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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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By 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!


  • 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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By 8 found this helpful
November 15, 2011

Make your own soap. So easy and economical.

Buy a bar of Fels-Naptha soap (found at most grocery stores). Shave it or run through a food chopper, until very fine. Then melt it on a stove in a sturdy pan with 4 cups of hot water. Stir and melt until totally dissolved. Then pour into a 5 gallon bucket and add one cup of Arm and Hammer washing soda, one half cup of borax, and fill the bucket to the top with very hot water. Stir real good.


Let set overnight. It will be thick and gelled, that's OK. Stir up real good again, and fill empty soap containers with half of this concoction and fill the rest of the container with hot water. Then shake and store or use right away. Shake each time before using.

When doing wash, use about 1/2 cup per load. It works terrific! Really terrific! I have been using this for over two years now and the clothes are washed to perfection. And it's so cheap!

If you run out of fabric softener, add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle, and your clothes will be super soft.

By Sondra from AZ

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September 11, 20041 found this helpful

I would like to give everyone the recipe for homemade laundry soap. This will cost you only around $7 a year to make your own soap!

You will need:



  1. Fill large bucket or container with 3 gallons of hot tap water.

  2. Grate the bar of soap into a saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the soap, and heat, stirring constantly until soap is dissolved.

  3. Add soap/water mixture to the hot water in the bucket. Stir to combine.

  4. Add 1 cup of washing soda and stir (do not mix up these steps).

  5. As this cools, it will turn into a white gelatinous soap. Thickness depends on the size of bucket used.

Use 1 1/2 to 2 cups per load of laundry. You can add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the load as well. Use 1/2 cup vinegar in a Downy ball as a softener (the vinegar smell does not stay in your clothes).


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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. Melt the soap in the water, add the washing soda and borax, then dilute it with more water and you're done. Look for the recipe on the internet. You may not find all the ingredients at your store, but they are available online


By P.L. from Navarre, OH

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By 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.



Grate 1 bar of Ivory soap (or other not strongly scented bar soap). Add 1/2 cup of borax. Add 1/2 cup washing soda. Mix together and store in air tight container. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

This recipe is for a low-sudsing detergent and works especially well in high efficiency washing machines.


By Alice from Poteau, OK

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By 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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March 26, 20171 found this helpful

Making your own laundry detergent powder can save you money, and give you the cleaning results you want. This is a guide about homemade powdered laundry soap.

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March 17, 20171 found this helpful

Many ThriftyFun members have asked for or shared the recipe that the Duggar Family uses to wash the laundry for their famously large family. This page features homemade homemade laundry detergent recipes like the one that the Duggar's use.

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June 4, 20131 found this helpful

This is a guide about homemade laundry soap for an HE washer. You can easily and inexpensively make your own laundry soap to use in all types of washers, including HE.

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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

Environmentally friendly cleaning alternatives.

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September 19, 20170 found this helpful

Fels-Naptha is a common ingredient in homemade soaps. You can make your own homemade laundry soap using Fels-Naptha.

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March 14, 20170 found this helpful

You can save a lot of money by making your own laundry powder. This page contains a recipe for DIY dry laundry soap for $20 a year.

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September 29, 20170 found this helpful

Storing your homemade dry laundry detergent in an airtight container will keep it fresh and extend its shelf life. This is a guide about shelf life of homemade laundry detergent.

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September 28, 20170 found this helpful

Many laundry detergent recipes list borax as an ingredient, however there are many other recipes that do not. This is a guide about homemade laundry detergent without borax.

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March 15, 20170 found this helpful

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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March 14, 20170 found this helpful

Certain cleaning products are not recommended if you are on a septic system. This is a guide about making septic safe laundry detergent.

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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.

By 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 Linda from MA


June 25, 20090 found this helpful

I have made my own laundry soap for almost a year. I make a liquid soap rather than the powder. My first batch I used a Zote bar and my clothes were clean and smelled nice. Then I switched to Fels-Naptha soap to make it and no matter what amount of soap I used my clothes were never clean and my husband complained that they smelled after working in them only a few hours. So I switched to Ivory soap and wasn't happy with it either. I then went back to using a Zote bar to make my detergent and my clothes look great and smell great. The only place I was able to find the Zote bars was at a local Latino foods grocery store. You can also adjust the amount of borax used according to how hard your water is. For my husband's stinky work clothes I also add 1/4 cup of Simple Green. It gets the greasy smell out of them! I hope this helps!

