How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

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Do you make your own laundry detergent? Never has getting things clean been so dirt cheap. And there are lots of great things about making your own laundry detergent.

It’s very frugal.

The ingredients don’t cost much at all to make a gigantic batch.  I checked online so that my prices were accurate, but I believe some of these items will be able to be purchased locally at a lower price.  You can usually find all or most of the ingredients at Wal-Mart.  

  • Borax 20 Mule Team Detergent Booster, 76 Oz  $3.97
  • Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, 64 Oz $2.24
  • Oxiclean Versatile Stain Remover, 5 Pounds $9.47
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz $3.24
  • Zote Laundry Soap Bar Pink 14.1 oz (Pack of 3) – $8.75 (I know that it is closer to $1 a bar at Wal Mart but I couldn’t verify that online.)
  • Fels Naptha Laundry Soap $1.99

My price was about $20 for a huge tub of laundry soap – about 20 pounds of detergent.  The instructions say to use 1-3 tablespoons per load. The amount I made will probably last our family for 6 months or longer, doing a load per day.  My best guess is about 250 loads – I’m going to keep track of it. If that is the case, we’re looking at about about 8 cents per load of laundry.

It’s incredibly easy.

I’m kicking myself for not making this before – it is incredibly easy!  The thing that took the longest was chopping up the soap. If you had to use a hand grater for the soap, you might want to sit down at the table and turn something interesting on Netflix, because that would definitely take a while. I used the dry container for my Vitamix and it took about 10-15 minutes to chop up all of the soap. Aside from that, it was a matter of tearing the boxes of the individual ingredients open, dumping them into a tub, and stirring.

I combined two different recipes and techniques for my laundry detergent. You can find them HERE and HERE.

You can adjust the recipe for allergies and sensitivities.

If you have a family member with sensitive skin or allergies, you can easily adjust this recipe. Several recipes I found online did not contain the Oxy-clean, for example.  You could also choose different soap and use Ivory or Castile soap.

Whatever your needs, when you make the item yourself, you can switch things around until it is perfect for your family.


This is all you need to make laundry soap

This is what you need:

  • 76 oz box of Borax
  • 5 lb container of Oxy-clean
  • 55 oz box washing soda
  • 64 oz box of baking soda
  • 3 bars of laundry soap

Cut soap into pieces

Cut the soap into pieces about the size of your thumbnail. Initially, I was using the dry canister of my blender for just the soap but it was getting gummy instead of coarsely chopped.  I resolved this by adding a half cup of baking soda and handful of cut up soap and processing the two items together.

Don’t overblend it, or it will still give you gummy chunks.

The Zote soap is much moister than the Fels Naptha, and in the future, I’ll most likely stick with the Fels because it chops into a nice powder.  Another lovely-smelling and natural option would be Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap.

Use the blender to chop soap

Then comes the ridiculously easy part. Dump all of your ingredients into a container big enough to mix it in – I used a large Rubbermaid tub and two big cooking spoons.  Once it is well mixed, transfer it into the container in which you intend to store it.

Making laundry soap is easy

Instructions for use:

I saved the scoop from the Oxyclean container.  Half of the scoop is 3 tablespoons, which is more than enough soap per load.  With powdered laundry detergent, some people prefer to fill the washing machine and agitate the soap for a few minutes to dissolve it.  I just chucked it in on top of the clothes, started the machine and walked away, and it dissolved fine.  This is dependent on the hardness of your water, so you’ll need to experiment for the best results.

How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is an author and blogger. She's the single mom of two daughters and credits extreme frugality and a good sense of humor for her debt-free lifestyle. She is the author of numerous books, the editor of, and is the founder of a small digital publishing company in the emergency preparedness niche.

4 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent”

  1. So I did this lol! I actually used Tess’s recipe but added the oxiclean. (I wanted a smaller amt to try out and see if I liked it.) It works well on my work clothes (food service with that greasy feel and icky smell to my clothes) so it is def a keeper! I used Dr Bronners lavender soap. My work clothes no longer stink like they used to. While using the smaller recipe might cost a little more, its still cheaper than conventional detergent without all the yuck. And where the heck have wool dryer balls been all my life? I keep a bottle of less expensive lavender EO in the laundry room and every few dryer loads add a couple drops to the balls. No more unpronounceable chemicals! Yay!

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