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Homemade Laundry Detergent – A Natural, Toxin-Free Alternative for Your Home!

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Homemade Laundry Detergent as a toxin free, chemical free, frugal way to wash your clothes

Homemade Laundry Detergent

If you are working at eliminating the toxins in your home, one of the best ways to eliminate the chemicals & toxins is to make your own homemade laundry detergent. It really is so simple to make your own detergent with just a few simple ingredients you can buy at your local store. What I love about this is that I know exactly what is going into my laundry detergent & it does not have any extra scents, so this would work well if you have people in your home with sensitive skin.

Laundry detergent can be so expensive, too, and it seems we are always doing laundry almost daily, so I love the fact that making your own laundry detergent is so frugal, too, and it can really make a dent in your grocery budget as it can be pricey to buy the natural laundry detergent brands at the stores.

This DIY Laundry Detergent recipe works for both regular washing machines and high efficiency (HE) washers. You will use the same amount in the HE washer as you would in the regular washer.

Homemade Laundry Detergent:

Ingredients:

Ingredients for DIY Laundry Detergent

*You can find these ingredients all in most local stores in the laundry aisle such as Fred Meyer, Winco, Walmart and Ace Hardware. We also have included the links if you’d prefer to purchase on Amazon so you can find it easily.

Supplies to Gather:

  • Small Bucket (about 2 gallon size)
  • Sauce Pan
  • Cheese Grater

Directions:

Grating Fels Naptha for Homemade Laundry Detergent

Grated Fels Naptha for Homemade Laundry Detergent

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.

Mixing Ingredients for Homemade Laundry Detergent

Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.

Adding ingredients to Homemade Laundry Detergent

Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.

Pouring Laundry Detergent into bucket

Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.

Stirring ingredients for Homemade Laundry Detergent

Add your soap mixture and stir.  Next, add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.

Final mixing of ingredients for Homemade Laundry Detergent

Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.

The finished soap will not be a solid gel.  It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an “egg noodle soup” look.

Optional: You can add ½ teaspoon of an essential oil if you’d like for fragrance (lavender, lemon or Citrus Fresh are great options) or 1 cup of your favorite fabric softener.  Another option is to add 1 cup Oxi-Clean as a cleaning booster.

How to Use:

You will use 1/2 cup of the homemade laundry detergent per load. Remember that you will use the same amount for regular washers and HE washers.

Storage:

Anchor Hocking Glass Jar for Storing Homemade Laundry Detergent

There are a variety of ways to store your homemade laundry detergent. If you want to store it in glass, this Anchor Hocking glass jar is a popular way to store the detergent. A gallon or larger size jar is a good size to store it in. You can find more gallon size glass jars on Amazon.

A frugal option we have used is to save the Costco-size apple juice containers and store it in those plastic jugs.

Savings with Homemade Laundry Detergent:

  • The average cost per load of store bought laundry soap is about 20 cents a load  (based on price of Tide from Amazon). This is without coupons – it would be lower depending on the coupons & sales that you find. That’s $73 a year if you do one load a day for a year.
  • The price per load of homemade detergent is 3.5 cents per load!!  That’s $12.78/year if you do one load a day for a year. That’s a savings of $60 a year! 

Printable Recipe for Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent:

Homemade liquid laundry detergent is a frugal & all natural way to wash your clothes at home.

Here’s a printable version of the Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent recipe for you to print off to put in your recipe binder or notebook.

Print

Homemade Laundry Detergent – A Natural, Frugal Alternative for Your Home!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

This homemade liquid laundry detergent is an all-natural, toxin-free detergent that will save you money.

  • Author: Jen

Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.
Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.
Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.
Remove from heat.
Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.
Add your soap mixture and stir.
Next, add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.
Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.
The finished soap will not be a solid gel.  It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an “egg noodle soup” look.
You will use 1/2 cup of the homemade laundry detergent per load. Remember that you will use the same amount for regular washers and HE washers.

Optional: You can add ½ teaspoon of an essential oil if you’d like for fragrance (lavender, lemon or Citrus Fresh are great options) or 1 cup of your favorite fabric softener.  Another option is to add 1 cup Oxi-Clean as a cleaning booster.

Did you make this recipe?

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Here are more DIY posts you might be interested in:

Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix

Have you ever made homemade laundry detergent? What are your tips for making your own laundry soap?

 

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31 Comments

  1. i have done this for about a year. I do 1 bar, 2 cups Borax, 2 cups washing soda. I shred the bar in my food processor, then at the powders to it to make in finer. I dont heat it. And yes you can use in He

  2. i only use about a tablespoon of the dry recipe in my HE washer unless it’s a particularly dirty load. now, if i use commercial detergent, the smell overwhelms me. i LOVE this stuff!!! i did the liquid version for a while, but the dry version is easier to make and more compact to store.