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By 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!



By Heather, Australia (Guest Post)
September 14, 20070 found this helpful

Low Suds Laundry Gel - suitable for top or front loading washing machines.

Take one bar of laundry soap (eg Velvet soap) and shred. Place into two quarts (1.9 liters) of simmering water. Stir well and allow to sit, stirring occasionally till completely dissolved. Pour into a 2 gallon (7.4 liter) bucket and add 1 gallon (3.7 liters) of cold water. Dissolve 2 tsp of lye in one cup of cold water (never use an aluminum container for this process - preferably use stainless steel) and when main mixture is cool add the dissolved lye and two cups of borax to the mixture and stir very well until the borax is dissolved. You can add a few drops of essence oils if you want fragrance. Add enough water to the fill the bucket, stir, set aside covered until the next day. It should be a gel that dissolves perfectly into a load of wash. Use one or two cups per wash load.

I am using caustic soda for the lye. Both the caustic soda and borax are available from the supermarket.
WARNING: Always add your solid form lye (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, caustic soda) to the liquid. If the liquid were added to the solid form lye a violent reaction could result. This means you could have a "volcano" erupt out of your container. Any form of lye will give off poisonous fumes so don't breathe the fumes in and prepare in a well ventilated area. Do not have children present. The caustic soda prevents your washing machine from clogging up.

I put the gel directly into the drum of the front loading washing machine. The gel is firmish and will clog up the normal dispenser.

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By bambi2003. (Guest Post)
September 14, 20070 found this helpful

I use Ivory soap, washing soda (different than backing soda) and hot water. All I do is grate a bar of Ivory soap and melt it in a pot of water, then I fill up a bucket with about 4 gallons of hot water and add the soap, make sure the soap is smooth or your laundry soap will be lumpy. Last add 2 cups of the washing soda and stir. As it cools it will get thick and then you can put it in your bottles. I just use water jugs. You use a cup per load. I like the way it works your clothes don't have a perfume smell, but it's the perfume that's bad for us anyway. Hope this helps you. For more great homemade things like baby wipes check out

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September 14, 20070 found this helpful

I don't. I use regular detergent I get on sale (and with coupons). I found it made no difference, although I started with dye and fragrance free.

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By (Guest Post)
September 15, 20070 found this helpful

There are recipes for laundry detergents on this site if you are still interested. In the search box at the top of the page, type in laundry detergent. I have never tried them as I'm not interested in using them, but a lot of people make their own. The ones with fels-naptha would be good as that's what grandma used to use all the time and it does remove stains!

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By (Guest Post)
September 15, 20070 found this helpful

What is washing soda and where can you get it?

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By Sharon Leith (Guest Post)
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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By 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.


By Kathy Jones (Guest Post)
July 31, 20070 found this helpful

I noticed the same thing with the dry homemade detergent. I add about 1/2 cup baking soda to each load. It seems to help alot. Hope this helps you. Kathy Jones

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August 1, 20070 found this helpful

Isn't it just as expensive to make laundry detergent as to buy some of the generic brands? I don't get it.

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August 3, 20070 found this helpful

I think that one of the main reasons people choose to make their own laundry detergent, etc. is that they can be made without any chemicals, scents (for those allergic), and ingredients that may be harmful to the environment. It may not necessarily be cheaper, but it's a part of living "green".

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August 4, 20070 found this helpful

It costs me under 2 cents per load to make homemade laundry soap. I certainly cannot find a generic that cheap. I've never had my clothes smell funny, just clean and unscented. Could it be the machine that you wash you clothes in that could be causing the problem--maybe the laundromat or an older model front-loader (mildew on the gasket seal)? I've heard that in some places, doing laundry and putting them up during humid weather causes problems. I always soak my clothes for a while before I finish washing them to make sure the dirt and natural oils break down. Maybe this would help.

