Airing the Laundry....cleaners.

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

Living as a one-income family it was imperative to come up with ways to save money every day. When taking a look at our laundry detergent options I found real quick that this was a place to make some real savings. This was about 13 years ago, so I've had plenty of time to test, play & test again.

Here is what I've come up with.

Home Made Laundry Cleaner


Borax - 20 Mule Team Borax

Washing Soda - Arm and Hammer Washing Soda

Soap – Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, Ivory, Zote, Dawn Dish soap, unscented bar soap, or soap nuts, etc.

-Washing Soda and Borax should be available at your local grocery store on the laundry aisle. The 20 Mule Team Borax I find in most stores and The Arm and Hammer Washing Soda I've found at Kroger and of course Amazon.

-Soap. There are many choices that your laundry cleaner can be made with. This could depend on your reasoning for making this for yourself. Cheep or Natural or a variation of both.

-Zote Laundry Bar Soap

is a cheap soap ingredient that I have used, and it works. Though I have not used it since getting an H.E. Washer. Therefore, I can not testify how well it works in H.E. washers. This is a good soap for liquid or powder formulas.

-Ivory bar soap I've used this many times. But, it can leave a build-up in your washer if you use cold a lot. Again, I have not used it in an H.E. Machine. This is a good soap for liquid or powder formulas.

-Dawn Dish Soap I've used this one for several years and do switch back to it from time to time. Why? I'm glad you asked.

Dawn gets grease off dishes, silly.

So when we are doing a lot of dirty, greasy work I will make a batch of Dawn based laundry cleaner to get the stubborn grease out of the clothes. You can use a scented version to give a slight scent to your washing. I've been happy with the results. This is a detergent-based soap so it will have some questionable ingredients in its formula. It's a good soap for a liquid formula.

-Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap All natural, yeah! and it comes in liquid or bar

form. I have not tried the bar in this recipe though. But, I don't foresee that there would be any major issues. Like with the dish soap there are various of smells that you can use to add a faint scent to your clothing. Depending on which type you choose, this is a good soap for liquid or powder formulas.

This liquid soap base is what I've been using most recently and have been happy with.

-Soap nuts or Soapberries. We've used these exclusively for a year now and love them. They've handled themselves well in normal clothes washing. Though I have not tried them on greasy or overly dirty stinky clothes.

Onto…. How to make:

Here is where you must make another decision. Do you want to make liquid (recommended for H.E. Washers) or powder form? Don't worry I'll explain both.

How I make my Liquid Laundry Cleaner:

Take a large pot & fill it with water. Start to heat it up.

- If you are using bar soap, grate the bar with a cheese grater or food processor. Put it in the heating water (if using liquid soap hold off, you'll add it later)

- Add up to 2 cups of Borax and up to 2 cups of Washing Soda to the heating water.

- Lightly stir until all granules have

dissolved. Don't agitate the water too much you don't need it to suds up. You only need it on the heat long enough to dissolve all the granules.

-Pour the dissolved mixture into a five-gallon bucket and top off with warm water.

-If you have opted for the liquid soap then add up to 2 cups of liquid soap. Stir lightly until mixed well.

- Cover

Haha, you now have 5 gallons of your very own laundry cleaner.

Use 1/2 to 1 cup per load.

Bekka's tip: I don't like the idea of having that much liquid lying about for kids or dogs to ​knock over so I've managed to find old detergent bottles to reuse.

7 -100 oz. bottles are close enough to five gallons to make it all work. I dissolve the powders (soda and borax) as stated above; then, I divide the mixed liquid evenly among the 7 containers.

I fill the rest of the container with water leaving enough room at the top to add the liquid soap to each container.

I put the liquid soap into the cap halfway up the" #1" line (about 1/8 of cup of soap per bottle).

I just cap the bottle allowing the soap to drain into the bottle. I give it a gentle shake, wipe down the bottle, and.....

Voilà! Bekka gains another bottle of laundry liquid.

Use 1/2 to 1 cup per load.

Powder Laundry Cleaner

-Grate the bar soap or mix in a food processor until finely ground. Use your bar soap of choice.

-In a large bowl, mix 2 parts Washing Soda, 2 parts Borax and 1 part grated soap.

-Pour and Store in a closed container.

Use: 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup per load.

There you go, it's that easy?!

A little about cost:

Laundry Soda $6.38 for 55 oz. (using 16 oz. at most = $1.86) Borax $7.09 for 65oz (using 16 oz at most = $1.75) Soap (Dr Bronner's) $12.35 for 8oz (using 1 cup = $12.35) Water (What $1.00 worth would you say?) Most expensive version totaling 7 bottles of Laundry Cleaner = $16.96

(This can be as cheap as $5.61 a batch)

A 100oz bottle of Gain cost $9.94 x 7 =$69.58

Do that about 4 times you've used your boxes and have spent $66.87 equivalent to $278 of store-bought Gain.

A $211 savings.