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Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes

Homemade laundry detergent can be just as effective as store bought brands as well. This page contains recipes for homemade laundry detergent.

A washer filled with laundry.
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May 31, 2015 Flag
14 found this helpful

This laundry soap is easy to make and free of that long list of chemicals you will find in your average container of store bought soap. It works well too!


Approximate Time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 4 cupsjar of soap


  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup grated laundry soap such as Zote or Fels Naptha
  • cheese grater
  • empty storage containers
Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap


  1. Grate your bar soap. It's actually really fun to do this. My kids kept calling it "pink cheese", lol. :)
  2. Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap
  3. Store the remaining soap in a Ziploc. Be sure to label it properly so everyone knows it's "not" food.
  4. Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap
  5. Add all of your ingredients to a large bowl.
  6. Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap
  7. Mix well.
  8. Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap
  9. Store in an airtight container. I picked these cute Mason jars up for only 99 cents!
  10. Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap
  11. Use 2 tablespoons per load of laundry.
  12. Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

Source: Modified from a recipe in the book "Making It".

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August 20, 2012 Flag
18 found this helpful

Homemade Laundry Deteregent using Borax and baking soda.Buy these ingredients at the dollar store. You will only need 2 tablespoons per load of laundry.


  • 3 bars of Fels Naptha soap
  • 1 box of borax
  • 1 box of washing soda
  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 2 containers of Oxiclean


First grate your soap, then mix all ingredients together. I used two garbage bags doubled up. Tie well and shake all your ingredients around a few times. Put into a container with a lid.

You can add 1-2 containers of fabric softener crystals into the mix for a nice smell.

By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario

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August 9, 2011 Flag
16 found this helpful
This is a super simple way to save a ton of money that goes down the drain for everyone. This also reduces some of the chemical toxicity in the water. For a little work (less than a half an hour) you can make 20 gallons for less than $5!


  • 2 (5 gallon) buckets,
  • long wooden or durable spoon,
  • stick blender if you have one, or just stir
  • a food processor, grater, or the hand type grater
  • a funnel for pouring into cleaned out laundry soap containers.
  • 2 bars of Fels Naptha Soap
  • 4 cups of Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • 4 cups borax
  • 1 cup of Bluette or other brand Bluing
  • 2 cups liquid Oxi Clean (generic from the $ store)
  • 4 cups of Fabric softener (optional, but, you don'tsp. need to worry about dryer sheets this way)


You can find most of these ingredients at WalMart in the same general area, like on a bottom shelf.

First get 2 quarts of water boiling, stir in grated bar soap until dissolved, then remove from heat and stir in dry ingredients. Divide between 2 buckets.

To each bucket add have the bluing and Oxiclean plus the fabric softener (if you use it). Stir these until well mixed or use the stick blender. Add water to bring buckets to 3/4 full. Let sit overnight.

Next morning, stir again. It will be a gel like substance, stir very well until thoroughly blended. Pour into soap into containers 3/4 full (use funnel). Shake very well when going to use it.

I get detergent containers from recycling boxes, friends, family members. I like the big ones with the spigot on the end. You can shake it and set on shelf then measure half the cap. If you have others doing laundry, take a permanent marker and mark where half is at on the cap. Make sure they only use half. This is concentrated.

I only wash in cold water and if I have stains to pre-treat, I have an extra bar of Fels Naptha that I get the garment wet and scrub with the bar. It washes out well in the machine.

Try this! You have nothing but a half hour of time to lose and you will see how well this does and how far it goes. I was amazed when I first tried it. I added the bluing, Oxiclean, and fabric softener to the main recipe you can find anywhere. The bluing brightens whites. I don't like bleach. The Oxiclean is a little extra insurance that it will get really clean, and I use the fabric softener (like national brands do now), to not use softener sheets that clog the filter and cause problems on the life of the dryer. Happy laundry day!

By Suedobbins from Davenport, IA

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January 10, 2011 Flag
32 found this helpful

I only now finally went to the website of the Duggar Family, the family from the "20 Kids and Counting" TV show, and found a treasure trove indeed! Below are 2 laundry tips that really impressed me and gave me a wake-up call with the "recipe cost." Approximately $2 per batch! The Fabric Softener Recipe sounds especially wonderful.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Front or top load machine - best value
  • 4 cups hot tap water
  • 1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax


Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda, and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken. Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel).

Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons. Top Load Machine- 5/8 cup per load (approximately.180 loads). Front Load Machines- 1/4 cup per load (approximately 640 loads).

Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate! Recipe cost approx. $2 per batch.

Fabric Softener Tip:

Add vinegar to rinse cycle instead of using fabric softener. Works great. Removes residue and odors. Also helps to keep washing machine and hoses fresh and clean too.


By Erin813 from Seffner, FL

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November 15, 2011 Flag
8 found this helpful

Make your own soap. So easy and economical.

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February 7, 2016 Flag
0 found this helpful

Can I use homemade lye soap instead of the Fels Naptha? I have been making lye soap for years, and I love it. I know most store bought bar soaps are not made with real lye. They use a mixture with potassium instead of sodium. Will this make a chemical reaction I should be aware of? Please let me know. Thank you.

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    February 19, 20160 found this helpful

    My mother used to make lye soap and she used it in her washing machine by grating a little off the bar. I can't remember her using anything else with it. I hope this helps.

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    July 18, 2015 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    I have a Kenmore refrigerator model 106.9708283. It does not run at all, only lights.

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      July 19, 20150 found this helpful

      I am a great believer in repairpersons whenever possible, but a fridge that doesn't cool at all might be major problems. You should probably consult someone, but in my experience fridges work nearly forever until they die. Then you buy a new one.

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      September 11, 2004 Flag
      1 found this helpful

      Here's a recipe to make your own laundry soap!

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      October 15, 2006 Flag
      1 found this helpful

      I am looking into making my own laundry soap to save some money, but will I really save money? I get my detergent on sale at the discount store and I figure that it costs about 12 cents a load. To me, that is very good. If I make my own, what will it cost per load based on your own experience.

      Thank you,
      Mindy from Oregon

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      February 16, 20100 found this helpful

      Yes you will save money. I make soap 2 times a year. I make the powder detergent. I also use white vinegar in my loads also. Remember the ingredients used can be used for other cleaning so you will save money all around.

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      February 25, 2011 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      Has anyone tried making their own laundry detergent? I read a recipe which used Fels Naptha soap, borax, and Arm and Hammer Super washing soda. It makes 10 gallons. You use 5/8ths of a cup per regular load. Does it clean regular clothing, etc.? Just curious. Thanks in advance.

      By Sandi from Scotland, CT

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      September 19, 20110 found this helpful

      This is an awesome recipe for liquid laundry soap! I have been using it for over a year now and I absolutely love it! It works great as a pre-treat stain remover just by dabbing a bit on a stain and letting it sit over night. I have turned several of my friends and family onto this soap because once you try it you are hooked! The ingredients are trustworthy products that have been around for years! This recipe makes 5 gallons of liquid laundry soap so you only have to make a batch every few months depending on how much you go through laundry detergent.

      What you'll need:

      A Kitchen Grater

      A Funnel

      A Laddle

      Empty Jugs to Store your soap

      5 Gallon Bucket or a Large 5 Gallon Pot

      5 Gallons of Water

      1 Bar of Fels Naptha Soap grated (Found in the bar soaps aisle)

      1 1/2 Cups of Borax (Found in the laundry soap aisle)

      1 1/2 Cups of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (Found in the laundry soap aisle)

      1 1/2 Cups Dawn Dishsoap (Optional)

      Marbles (Optional)

      First you grate your bar of Fels Naptha Soap, either in a bowl or straight into a pan. Bring a gallon of waer to a boil, and add your shredded Fels Naptha Soap. Stir occasionally until your Fels Naptha is completely melted. Once the Fels Naptha is melted, turn off the burner. Then add 1 1/2 cups of Borax and 1 1/2 cups of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda to the pan. Stir until both powders are completely dissolved. Now at this point you can add the remaining 4 gallons of water either into your pan if it is large enough, or you can pour contents of the pan into a 5 gallon bucket then add the remaining 4 gallons of water. Mix it all up really good. At this point you have made a laundry detergent but it does not have suds like traditional laundry soap. I have to have a laundry soap that gt sudsy because my memory is not very good and sometimes I forget if I put the laundry soap in. So at this point I slowly stir in 1 1/2 cups of Dawn Dishsoap. It is great for cutting grease also! Now you let your soap cool down before we add it to our jugs. After it cools I use a ladle to scoop up the soap and a funnel to pour it into my jugs leaving about an inch from the top of the jug. It's a great way to recycle your old laundry soap jugs! I personally use old juice bottles because they are smaller, and weigh less. If you have a back or neck problems, or are making this for an elderly person then juice bottles are great way to go! I like to add one marble to each one of my jugs because over time this soap will thicken so the marble works great to help mix it up again. Before each use I lightly shake the bottle to stir up the ingredients and give it a nice liquid form again. I add about a 3/4 cup of soap per load, and get beautiful results! This recipe is safe for HE washers as well.

