Mar 7, 2016

Heavy Duty Homemade Laundry Detergent/Soap

Good Morning!
Monday is my main wash day but I've been known to wash everyday except Sunday. Do you have special laundry days in your household?
Oh my goodness you can't wash, clean, do anything on Sunday except worship and rest. My grandma wouldn't even let us touch her sewing scissors on Sunday. That one always made me scratch my head.  I guess you couldn't cut anything on Sunday. Actually since I've been sewing for umpteen years I know what she was doing. Trying to keep our kid hands from cutting paper with her sewing scissors. Then again I guess she probably thought it was sinful to sew on Sunday. I don't know. Well I just shared a few Simple Southern Traditions with you.
I am in the process of moving the cleaning solutions over here so that eventually
DollyisCooking will only have recipes and a few product reviews.
Today I share with you my recipe for making your very own Heavy Duty Laundry Detergent. Join me won't you...

I have made and used the following for three years and I can tell you it works extremely well for me.
I've had no problems with it at all. You can judge the performance for yourself as to how well a certain combination works for you.  The type water you have makes a difference for sure.  Time will tell if one is working for you.  Don't give up.  Tinker with the recipe and make it your own so it will work for your laundry needs.  I increased the soap because my laundry needs more.  Your's may clean with more or less soap.  You may find that you only need to use the Regular Detergent with easier soaps. Experiment and you will eventually come up with what works well for you.

I've read where people have trouble with their detergents dissolving in cold water.  I know that I never have but I do grate mine pretty finely, so grate or chop your soaps pretty small and you should have no trouble at all.  As a matter of fact I grate and then add my soap with some Borax and Washing Soda to the food processor, this seems to chop the soap even finer and easier.  It makes for a very fine powder cleans and dissolves even in cold water.  My mother never used hot water ever and she had a family of seven!  We were outdoorsy and got plenty dirty too I might add.

This is my all time favorite and I make a batch of Regular Heavy Duty and a batch of Heavy Duty Plus with all fabric safe bleach Oxi-Clean.

Heavy Duty Laundry Detergent/Soap



3 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
3 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
3 cups Laundry Soap
3/4 cup Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
Optional:  5 caps of Fragrance Crystals, Pearls or several drops of Essential Oils of your choice.

Heavy Duty Laundry Soap Whites Only

3 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
3 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
3 cups White Lirio Soap
1 cup Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

Heavy Duty Laundry Soap with Softener Added

Same as above but use Pink Lirio Soap which has softener added.

Laundry Soap Tips:

More info on Soaps used in the making of Laundry Soap/Detergent 

Fels Naptha, Zote or Lirio and if you can still find it Octagon Soap work well as hard heavy duty cleaners.
Castile, Ivory, or I've found White Dial Soap are easier and best combined with a tough soap or used in Regular Laundry Detergent.

You will need:

Food Processor or Blender
Container with lid

Heavy Duty Plus
photos credit Interesting story at that link also.
'Rosie The Riveter' Geraldine Hoff Doyle the Inspiration for 'Rosie"
I have always liked this and all of Norman Rockwell's paintings.  

Heavy Duty Laundry Detergent Plus

Add 1/2 cup  Oxi-Clean to above mixture Or You can increase the Borax because it is a Color-Safe Bleach substitute.  You can also just add 1/2 cup to the detergent into the wash cycle at the time of washing.

Grate your soap measure and set aside
Measure your washing soda and borax set aside
Using your food processor add some washing soda, borax and grated soap, process until your soap is mixed with the other ingredients and is a powder.
Do this in several batches.
In large container pour the processed mix, add the baking soda and if you wish the laundry crystals, stir well.

Add to a lidded and labeled container for use.  Place a scoop, preferably one that will measure out what you need to save time when you do the laundry. 

I have a top loading machine and use a 1/4 cup because that is what it takes to clean my laundry.
You experiment with your needs for your washing machine and laundry.  You may need less.  I hope you find your mixture that will work good for you. HE Machines start with 2 Tbs to see how it works for you. 

I thought you might like to watch this video about 'Rosie the Riveter'


  1. Except for the Oxi I have it covered. I'll have to give this a try soon. Thanks

    1. Hey Kathy,
      That is great and Oxi is just an added thing you don't really have to have. You can add more of the Borax if you find your laundry isn't getting as white and bright as you'd like.
      I wish we lived closer because I know I'd have a field day just looking at your supplies! :)

  2. Thanks for Rosie the riveter clip. It is a perfect reminder of what a beautiful multi faceted gem we women are. I loved reading your blog with its wonderful southern accent. I have been in the work force since I was 12 always taking care of young or old, cooking and cleaning. It's a job I've always done with love and joy. So your tips for cleaner laundry are perfect. I love knowing what goes into or on those I love and care for.

