soap. We took turns grating, since we only had one good grater, and we both had our own. So 6 bars of soap in 3 hours maybe doesn’t seem that bad…

Anyway, we used the recipe found on this blog. But I’ll write it out for you anyway…

Powdered Laundry Detergent
Makes about 2 gallons.

3 bars Fels Naptha Soap
1 box Borax
1 box Super Washing Soda
2 boxes Baking Soda
About 20 drops of essential oil (optional)

Grate Soap with a cheese grater.
Mix all ingredients together.

Use 1 tablespoon for lightly soiled loads.

Use 2-3 tablespoons for heavily soiled loads.


If my math is correct it makes enough for about 176 loads. And if that math is correct that means that it costs about $0.08 per load. But I could be wrong. :)

Here’s what my soap looks like! I’ve used it once so far. My clothes came out clean and smelling fresh! I also used a little bit of white distilled vinegar in the rinse cycle. It’s supposed to act as a fabric softener and get rid of odors. :)

I’ll probably update later on what I think of it after I’ve used it longer. :) Oh! And the first picture is just a small amount of the soap I made… it was just prettier than my plastic tub that I am keeping the rest of it in.

And to end this post I have to say, Chase bought me a Venti 4 pump White Mocha for lunch… he probably drank about a third of it but I just finished off the last drink just now. I usually say that caffiene and sugar doesn’t effect me much, but the rambling that went on in this post is just insane… and I am blaming this on the caffiene and sugar that I just consumed. Hah!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2009 4:35 pm

    I’d say the caffeine is getting to you! :)
    I am glad you are having so much fun with the detergent! :) Does it make laundry fun to do now?

  2. April 29, 2009 9:40 pm

    Alright I think I might be convinced just to make the powered kind and not the liquid kind I was going to make! I am confused though as the recipe says 2 boxes of baking soda, but you had none in your picture.. you just had 2 boxes of Super Washing Soda. I have different bar soap so I am hoping it will still turn out, its a natural peppermint and herb kind, so I bet it will be yummy. Oh what are the orangey looking things in your soap?? Otherwise I am on board and am gonna try doing a 1/2 batch first.. I got tea tree oil as its good to make homeade cleaning products too :) Thanks for all your sharing and teaching me!

  3. Sandy W permalink
    May 8, 2009 5:56 pm

    Have you used your detergent with cold water yet? I’m curious to know if the Fels Naptha disolves/melts in cold water. I’d hate to have little bits of it in washed clothes. I found everthing I would need to make the mixture at the store today, but thought I’d ask the question first. Thanks!

  4. Brittany permalink
    May 9, 2009 10:19 pm

    Let me know when a good time will be to drop off my laundry. : ) Thanks!


  1. More on cleaning products « the simple delights

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