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      August 11, 2007 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      Has anyone got a recipe for homemade laundry detergent that does NOT include borax? I CANNOT find it in my country. I have an automatic front loader. Washing soda and laundry bar soap is easily available here. Any suggestions please? Most detergents here in Malta are imported and they are very expensive. Thanks.

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      December 7, 20080 found this helpful

      For those that have a hard time finding the washing soda you can call 1-800-524-1328 and give them your zip code and they will tell you the stores close to you that carries it. The code for it is UPC: 33200-03020 but I did not have to tell them the code.

      For locations that carry the Borax you can put in your zip on this site and it will bring up a list of local stores for you You have to select laundry care in the brand drop down, then select 20 mule team borax 76 oz in the item drop down

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      June 26, 2013 Flag
      1 found this helpful

      Many years ago when I was a student, I first found a homemade laundry detergent recipe on ThirftyFun (so long ago it wasn't even called TF yet!) and have used a variant of it for years and years.

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      May 20, 2004 Flag
      3 found this helpful

      I use Ajax, Dawn or Joy dish soap to wash my clothes. It's cheaper than Tide. Mix it 7 to 1 (Water to dish soap) in your empty laundry detergent bottle.

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      June 24, 2009 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      Has anyone had trouble with homemade laundry detergent? I made a batch using the recipe: 1 bar of shredded soap, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup borax. It called for using a tablespoon in the wash. I have been using 2 tablespoons and it does not seem to be getting my clothes clean. Does anyone have a suggestion?

      By pcheflm from MA

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      April 14, 20110 found this helpful

      I always use 1/4 cup of the homemade liquid laundry detergent and I have no problem with my clothes coming clean and sometimes I also add about 20 drops of essential oil to the laundry detergent while it is in the bottle and when I do the rinse, I use 1/4 cup of white vinegar that also has the 20 drops of essential oil to the gallon and it leaves my clothes smelling fresh and clean.

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      October 12, 2013 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      What bars of soap can I use to make laundry powder?

      By freedomconnie

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      July 5, 20140 found this helpful

      I used a 3 gal bucket and put in one box of preshredded zote one box of arm and hammer washing soda and 3/4 a box of borax makes 6months - a year if detergent if using 1-2 tablespoons on each load. Spent $10.

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      December 2, 2010 Flag
      5 found this helpful

      Using dish soap for laundry soap is cheaper, but making your own from Ivory soap bars, washing soda (not baking soda), and borax, is extremely cheap and very easy to make.

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      March 21, 2012 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      This is the recipe I used: 1 bar of grated fels naptha soap in 4 cups of water in a medium size pan, over medium heat until all soap dissolves. I also added grapefruit scent from Hobby Lobby made for making soap. Then I filled a 5 gallon pail with approximately 4 gallons of hot tap water, to this I added 1/2 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax, then added the mix of dissolved fels naptha soap and previously added scent to the 5 gallon bucket. I stirred it well and put the lid on. I have waited a full 24 hours and the soap is still liquid, no gel at all. What did I do wrong? Can you help?

      By Jill W. from Sterling, IL

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      July 30, 20120 found this helpful

      I've always melted the Fels Naptha, turned off the heat, added the borax and soda and stir till they are dissolved then added it to the hot water in my large container. Given a night, it's always the consistency of runny egg whites and easy to stir to a smooth consistency. Good luck!

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      June 2, 2015 Flag
      1 found this helpful

      Homemade laundry soap is a combination of Fels Naptha, borax, washing and baking soda. Take 3 bars grated Fels Naptha soap, 1 box of borax, 1 box washing soda, and 1 box baking soda. Mix it all together and use it as detergent.

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