Today I want to introduce you to the idea of making your own laundry detergent. I know what you are thinking: Why on earth would we do that when laundry detergent is widely available? Store-bought detergent is a particular convenience for those of us who are already so busy we can hardly find time to do the laundry, let alone make the detergent.

There are several reasons, but the big one is cost. You can make your own detergent for about three cents per load. Commercial laundry detergent costs about 30 cents per load, depending on the type. That is significant. If you make your own detergent, you may more easily afford milk, eggs, bread and other pantry staples that are rising in price so quickly.

Another reason to make your own detergent: Allergies. Some people are allergic to the perfumes and other fillers in commercial detergents. Making your own allows you to know what is in it.

Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 cup grated Fels-Naptha soap
1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (not baking soda, please!)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light loads, use 2 tablespoons. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons.

Big Batch: To make a large batch, grate 6 bars of Fels-Naptha Soap and then add 3 cups of Super Washing Soda and 3 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax. Mix well and store in covered container. TIP: Homemade detergent will not make suds in your washer, so do not be alarmed. Fels-Naptha Soap is a pure soap and typically makes little or no suds in the water. This makes it perfect for use in the new HE washers as well as traditional washers. You will also notice the need to either reduce your laundry softener, in most cases you can even eliminate the use of softener completely. You can also use white vinegar in the last rinse (1 cup is plenty) to remove all traces of detergent.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

3 pints water
1/3 bar Fels-Naptha Soap, grated
1/2 cup SuperWashing Soda (not baking soda, please!)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
2 gallon bucket, for mixing
1 quart hot water
Mix Fels-Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints hot water and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in SuperWashing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to a two-gallon bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with additional hot water as needed (you should have about 1.5 gallons of the mixture), and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.