Home Made Laundry Detergent

Today I stirred up something different.
Once again my kitchen was a laboratory for something other than food prep.

I am confessing right here and now, I actually like to do laundry.
Clean, neatly folded, fragrant laundry, is one of life’s great soul satisfying pleasures….. to me.

( I saved this from House and Garden 1998 – I liked doing laundry back then too!)

It seems like fresh, cleanly scented laundry has gone the way of boxed detergent.
I have tried all the natural, environmentally safe products from the shelves of Whole Foods, and thought our clothing mostly smelled musty.
I’ve tried regular grocery store brands, but wasn’t happy about the perfumes and other additives.
We bought new fancy front loading machines that promised to clean laundry with less water, less energy, and a whole lot of yada, yada, yada.

The laundry still didn’t have a naturally clean scent.

I searched for a solution on the internet.
I had no idea how many people in the good old USA are whipping up their own home made detergent.
This intrigued me.
The recipe consists of only four ingredients – all products our grandmothers probably used.


4 lb box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
3 lb 7 oz box of Super Washing Soda
4 lb 12 oz box of 20 Mule Team Borax
3 bars of Zote, Fels-Naptha, or Castile Soap ( I used 1 bar of Fels-Naptha & 1 lg. 14 oz bar of Zote.)

The first two ingredients were easy to find at the A & P.
I found Zote soap bars at Home Depot, but nobody sells Borax anymore in our area.

After searching the shelves of eight stores, it dawned on me; powdered detergents are largely being replaced by detergents in plastic bottles.
More than ever, I was hoping this detergent nailed it.

I had to resort to Amazon for the Borax which is cheap until you pay for shipping….

This is how I mixed it up:
Blend all three powders together in a large bucket.


Cut the soap into pieces- the Zote Soap cut like a ripe cheese! But it was out in the garage where it was about 100 degrees today.
Then put it in the cuisinart to chop it into very small pieces.

This looked like a frightening science experiment….
It was just like mixing up the ingredients for a great big cake.

Once it was blended, I headed downstairs, and threw in a load of wash with 2 heaping tablespoons of my ‘old timers blend’.


I could learn a thing or two from these ladies! (from by beloved, bygone, H & G 1998)

An hour later, I snuggled my face into the clothing hot out of the dryer…. Oh my gosh!

Smiles from ear to ear!
The little pleasures are sometimes the best!

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