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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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February 5, 20080 found this helpful

It is incredibly cheaper not to mention healthier for you and the water supply. We have a well and I wouldn't use anything else now.
Also no plastic jugs or packaging left to deal with. Win/Win/Win

And yes I do put vinegar in the rinse cycle. Removes all the soap, softens the water and clothes, and no static cling.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 23, 2010

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

By Lola from Bartlesville, OK

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By 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

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By 0 found this helpful
April 7, 2009

I am looking for a recipe for laundry detergent.

By Caroline Steele


April 8, 20090 found this helpful

my husband has fallen in love with the smell of our laundry
http://itsmells  aundry-soap.html also use 1/4 to 1/2 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle and the dryer sheets
http://itsmells  ryer-sheets.html

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June 5, 20110 found this helpful

Does anyone add Tide or another store bought laundry detergent to your homemade powdered laundry detergent? If so, how much do you add? Mine seems to need a booster. It doesn't get the grimy look out of some clothes.

By lasamons

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By 0 found this helpful
April 11, 2005

I would be more grateful if you send me the ingredients and preparation for making detergent powder and floor cleaning liquid at home for my home consumption. Thanking you.


April 12, 20050 found this helpful

Floor Cleaner - do not use on wood or laminated flooring. Great for tile and no-wax floors.
In a one gallon jug add in this order: 3 quarts water, 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon ammonia and 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon bleach-free liquid laundry detergent (I use Tide). This can be used as a floor cleaner or as an all-purpose cleaner. I always have a few spray bottles around the house. I was told by a floor installer, the best way to wash a floor is to first sweep it clean, spray with this cleaner, wait some time, time will depend on how dirty the floor is, and damp mop or wipe. Use one bucket containing clean water to rinse the mop. Empty when water gets dirty. I was told the worst thing for a floor is to swab it - meaning using too much water or cleaner.

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April 12, 20050 found this helpful

Powdered Laundry Detergent
1 cup grated Fels Naptha Bar Soap
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax

Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light loads, use 1 tablespoon. For heavy loads, use 2 tablespoons.
Since you are in India, I do not know if these ingredients are available to you. Maybe someone reading this could suggest any substitutes.

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By 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.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 7, 2012

Can you add Oxiclean to homemade laundry soap?

By Karen

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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

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 10, 20110 found this helpful

I would like to know how to make laundry detergent.

By Marilyn from Knoxville, TN


Homemade Laundry Detergent

Go to and type in laundry detergent in the search box. There are several lovely tutorials to choose from. You may have to search through several pages of entries before you find one you like and want to try, but it is worth a look. :) (10/06/2010)

By SuzyQ82

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Grate a bar of natural castille soap (I love Dr. Bronners's) into a container. Add 2 cups of the Arm and Hammer washing soda, 1 cup of Borax, and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Put the lid on, shake it to mix it. Use 2 tablespoons for each load. (10/20/2010)

By Belle

Homemade Laundry Detergent

The recipe that works for me is similar. 1 bar of grated soap, 1 cup borax, 1/2 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup baking soda. I use half washing soda and half baking soda because I've found that all washing soda was causing some color fade. 2 spoonfuls per load, (give or take and less if you have an HE), works just as well as commercial detergents, in my opinion.

For the soap, many people use Fels Naptha, but it can be hard to find and expensive to buy, online, (especially when you factor in shipping). I can only find it and the washing soda at Wegmans. Ivory's ingredients are similar. I'll make a double batch, using one bar of Fels, one of Ivory.

There are a lot of recipes for liquid detergents out there. Don't bother. I've never had any problems with these not dissolving, even in cold. Just put them in the bottom of the tub before filling. You can even treat stains by dipping a damp toothbrush in the powder and scrubbing the stain, though an enzyme-based spray is good to keep on hand, too. (11/09/2010)

By Sabrina

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August 19, 20100 found this helpful

The recipe for the laundry soap is as follows. Feel free to add the anecdote if you like.

  • 1 c. shredded or grated bar soap (I use the food processor to shred the little soap bars from motels, or buy soap at $1 store.)
  • 1/2 c. super washing soda (Arm and Hammer) This can be tricky to find, but some grocery stores carry it. A & H toll free locator number is 1-800-524-1328.
  • 1/2 c. borax (Borateem avail in laundry detergent aisle.)

This doesn't suds up. Use only 1 tablespoon.

I make a double batch of this and it lasts 6 months.

I recently was away from home for a few days. I had just made up a double batch of this homemade powder laundry detergent. When I got home the canister was almost empty. The housesitter did some wash and since the stuff doesn't suds up-she kept adding more. She used like a 6-month supply of laundry soap! I was not pleased.

By Linda


Homemade Laundry Powder

I got this recipe similar to yours off the Recipe Goldmine website, but I've modified it.
First, I wear one of those paper masks while mixing and pouring my ingredients. There is a bit of "dust" and if you breathe it, it's not particularly irritating, but you can taste it as well. You can get about 5 of these masks for a buck at the $$ store.

Into a large bucket with a lid (I use the Tidy Cats large bright yellow bucket with a fold-back plastic blue lid and handle, works perfectly.), add:

  • equal amounts of washing soda (not baking soda) and borax, I think the ratio I used was 3 boxes of washing soda to 2 boxes of borax, to make it equal.
  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 4 bars of grated Fels Naptha (a hand grater or food processor) soap
  • drops of essential oil (I use a combination of cedarwood, lavender,
    eucalyptus, pine, spruce, and tea tree)

Mix all well with a large spoon, or close lid, and shake like I do.

I use one of those tiny scoops that I think came with protein powder, it's about 1/8 cup per load. You won't have suds at all, but grimy water almost instantly. I found by increasing the Fels Naptha to "four" bars for my ratio, it gets all the clothes, even my cleaning cloths and dishrags super clean. It smells lovely and very fresh.

I am shocked how clean it gets my clothes and towels, case in point.
I used a former popular liquid detergent known for it's great smell.
However, it never got the bathroom face towels (mascara, makeup, etc.) completely clean. With this, it's fantastic.

I label the top of the container with the date made, so far it's been a month. I should be able to get another 4-5 months out of this batch.
Should work well in Hi-efficiency washers too, since it's practically suds less.

1/8 cup works well. I use it with my homemade fabric softener (2 cups vinegar, 2 cups baking soda, 4 cups warm water, plus essential oils) and my clothes look and smell fantastic and I do about two loads a day with three kids under 8!

Thanks. This detergent is very economical and it's fun to make. (08/29/2005)

By Melissa

Homemade Laundry Powder

Regular soap can work (like Pure and Natural or Ivory), but if you use too much it can leave a residue over time. Fels Naptha is in the laundry section near the washing soda and borax, also similar brands are Zote. If you have allergies, it works great! My 4 year old can't have the Glacier Breeze or bleach alternative. We haven't pinpointed it, but figure who needs it anyway? (03/15/2006)

By Kelly

Homemade Laundry Powder

I have my own recipe, my son has sensitive skin.
I use Ivory soap in my recipe, I grate it up with a cheese grater. Sometimes when I feel lazy I just grate about a third of a bar of Ivory and throw it in the wash by itself, it gets the job done. The scent is light, and our clothes are always clean. My son does not break out from it. The recipe I use is:

  • 1 bar of Ivory soap, grated
  • 3c water
  • 1c borax
  • 3 gallons of water
  • a five gallon bucket

Place 3c of water in a saucepan on the stove, add grated soap, simmer over low heat, stirring gently until completely dissolved. Fill bucket with 3 gallons of water, pour melted soap mixture into water, stir well, add borax and stir well. Let it sit a few hours, it will become like a gel. I use a one cup kitchen measure, I use 1 cup per load. It doesn't take long to make and it makes a lot. It works well, and a three pack of Ivory soap is around a dollar. I always have a bucket in the laundry room.


By Karen Sutton

Homemade Laundry Powder

Softer soaps should be left to dry out before grating, or you could freeze them to make it easier.
I mix in a food processor and use a small coffee can to store it. I use 1 bar regular or a portion of a bar of laundry soap (Fels Naptha, Zote) and 1 cup each washing soda and borax.
2 tablespoons in a large load (front loader) and my clothes are clean. Keep a chunk of ungrated laundry bar and moisten the stain or soap and rub it in- much cheaper than stain treaters!

