Homemade Laundry Powder – Update


I’ve been using the laundry powder I made from borax, washing soda and Fels Naptha for about a week now and I really like it.  I found several recipes online and chose this one: 

  1. 1 bar Fels Naptha grated
  2. 1 cup borax
  3. 1 cup washing soda

The Fels Naptha and washing soda were a little hard to find.  Actually, I had given up on the washing soda when I happened to spot it one day in a local grocery store I don’t regularly shop at.  (Shame on me.  I shop at Walmart –  which I hate –  because I can do everything in one trip.  I should be supporting the local store that actually has a much better food selection and purposefully carries great stuff they know their “largest competitor”, as they gracefully put it, doesn’t stock.) 

Anyway, after stumbling upon the soda, I started searching for the Fels Naptha with renewed determination.  I googled “where to buy Fels Naptha” and found it at my local Ace Hardware.   It was $1.19 a bar.   Sorry, don’t remember the price on the borax and soda, but they were pretty cheap.  One bar is used for each batch of powder, but I can get roughly 7 cups from the soda and about 9 from the borax.  Not bad.    According to the recipe, you use 2 tablespoons for each load of laundry.  I use 2 rounded tablespoons for a large load, 3 rounded tablespoons for a super load and for my husband’s really dirty jeans and shirts, I use 4 tablespoons.  So far I have been very pleased with the results. 

The process to make it is a little time consuming.  I’m still experimenting with the best way to grate the soap.  The first time I grated it by hand with my cheese grater.  Slow, and the pieces came out bigger than I wanted.  So, I then put them through my small electric chopper mixed with some of the powder ingredients and got better results.  Today I used my food processor and ended up back with my small chopper.  I guess I’ve been trying to achieve more of a powder-like result with the soap, but have decided its not going to do that just because of the properties of the soap itself. 

So, after grating the soap, just stir it all together. I store mine in an unused glass canister with a snapring lid.  Works great.  I do find that the borax and soda have a tendency to settle to the bottom and so I give it a little stir before measuring each time.  I need to keep track of how many loads I get from each batch. 

I know I’m saving money and I feel good about not putting quite so many chemicals on my clothes and into the water system.  I know some people argue that borax is caustic and that Fels Naptha is a petroleum product, but I still feel good about it being a little more “natural” a product than what I was using. 

I purchased a bar of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, but haven’t tried it in the laundry powder yet.  First of all, I felt kind of triumphant at finding the Fels Naptha and wanted to try it first, and secondly, I read somewhere that the castile soap doesn’t clean as well.  My husband’s work clothes get really, really dirty, and I want to get them as clean as possible.  Thirdly, the castile soap was over $3.00 a bar, something I knew would really shoot the price up if used regularly.  So, there it is.

Hope this helps if you’re thinking about making your own laundry powder.  It is a little time consuming, but worth it.  If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.  If you have anything to add, please do.

Keep it simple.

5 thoughts on “Homemade Laundry Powder – Update

  1. after I grate my soap I put it through a good ole flour sifter and it comes out very fine and powder like, there is just a few little time balls that wont sift all the way but mashed them up with a teaspoon of soda sifted again and walah

  2. If you can, let the Fels Naptha age out of it’s wrapper in the open air and it will harden. Then, it will grate into a fine powder.

  3. Felsnaptha and Washing soap are both available at my local Walmarts? Right by the Borax and other washing aids. Ive heard other people having a hard time finding it there as well but Ive never had a problem finding it at different locations depending on the side of town I am shopping at the time.

  4. You could make your own castile soap if you are careful! I used this tutorial: http://soapchix.wordpress.com/2008/02/25/how-to-make-cold-processed-soap-in-13-steps-a-tutorial/. The only thing to add about the tutorial is to add the lye to water and mix it, as the tutorial didn’t specify that. I love how the soap turned out! I found this page trying to figure out how much of this laundry mixture you need for a load. The recipe I have makes it a liquid detergent, but I’d rather keep it powder!

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