Home » Make » Cleaning Products » Homemade Lemon Fresh Laundry Detergent

Homemade Lemon Fresh Laundry Detergent

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Ah laundry, a chore I don’t honestly mind too much. I find the process straightforward and the end result nice and rewarding. We are not a household who needs our clothes to smell for days and days of detergent. (I’m sure that’s pretty bad for you anyway with all the artificial fragrance pthalates, etc.) so I combined a bunch of sources to find a recipe to make our own. It is low suds so it should work a-ok in HE machines.

The Fels Naphtha has a clean scent and the lemon essential oil adds a fresh scent and anti-bacterial element. I don’t have any oxygen cleaner ie oxyclean in this recipe because I think it dilutes the grime fighting Fels Naphtha and Washing Soda. If you have a crazy stain, pre-treat with oxy-free. It’s pretty amazing stuff for stubborn stains but not needed in day to day laundry. (It’s also almost $8 per container.) As always, feel free to leave the essential oil out or sub it for your favorite.

Note: I will update this post as time goes by if we tweak the recipe at all.

Cost Breakdown
Washing Soda $3.24 for 55oz box
Borax $3.38 for 76 oz box
Fels Naphtha bar $0.97
Lemon essential oil $4 (approx)

For this batch of 64 loads:
$0.95 Washing Soda
$0.40 Borax
$0.97 Fels Naphtha
$0.20 essential oil
Total: $2.52 ($0.04/load)

Our seventh generation laundry soap was over $13 for 66 loads ($0.20/load.) I’ve seen it for $18 per container.

Yield: Approx 64 washes. (4 cups of detergent)

Gather
2 c Washing Soda
1 c Borax (20 Mule)
1 Bar Fels Naphtha laundry soap, finely grated.
30-40 drops lemon essential oil

Make
Grate the Fels Naptha on the smaller side of a box grater. You should get small soap curls.
Blend the soap in a blender for 15 seconds, shaking and patting the blender to get a powdery consistency.
Pour the soap powder, borax, washing soda and essential oil into a bowl and whisk to combine. Scoop or funnel into an airtight container. (This happens to fit perfectly in a quart sized mason jar.)

Use
Add one tablespoon for a regular load to water before adding clothes and wash on preferred cycle. Add another tablespoon for really dirty clothes or a very large load.

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