Homemade Laundry Powder

I have been using this same recipe for about a year now and I love it! Just use the recipe that started this post. 1 cup bar soap (Fels Naptha is what I use, sometimes hard to find, but once you find it, it is only about $1.25- $1.50 a bar. I have used Ivory, but I think Fels Naptha does a better job). 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax. So easy! 1T per load (2T if it is a heavily soiled or large load). Sometimes I grate up those bath bar slivers left over and throw those into my laundry soap as well.

For a fantastic stain remover: equal parts vinegar, ammonia, peroxide, and liquid laundry soap. Make sure to add the laundry soap last or it will foam up on you. Put in a spray bottle. Note: Don't leave on the clothing for a long period of time. Spray then wash.

My last tip. I love this one! Fabric softener. 6 cups water, 3 cups vinegar, and 2 cups hair conditioner. Find a hair conditioner that you like the smell of. It doesn't have to be expensive, you can even use something from the $ store. I like the Ocean scents, they tend to smell similar to Downey. Use as you would any softener. It won't leave a residue on your clothing or towels. (09/15/2007)

By Letha

Homemade Laundry Powder

I have been using the liquid detergent since march of 2007 and in almost a year I have only spent about $35 on laundry detergent. Wow! I love it.

You can use just about any soap that you want. At one time I couldn't find the Zote so I bought Octagon and it worked just as well. When people hear how much we spend on detergent they just don't believe it. Oh well.

I also use this in my front load washer. (03/05/2008)

By gesus4gives

Homemade Laundry Powder

If you want to boost this recipe a bit, add a box of Biz to it. That stuff gets everything out! I "discovered" it when my stepsons both played football and the coach insisted he had "never" coached a losing team that wore white pants. All the mother's could have cheerfully killed him. Of course, the team did have a losing season, but after asking how everyone else was getting those nasty pants so sparkly white, I have become the queen of laundry! (03/08/2008)

By Cheryl Waldrop


Use Soapnuts instead. They are nuts from a tree that actually have soap inside of them, and when you throw about 5 or 6 into a sock and tie it, toss it in the machine, it washes so well! I use that now and 1/2 cup of baking soda to make everything whiter. Just type soapnuts or laundry nuts online, eBay is the best price. Thanks. (06/12/2008)

By sheila


Homemade Laundry Powder

I make this powdered soap by first off making my own regular soap using lard, coconut oil, and lye. (You can Google soapmaking for proper procedure on how to do this. I use a 0% super fat in my laundry soap). I make a 5 lb. batch of unscented soap then grate it up.

I add the soap shreds I grated up to my Cuisinart with the S blade. I add 2 boxes of borax and 2 boxes of washing soda. I have to do it in batches so it all fits, but by grinding them all up together the soap becomes a powder and mixes with the borax and washing soda. When I am done, it nearly fills up my 5 gallon bucket I keep by the washing machine. I use anywhere between 1/4 - 1/2 cup of this washing powder per load.

A bucket of this lasts well over a year or more. I also keep a hunk of the homemade lye soap to use as a stain stick. I just get the garment wet in the stained area and rub some of the soap in. It lifts stains and even oil stains from clothing. I just throw in the hamper and let the stain stick/soap dry into the clothing. When I do laundry then I don't need to pre-treat. I just pre-treat when I am getting undressed and happen to have stains on my clothes. I keep the stain stick in the drawer in the bathroom so I can do this. (08/22/2008)

Homemade Laundry Powder

I started making the liquid detergent about a year ago and I am really happy with it. It is "not" an exact science, there are many recipes, but they all call for basically the same 3 ingredients.

I have even seen people use bar soap like Zest, Dial, and more. But the reason I am writing today is that if you decide to make the powdered version, you need to be "very" careful about grinding up the bar soap. When I used the mini Cuisinart today to do so, it was the right powder like consistency, but would also float in the air when the lid was opened to the processor. People who have respiratory problems, asthma, etc. may want to stick to the liquid or use a face mask when grinding up the soap powder. My lungs have been burning all day after making a batch of the powder.

