Homemade Laundry Detergent: The Best DIY Recipes

Whether you prefer powder, tablets, or liquid, there's a great recipe for homemade laundry detergent for you here.

The homemade laundry detergent recipes you’ll find in this post are extremely effective, easy to make, and more affordable than store bought detergents. They’re safe to use in HE machines, too (and since you’ll use less detergent per load, each batch will last even longer!) These DIY laundry soap recipes utilize ingredients like baking soda, borax, washing soda, and bars of laundry soap, all of which are great stain removers (and which you may remember from many of my best stain removal tips!)

The first recipe for homemade laundry detergent we’ll cover is an OGT classic. I’ve been using this detergent for over 10 years now, because it’s easy to make, has incredible cleaning power, and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin like some other detergents do. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that it makes enough laundry detergent for 280 loads for around $50 in supplies (just 18 cents per load, for those keeping track at home!)

In addition to the powdered detergent recipe, this post also includes a trial-size version of that recipe, as well as how-tos for making laundry detergent tablets and a great liquid laundry soap. After all, you can never have too many options in the fight against grass stains, sweat stains, dirt, blood stains, and all the other challenges you face in the laundry room!

Homemade powdered laundry detergent makes about a year's worth of detergent for around $50.

What Do People Love About This Homemade Laundry Detergent?

Take a look at what readers who use this recipe have had to say about my homemade powdered laundry detergent:

“I just made this laundry soap last week and I LOVE it! Not only does the recipe make a ton, but the soap smells good and works wonderfully too! I don’t usually leave comments, but I truly wanted to thank you for all the inspiration!”

Michaelle T.

“This homemade laundry detergent works fabulously. It’s cheap to make, and it gets my clothes super clean. Thank you!”

Karen

This is the best smelling laundry detergent ever! It’s super easy to make and cleans wonderfully. I shared some with my mother-in-law and sister, and they both love the scent too!”

S. Allen

“I LOVE all of your homemade cleaning items, especially the laundry soap. I haven’t bought from a store since the first time I made it; it’s FUN!!”

Cindy R.
To make powdered Homemade Laundry Detergent you'll need Fels-naptha soap, crystal fabric softener, borax, washing soda, baking soda, and Oxi-Clean.

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

This recipe makes about 35 cups of detergent (around 280 standard wash loads, or 560 HE loads).

Ingredients:

  • 3 bars (15 oz) Fels-Naptha laundry soap OR 1 bar Zote OR 3 bars Castile soap
  • 1 box (76 oz) borax (20 Mule Team is the most common brand)
  • 1 box (55 oz) washing soda 
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 2 boxes (6 lbs) OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover
  • 1–2 bottles (15–30 oz) Purex Crystals in-wash fragrance booster (optional, see below)

Directions:

The Fels-Naptha soap needs to be in very fine pieces for homemade laundry detergent, so start by cutting the bars into small cubes.

Step 1 – Grate The Soap

First, you’ll need to break down the bars of soap into fine pieces or pellets. The pieces need to be quite small in order to ensure they’ll be able to dissolve completely in your washing machine.

Put the cubes of Fels-Naptha into a blender or food processor with some of the Oxi-Clean and process until the pieces are like rough cornmeal so they dissolve when you add the homemade laundry detergent to your washing machine.

I usually do this by chopping the soap bars into big chunks, then adding them to the blender cup of my Blendtec with a scoop of OxiClean. Letting my blender do all the work saves me a lot of time and energy, and the OxiClean helps prevent the laundry soap pieces from sticking together and gumming up the blender.

If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you can grind up the soap in your food processor or grate it using a hand-held cheese grater. (Grating soap by hand is a bit of a workout, but it gets the job done!)

Since this recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent makes so much, the easiest way to mix it is in a couple of large garbage bags.

Step 2 – Mix The Ingredients

Next, gather all your detergent ingredients and grab a couple of kitchen trash bags. Pour the grated laundry soap, borax, washing soda, baking soda, OxiClean, and Purex Crystals (if using) into one trash bag, then close the bag and tie it off securely.

