Laundry detergent pods and tabs seem to be catching on quickly, and I can see why: they’re awfully convenient. Unfortunately, they also happen to be awfully expensive. And the thing is, they don’t have to be. There’s really nothing special about them. They’re just pre-measured laundry detergent.
I can make them, and so can you.
I spent some time playing around in my kitchen, and I came up with a recipe for laundry detergent tabs that I really like. It cleans well; it smells nice; it’s affordable; and it’s easy to make. I took all the ingredients that are commonly found in old-school laundry detergent recipes; and I modernized them by using them to make tabs.
Want to try them out for yourself? Here’s the recipe:
What You’ll Need:
- Half of a Fels Naptha bar
- 1-1/2 cups Borax
- 1-1/2 cups washing soda
- 3/4 cup vinegar
- 15-20 drops of essential oil (optional)
What You Do:
Finely grate half of a Fels Naptha bar. A heavy-duty food processor makes quick work of the job, but you can also do it by hand.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Then, add the vinegar. It will foam a bit.
Mix everything together, until it’s well combined.
Then, press your detergent into a mold to form your pellets. I’ve tested lots of different molds (ice cube trays, metal tart pans, plastic soap molds, etc.), and I’ve had the best results with silicon candy molds. They’re easy to fill; the tabs are easy to remove; and the mold is easy to clean afterwards. I use this peanut butter cup mold to make my laundry detergent tabs and my dishwasher detergent tabs. It gives me nice tablespoon-sized tabs. Each mold makes 30 tabs. Since this recipe makes 53 tabs, I use two of these molds.
If you decide to use something that you already have, just try to stick to tablespoon-sized tabs.
Allow your tabs to dry. Then, pop them out of the mold, and transfer them to an air-tight container.
To Use: Just drop one tab in your washer for a small load (or a HE load) and two for a big load. These will work well in both top and front loaders.
Cost per load: $.04 for a small or HE load
$.08 for a large load