Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How to Recycle a Protein Powder Container and Make DIY Laundry Detergent for Cheap!

Liquid laundry detergent makes my washing machine stink. It doesn’t matter if it is scented, unscented, “allergy free”, plant based ingredients, or not. If I wash several loads of clothes in liquid detergent in row, my washer REEKS like nobody’s business.

That’s why I started making my own powdered laundry detergent.

My homemade powdered laundry detergent doesn’t make my washing machine smell bad, it gets even my husband’s toxically sweaty running clothes clean, and by keeping the laundry detergent recipe simple with just three ingredients so it is simple quick to whip up a batch.

Super simple hand made laundry detergent!
Some photos in this post are courtesy of my DIY blog Condo Blues

I like that homemade laundry detergent only costs four to six cents a load (depending upon the size of the load.) Unlike commercial liquid laundry detergent that runs from nineteen cents a load (Tide) to eight cents a load (Purex.)

The only downside to making your own washing machine powder is when I run out  when I have a thousand things to do at once. I’m sure more organized folks never have this problem but it still happens even after making a double or triple batch of laundry powder.   

That’s when I figured it is time to get a bigger laundry detergent container. I was all ready to buy a big glass Anchor Hocking Heritage Hill Glass Storage Jar online (I love their jars!) until I spied my husband’s empty protein powder container on the kitchen table next to my iPad.

Trying to be a low waste house means I should reuse the drink container. Not to mention, it would also allow me to slide that 20 bucks I was about to spend into the  Travel Fund jar instead of the store’s pocket. Even better I was impatient about getting a new giant container for the laundry room so I could fill it was a mega batch of detergent.

Why not repurpose the protein powder container for storage and give it a try? If it doesn’t work out, I can still buy the pretty glass storage jar.

Pin this recipe for later and to share with your friends!

I used Mod Podge to decoupage a piece of wrapping paper cut to size to cover the container’s label because the brand my husband likes uses some sort of cement to attach the labels and they NEVER come off. 

Next I typed my handmade laundry powder recipe into Word, added a page border, a background color and printed it. I used Mod Podge to attach and later seal the recipe to the front of the container.

Now it’s time to make powdered laundry detergent and fill the container!

How to Make Powdered Laundry Detergent for HE and Conventional Washing Machines

½ cup of borax

½ cup of washing soda (not baking soda)

1 bar of soap (You can use either a laundry soap like Fels Naptha or Zote or a bath/hand soap. I use both types of bar soap and all work in this project.)

The supplies in this tutorial are something that I’ve relied on for the past nine years to keep my clothes clean and like so much that I have no problem recommending them to you (and using my affiliate links.) Thank you for helping us keep the lights on at Lazy Budget Chef!


1. Grate the bar of soap using the cheese grater or  food processor.

Tip: If you have any little nubs of bar soap you can  grind them up and toss them into the mix too.Photos courtesy of my DIY blog Condo Blues

2. Mix the finely grated soap flakes into a container with ½ a cup of borax and ½ a washing soda. That’s It!

To make powdered laundry detergent in bulk

I use 3 grated 11 ounce bars of Zote, 7 cups (usually one 55 ounce box) of washing soda, and 7 cups of Borax.
For small loads I use 2 tablespoons of detergent. For large loads I use three tablespoons of detergent. I also add one scoop of oxygen bleach to the detergent after I put it in the washing machine. The oxygen bleach doesn't work as well if I add it to my laundry detergent ingredients. It works best when I add it separately, so I do.y

How well does homemade laundry detergent  work?

I have more powdered HE laundry detergent options than I did when I started making my own laundry detergent nine years ago. I still use it because it works. Homemade laundry detergent doesn't make me itch or cause a rash. I think the performance really depends upon what type of soap you use for the mix.
I think bar of  laundry soap works a little better than using a  bath soap but some folks may not be able to find Fels Naptha or Zote locally. If that is the case, consider ordering the homemade laundry detergent ingredients online.
Some people say they think homemade laundry detergent leaves their white clothes dingy. I haven’t had a problem with this because I regularly use hydrogen peroxide based “oxygen” bleach (for whites and colors) or bluing (whites only) in my washing machine. Or you can try using Zote which has optical brighteners for your mix. All of these items are environmentally friendly and will brighten up your clothes. Did you like this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Lazy Budget Chef RSS feed or by subscribing to Lazy Budget Chef by email.