Do It Yourself Laundry Detergent

I have no doubt that most of you reading this feel like you are constantly doing laundry. I know I do. Not only is detergent not cheap, but my boys both have eczema and are pretty sensitive to dye and perfumes. That means we are buying the stripped down versions of detergent which aren't any less expensive. So, I decided to make my own using the best of several "recipes" i found getting my Google Degree in DIY detergents.
Powdered is the easier of the 2 types to make, so naturally I opted for that.

If you want to try Fels-Naptha instead of Ivory Soap, this is what it looks like.

The soda I used in the first pic is just fine (see the little pile of laundry on it?), but if you want washing soda (virtually the same thing) this is what you are looking for. I've used both interchangeably

1 bar of soap (really it can be any kind you like, just keep it simple.) 
1 cup of washing Soda (Arm & Hammer)
1 cup Borax, 20 Mule Team

I found all three of these at Wal-Mart, the soda and Borax were in the aisle with the detergent.


1. Start by finely grating the soap. I got a 3 bar pack, so I just tripled the recipe and grated all three.
2. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, add soap and mix well.
3. Store in a container with lid.

4. Use 1 tablespoon for regular loads, and 2 for heavy loads.

Now if you really feel the need for it to smell fruity, you can add a few drops of essential oil. You can also add Oxyclean if you like for big stains.

Borax $2.98
Washing Soda $2.12
Ivory Soap $ 1.07, about $1.50 if you are using Fels.
*I used all the soap, but there is still enough of the powdered ingredients to do this at least 4 more times.



  1. Have you used this with an HE washer or noticed any soup scum build-up? Just curious, wanta try it out :)

  2. That is cool? I have a front load washer. Do you just add it in with the wash instead of the bin?

    My family has sensitive skin too. I just switched laundry detergents and he is very itchy. I have to try this. Thanks so much for the recipe for it. I will make some this week. And the price will be much nicer than the other detergents. You just saved me money! LOL

    Also visiting from NFF. Thanks for linking up.

  3. P.S. to my last comment. LOL

    Would you be interested in being a guest blogger with this post on Sunday. I can just copy over your post to make it easy. Just wanted to get your permission and also see if you could write a paragraph about yourself for the post. I would also leave links back to your blog. Thanks! I know the readers would love this.

  4. I really should try this because we go through a lot of detergent. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Okay no joke, I am actually making this exact recipe later today. It's the same recipe I use for my detergent and I love it! I keep mine in an old food storage can in my laundry room (cause I'm classy LOL) and it lasts forever! I used to go through the bottled detergent so quickly, and honestly, I can't tell a difference at all. Homemade works just as good at the store bought stuff.

    New follower from New Friend Friday!


  6. Follower from New Friend Friday. Google degrees are the best, and this is a great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner

  7. Wow - that's so much cheaper than the regular stuff and you use a LOT less. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. This works great in a front load/HE washer. It's very low sudsing.
    Just an observation. The recipe calls for WASHING SODA but the picture shows BAKING SODA. It needs to be Washing Soda. Both are made by Arm & Hammer.
    Love your blog!!!

  9. I've done this before. A friend of mine makes this religiously. Lol...and if you melt down the soap with some water and then dilute it a bunch, mix in the other ingredients and you have liquid laundry soap...but it makes about 5 gallons! (recipe at www.mormoninthemaking.blogspot.com) For anyone that's worried, I use it in a HE machine and haven't noticed any differences. You can mix in some vinegar with each load and it kills two birds with one stone.

  10. @ Tara, please do! Just let me know what you need from me.
    @ Stacey, the 1st time I made it I bought that by mistake but noticed the box included washing clothes with it in its uses, so Ive been using that ever since. They stock it right next to the Borax in the detergent aisle so I figured it cant do any harm. So far, Ive had no issues.

  11. I forgot to add that I dont have a front loader but it seems safe according to the other comments. So if you have one, check the comments above =)

  12. I've been making this for about a year and a half now & love it. The only difference is that I use Fels-Naptha soap. Also do my own fabric softener with vinegar & baking soda. Clothes come out with NO smell, & that softener helps keep the inside of the washer clean.

  13. @ Jan, I chose Ivory simply becuase our pediatrician told me to use it on thier skin in the bath, so i figured it had to be good for clothes too =) but most recipes i see do suggest fels. Do you use white vinegar for the softener?

  14. Becky, I just added the recipe that I use to my little blog. ;-) Yes, I use white vinegar.

  15. Love it! I used to do this, and will probably go back to it once I'm done cloth diapering! For now it's Charlie's since Borax is not kind to my baby's behind and soap is not kind to her diapers!

    Following you from the blog hop! Hope you're having a great weekend! Check out my giveaway @

  16. Thanks for the how-to on this. Great idea!

  17. Thanks for sharing this. Laundry detergent is expensive especially the liquid kind.

  18. Visiting from Keep It Simple. This is something I've been considering; it's amazing how much we spend on cleaning products, isn't it?
    Jude at
    dolcecapecod dot blogspot.com

  19. I tried this today without the Borax (can't find any,sadly), and my whites were whiter! It really works. THANKS :o) I used the big,old fashioned soap bars specifically for washing clothes by hand.They grate well. I might try a perfumed one next time.

    N.B It DOESN'T have to be washing soda.Bicarbonate worked fine for me, too.
    Washing soda (sodium carbonate) can obtained when Bicarbonate of soda is heated to 60°C.


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