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Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes

Category Laundry
Homemade laundry detergent can be just as effective as store bought brands as well. This page contains recipes for homemade laundry detergent.
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16 found this helpful
August 9, 2011
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!

Ingredients:

  • 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)
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  • 4 cups of Fabric softener (optional, but, you don'tsp. need to worry about dryer sheets this way)

Directions:

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.

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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

Comment Was this helpful? 16
January 4, 20160 found this helpful

Thanks, Linda. This was the most helpful post yet. Very clear. Can't wait to try this.

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March 26, 20170 found this helpful

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November 15, 2011

Make your own soap. So easy and economical.

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Diluted dish soap is used by many people in place of laundry detergent. This is a guide about how to make your own laundry soap with dish soap.

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September 11, 20041 found this helpful

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1 found this helpful
June 26, 2013

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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December 2, 20105 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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5 found this helpful
November 6, 2011

Making your own powdered detergent is a lot easier, less mess, and doesn't take up all the space. Here is the recipe I found online and now use.

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April 8, 20050 found this helpful

This is a recipe that my grandmother used to make (as did her mother) and she always said it's good for an all purpose type soap, meaning laundry, housecleaning, etc.

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September 11, 20040 found this helpful

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June 4, 20130 found this helpful

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
October 10, 2004

I just made my first batch of laundry soap (fels naptha, washing soda, borax combo). After sitting for 24 hours, it didn't gel up like it should have. Instead, it serparated into liquid with a waxy, 1 inch top (kinda looks like how fat rises on soup when refrigerated). What did I do wrong? Can it be fixed by re-heating the batch? I thought I followed the directions exactly.

Leann D

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
September 9, 20100 found this helpful

My soap came out chunky, so I took my hand mixer to it and it smoothed it out great. It isn't smooth like the commercial brands, but then it isn't as expensive either. I washed my bathtub and toilet with it today, and loved the fact that it was easier to clean with than comet. I always stir the mixture before use and have never had a problem.

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0 found this helpful
July 18, 2015

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 18, 20150 found this helpful

It is very difficult to answer your question without more information as there can be many reasons your fridge does not cool. Most problems will require a service company to resolve as you will not have the knowledge or be able to resolve on your own.

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0 found this helpful
February 7, 2016

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.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

0 found this helpful
August 11, 2007

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.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
October 23, 20080 found this helpful

Does anyone know where to find Arm&Hammer Washing Soda in Louisiana. Walmart doesn't carry it. Thanks, bdon1

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0 found this helpful
June 24, 2009

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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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0 found this helpful
April 23, 2010

I need a recipe for low suds laundry detergent. Thank you.

By Lola from Bartlesville, OK

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 2, 20100 found this helpful

I use almost the same recipe for detergent as the others but use Dove bar soap, grated, and add 1 cup baking soda to the dry ingredients.

I also make fabric softener using 1 cup baking soda, 6 cups distilled vinegar, 8 cups water. Add ingredients SLOWLY to a gallon container as the vinegar and soda will fizz up. I have used plain vinegar also but like adding more baking soda to my laundry and helps more with static if that is an issue.

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0 found this helpful
April 13, 2010

Anyone have suggestions how to grate down pink Zote soap for laundry detergent? It is quite a soft soap and I have to leave it grated larger or it gets gummy.

When I tried making liquid laundry detergent with it, it wouldn't melt, it just clumped up. I have a bunch of it I'd like to use. When I leave it in the larger grated form, it doesn't seem to dissolve very well. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.

By Cristin from NY

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 24, 20100 found this helpful

let your soap dry out first - I use Fels Naptha soap, I buy it by the carton - When I get it I take all the soap out of the wrappers and leave them in a basket to dry out and to reduce the intensity of the scent - Once dry I grind them in a coffee bean grinder and then continue with the laundry soap making process - You can pick up the grinder at a yard sale of buy it new from Walmart

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0 found this helpful
September 11, 2007

What do you use to make your own laundry detergent? My husband and I are expecting and I am trying to think of new ways to cut costs. Does anyone know how to make homemade laundry detergent? If so please post the recipe!

Thanks!

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
September 18, 20080 found this helpful

I have been making my own laundry soap for a couple of years because of my grandson's eczema. I use 3 cups of borax, 3 cups of washing soda and 3 bars of fels naptha. Grate the fels naptha and mix the washing soda and borax into it. Stir completely and use from the container. I use a third to half cup per normal load. It works great and is cheap. Also, the eczema improved dramatically.

However, I had to stop making the mixture when I had both corneas transplanted early this year. I used half the store bought liquid with 1/3 cup of borax. With this combination I only need half the fabric softener and half the bleach normally needed. Clothing is soft without fabric softener. So, for the price of 1/3 cup borax I am saving 50% on detergent, fabric softener and bleach. Quite a savings and eczema has not been a problem.

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0 found this helpful
April 7, 2009

I am looking for a recipe for laundry detergent.

By Steelepottery

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 14, 20090 found this helpful

I have several listed on my homeschool blog.

countrysidechristianacademy.blogspot.com

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0 found this helpful
July 31, 2007

When I made my liquid laundry detergent, it came out fine. I have noticed since doing laundry with it that it seems the clothes end up with a really odd smell, kind of mildewy. Any ideas? I didn't add any scent, essential oils or anything. I really enjoy having clothes on the line after washing for that fresh from the line smell.

Thanks for any help.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 5, 20080 found this helpful

I would really recommend using vinegar in the rinse, about a cup to cup and a half should work. Vinegar is a mild natural disinfectant .

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0 found this helpful
March 10, 2010

I am using my homemade laundry soap and I have little pieces of soap that will not dissolve in the laundry water. Do I need to use hot water or is there a better solution?

By Cindy from St. Louis, MO

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 15, 20100 found this helpful

I use the dry homemade soap recipe. When making the soap in the first place I put the soap chips in my (extra old) food processor and make it just as fine as possible. Then when I'm going to do a load of laundry I put about 3 C water in my (old extra) blender and blend it for a couple minutes till it looks very smooth, then I use the soap. By doing that I have no pieces in the laundry anymore. My processor and blender are from garage sales and were real cheap.

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0 found this helpful
November 9, 2011

I'm very intrigued by the idea of making my own laundry detergent, but I'm also a bit concerned. We purchased a front loader a few years ago and had the same problem as many with odors. After trying different ideas, I stopped using liquid laundry detergent and fabric softener. I now use powdered and the smell is gone.

I'm worried that the homemade detergent, being liquid, would start the odor problems again. Has anyone had experience with this? Thanks so much for your advice.

By Jessica from Hillsboro, OR

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 10, 20110 found this helpful

The smell in the washer comes from leaving the door closed and the moisture inside causes mildew/mold. It isn't typically related to your detergent.

You can make dry homemade detergent if you prefer that kind. Just look at the different recipes and you'll find that variety too.

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October 27, 20140 found this helpful

How do I use Boraxo hand soap to wash clothes in my machine? and do I mix it with regular washing detergent?

By Angelo

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

0 found this helpful
April 7, 2012

Can you add Oxiclean to homemade laundry soap?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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