The Complete {Photo} Guide to Making Your Own Homemade Laundry Detergent

homemade laundry detergentStep-by-step-by-step-by-step-by-step….

There have been a lot of questions posted lately about the whole laundry detergent-making process. Which I take as a great sign that more and more people are getting fed up with the ridiculously high-priced brand name stuff and turning to time-tested, “mother-approved” formulations that date back to before most of us were born! :-) And work JUST AS WELL, if not better than the over-priced, over-packaged stuff we are forced to lug home from the store in huge plastic bottles that chances are won’t be recycled. *deep breath*  (Stepping down off soapbox….for now).

In any case, I thought it might be helpful to post another “update”, if you will, on the Homemade Laundry Detergent project with more pictures!

Keep in mind, however, there is no “right” way to make this stuff….this is just the way it works best for me. I would suggest if you want lots more VALUABLE INPUT from other readers….visit one of the following ORIGINAL POSTS and read the comments. GREAT information there!!

Brand Name Laundry’s “Last Stand”!
Homemade Laundry Soap Revisited
My Homemade Laundry Products Line-Up

Let’s start with the basic recipe again:

Many people make this in a big, 5-gallon container, but call me lazy, cuz I don’t like to drag in a 5 gallon bucket from the garage. When it’s time to make soap, I just pull out my 4-quart saucepan like I’m cooking up a double batch of rice. :-)

homemade laundry detergent

First I add the grated bar of soap and add water to about the halfway mark.
homemade laundry detergent

I “cook” the soap soup at on medium low until all the little bits of soap are completely melted. To make sure of this…I will let it come to a boil for just a minute. That way I’m pretty sure no pieces of soap will be floating in my finished product.

homemade laundry detergent

I then add the 1 cup of Borax and the 1 cup of Washing Soda. Once again, we are only “cooking” it long enough to make sure it is all a combined and smooth texture. I try not to let it actually come to a boil because it will “boil over” very easily! (Not that I would know about that.)

When it’s all nice and combined and sorta creamy looking (if kind of reminds me of cooking pudding at this point)…it’s time to pour it into your soap containers.

homemade laundry detergent

I use (3) 1 gallon Minute Maid Orange Juice bottles.
homemade laundry detergent
I use a glass measuring cup and scoop the mixture out of the pan and pour into the bottles.
homemade laundry detergent

I THINK it ends up being about 4-5 cups in each bottle but I haven’t actually measured it. I just keep adding a little to each until they are all at the same level (and the pan is empty.)

Now I take each one to the sink and hot water until each bottle is about 1/2 full.

homemade laundry detergent

This allows for room to shake the contents after it hardens AND to add more water to aid in that process.
Then I give each bottle a good shake! Come on…get your aggressions out! Feel the burn! ;-)
homemade laundry detergent
This is what it looks like when I’m done…and this is the way it will sit overnight.
homemade laundry detergent
Then in the morning… will look like this.
homemade laundry detergent
Pretty much one big blob of goop. lol.
DON’T BE ALARMED! DO NOT PANIC! This is perfectly normal!
Everything is going to be OK! I promise.
homemade laundry detergent
What *I* do at this point is take a long handled wooden spoon and break up the goo a little bit
 then add more hot water…
homemade laundry detergent
….to just a few inches from the top
homemade laundry detergent
…and give it another vigorous shake!! Repeat with other 2 bottles.
homemade laundry detergent

They should look SOMETHING like this. But remember…this is not exact science…if they are a little thicker or runnier…don’t worry. It will still be a great laundry detergent and as you continue making and using it…you’ll figure out just what works for you.

homemade laundry detergent

TADA!! You just made your own homemade laundry detergent for PENNIES a load!!!!! Sure it might be a little lumpy…but who really cares?? It works! Pure and simple.

Honestly, I love this stuff. I don’t miss the store-bought stuff one bit! Especially since I started using just a tiny bit of fragrance booster in each load. I kind of missed the scent of the old stuff…but I’ve found most people prefer this unscented version, especially those with sensitivities to that sort of thing.

homemade laundry detergent

There you have it. I really don’t think I could have taken any MORE pictures of the whole process. I tried to cover every single step. Hopefully this is helpful for those of you who are trying this for the very first time. You “old-timers” shouldn’t even be reading this…what are you doing here anyway?  Just teasin’. :-) I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the “old-timer” comments when people have questions because I can’t always keep up AND your answers are usually better anyway! :-)

Thanks to everyone who participates in my little corner of the world wide web, and for your support of One Good Thing By Jillee!I hope it continues to be a

long and beautiful friendship!


Regarding High Efficiency (HE) Front-Load Washers:

Because they use less water, HE front-load washers require soap that is less sudsy. The good news is, this homemade detergent is VERY low suds. So it is my PERSONAL opinion that you should be able to use this in HE washers with confidence.
Also, there have been many, many HE washer owners who have commented on other posts that they use it and it works just fine.


Share on Facebook1,835Tweet about this on Twitter10Pin on Pinterest35,889Google+11

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

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



  1. Amanda says

    I have been making my own soap for about 3 years, I won't go back to commercial detergent. I actually make mine a little different. For me its easier to dump it all in a 5 gallon kitty litter bucket and wisk it really well. I actually melt mine in about 2 quarts of water, then add 2-3 gallons of hot water to the soap/powder mixture in the bucket. I don't let the whole thing gel overnight before adding all the water. I also do use essential oils, but the cheapo walmart stuff. We love our laundry scented, so I add about half a bottle to the 3 gallons of detergent. I used to pour my soap into bottles using a funnel, but now I just scoop right from the main bucket,

  2. Anonymous says

    are you able to reuse the empty large liquid bottles with the presure button on them or is it two thick to reuse these?

  3. Anonymous says

    Just read all these posts.. great information folks. I made the dry version of this the other day when I ran out of my usual laundry detergent.. and used Dove bar soap.. in my HE front loading machine.But having run about 3 loads,there is still detergent in the soap dispenser (seems like the Dove).So I thought I would try adding the water and boiling it up, all together since it was already mixed. Stirred away, thought I was lifting the Dove that was getting stuck on the bottom of saucepan but when I was finished and it was creamy.. I poured it into a container and the Dove had melted and totally stuck on the bottom of my saucepan! Very difficult to scrape it off too. Wonder if it's because I added all ingredients to the water at the same time? I use the dishwasher "soap" too, but having trouble balancing so my glasses don't get filmy… Any suggestions? Thanks for the info!

  4. Anonymous says

    I've heard adding vinegar as a rinse helps soften and get the soap out. I've been using it instead of fabric softener but am still finishing up a jug of commercial laundry soap. The only difference is I do have static with vinegar as softener (Ican i use some tennis balls as dryer balls)?

  5. Anonymous says

    I've been making my own detergent for about a year. I use a kitty litter bucket and do what Amanda does with adding the water all at once. As far as my whites, I use the oxyclean. I keep thinking I am going to buy oxydol just for my whites but I will never go back to bought again for all my other laundry. This is too easy and it works great!

  6. ashleyshomemadeadventures says

    lovelylisa84- We have very hard well water and it works great for us. I also use vinegar in my homemade laundry detergent so I think that helps too.


Leave a Comment

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