If you would like to save a good chunk of change every month, do what I do and make your own laundry detergent! With my recipe you can easily make 9 gallons of liquid detergent for less than $5! I believe it will do a great job of cleaning your family’s laundry for just pennies per load. A friend first gave me this recipe, which I later spotted in Country Sampler magazine. But I was doubtful that it could actually do a good job of cleaning our duds. I finally decided to give the recipe a try, and through trial and error have made some of my own adaptations to make the process easier. We are country people, so our clothing gets good and dirty at times—this homemade detergent cleans it up very nicely. The detergent has a very light, pleasant scent, but I don’t notice any fragrance in our clothing after it has dried. An aunt of mine said that my grandma used one of the ingredi- ents, the Fels-Naptha soap, for doing laundry many years ago, in the early 1940s, so this soap has stood the test of time!

Related Stories: How To Make Traditional Lye Soap


• 2 bars of Fels-Naptha laundry soap
• 1 gallon of boiling water
• 1 gallon plus 1 quart of hot tap water
• 2 cups of Arm & Hammer Super Washing (not Baking!) Soda
• 2 cups of Borax

DIRECTIONS: Grate the two bars of soap into a clean 12-quart plastic dish-pan. (I use a metal cheese grater.) Add 1 gallon of boiling water, and stir gently by hand until the soap dissolves. Add 1 gallon plus 1 quart of hot tap water. Stir in the 2 cups of Washing Soda and 2 cups of Borax until they are dissolved. Slowly add about 1 more quart more of hot water to the dishpan until the contents are about 1 inch from the top. Gently stir, and let it set overnight. After the mixture has gelled, scoop out chunks with a large metal spoon, fill a mixer bowl with the gel, and mix it slowly with a hand or stand mixer until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, and repeat the scoop/mix process with the remaining gel. Divide the mixture evenly among 12 quart-sized jars. Add a little water to fill each jar, cover the jars, and shake them. This is your concentrate. To store the concentrate before it’s needed, I either pour it into quart canning jars and cover them with lids and bands or use empty, plastic, 32-ounce salad-dressing containers with lids.

LAUNDRY TIME: Pour one jar of concentrate into an empty commercial detergent jug, add 2 quarts of water, and shake well—it’s ready. (I like to keep a wooden paint-stirring stick handy to stir up the concentrate a bit before pouring it into the jug.) I use the jug’s cap to measure out the amount needed for each load. Use the same amount of homemade deter- gent as you would the store-bought kind. For high-efficiency machines, use a bit less.

Related Stories: How to Make Beeswax Lip Balm

Up Next

Trapping For Dollars

Trapping is more than just a skill Jerry Ward teaches; it’s one of the...