How to make Antibacterial Laundry Detergent at Home

By Lindsey March 10, 2015 12:35

How to make Antibacterial Laundry Detergent at Home

Back in the old days, before all our modern detergents and soaps and powders, housewives and their children battled the wash with two things: Soda crystals and bluing.

Soda crystals, also called washing-soda or Sodium Carbonate, are white crystals used as a washing-detergent on clothes. Bluing is a dye that is added to the wash-water. What it does is tints the whites a very light blue to counteract any greying that appears in bedsheets and linen due to extended use, cleaning them and returning them to their original bright, white condition. You can still buy bluing today, but it’s kind of obsolete.

wagon-train copyOf course, we don’t want to make an obsolete detergent, so we are going to use the best antibacterial, antimicrobial cleaning agents, but still do it in the old fashion way.

This will save you money, will improve your detergent (you can actually choose the fragrances) and will make you the coolest person!

You’ll need:

    • 1 bar of shaved bar soap (a homemade laundry bar like I used or an antibacterial soap)
    • 1 cup of borax
    • 1 cup of washing soda
    • 7 drops of natural tea tree oil (for disinfecting – optional)
    • ¼ cup Oxi Clean (optional)

37 things to hoard

1. Shave 1 bar of Natural Homemade Soap

make detergent at homeThe beauty of making your own soap is that you can make it with the ingredients that you choose and the fragrances that you like. Adjustments aren’t hard, but take some practice. Soap making can be very simple. I’ll probably post another article about it. (this is where you can adjust the fragrances)

If you don’t have time for that, you can buy a natural antibacterial soap.

Finally (if you want)… You can blend the mixture in a blender or food processor to get a fine powder that will dissolve easily.

2. Add 1 cup of Borax

make detergent at home antibacterianBorax has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes.

Borax is also anti-fungal!

3. Add 1 cup of Washing Soda

homemade detergentWashing soda (also named Sodium carbonate) is a water softener in laundering. It competes with the magnesium and calcium ions in hard water and prevents them from bonding with the detergent being used. Sodium carbonate can be used to remove grease, oil and wine stains.

It is also used to neutralize the corrosive effects of chlorine and raise the pH.

4. Add 8 drops of Tea Tree Oil

make detergent at home with picturesTea Tree Oil is a natural disinfectant and is becoming very popular for uses around the house. This amazing natural oil has incredible disinfectant properties.

Tea Tree Oil can be used to make household cleaners that remove mold and mildew, as well as for various health purposes.

Use 1-3 Tbsp per load (3 for large or heavily soiled loads) and store the detergent in an airtight container.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

I used 2 Tbsp for this test (click to enlarge picture – above)

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By Lindsey March 10, 2015 12:35
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  1. Dombie March 11, 02:09

    Erm,,, I’m more likely to find actual washing powder in the apocalypse than finding ‘washing soda crystals’, ‘borax’, ‘tea tree oil’, oxiclean…

    If I’ve got bar soap and I don’t have washing powder I’m going to use soap and water aren’t I? this prep seems kinda redundant and pointless.

    Reply to this comment
    • Deb March 14, 03:28

      I have been making my own soap for years using both Borax and Baking Soda (soda crystals). Both can be easily obtained at any grocery store or in larger quantities at Wal-Mart. You can get Washing Soda, but I prefer to buy Baking Soda as I can use it for everything from cleaning to cooking. Works great and is really cheap.

      Reply to this comment
    • Karen August 23, 09:11

      But if you do this now, while its available, you can put the money you save toward other preps…like toilet paper.

