How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Make your own homemade laundry detergent right in your own kitchen using common cleaning products. Save money, help the environment by reducing product packaging waste, and enjoy the pride of having made something useful all by yourself. Just think of it. From now on you can be free from ever having to buy commercial laundry detergent again.

How Are Commercial Laundry Detergents Formulated?

Commercial laundry detergents are formulated to get your clothes clean with a combination of a surfactant and a builder. The specific surfactants and builders used in commercial laundry detergents vary among manufacturers. Manufacturers choose which ingredients to use in their formulations according to their cost and availability, as well as the purpose for which the detergent is designed. For example, a detergent specifically made for fine cloths such as silk will be very different than a laundry detergent made for all-purpose use.

What Are Surfactants And What Do They Do?

Surfactants act on a molecular level to inhibit water beads from forming by breaking down surface tension in the water molecule. This both improves the fabric’s ability to absorb water, and also enables the surfactant to gain access to oil and dirt in the fabric. The effect of a water molecule’s surface tension can be understood with a simple experiment. If you place a completely dry sponge under running water, the water sits on the surface and simply runs off the top of the sponge. To get the sponge to absorb the water, you have to squeeze it and force the water into the fibers. Sodium tetraborate, sold under the brand name, Borax, is a common example of a surfactant.

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