    1. Hi Mary,
      What a joy to hear from you! I'd like to thank you! Bravo, you are a wonderful example of the heartland of America. Like you, I feel better knowing what ingredients are in my cleaning products as well as the recipes I cook for the family. Again I thank you.

  3. Thank you for these recipes. I am going to give it a try with whatever is the closest ingredients I can find in South Africa. Could you please give me some indication what is Oxy Clean. Since I battle with internet, please if at all possible reply to
    Cheryl Wridgway. Bloemfontein, South Africa

    1. Hi,
      You are very welcome! It is so nice to hear from you and I thank you for writing to me. You do not have to add the Oxi Clean it is just a little added brightener. Here is a link that can tell you more about it They have many substitutes that have different names so I guess if you have anything in the places you shop that say oxygen based stain cleaner.I'm sorry I can't find more information as to where you could purchase this product in your area.
      This is an additive that you don't have to use if not available where you are. I find that the heavy duty mixture cleans well enough. Again thank you for writing and let me know how this works for you.

  4. Have my Kitchen Aid all set up from making applesauce! never thought to use the strainer to make soap.
    Used my food processor for making liquid soap, but this would be so much easier to store! Thanks

    1. Hi Diane,
      I have several attachments for my mixer and the one I use on mine is the grater/slicer for grating foods of course and soaps. My Kitchen Aid food processor is excellent and frankly easier to add grater discs for grating the soap and then I add the chopper blade for chopping the soap extremely fine. If the soap has moisture you can also add some of the washing soda and borax to make chopping easier. Thank you for writing and I hope you find your soap/detergent making easy. Sounds like you are already set up and I'll bet you make a delicious applesauce!

  5. I guess I'm the big dummy here, in the Heavy duty you include "Laundry Detergent"; I'm used to seeing Borax and Washing Soda combined to create laundry soap but you're indicating to add them to your detergent as a booster-is that correct. Also, I was looking for the LIRIO on Amazon-are you referring to the LIRIO bar soap and the actual LIRIO laundry soap. Sorry, that Im so confused.

    1. Hello live2quilt72
      No you are not a big dummy! For the Heavy Duty :Laundry Detergent/Soap you do add as listed above in the ingredients Washing Soda, Borax Soap Baking Soda with the option of adding the Fragrance Crystals if you want a little added scent.
      For the Heavy Duty Laundry Detergent Plus I Add 1/2 cup of Oxi-Clean to the Heavy Duty Laundry Detergent/Soap and that is to boost your whitening ability. I don't use this mixture on all laundry all of the time because I find that it has a tendency to fade some of the dark laundry.
      However: I have found that adding the amount of Borax and Washing Soda does clean better in some circumstances. I think all will have to try mixture and if it starts to gray or make your laundry dingy add more of each But I don't think with the amounts I've added here you will ever need to, unless you have heavy metals in your water.
      You can find the LIRIO Soaps here at links provided on this post about soaps. They are called laundry soaps and are in the bar form. You will have to grate and chop them for best results.
      You write to me anytime and I'll try to help out if I can.
      Thank you!

    2. Also wanted you to have this link for the Whites Only Laundry Soap and it is ONLY for is too strong to use on colors
      Whites Only Laundry Soap. Also I call it laundry soap because technically it is a laundry soap mixture and not a laundry detergents because no detergents are added.

  6. For the record, the white and pink bars of Lirio have the exact same ingredients. The pink just has a different fragrance. The white bar is NOT for white laundry only and the pink bar does not have any softening ingredients that the white bar doesn't have.

    If you have dingy white laundry, add 25 aspirins to your top-loading washing machine, let it agitate, and then let it soak for as long as you can (6-8 hours or overnight). Your whites will be incredibly white! (I buy aspirin at the dollar store or 500 for $3.94 at Walmart.)

    1. Laurel I got my information from the source LIRIO. You too can read the information here if you'd like. Also the information I shared about laundry soap products is in a post here. While I appreciate you comments I do research for my posts.
      I've never tried the aspirin for a laundry additive. Thanks for that info will give it a try.

    2. Info from source