Homemade laundry detergent is another fabulous way for me and my family to live a more frugal lifestyle. It’s amazing how much laundry detergent you can go through! With my homemade laundry detergent, you’ll be able to stretch those hard earned bucks, get MORE detergent for your home, and you’ll know exactly what ingredients are going to wash your clothes. You won’t have to worry about all of those harmful chemicals inside of your detergent that no one can hardly pronounce, because you’ll be making your own homemade laundry detergent! All of this sounds fabulous to me, as I like to try to keep those pesky chemicals off my children’s skin and out of my home.

Homemade laundry detergent

My homemade laundry detergent recipe is just what you need to live a more frugal life with less harmful chemicals. You'll now KNOW what your clothes are being washed in, plus make TRIPLE the amount! #diydetergent #homemadedetergent #diy

I love this recipe and have been using it for over three years!  This recipe costs me about $19.00 annually to make myself.  1 batch will last my family of five, almost 3 months. For my homemade laundry detergent, I just made a fresh batch yesterday and used Zote soap.  I’ve always used the Fels Naptha in the past, but wanted to try something new to see how it does.  So far so good 🙂  Enjoy!

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Gather your supplies:

  • 1-5 quart or larger stock pot in which to boil ingredients
  • 1-5 gallon bucket for storing laundry soap
  • 2 cups of Borax (I use Mule brand)
  • 2 cups Arm & Hammer washing soda (it’s not the same as baking soda)
  • 1 bar of either Fels Naptha or Zote soap, grated.

1. Fill your stock pot with water to about 4″ from the top.
2. Bring water to a boil, turn heat down to medium/low  then add your grated soap, Borax, and washing soda AFTER the boiling stops.
3. Turn the temperature down to low, cover, and let “simmer” for about an hour. Stir every 10 minutes to help the soap to dissolve.
4. Very carefully pour hot mixture into 5 gallon bucket. Finish filling the bucket with hot water until the level is about 3 inches from the rim. Cover and let sit for 24 hours.

Use 1/4 cup of mixure for a full load of laundry 🙂

If you loved my homemade laundry detergent, then maybe you’ll love some of these other DIY projects:


34 Replies to “Homemade laundry detergent”

  1. We tried this after Rachel Appeared on Good Morning Acadiana.
    This stuff works well.
    It also saves a lot of money, especially if you have a front-load washing machine. Detergent for
    these machines is very expensive.

    Hats off to Rachel for another money-saving idea.

    1. No…I used Ivory in my first batch, and it worked fine. I don’t care for the scent of Ivory, so I went with Zote or Nels (whichever I find cheaper at the time)

  2. We made our second batch yesterday! First batch we used Fels Naptha, which I LOVED! This batch we used ZOTE and it smells like pledge, which is a great smell for my furniture but not my clothes. We also adjusted the ingredients because we have well water. Used 3 cups of borax and washing soda and it was VERY thick.

    1. Beth you stated that you adjusted the ingredients because you have well water. Can I ask what changes you made? I’ve been using powdered laundry soap but I might change if this is cheaper. I’m thinking about making the dish soap also since it contains the same ingredients.

  3. I do this same thing…except I use it dry. I mix all of the ingredients (along with some regular baking soda and OxyClean) and store the same way. I also grate my soap on the finer side of the grater. No boiling equals less time spent, and less mess. AND I only use 2tbsp per load!

    1. You can find it with the stain removers usually, all depends how your stores are set up. My local store has it in two spots: one with the stain removers and with the bar soaps. It is a bar soap with a white wrapper. The bar it self is orangeish. hope that helps/

    2. Well I make my own laundry detergent but I actually make mine into a cream and u only need 1 tablespoon per load of laundry no joke and it works very well.

  4. I love this recipe, but do you want to make it even easier? Pour the Borax & Washing Soda dry into the bucket- cook only the grated soap in the hot water until melted. Pour into bucket on the powdered Borax & Soda, stir a minute or two until dissolved. Add cool water to the 5 gal mark, then cover & sit overnight. In the morning, stir well and put in smaller containers! Easy peasy!

  5. is there a way for it to be totally powder and do the ingredients above work well in the newer front load he washers. Would someone please e mail me and respond. Thanks.

    1. You can make this same recipe minus the water to make the dry version. You will use 1 tablespoon per load 😀

  6. I’m currently using the dry version, but miss the wonderful scent regular laundry detergent. It smells plain after drying (I’m also using homemade fabric softener). Any ideas?

    1. You can use that pot, just use the same method, you’ll add more hot water to the 5 gallon bucket 🙂

  7. Is this recipe safe for the He washers that require “special” detergents? These detergents do not leave a residue known to corrode washer parts.

  8. I made my first batch, the other day. Is it supposed to come out clumpy? I used a different soap, but I think I followed the directions. I even stirred just a little in the morning and it is really clumpy.

  9. I have a front loader and currently only use liquid detergent. How does this work in a front loader? Do you just put a scoop on top of the clothes? With so many people making & using their own, I know there is a way to do this without leaving spots, stains, etc. on the clothes.


  10. I make this detergent. This time I used the Fels Naptha with a bath size bar of Dial Antibacterial soap. after it’s sat a few hours I stir it with a large metal spoon that I leave in the bucket so I don’t have to hunt it down each time. After it has thickened, I loosen it up good in the bucket, then get my mixer going on low and get rid of all the clumps. Sometime I have to use the mixer twice then it doesn’t get the monster clump, sludge or the Blob as my kids call it. Note: if you make the powder version some folks grate the soap then put all the dry ingredients in a food processor. Please put a damp towel over the machine while it is mixing. The dust that it puts out can get in your lungs and it burns like fire.

  11. I have used the homemade laundry detergent before and I love it. I do have trouble finding Zote soap though, I got one bar right now that I’m holding on to for dear life. I also add a little essential oil (I like peppermint) to the liquid. Zote soap all by itself get stains out. I keep a mason jar of melted Zote soap in water with peppermint on my kitchen counter and have rags in it to wipe down my counters and clean up spills, works great!

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