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………..


Print Friendly
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter4Pin on Pinterest10,094Google+0

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

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



  1. Jill Nystul says

    ha! Yes, DerFarm, using dishwashing liquid in the CLOTHES washing machine is not advised. :-)
    Try this stuff…you'll LIKE it! :-)

  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. 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!!

  4. 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!

  5. Anonymous says

    I have been wanting to try homemade detergent but not for sure about using it with the HE Machines. Does the recipe change any?

    • 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

    • Tammy says

      You can also use Sunlight bars (it’s what I use) and I’ve been told even glycerin bars work.

      • 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.

  9. 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!