Homemade Laundry Detergent

Lately, everyone has been talking about making their own homemade cleaning supplies.  I’m seeing recipes everywhere for everything from laundry detergent to homemade baby wipes.  We just ran out of Tide the other day, so I decided to give the homemade laundry detergent a try.  Here is what I used (forgot to take a picture of all the ingredients before I opened them, so I found images online… cut me some slack, ok?? :) )

ingredients for homemade laundry detergent

Ingredients (and prices I paid for them):

1 – 4 lb 12 oz box of Borax ($3.38 per box)

1 – 3 lb 7 oz box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda ($3.24 per box)

1 – 3 lb container of Oxi Clean ($7.52 per container)

2 – Bars of Fels Naptha soap ($.97 per bar)

1 – 4 lb box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda ($2.16 per box)

1 – 55 oz bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener (Optional) ($8.96 per bottle)

All of these items are found in the detergent aisle of your grocery store.

You will also need:

Cheese grater (I already had this, so no purchase required)

Large bowl (I already had one)

Large bucket and lid ($3.14 for both)

Large spoon (I already had one)

The hardest part of this is grating the bars of Fels Naptha soap!  This was pretty tedious and after grating one bar, my arms were tired!  My wonderful hubby stepped in and grated the second bar for me.  We grated it onto a paper plate, then dumped it into a large bowl as we went… looks like cheese, huh?

grated Fels Naptha soap

 Your cheese grater is going to get pretty clumped up during this process too.  If you happen to have a food processor, I was told that the easiest way to accomplish this step is to freeze your bars of soap, then put them in the food processor and voila, you have grated soap.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a food processor… and even if I did, I’d be a little leery of using it to grate soap.

After you have the soap grated you’re 90% done!  Start dumping the ingredients into your large bucket and use your large spoon to mix them up.  I would recommend doing layers of each ingredient and stopping to mix as you go.  We dumped each ingredient in, one after the other, and waited until the end to mix.  My hubby stepped in again and managed to get it mixed up really well :)  Here is the finished product in the bucket:

 I saved the Purex Crystals bottle and filled it up to keep on top of my dryer (where I normally would keep my bottle of Tide) and I have a ton left in the bucket that I will stow away until my Purex bottle needs a refill :)

Now for the best part…. this batch will last you a LONG time!  Why?  Because you only need 2 tablespoons per large load of laundry!  Amazing, right?  One other thing, this detergent does not get sudsy so don’t freak out and put more in your washer.  It’s not supposed to get sudsy, it’s ok.  Also, I’ve been told this is ok to use in HE washers… but I don’t have one, so I can’t vouch for that personally.

I know you are wondering…. does it really work?   I washed my first batch of clothes in this detergent last night and they came out smelling fresh and they were clean!  That’s what laundry detergent is supposed to do, so I’d say it’s a success :)

So this batch of laundry detergent cost me  $30.34, including the bucket and lid.  I’ve been told a batch will last about a year for a typical family…. I’ll let you know how long it’s been when we finally run out :)  The Tide I normally buy is the 100 oz bottle that says “64 loads” on the label and costs about $14, depending on where you buy it.  So if I bought two bottles of Tide, I could do 128 loads for about $28…. I think I will be able to get way more than 128 loads out of this batch of laundry detergent.  But time will tell…. I’ll keep you posted!

If you have made homemade laundry detergent before, please share your experience and/or recipes with me in the comments!  And if you make this particular recipe, please let me know what you think about it! :)


  1. Definitely looking forward to trying this!! :)

  2. Do you know the break down? How much does it cost per load to make this?

    • Hi Nell! I don’t know how much it costs per load… This is my first batch so I don’t know how many loads I’ll get out of it yet…. I’ll keep you posted :)

  3. Ashley Russell says:

    Grating your gels naphtha in the food processor is the only way to go, it doesn’t hurt or do anything to it. I’ve done it several times because I use a different recipe than this and it does not clean as well. So I’m excited to get the Pyrex, oxi clean and baking soda to add to our recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Can this be used on ALL types of clothing, or will it harm our good clothes?

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