My Homemade Laundry Products Line-Up

I’ve had quite a few questions lately about the different homemade laundry products I use. I have done posts about all of these before…but they are in different places throughout the website. I’m not going to rehash those original posts (you can click on the links and get all the details), but hopefully this will give you an idea of what I use on a day-to-day basis to replace the over-packaged, over-priced brand names in my laundry room.

After more than 6 months using this exclusively (after lots of tweaking!), I am pleased with what I have come up with FOR MY FAMILY. I definitely don’t claim this is THE system for everyone…but hopefully it will be a “jumping off point” for you to experiment with what works for you!

Stain Pre-treater (“Shout”):
This is what I use to pre-treat stains on clothing before I send them through the wash. You know the ones I’m talking about…food stains, grass and mud stains, etc etc etc. The stains that most likely will NOT come out simply by washing them. I’ve actually posted about this twice:




Laundry Detergent: 
My laundry detergent recipe has evolved over time to the point that now I have it down to a science….for me. I know there are a thousand different ways to make this stuff out there…but from what I have seen…almost without fail…the basic ingredients remain the same. The differences are simply in the tweaking of it and how you like to use it. I like the liquid version…and I like to make in smaller batches. But again, you can do what works for you!



Stain Remover 
I like to use this stuff to add an extra PUNCH of cleaning/whitening to my laundry…usually my whites. In the beginning I would mix this up and keep in a jar…but have since learned it loses its effectiveness quickly once it’s mixed, so now I just add it straight from the bottle and the box directly into the washer.

Move over OxiClean®…there’s a MUCH CHEAPER stain remover in town!



Fabric Softener: At this point I haven’t actually MADE my own fabric softener because I literally am still using the same bottle of Downy I had “on hand” when I started this whole homemade laundry products odyssey. :-) This post is more about ditching disposable dryer sheets in favor of a “greener” alternative that I think works even better!

Giving “Bounce” Dryer Sheets the Bounce!



Fragrance Booster: 
Once again, not a “homemade” product….but one I recently added to my laundry routine just to add a little “sweetness” to my wash. :-) And this is literally how much I use per load. Just about a teaspoon of it will add ALL the fragrance you need. I love it…and with all the $$$ I’m saving making my own detergent etc…I “splurge” on this stuff. :-)



In addition to these day-to-day products I use…I have also written about other homemade alternatives I use on tougher, less frequent laundry issues.  I’ve listed a few here, just as a reference:



Hopefully this helps some of you who have been a bit confused about the WHAT, WHY, WHEN and HOW I do what I do with my laundry.  Or something like that………..


Share on Facebook189Tweet about this on Twitter4Pin on Pinterest9343Google+3

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

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



  1. Bec says

    So, this is possibly a stupid question. But here 'goes: How does the dipped-in-Downy fabric sheet not get your clothes all blue and goopy? Wouldn't the color get onto your clothes?

    Also, I just discovered your blog (thank you, Pinterest) and am quite hooked. Thanks for all of the great advice and tips!!

  2. Bec says

    So, this is possibly a stupid question. But here 'goes: How does the dipped-in-Downy fabric sheet not get your clothes all blue and goopy? Wouldn't the color get onto your clothes?

    Also, I just discovered your blog (thank you, Pinterest) and am quite hooked. Thanks for all of the great advice and tips!!

  3. Ashley says

    I just got a water softener, and it's a great way to save in detergent! I only have to use an 1/8th of the detergent I did before, and no fabric softener (except for the yummy smell!) Anyway, it works great and is much cheaper..especially if you make your own detergent!

    • Stephanie says

      I have been using homemade dry laundry detergent in my HE washer for about six months now. I have had no problem at all. The homemade laundry soaps are low sudsing by nature and apparently high suds are the enemy of HE washers. I don’t think you’d have any problem using homemade laundry products with your HE machine.

      I have also been using white vinegar instead of fabric softener for about six months and have been very happy with the results. My laundry comes out smelling clean, fresh and very soft. I don’t know if my imagination or not but they also seem much less wrinkled. Before I started using the white vinegar my washing machine had developed a really funky, nasty, musty smell that I just could not get rid of no matter how many empty loads I ran with pure hot water on both wash and rinse using store bought detergent. After doing research I found a “recipe” to get rid of that smell. Apparently it is a common problem with front loaders. I put one cup of Borax and one cup of Oxyclean in the washer tub with nothing else. I ran the longest, hottest cycle I could and that got rid of the problem completely. During my research I found a lot of information that revealed fabric softener builds up on the outside of the drum and continues to build up over time. That is what was causing that awful smell. After I did that cleaning trick and stopped using fabric softener and began using white vinegar only, I have not had the problem again.