      Reply to this comment
    • lilylou October 2, 02:05

      I have been using homemade detergent for a couple of years and I like it better than store bought. My recipe uses borax, baking soda, and washing soda, along with fels naptha bar soap. It costs a nickel a load to wash clothes, instead of 18¢, like Tide. Clothes are clean and smell fresh without a perfumey odor. You say that you would be just as likely to find detergent than all of these ingredients. Guess what? That’s why you prep. This recipe only uses two tablespoons per load. It goes much further than a box of Tide. The ingredients can also be used separately for other cleaning and disinfecting. I’ve got room in my preps to keep all of these ingredients, and since I’m already making and using it, I won’t have to learn a new skill at a stressful time. It is definitely not “pointless.”

      Reply to this comment
      • JayJay June 21, 20:22

        Also, one can mix a years’ worth and not have to worry about running out–just stock a box of each and a bar of Zote for the next year and you’re prepped!!

        Reply to this comment
    • JayJay June 21, 20:19

      I get Borax, washing sodas, and Zote at Kmart

      Reply to this comment
  2. joanofark06 July 23, 20:11

    I don’t get what “washing soda” is….I see what it’s good for, and what it does. But is that like, any washing detergent for clothes, that you buy at the dollar store, or walmart? Is there names for this “washing soda”? I don’t understand what it is, how do I buy it?

    Reply to this comment
    • sw't tater August 8, 22:52

      You can get it at Wal Mart. It is called arm and Hammer laundry soda. If you have baking soda you can use that like it is, or you can bake the baking soda in a steel pan in the oven for an hour and it will be laundry soda.
      Laundry soda/55oz.cost is abt 5$ per box, and Borax slightly higher. I use 2 boxes of soda to one of borax…with a similar recipe as this writer has posted.Oxi products are also a peroxide product, and anti bacterial.
      The benefit is the cost savings. even with prices going up I make my own for about 6c a load… saves our family,We wash for whole year at same costs would use prior,to me making my own.. in 10 weeks I make a large container at a time..old detergent bucket in powder..most loads are lightly soil and I use a 45 cc medicine cup dispenser/ load..
      This detergent is safe for the HE washers, produces almost no suds….cleans well
      .If I need more spot cleaning I use an oxi clean paste to spots. But have to do that with any commercial laundry product..
      People that have allergies to various detergents, should make a small batch to test.I have a friend that is allergic to Borax. You can still make your own.just make it without the Borax and double the amount of laundry soda…use a soap you know you are not allergic to.
      .. and if allergic be sure to stock plenty of your “special” soap. I have never found anyone allergic to soda or peroxide. Can also use other essential oils in small batches to change scents.. I have used citrus and peppermint.
      Hope these few comments are able to help.

      Reply to this comment
  3. The_nino February 8, 06:35

    Came across this old thread while reading up on home made laundry detergent. I’ve made a few batches with equal parts borax and washing soda, and a bar of zote. Seems to work well, but I always wonder about the amount to use.

    As in this article, it looks like an HE washer was used. I can understand 1 to 2 tbsp for those. But what about the measurements to use with a traditional top loader that uses 35-45 gallons? 1 to 2 tbsp seems way too diluted.

    Reply to this comment
    • L. January 6, 03:10

      I also make my own laundry soap and love it . this isn’t the issue , just venting here buy boy do I hate my HE washer ,. Not enough water and as far as I am concerned they just push the soil back into the clothes. My sister paid over a thousand dollars for her HE and got rid of it after her towels didn’t smell fresh or look clean. bought a reg. Speed Queen washer and put those towels in it and the dirt just rolled out of them . Why can’t we have a choice . Thanks for the venting . Blessings , L.

      Reply to this comment
  4. jo March 5, 22:48

    How much bluing do you add for towels and sheets to get white?

    Reply to this comment
  5. MamaB August 14, 15:10

    Can this be used in He washers? I have heard that you should never use “powders” in them but I need something to clean Firehouse bedding

    Reply to this comment
  6. Iron Wolf March 31, 01:11

    I’m wondering if you could dilute in water for HE washers or put it in the drum BEFORE LOADING THE WASHER?? DOES ANYONE KNOW!!!!!!!

    Reply to this comment
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