Frugal/ HEALTH/ HOME/ Natural Products

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have been using Homemade Laundry Detergent for at least 6 months now, and I LOVE IT!  It is easy, inexpensive, green, and it works!  When I tell people I do this, I often get “I just don’t have time to do that.”  I thought that, too, until I put it into perspective–it is like making a very inexpensive, 3 ingredient recipe that makes a huge batch, and lasts for months because you only use 2 Tbls/load!

I have tried 2 recipes, both are quite popular on the web.  This is the first one I used and it is the one I will stick with. It is easy to make (no measuring), uses a true soap with no fillers, makes a lot, and does not have an off- putting scent.

It uses:
1 box Borax (76oz)
1 box Washing Soda (55oz)
1 bar Kirks Castile Soap

If you click on this link, it will take you to a picture tutorial on Instructables of how to make it.  Be sure to read the comment section while you are there, the author answers many questions which I found very helpful.

{when I made it, I used my food processor to break up the soap, 
 in the link above, she uses a micro-plane to grate it, which would make it more fine}

The second one was a bit more pricey, used a soap that had ingredients that were not as pure, and I really didn’t see much difference.  Fels Naptha soap is pretty scented, which I didn’t care for.   I know people who really like this recipe, and it is very popular on the web, so I thought I would share it even though it is not my first pick.

It uses:
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Fels Naptha Soap, grated


If you have ever seen the TV show “18 Kids And Counting,” you will know that the Duggar family work hard at being frugal.  They use a Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent which I have never tried, I like how my powder soap looks in my big jar, and I think powder is less messy.  The Duggar recipe needs some cooking and stirring, but if it works for 18 kids and is still being used even despite fame and fortune, it must work well!!

{my laundry room will be pretty like this someday…its on the doozy list
 I DO have that pretty jar, which makes me happy!}


*TipNut has an amazing resource for Homemade Laundry Detergent FAQ’s.


The first recipe is supposed to be GREAT as a toilet, bathtub and grout cleaner when made into a paste with some water.  I’m excited to try this, as I have been buying “Method” brand toilet cleaner from Target, which costs more than I would like to spend.

My husband and I went on a mission a few months ago, to STOP all unnecessary spending.  The first couple months we called “No Spend” months, and we really buckled down and tried our best to only spend when absolutely necessary!  We have been a bit more relaxed lately, but we are still very frugal.  We have been able to save a few thousand dollars by doing this, which is pretty amazing, as we were not big spenders in the first place.  It has been super fun…yup, I said FUN!  It really is all in the attitude.  We have so much to be thankful for, so I looked at this as a fun challenge, eager to see just how much we could save buy being purposeful about every cent.  We both have been surprised at how much we we’ve saved, and feel super blessed that we have been able to pay off debt.  I have learned that spending even a dollar here or a dollar there adds up fast!  When you make a bunch of little changes to save a bit here and a bit there, that also adds up fast!  Check this:

First Recipe Above costs about $10.00 for 137 Loads—that is only .07 cents a load!

The following are various commercial detergents in typical sizes and pricing. The numbers of loads are as per the manufacturers’ instructions.
– Seventh Generation’s Free and Clear Natural Laundry Detergent 2x Ultra: $11.99 for 50 loads. ($0.239 per load)
-BioKleen Liquid Laundry Detergent: $14.39 for 64 loads. ($0.224 per load)
– All’s Small and Mighty 3x Concentrate for HE washers: $8.49 for 32 loads. ($0.265 per load)
– ECOS Laundry Detergent, Ultra Concentrated with Soy Fabric Softener: $9.49 for 26 loads ($0.367 per load)
– Tide’s 2x Concentrated Laundry Detergent: $14.99 for 32 loads ($0.468 per load!)
– Dreft’s 2x Concentrated Baby Laundry Detergent: $31.99 for 110 loads ($0.290 per load)

Making our own detergent is a great example of how we have been able to save in small ways that add up.  Making my own cleaners, laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent has saved us A LOT of money, and I love that our home contains fewer harsh chemicals.

Off to go do a load of laundry!

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  • Jamie Holt
    May 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I just made my first batch. Can’t wait to use it & see how well it works

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    use the second one all the time .i add 2 cups of purex crystals for great

  • Anonymous
    March 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I would LOVE to try this recipe but someone told me you have to be careful when using this if u use an aeration system…does anyone know if this is true?? Thank you!!

  • mark
    February 4, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Borax is ok for most kids. Here are three more recipes including one for liquid and one for the new types of washing machines.

  • The Lady of the House
    June 9, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Oh, and the link for the jar? =)

  • The Lady of the House
    June 9, 2010 at 5:25 am

    Is Borax ok to use on your kids’ clothes though? I’m worried that it’s not too safe with the chemical fears out now?
    Just curious…=)

  • Jenna Ann
    May 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I love the idea of making my own laundry detergent. I’ve tried several recipes. The problem I have is that lint sticks to my clothes. I think its the same principle as soap leaving a ring around one’s bathtub. Do you have any suggestions on how to prevent this? Anyone who does, please email them to be at

    As for toilet cleaner, look on your box of borax. It tells you a measurement for putting into your toilet. It is WONDERFUL!!!!