      I hope this helps.

  4. Natalie says

    Fantastic lineup! I am really enjoying all of your tips and blog. I also LOVE making my own detergent! It is cheaper and works beautifully! I use a dry recipe just because it is easier and it is super. I use vinegar in my rinse cycle cup in my washer as a fabric softener and it works great – (I hate artificial fragrances and all the chemicals in dryer sheets.) I love that your fabric softener is so much more sustainable than the regular stuff though!

  5. Diane says


    Please do not take this as 100% gospel, but when I bought my HE machine about 6-8 months ago I was not sure about it because I did not want to waste the detergent I had on hand (I had gotten a really good deal on 32 load bottles for .99 with a sale and coupons). I know I am seriously cheap for not wanting to throw out 10 dollars of detergent. ANYWAY, the store we bought it from was a local mom and pop store and the owner actually sold us the machine. She has had a HE for about 5 years and said she buys regular detergent, but uses MUCH less. I followed her advice, add 2 tablespoons of detergent per load, and have not had a single problem. At this rate my detergent is going to last a year! Her other advice was that if you see white streaks (almost looks like lint) or circles (like popped bubbles) reduce the amount of detergent you are using.
    I am sure this would work with homemade detergent too. If I ever get rid of all this detergent, I plan to make my own and use it in my HE machine. I already make my own fabric softener and stain remover.
    I hope this helps!

  6. Stephanie says

    I made the laundry soap yesterday (Fels-Naptha, Borax, Washing Soda, Oxy Clean, Baking Soda). I had a TERRIBLE allergic reaction – huge hives ALL over my body. I had to take an oral Benadryl and an oral Zyrtec plus use cream to get them to stop. Fortunately I did not have swallowing or breathing difficulties. I'm not sure which ingredient was the culprit, but I suspect the Fels-Naptha, Washing Soda or Borax. I'm bummed as I was really looking forward to using this stuff. I don't want to dissuade people from trying this; I just want to warn people who might have severe allergies. Good luck!

      • liana says

        my daughter and i have VERY sensitive skin… we make this detergent and use 2 cups washing soda no borax because thats what causes us hives and we use yardleys english lavender soap in it. ive used zote soap and ivory and also glycerin.. the glycerin makes it so its emulsified enough you only swirl it like upend it and measure it out. i like ivory and yardleys a lot better than fels naptha but with ivory you ave to strip your laundry every now and then with one cup of vinegar added to a extra wrinse cycle. i have the same problem you do with dawna nd such too. when we started this homemade soap journey my daughter was in diapers and i couldnt take it anymore she had a rash over the entire diaper area and it tooka month to heal up after switching to cloth and making my detergent.

        • kayla says

          Hello! I would first like to say thanks for the idea of 2 cups washing soda and no borax…I had no idea it would work that way. I started making my own laundry detergent and first used fels napa and then zote. I finally had to go back to buying the stuff from the store because my husband would complain that his head was burning (he wears the bandanas while at work). We still arent sure what caused it but he said he thought it may of had something to do with the type of soap I used. I have jars stashed away with the grated yardleys soaps and ivory so when I run out of the other maybe Ill try those. Havent had any complaints from my kids but my hubby works in a hot and sweaty environment so he wears the bandanas daily and I need something that would also be good for sensitive skin , something very gentle. Do the yardleys bars work good for cleaning your clothes and are they good for the skin?

    • Stephanie says


      I am certainly no expert but I would suspect the Fels-Naptha. When I was buying ingredients to begin making my own laundry soap, I read the ingredients on the Fels-Naptha wrapper. I also read a warning that advised the use of gloves when handling that soap. The ingredient list plus that warning led me to use a bar of soap I buy from a woman who lives near me that makes it. It is an olive oil based soap plus she uses herbs that she grows herself and essential oils in all of her soaps. She actually also makes laundry soap using Borax, Washing Soad and her olive oil based soaps as ingredients. Buying her laundry soap is what led me to learn to make it myself. Perhaps if you tried again using something besides the Fels-Naptha you wouldn’t have that awful reaction again. I’m sure you’re fearful of trying again, as anyone would. I just wanted to offer my two cents worth in hopes it may help you or someone else who may read my reply to you. I’m so sorry that happened to you.

    • nik says


      I have more than a couple friends that decribe the TERRIBLE allergic reaction you discribed, but they found that it was Oxy Clean. I don’t know if its the same as yours, but it’s food for thought.