That being said, the recipe I use is one part bar soap, I have used ZOTE and Fels Naptha; ground to a powder to 2 parts borax and washing soda each and I only have to use 1 TBS of mix on normal loads and 2 TBS on heavily soiled. I also use Oxiclean on whites. With 4 boys and a grimy hubby, it works wonderfully and lasts me for months. Once you buy the 3 ingredients, you should easily be able to make a year's worth or longer depending on how much you use. One whole year on less than $12 of supplies!

I switched to the powdered just to save storage space and time. I recently ran out and purchased a bottle of detergent for about $3 and I barely used it for a week. If you want to save and use more natural products, this is the way to go, and you can change the formula up a little bit to suit your liking and water hardness. Again, this is "not" an exact science! (08/25/2008)

By Lea

Homemade Laundry Powder

I use Zote bar soap. I can find it at Ultra foods or the local Mexican grocery store. I comes in a pink or white bar. I've made it with both and prefer the pink. It runs between 69 and 99 cents a bar. One thing I do is to dry out the soap before I use it. I open the package and let it dry for a week or so. When you shred it, it will be a powder rather than a shred. It mixes and dissolves quicker. I found this out by mistake. My son opened a package and then put in in the back of the cupboard. I tried it and it worked better than the shred. I make the recipe 6 times larger and it lasts a long time and I have 5 in our family. It also works for my husband who is sensitive to laundry soaps. (12/19/2008)

By Jennifer

Homemade Laundry Powder

Also, I used blue Coast soap to make this recipe and it turned the white buttons on my blouse yellow. I don't recommend using a soap with a color in it to make this recipe. (01/14/2009)

By Annie


Thank you for those that spoke about the soapnuts.
I just bid on some from eBay called NaturOli. I read that with these all you have to do is add 3-6 nuts (in a sock or similar) to the wash for 3-5 cycles.
I am looking forward to using them. I have heard nothing, but good things. I also have been using the powdered laundry detergent for about 2.5 years and wouldn't go back to store bought. (02/10/2009)

By Amanda Rabe

Homemade Laundry Powder

I disagree about it not removing stains well. I use a mixture of 2 bars of Fels Naptha, 2 cups borax and 2 cups washing soda. On my whites and anything extra dirty, I use 3 Tbs per load in my top load. The key to getting stains out is special attention. My son played football at his birthday party in his brand new khaki pants. It rained the day before so they were black when he finished. I brought them to the laundry room and immediately went to work on them by filling the washer as usual with the detergent, only I didn't load the rest of the clothes until I was done with the pants. I scrubbed them while they were in the water and they look brand new again! This is an excellent detergent recipe for stain removal. (02/16/2009)

Homemade Laundry Powder

About the "dust" put a damp rag over the top of the food processor. (10/08/2009)

By Stephanie

Homemade Laundry Powder

Here's the recipe I used. It works great. It will last me forever!

Home-made Powdered Laundry Soap

  • 1 large box of baking soda
  • 1/2 box of borax
  • 4 scoops of Oxiclean (the non-bleaching kind)
  • 2 bars grated Ivory soap

Mix all ingredients together in a large pail with a lid. Keep away from animals.
Use 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of detergent per load. Do "not" use more than that!

* Do not use colored soaps. They can stain buttons.

** Use 1/2 dryer sheet instead of a whole one with this mixture. May use a whole dryer sheet in the winter when there's more static, but I've found normally 1/2 sheet works fine.

** The Dollar store's version of Oxiclean is fine as long as it has no advertised bleaching power. Much cheaper than buying it for $7+ per tub at Walmart.

You can substitute the Oxiclean with "washing soda" aka sodium carbonate if you can find it. Arm and Hammer makes some and may be found in the laundry aisle. (04/27/2010)

By Shandi

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February 18, 20100 found this helpful

We go through so much laundry. Laundry soap can really cut into a budget so here is a recipe to help you save dollars and keep you family smelling good. I find all of these at Harps.

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June 11, 20090 found this helpful

I have lost my instructions for making homemade laundry detergent. Please help? Thanks.

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