  • becky @ becky ann designs
    May 21, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Just stumbles across your blog. I have been making my own laundry detergent for almost a year now and I have NO complaints. My recipe is pretty much the same as yours except I use my own handmade soap. Here is my recipe.

  • Tami
    March 31, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Does this detergent work in the HE front-loading washers? I just got my washer and I’m nervous about trying something new in it!

  • Amy @ New Nostalgia
    March 23, 2010 at 5:28 am

    Yes, there are 2 ways. The Kirks Castile Soap I use come in a variety of scents, my favorite is Almond, I also like Lavender.
    You can also get unscented soap, then add your own scent with essential oils-I have a pink grapefruit scent that I love and add to my homemade dishwashing detergent.

    The jar and scoop can both be found on Amazon. I will be adding an Amazon store to this site soon, I will feature both! If you buy from here, I will get a small percentage without costing you anything extra.
    The jar is also at Walmart, but not sure about the scoop?
    Thanks for reading and thanks for your great questions!

  • Aimee
    March 22, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Thanks for posting!

    I was wondering if anyone adds anything to make the detergent smell “pretty.” I know, it really doesn’t matter as far as how well it cleans, but sometimes I like a little touch of scent… like Mrs. Meyer’s Lemon Verbena (which I usually buy for almost half off at Marshall’s when they carry it).

    Also, where did you find your pretty silver scoop? Love that and the big jar… which I’d use if/when I make my detergent. 🙂

  • Julie
    March 21, 2010 at 3:04 am made it look so easy, I just might try it!!

  • Amy @ New Nostalgia
    March 21, 2010 at 2:23 am

    you all are just so encouraging, makes me smile.
    @tidymom you should try it! i don’t think you will regret it at all.
    @corn in my coffee-yes take pics and write about it. The no spend month really is so rewarding. I feel like it brought my hubs and I together in a fun way, having a mission together and accomplishing it is pretty cool. Congrats on your hubs retirement!
    @Erin I’ve seen some with baking soda and washing soda, I’m curious as to why, too! Let me know if you do the deodorant thing, I’ve read about it and would like to try it. I think it would work great with smell, but I wonder about the perspire part. I HATE having to keep my arms down if you know what I mean!! Passionate Homemaking just did a video on how she makes hers. Ha, ha-hippy! My sisters call me granola all the time.
    @our lives-it has been a joy getting to know you through your blog and your comments. thanks for the encouraging words, means the world.
    @Kristy-It is simple! I’m glad I got that point across in the post. It’s a piece of cake, really! Thank you for your comment about past into present, it is an idea that really jives with me, but I was not sure if it would appeal to others…glad it did! Thanks for reading.
    @Page-I’ve had a blast looking through your blog, you and your hubs are such a cute couple! I’m sure we are not alone in our “live frugally to pay off debt” stage. May God bless your efforts!!

    • Anonymous
      April 28, 2013 at 12:15 am

      I have been using my home made laundry detergent for about two months love it love it will never buy store detergent again ever . Today I tried glass cleaner the best ever cleaned my windows, counter tops toilet seats great stuff and very economical Thanks for all these great ideas .

  • Page
    March 20, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    I LOVE that you do this…even without 18 kids!! It’s amazing how the little things make such a huge difference financially. I’m excited to try this…my husband and I are also in the “spend as little as possible and pay off debt” phase! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Kristy
    March 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I have been wanting to try the homemade laundry soap…you made it sound so simple that I just might get around to it! I just discovered your blog and I love your premise of bringing some of the good stuff from the past into the present:)

  • Our Lives
    March 20, 2010 at 2:12 am

    I would be a hippy too if I were in my twenty’s in the ’60. LOL! I like all homemade stuff. I have been making my own laundry detergent since last year and I know I will never go back to the store bought ones. Part of being a good homemaker is the ability and knowledge to make things at home, your blog has been advocating this message thoroughly. I am glad to have found your blog. Thank you, Amy!

  • erin
    March 19, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Great post! I LOVE my homemade laundry detergent. I just started a few weeks ago and my recipe is much like your second one. Mine has washing and baking soda in it though. I wonder why? I think it smells so good and clean. I notice that you follow Angry Chicken, too. I was getting ready to make her deodorant recipe that she posted a few months ago. Have you ever tried it? I am nervous to stink, but I hate using the drug store stuff, who knows about all those scary chemicals! I feel like such a hippy! (and I like it)

  • TidyMom
    March 19, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I have always wanted to try this!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Formerly-Corn in My Coffee Pot
    March 19, 2010 at 7:34 pm


    I make Homemade laundry soap too. We’ve been using it for about 2 1/2 to 3 years now. I make the liquid recipe.

    I just took pictures a couple weeks ago when I last made it maybe I should post it and let everyone try it.

    I like it in my front loader because it doesn’t suds and won’t harm the components and mess with my warranty.

    Oh, and I’ve heard about the NO SPEND month-
    The Small Notebook- chic lives in the Dallas,TX area and she was on the news and they interviewed her about the same thing.

    Honey is newly retired and our income has been reduced drastically. I might have to implement this and see how it works for us.

    good post! thanks

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