  7. says

    Stephanie – most likely its the Fels-Naptha, it contains several potential culprits and I understand it is made from petrochemicals. I read you can substitute “Zote!” or “Kirk’s Castile Soap” bars. I’ll try Kirk’s next batch I’m making, I read that some folks had some trouble with Zote!

  8. Jordon says

    My hubby & I both have very sensitive skin and I have great luck with plain old Ivory bar soap. I worried at first that it wouldn’t be strong enough (or have some other issue) but after more than a year of using it on everything from nasty, sweaty gym clothes to his black police uniforms I am still thrilled with it. It’s worth a shot – I promise. :)

    • says

      i have serious problems with getting yeast infections whenever i change anything. i have used ivory all my life, and take it with me when i go on vacation. (who knows what’s in the hotel soap?) the only problem i have noticed is in the winter, i get really dry skin. other than that i highly recomend ivory bar soap.

  9. says

    I use sponges for my fabric softner. I take a bottle of ultra fabric softner any brand as long as it says Ultra, pour it into a 5 gal bucket, fill that same container up twice and also pour it in to the 5gal bucket, and throw 6 to 8 celo sponges in. Everytime I start a load of laundry I throw two sponges into the dryer with my wet clothes and turn on. The sponges dry out, the smell gets in the laundry, and it smells great…. I reuse the sponges and it last 3 to 6 months depending the size of the fabric softner container to begin with.

  10. Amy says

    Purex makes SCENT for the laundry soap, I got the “Fresh Waters” in a large bottle at Walmart for $9, only need about a teaspoon to make the laundry smell good. The large bottle is at least twice the size of Downy add-in, maybe more.

    It’s time to make another batch of laundry soap this weekend… my 1st batch I made in January, I gave away most of it to friends (it made 5 gallons & cost $5) and finally out of my stash.

    Gonna try your other homemade laundry stuff too


  11. Donna Coats says

    I made your step-by-step recipe yesterday, using half the amount of fels naptha, borax and washing soda. I used a total of 2 gallons of water. It’s a thick pudding consistancy now. I’m wondering how much I should use per large load of laundry. My plan is to put that amount (whatever you recommend) into a jar with hot water, shake it up to pourable consistancy and add that to my front loader with the laundry. Oh, I have the whole 2 gallons in a plastic bucket with a tight fitting lid. (A Fresh Step kitty litter container). Is it OK to leave it there or should I get some gallon jugs?

  12. Lproebstel says

    I found this through Pinterest…Gotta love it!!…And, wanted to say that I absolutely love this site! I have been hopping from one post to another getting awesome ideas. I already do the “DIY Fabric Softener Sheets” and quickest trick in the book was to go to Dollar Store, but $5 worth of washclothes for babies (gave me about 20 sheets) and use those. I throw them in to my container with 1/2 cup of my Downy Fabric Softener (because I too like to splurge there…for the yummy scent!) and then 1 cup water. It dilutes the Downy just enough to not have the “blue” get all over the clothes, but still smells amazing! And, if I ever have laundry that *gasp* I haven’t gotten out of the washer quick enough and it’s got a funny smell (our water here is bad for that…) I just put two washclothes in and Wa La! Smells yummy again!

  13. cathy says

    Hi Jill, I love your web site!!!!! I really love the idea of making your own well everything. I have a mystery that I have been very frustrated by for quite some time, I’m hoping you have some advise, we have been getting holes in our close starting with pin size growing to just falling apart, but not just close its other items, like our cloth napkins, towels. We just purchased a new washer in December the dryer only about a year old, and I use 7th generation laundry soup. I pretty sure we don’t have months but like I said the holes are not just in close, could it be our water? Any help would be so appreciated, Thanks Cathy

    • ChantalMM says

      You know, we just got a new house with a fairly new dryer, and I’ve noticed that our clothes get stuck between the front edge of the drum and the inside front of the machine. As the drum rotates, it pulls whatever it’s caught up and around until the item gets stuck. I’ve found that this has made some holes. I hope this helps!

    • kate says

      I use this foul smelling, “don’t inhale the bit of powder that comes out when you open the cap!! stuff called “Super Iron Ou, Multi-Purpose Rust Remover” I put the smallest amount of HOTTEST water in the washer (top loading, so if you don’t have that, use a very large container), and then pour out about 1/3 of the bottle of Iron Out into the hot water, mix around, and add the clothing items that were colored. Aggitate, reset it to do it again, and then soak for many hours. I double rinse, or triple, since I have sensitive skin, but this has saved lots of white clothes that got that pink tinge! Forget what the instructions say, if you’ve gotten color onto whites, my way works. If it’s an entire load, I’d use the whole bottle – it’s not huge.

