How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent!

How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Sulfates, phenols, petroleum distillates…can anyone guess which common household item is comprised of these lovely sounding chemicals?  That would be your typical laundry detergent!

There is absolutely nothing old-fashioned, paranoid, or pig-headed about making your own laundry detergent.  Rather, I believe it is a very economic and healthy decision to make!

If saving money on your laundry bill and avoiding an unnecessary barrage of chemicals on your skin sounds appealing, then check out this incredibly easy recipe for an all-natural laundry detergent!  (Of the two options, liquid or powdered detergent, I make the liquid.)

You only need three simple ingredients to make either a powdered soap or a liquid soap:

  1. Washing Soda (55oz):  the Arm and Hammer brand is found at most grocery stores on the detergent aisle
  2. Borax (76oz):  found at most grocery stores on the detergent aisle
  3. One Bar of Soap:  the unscented Ivory brand works greatHow To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Powdered Laundry Detergent:

  1. Grate the bar soap or mix in a food processor until completely ground up.
  2. In a large bowl, mix two parts washing soda, two parts borax, and one part grated soap.  (You can also mix in a few teaspoons of baking soda for extra fresh clothes if you want.)
  3. Keep in a closed container.
  4. For each load of laundry, use 1/8 to ¼ cup.

Liquid Laundry Detergent:

  1. Grate the bar of soap with a cheese grater, or pulse in a food processor.
    How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

    The bar of Ivory soap has been grated.


  2. Place grated soap in a pan with two quarts of water and heat gradually, stirring constantly until soap is dissolved.
    How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

    This is what it looks like before the soap has melted.


    How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

    This is what it looks like after the soap has melted.


  3. Pour 4 ½ gallons of very hot tap water into a five-gallon bucket and stir in one cup of borax and one cup of washing soda until completely dissolved.  (You can get a five-gallon bucket for free in the bakery section of most grocery stores!)
  4. Add the soap mixture from the pan and stir well.
    How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

    Everything has been mixed into my five-gallon bucket.


  5. Cover and leave overnight.
  6. Stir until smooth and pour the mixture into gallon jugs.
  7. For each load of laundry, use ½ to one cup per load.

Are you interested in learning how much money homemade detergent can save you??  Check out these calculations!

  • One box of Washing Soda (55oz) = $3.00
  • One box of Borax (76oz) = $4.00
  • One bar of Ivory Soap = $1.00

If you average ¼ cup of laundry detergent every time you wash, this recipe works out to about six cents for each load of laundry.  To wash a load of laundry using a brand like Tide runs you about 25 cents per load!  That’s a savings of about 19 cents for each load of laundry you wash!

A penny saved is a penny earned, right?!?

I hope that you are encouraged to try this recipe!  It’s so simple, and so clean for you and your family’s skin!  Please share any other money-saving homemade ideas!

Lauren Souers
Hi, my name is Lauren. I am the wife of one fine man and the momma of four (huge) young children – three boys and one princess! I love all of them. I mostly clean up messes and feed people all day, and it’s really fun to write about it. Jesus is the rock of my family – we love and serve a mighty King! I hope you leave here full of hope that “tired” can be good.

23 Comments on How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent!

  1. Debbie Griffin
    March 31, 2015 at 7:23 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing. I am trying the at killer now and plan on trying more. And sharing.

    • Janet Williams
      April 1, 2015 at 6:09 am (3 years ago)

      These are 2 great ideas. I am definitely with you about getting rid of the ants and saving lots of money on laundry detergen. Thanks for sharing with us.

      • Lauren Souers
        April 1, 2015 at 7:37 am (3 years ago)

        Great! I think you’ll really enjoy the results. 🙂

    • Lauren Souers
      April 1, 2015 at 7:40 am (3 years ago)

      Wonderful! The laundry detergent works great and I think you will be really impressed with the ant killer, too.

  2. Janet Williams
    April 1, 2015 at 6:12 am (3 years ago)

    I am looking forward to trying both these great ideas. I don’t care for ants and I like the idea of saving money on laundry Detergent. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wendy
    April 1, 2015 at 9:20 am (3 years ago)

    thank you. For sharing both are really great ideas and I’m going to try both I don’t like ants and I love to save money can’t wait for more great ideas thank you again for sharing

  4. mary a stokes
    April 1, 2015 at 4:16 pm (3 years ago)

    now if u have a remedy for misquitos when u sit on the patio I’m going to try both of your other ideas.

  5. judy
    April 2, 2015 at 8:28 am (3 years ago)

    Can this detergent be used in an HE washer?

    • Lauren Souers
      April 2, 2015 at 10:40 am (3 years ago)

      Good question! Since homemade detergents don’t contain any sudsing agents, yes, they are completely safe for HE washers.

  6. patti
    April 3, 2015 at 12:07 pm (3 years ago)

    My husband is allergic to the arm and hammer laundry detergent.Do you think he may be allergic to this arm and hammer soda?

  7. Patricia Velasquez
    April 3, 2015 at 12:10 pm (3 years ago)

    My husband is allergic to Arm and Hammer laundry detergent.This is why I have never tried to make this.Do you think this would be safe for him?

    • Lauren Souers
      April 3, 2015 at 1:24 pm (3 years ago)

      Honestly, I am not qualified to answer that. I’m not sure if it’s worth trying it to find out.

      • Patricia Velasquez
        April 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm (3 years ago)

        Thank you.I agree.

        • SandraNTaylor
          August 26, 2015 at 9:17 am (2 years ago)

          You could contact Arm and Hammer and ask whether their laundry detergent contains sodium carbonate. That is what their Super Washing Soda is 100% made of.

  8. Christina
    April 8, 2015 at 10:37 pm (3 years ago)

    Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing I can’t wait to try it out.

    • Lauren Souers
      April 9, 2015 at 7:46 pm (3 years ago)

      Great! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

  9. Michelle Harlander
    April 9, 2015 at 3:29 pm (3 years ago)

    Love all of these tips

  10. Debra
    April 15, 2015 at 10:51 am (3 years ago)

    I have been making the detergent for about 7 years. Love, love, love it. I found it helpful to use a hand mixer to help mix the liquid before pouring into bottles. Be careful not to get liquid into mixer motor. Also, when I bottled the detergent into empty gallon water bottles, I would have leaks. Now I use old detergent bottles that are thicker plastic & it works perfectly with no messy leaks.

    • Lauren Souers
      April 16, 2015 at 9:27 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the advice! You are right…detergent containers are definitely much sturdier than milk gallon jugs.

  11. Kelly
    April 16, 2015 at 11:47 am (3 years ago)

    Could you use a scented bar of soap? Just so your clothes could smell good…

    • Lauren Souers
      April 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm (3 years ago)

      You definitely could, but you may lose some of the charm of homemade detergent. Adding anything scented to the recipe will put oils and possibly even dyes into your detergent.

  12. Paula Burkett
    March 14, 2016 at 10:14 pm (2 years ago)

    About the detergent. If you have a washer that requires the high efficiency detergent, do you still use 1/2 to 1 cup of your homemade detergent ?

    • Lauren Souers
      March 16, 2016 at 8:23 pm (2 years ago)

      Good question…unfortunately, I don’t have an HE washer and couldn’t tell you if it’s a 1:1 ratio or not. Sorry!


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