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How to Make Liquid Laundry Detergent (HE)
You can easily make liquid laundry detergent for HE washing machines but it is a little more tricky to make than our powered recipe, although the powered recipe cost more than double per load. If you want a quick and easy detergent go to our powder laundry soap/detergent. It works just as well as the homemade liquid laundry soap and we think it works better than the liquid for getting out things like urine smells or grass stains.
I promise you will be surprised at how easy it is to make homemade liquid laundry detergent.
If you are ready to make homemade laundry soap (liquid), here is the recipe:
2 1/2 Gallons (10 Liters) of Water
Distilled water is the best but we don’t use it and don’t think you need to either.
Plain tap water will work just fine.
1/2 Cup (125ml) of Washing Soda or Baking Soda
(read below to transform baking soda into washing soda)
Washing soda (a water softener and food additive) is nothing more than sodium carbonate also known as soda ash. It can either be extracted from the ash of burnt plants or made synthetically from salt (sodium chlroide) and limestone.
Washing soda is usually sold under the brand name “Arm & Hammer” in North America, “Lectric” in Australia and “Soda Crystals” in the United Kingdom and Europe.
It is most often located in the laundry detergent section of your grocery/drug/department store.
It is usually not too hard to find if you have access to a large grocery/drug/department store but we have heard others say they cannot find it at all locally.
Even if you are not a chemistry major you probably have noticed that washing soda (sodium carbonate) resembles baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Both products are very similar.
If washing soda is hard for you to find simply make your own washing soda by heating regular ole’ baking soda in an oven.
Simply spread out the needed amount or 1/2 cup of baking soda on a cookie sheet and bake it in your oven at 200 degrees F for about an hour.
This will remove water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) leaving you real washing soda that is cheaper than store bought washing soda.
1/2 Cup (125 ml) of Borax
Borax is a naturally occurring white powder also known as sodium borate. It is mined underground and is used for a variety of things including cosmetics, food additives (yes you probably have eaten Borax), fire retardants, anti-fungals and detergents/soaps.
Some folks are concerned about using Borax.
If you are looking for a homemade liquid laundry soap recipe without Borax, simply leave it out.
We have used Borax and purposely left it out with very little difference. Borax mostly makes the ph better for cleaner clothes but you can always add about 50% more soap and 50% more washing soda if you would rather avoid it. We have no issue with Borax but some folks do. If you don’t like, don’t use it!
Borax works very well as a laundry whitener and deodorizer. It is another one of those items that can be difficult to find. It is found in the laundry section of some grocery/drug/department stores and might even be a little harder to find than washing soda. The most common brand is 20 Mule Team (North America) but is also available as Natura (Canada) and G. Baldwin and Co.(United Kingdom). We can buy a 76oz (2kg) box for $5.49.
1/4 Bar Laundry Soap
Laundry bar soaps are available in the following brands: Fels Naptha, Ivory, Zote, Sunlight and many others. They all seem to work fine and are all different sizes. The first time you use a new bar you can go by the weight (or volume) when after it has been grated.
We use a no-name laundry soap bar from a bulk foods store at a cost of $2.79 per bar. Some of these bar soaps can still be found in the laundry section of your local grocery store. We also use the Sunlight brand when the no-name is not available.
Fels Naptha seems to be a very popular choice for homemade laundry soap.
STEP 1 Grate the bar soap and place in a pot large enough to hold 2 1/2 gallons.
STEP 2 Add 6 cups (1 1/2 liters) of water to pot and heat on high
STEP 3 Stir in Washing Soda and Borax
STEP 4 Keep stirring until everything is dissolved
STEP 5 Add 34 cups (8 1/2 liters) of water and stir
STEP 6 Remove from heat and allow to cool. The detergent will gel.
STEP 7 Pour into preferred container. If detergent is too thick, stir in a little water and shake hard.
STEP 8 The liquid detergent will tend to gell or clump after sitting for a day or two. If this happens simply shake really hard until the smooth consistency is returned.
STEP 9 Use 1/2 cup (125ml) per load.
The Cost of Liquid Homemade Laundry Soap/Detergent for HE Washer
2 1/2 Gallons (10 liters) Water – Free
1/2 Cup (125ml) of Washing Soda – $0.54
(based on 55oz or 3kg for $5.95)
1/2 Cup (125 ml) of Borax – $0.61
(based on 76oz or 2kg available for $5.49)
1/4 Bar Laundry Soap – $0.70
(based on one full bar bought for $2.79)
TOTAL COST = $1.85 PER BATCH
EACH BATCH IS GOOD FOR 40 LOADS (10 liters divided by 125ml)
PER LOAD COST = 4.6 CENTS!
If you think you have found the best homemade liquid laundry detergent please share with us below.
Or if you have found an easy homemade liquid laundry detergent please share with us. We would really appreciate it.