  14. pati says

    I am one who will save a dime anytime I can. I make my own laundry soap and fabric softner as well. Its so simple and costs pennies to use. I take 2 cups hair conditioner(the cheapest, Swave is the best) use any scent you want your laundry to smell like, 3 cups white vinegar, and 6 cups boiling water. Add the conditioner to the boiling water and mix until disolved. Add vinegar and stir. Divide into 2-1 gal jugs or buckets. Fill to top with tap water. I put mine in a bucket and use the cheap 8 for 1.00 sponges in it. Just soak the sponge and wring out, toss in dryer like a dryer sheet, or use 2 tbls. in the fabric softner spot in your washer. It takes me almost 2 months to use 1 gal of softner using the sponges and my clothes are soft and smell no static !!! For those who have problems with the Fels_Naptha soap the Zote works great and for less money too !! The Zote is 1.37 @ K-Mart, and its 3 times the size of a Fels-Naptha bar @.97 (walmart) . I use 1 Zote bar, 2 1/2 cups each of washing soda and borax. Makes more for less money !!! Hope this helps someone out there.

  15. Deneen Williams says

    I am excited about starting to use homemade products. I have a question about the stain remover (oxi-clean). you say you add it directly from the box and bottle to the washer. My question is how much of the Arm and Hammer Baking soda and how much of the hydrogen peroxide do you add to the wash? Thanks for the great tips and homemade recipes.

  16. Tonja Valentine says

    I just recently in the last 2 months have “Jumped” on the HOMEMADE Ban Wagon. I have made my Own Laundry Soap, both powdered and Liquid versions, & Love THEM! So Does my husband….and Laundry for 4 cents a load can’t beat that…Also, have gotten into the HOMEMADE house hold cleaners, No More Over Priced Stuff in this HOUSE!!! Thanks for Sharing! Being a Stay at home Mom, with a FAMILY to raise, every $ saved Helps Out!! Thanks again for the GREAT IDEAS!!!!

  17. Melissa m says

    If you are doing the liquid and don’t want to grate the bar stuff I do 1 box of borax 1 box of washing soda and 1 cup of dr bonners liquid Castile soap 3/4 full of that & water in my 5 qt stick pot then split it into 5 gallon jugs and fill the rest of the way with regular water. My hubby used to work in a foundry with molten aluminum where they Use used motor oil for lubricant and that got his clothes clean I use 1/2 cup per load and my son who gets hives from every commercial detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheet has no problems with it

  18. Angela says

    I wanted to let you know that I just tried your peroxide and dawn mixture for stain removal. I wanted to try it on my mattress first, just in case something went wrong and that way no one would see it. Long story short, I had 10+ year old stains on it from when my children used to spill on my bed when they were little. I was absolutely amazed! My bed looks almost like new! I have a high end foam mattress and was just so embarrassed about those stains. But they are gone now, and I will never by commercial stain removers again! BTW I tried just about everything out there imaginable with no luck! Thanks so much- can’t wait to try this laundry detergent, if it works half as good as this other one, I will have the cleanest laundry ever!!

  19. says

    When I first bought the Downy Unstopables, I filled the whole blue cap for one load of laundy!! My laundry smelled amazing!! I had no idea all you needed was 1 tsp! LOL!

    I also like put 1/4 cup in a cleaned out cat food container that has a plastic lid, punched with small holes in my car as an air freshener. My car smells wonderful, especially in the hot summer months! :)

  20. Judi says

    Love your site! As far as laundry, I was shopping at a home store years ago in NY, and I saw a woman with her cart totally filled with Fantastik (which was on sale for $1 each that week). While on line with her, I commented on the sheer amount of the cleaner and how she must have some serious cleaning to do. She told me that she does laundry for a living, and ALWAYS uses Fantastik as a stain remover, regardless of the stain, as it is cheaper and always does the job! I went home and tried it right away and have never looked back. Do NOT use the Fantastik with bleach, just the original, plain Fantastik, and when it’s on sale, you can’t beat the price/quality of the job it does!

  21. says

    I love all your recipes and I just wanted to say that I have n HE machine which I DO NOT LIKE
    I guess for the simple reason that it uses hardly ANY water, I checked right after I bought the machine. To make a long story short I almost always wash everything on the bulky item setting. I made the liquid laundry detergent and found that I had clumps of it on my clothes when I took them out, so I took my stick blender through the whole container of soap and now it is very smooth and no more clumps. Also I don’t know about anyone else but the scented laundry softener and soaps make me sneeze a lot, so I don’t use softener anymore use leftover aluminum and wad it into a ball and use it in my dryer instead and they work great! Just a thought!!!!


Leave a Comment

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