Brand Name Laundry Detergent’s "Last Stand"!


So a couple of weeks ago I had HAD it!

I was FED UP!

I could not bring myself to buy ONE MORE bottle of over-priced, wastefully-packaged laundry detergent.

I just couldn’t do it!  

Now, I’m no eco-nazi (far from it), but buying those big bottles of laundry detergent, lugging them home and then turning around and throwing them away was definitely starting to get to me.  I mean seriously….what a monumental waste! Not to mention the COST!  $15 for a bottle of Brand Name Laundry Detergent that’s smaller than my fountain Diet Coke??  I won’t do it!

It was about this same time that I just happened to come across a picture someone posted on Pinterest of their “Homemade” laundry detergent!  Call me naive, but it had never even occurred to me that you could MAKE your own detergent!  I did a little research online and decided to give it at try.  It turns out it’s actually quite easy.

The first batch I made…I followed this recipe from The Rachel Berry Blog.

Liquid Laundry Soap-Family Sized Batch

I use approximately 1/2 – 1 cup per large load (depending on how dirty the clothes are!) 
For those of you with HIGH EFFICIENCY washing machines…this should work just fine in it. (There are dozens of comments below from people who have been using it in their HE machines with no problems.)

Worked out great. I’ve been very happy with it!  The main thing you have to get used to is it hardly make any suds at all.  At first this is a bit unnerving (especially for my husband!)…but the more I read about it online…I realized that “suds” are not what gets our clothes CLEAN.  As a matter of fact, as with dishwashing liquid, the suds are totally cosmetic and add no cleaning value. Less suds is actually better for our clothes. Today I realized we were getting close to the end of the first batch…so I decided to make some more. This time I followed a slightly different recipe I found online at Why Not Sew?

  • 1 bar of soap (any kind you want)
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons)
  • a grater
  • a funnel
  • a long spoon
  • 2 empty gallon jugs/containers

I use approximately 1/2 – 1 cup per large load (depending on how dirty the clothes are!) The main difference is that it makes a more manageable 2 gallons (instead of 5 gallons) and you can make it in one big pot on the stove, instead of having to use a 5 gallon bucket. Here are the two gallons I made today. homemade laundry soap

UPDATE: (10/2/11)

After months of making this laundry soap now….I have started dividing it into THREE gallon jugs instead of TWO.  I was always adding water anyway because it gets very thick! So I just decided to add a 3rd jug and now it seems to be just about right. :-)   Just an FYI!  STILL LOVIN this stuff!


homemade laundry soap


If you are a powdered detergent fan…you can also make a DRY version of the exact same soap.  Here is a recipe I found at

Powdered Laundry Soap:

  • 2 cups finely grated soap (Ivory, Fels Naptha, Zote, homemade, or a combination)
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda

Mix and store in a coffee can or what have you. Use 1-2 T per load.

Since there is no water added…it is very concentrated and you hardly use any per load!


So….if you have reached the end of your “soap rope” when it comes to the high price of laundry detergent…I would whole-heartedly suggest giving this a try! I’m no math wiz…but from everything I’ve read online…this homemade stuff costs roughly .01-.03 cents a load!

I think I’m safe in saying I will never go back to lugging those big plastic bottles home from the store again.



Share on Facebook1,684Tweet about this on Twitter17Pin on Pinterest283,329Google+24

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  1. Anonymous says

    FYI – If you are using Ivory soap – the easiest way to make powdered soap – put the bar of soap in the microwave for 1 minute and then take out the "glob" and place in a large bowl and place the remaining "core" back in the microwace for an additional minute and repeat – once cooled crushed in your hands and it will make a finr powder – you might want to do this outside and wear a mask – but it is the easiest way to make the powder.

  2. Jill Nystul says

    Anony…well that is cool! I want to try it just to see how it works. lol. I usually use Fels Naptha…but I'm always willing to try something new! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Anonymous says

    Do you know if this formula is okay for HE (high-efficiency) washers and how much one should use per load?


  4. Jill Nystul says

    Hi Anony….I have read up on this a LOT…and while there is no clear YES from any manufacturer saying it's just fine to use homemade laundry soap in HE appliances (I suspect they don't want to upset the soap manufacturers)….I have read dozens of comments from people who have HE washers and have been using this stuff for years with no problems. This soap have virtually no suds…(which takes some getting used to at first) so it's actually perfect for HE washers because they require low-sudsing detergent. Bottom line…if I HAD a high efficiency washer…*I* personally would not hesitate to use this. :-) Hope this helps!



  6. Cori says

    I followed the directions on your other post (with all of the pictures) and it still said 2 gallon jars so that's what I did. Is it going to be fine or should I somehow change it to 3? I do have an HE front loader so maybe I could just dilute as I put in (except since I don't have a sink near-by it might be a pain. Any suggestions?

  7. Anonymous says

    I made my first batch of the dry formula and my husband was the one that said "Wow they smell so clean" Easy to make and I love it!!
    Jane Tew

  8. Jill Nystul says

    Elizabeth…I think, Yes. :-)

    Ruth…not dumb at all! I grate the soap using my cheese grater. :-) I use the Fels Naptha soap you can find in the laundry soap aisle of the store…but I've read that many people just use a bar of ivory soap. I actually think whatever kind of soap you have on hand would work.

    Danielle…my hubby is ALWAYS unsure about the "crazy" (like a fox!) stuff I come up with…but he always comes around too! :-)

    Cori…i wouldn't worry about it at all. The first several batches I made were in just 2 bottles. It's just a LOT thicker, making it a little more difficult to "pour" out of the bottle. I would just keep adding water to the bottle each time you use some of the thicker stuff until it's about the consistency you like it. But I really wouldn't worry about diluting it before using. Just use a little less. With it divided into 3 bottles…I tend to use a little MORE each time. Hope this helps!

    Jane….that is awesome! It's nice when the husband gets on board with these things. :-)


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *