Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making Homemade Laundry Detergent

In keeping with the spirit of trying new things that I have never tried before.  I wanted to try my hand at making my own laundry detergent.  First, you may be thinking, why would you want to do that?  Well, a few reasons came to mind, one, you can save a ton of money on detergent.  All the supplies I bought for about a years worth of laundry cost me around $15.00 approximately.  Secondly, I do not have to deal with any of the additives that are in other commercial detergents that cause my kids to break out every now and then.  This can be great for parents with new babies, etc.  You can control how much of what ingredient goes into the batch of detergent that you make.  The recipe I will be using is one that I found on the web and that I've tried and works great.  There are many more out there as well that you can try.  Something else that you may want to try also is plain vinegar as a fabric softener.  When I first heard this I was afraid my clothes would come out smelling like vinegar but it worked great.  I tried it on some towels first just to make sure.  Here's the ingredients:

-  Zote Laundry Soap (This was the hardest ingredient for me to find.  Many people say that they can find it in the laundry aisle in Wal-mart but I was not so fortunate.  Another place you might try is the Mexican food aisle at any grocery store.  Another place, and where I found mine, you can try an international store.  If you've exhausted all of these options you can always buy it online.  The white soap is regular and the pink is for delicates.  Also, you can substitute this soap for Kirk Castille soap or Fels Naptha soap).
-  20 Mule Team Borax (Found in the laundry aisle at Wal-mart, Target, etc).
-  Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (Also, found in the laundry aisle.  Make sure that you get Washing Soda and not Baking Soda.  There is a difference.  Baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate and Washing Soda is Sodium Carbonate.  If you are having trouble finding it in the local store's laundry aisle, you can check your local pool supply store as well since it is used as a pool cleaner as well).
-  OxyClean (Should be in your laundry aisle.  Also, there is a generic brand that is half the cost of the name brand, around $3.00 versus $6.00).

Here are some places to find the soaps online if you are having trouble finding them at some of your local stores.  Research prices though, because it varies depending on where you get it.  The soap can be as little as a dollar and up to five dollars.  I was able to buy mine for $1.79 at the International Store here in town.

- 2 cups of finely grated laundry soap which equals to approximately 1 bar of Zote soap.

I grated mine using a food processor with a grater attachment.

- 1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax
- 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
- 1/4 cup of OxyClean

After I grated the soap, I detached the grater and added the blade attachment.

I inserted the rest of the ingredients in with the soap.

I then covered the processor with a damp towel to keep from having powder get all over the place in the kitchen. 

  I then mixed the ingredients to a fine powder, using the pulse setting on the processor and then eventually using the low setting.

I then placed the detergent in storage bags.  I will eventually place them in a kitty litter bucket for storing once I finish making the amount I am going to make.  It took me approximately 15-20 minutes to make one batch
You can use 1 teaspoon for regular loads and 2 teaspoons for heavily soiled loads.

I have also made a video of me making the detergent.  Enjoy, and please leave your comments below and share with your friends and remember to either follow me on this blog or subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are interested in more creative ideas and hobbies.  Next week I will be explaining how to make Hot Pepper Jelly!


  1. Hey, great post. I am interested in trying to import Jabon Zote to Australia so I was just checking out what people had to say about it online. I was surprised to find people making homemade laundry detergents with it.

    Just wanted to add that it is pronounced "ha-bon so-teh" and that the pink bar is no different that the white or blue. The only difference is the blue and pink bars have a dye in them. I guess it's for identification purposes if for example a home uses one for cleaning clothes, another for bathing, and the other for catfishing.

  2. Christina from TxJuly 18, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    Thanks for the recipe. Came across your youtube video so helpful . We have been using zote for stains so exited to try this recipe! Again thanks cant wait to try!

  3. Do you have a recipe similar to this one, but for liquid laundry detergent?

    1. I've never personally tried to make the liquid detergent but I do have a friend that has and she suggested you go look at this website. The lady on this website has tried many more times than I at this and has done quite a bit of research between the difference if dry vs liquid. Hope this helps:

    2. Thanks. I have seen a lot of videos about laundry soap and I would like to incorporate Oxyclean in my liquid soap, but I don't know if it's possible. Haven't found a single video that shows that... only powder soaps include Oxyclean. If you or anybody knows if it works and how much to use, I would appreciate the info. Thanks again.

    3. Oh, I have a tip for those of us that have a hard time trying to find Washing Soda. See, I'm located in Puerto Rico, and I went everywhere trying to find A&H Washing Soda with out any luck. I decided to order it online and just a few days after I font how to make Soda Ash (Washing Soda) from Baking Soda (which is easy to find here). You just have to cook the baking soda for about 1 hr in your oven at 300ºF or just on a pot on your stove at medium high or medium heat until it stops making bubbles... DO NOT ADD ANY LIQUIDS. Just put a cup at a time and cook it in this manner. Hope this helps!