  3. I’ve been wanting to try this for some time, and am about to go buy all the stuff for it… Just an fyi, http://www.tipnut.com has a ton of “recipes” for homemade laundry soap and other things, as well as tips and trouble shooting. (I’m not affiliated, just a fan of it)

  4. mine uses
    2 small unscented bars of locally made soap ( they are seconds so they run $1 total)
    1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
    ½ Cup Borax

    it make a a 5 gallon bucket that your suppost to cut in half with water. I don’t water it down any further and only use an 1/8 c in my HE

  5. I make a dry version

    1 Cup Borax
    1 Cup Washing Soda
    1 Cup Biz
    1 Cup Baking Soda
    1/2 grated Fleps Napa
    4 oz of grated bar soap. (My husband travels alot so I have lots of hotel soap.

    Mix all together. I have an old top load washer and I use 2 Tbsp. Front loads just 1 is needed.

    I like the dry better then the gel. I tried the gel first and my clothes still smelled funny.

  6. I’ve tried both, the powdered version and liquid/gel version, and the biggest problem I have is the bar soap not dissolving enough and sticking to some of the clothes. I notice it most frequently in my cold water loads, since the cold water doesn’t do anything to melt the little soap flakes or grated pieces. I thought the liquid version would solve that problem, but I still notice soap residue on some of my clothes when I take them out. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I can do to help this problem?

    1. I use vinegar in the rinse cycle. I have an HE and I’ve heard the vinegar breaks down the soap even more and I don’t have an issue with musty smelling clothes if I forget and leave them in there for a day. Oh and there’s no sour vinegary smell either!

  7. Making this for over a year now and love it. First I made the liquid and then switched to the powder. We use it in our HE machine since it is a low sudsing detergent. I can also make a large batch that lasts us 6 months. You only use 2 Tblspns at most per load.

    Another helpful tip that I finally discovered to make grating the soap for dry mix easier. Chunk the soap and put it in the small Magic Bullet cup with chopping blade. Add just a little of one of your powders. Don’t put too much in at once. It works amazingly well and the pieces are a lot smaller. The powder helps it from sticking so much to itself and balling up.

    Zote soap is a little easier to work with and is only 80 cents a bar at Big Lots. Plus it’s big enough to do a double batch. Fels Naptha is $1 – $1.50 per bar. Fels Naptha is also the perfect stain remover and couldn’t get any cheaper. 1 bar can easily last you a couple of years. You just wet the garmet, wet the bar and rub them together.

    1 bar Zote, 4 cups Borax, 4 cups Washing Soda
    or
    1 bar Fels Naptha, 2 cups Borax, 2 cups Washing Soda

  8. A rinse agent would help avoid this. You can use a fabric softener or vinegar. Vinegar works very well and is cheap. The scent does NOT stay on the clothes. Plus vinegar is great at removing smells from clothing and helps set colors. Put 1/4 of a cup of it in your softener cup and you should notice a difference.

  9. Heather, I make the liquid version, and I think the main thing is to make sure you completely melt the grated pieces in the saucepan before you mix it into the bucket. There shouldn’t be any visible pieces of anything when you are done, just a gel. Hope that helps!

  10. We’ve been making our detergent for about 6 months now, and LOVE IT. I honestly think this gets stains out of my kids clothes better than regular detergent. We use the liquid method above, and would caution anyone on a septic system against using the dry version due to the caking habit (also why you sometimes find it on your clothes).
    This last time we tried adding a little of some left over liquid detergent (XTRA that I got on a super great almost free sale). We added about 16 ounces to the total mixture. It adds just enough fragrance to be appreciated, but not anywhere near the overwhelming smell from most store bought detergents.

  11. I would make sure you’re not overload your washer. I’ve been making the liquid for 2 yrs now and haven’t had any problems. Good luck

  12. I start my washer on hot water/small load and let it agitate for a minute or so, then continue to fill with warm or cold water (and the clothes). This seems to thoroughly dissolve the powder.

  13. Yes, it is good for HE washers as it is a very low sudsing soap. This is the concern with HE’s. Do not use more that recommended amounts. The idea of more is better does not work here in HE’s.

  14. sound like you may be overloading your washer. Try a vinegar rinse. Both of these should eliminate the problem

  15. We just made our first batch yesterday and it turned out better than expected. It gelled up perfectly; nice and smooth, just like a brand-name store-bought stuff. We’ve done several loads of laundry and we couldn’t be happier with the results. It works just fine in our He machine. We used Zote as our base soap, and added the Oxy (we found a small tub of the Sun brand for dirt cheap where we got our Zote, so why not?).

  16. MOST OF THE TIME, I WASHED CLOTHES IN COLD WATER [ CITY WATER] AND I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE THE POWDERED VERSION TO USE IN MY HE WASHER… I ALSO USE WHITE VINEGAR IN RINSE COMPARTMENT DRAWER… WILL THE VINEGAR KEEP THE SOAP RESIDUE NOT STICK ON THE CLOTHES EVEN IF I WASHED CLOTHES IN COLD WATER? PLEASE LET ME KNOW. THANKS…LEXI.

  17. Thanks for the great recipe! I tried making this about 2 weeks ago and am loving the results. I am now a convert from expensive detergents to this!

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