Tie the garbage bag shut and mix the Homemade Laundry Detergent until it is homogenous.

Place the tied bag inside the second trash bag, then close and tie off that one too. Then you’ll be able to push, tumble, and roll the bags around to mix all the ingredients together (with no mess to clean up afterward!)

To put your Homemade Laundry Detergent into containers, just snip a corner of the trash bag and pour the detergent powder out.

Step 3 – Transfer To A Container

After mixing, cut a hole in the corner of both trash bags and empty the detergent into a large container for storage. (If you live in a humid climate, make sure the container has an airtight lid! You can also toss a few silica gel packets into the detergent to absorb moisture and prevent clumps.

You only need about 2 tablespoons of your Homemade Laundry Detergent per load.

How Much Powdered Detergent Should I Use Per Load?

  • Use 2 tablespoons of this homemade laundry detergent per standard wash load, or 2 1/2 tablespoons for large or heavily soiled loads.
  • For HE machines, use 1 tablespoon per wash load, or 1 1/2 tablespoons for large or heavily soiled loads.

Note: For best results, add the detergent directly to the wash drum of your washing machine. This will prevent any issues with the soap bits getting stuck or clogging your detergent dispenser.

You can also use Castile soap instead of Fels-Naptha for your homemade laundry detergent.

BONUS: Fels Naptha, Zote & Castile Soap: What’s The Difference?

Fels-Naptha bars are made of soap and talc, and feature a light scent that only lingers on fabrics for a day or so. (You can also use it to wash off oils from poison ivy and other itch-causing plants that have gotten on your clothes and skin, so consider keeping a bar with your camping gear!)

The most common Castile bar soap is Dr. Bonner’s Pure Castile Bar Soap. It’s made from organic vegetable-derived oils, available in a variety of scents, contains no foaming agents, and is vegan and cruelty-free.

Zote is made with beef tallow, coconut oil, and citronella, which gives it a longer-lasting scent than other laundry soaps. There’s also a pink version of Zote that’s supposed to be gentler and better for sensitive skin (though I’ve personally never had issues with any of the laundry bar soaps I’ve tried!)

For HE washing machines, you only need a tablespoon of homemade laundry detergent.

Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap – Trial-Size Recipe

Interested in trying this homemade powdered detergent, but aren’t ready to commit to making a full batch? This trial-size recipe is perfect for that! It’s also a great option for households that don’t need a huge amount of detergent on hand.

This version of the recipe makes just over 11 cups of detergent, (around 90 standard wash loads, or 180 HE loads).

Ingredients:

  • 1 bar Fels Naptha laundry soap
  • 3 cups borax
  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover
  • 1 cup Purex Crystals in-wash fragrance booster (optional)

Directions:

Make according to the directions provided for the full-size recipe above.

You can use your Homemade Laundry Detergent to make detergent tablets, too -- so easy to just toss one in the machine!

Homemade Laundry Detergent Tablets

If you like store-bought detergent pods, consider using the powdered detergent described above to make your own detergent tablets! Because you won’t have to measure out detergent for each wash load, you’ll be less likely to use too much, which means fewer residue issues and less wear on your clothes. 

Tablets can also make laundry simpler for teens and husbands, and they’re easier to travel with than liquid detergent — whether you’re traveling to the nearest laundromat or out of the country! Plus, they’re quick and easy to make if you already have a batch of powdered detergent on hand.

To make Laundry Detergent Tabs all you need is some vinegar in a spray bottle, some of your homemade laundry detergent, and an ice cube tray or mold.

How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs

You’ll need:

Directions:

For Laundry Detergent Tabs, spray some vinegar into a bowl of homemade laundry detergent until you can squeeze it together and it stays in shape.

Pour some white vinegar into a spray bottle, then add about 2 cups of powdered laundry detergent to a mixing bowl. Spray the detergent with vinegar until just damp enough that it forms a clump when you squeeze it in your hand.

To mold the Laundry Detergent Tabs, scoop a tablespoon of your damp homemade laundry detergent into each cavity in the mold or ice cube tray.

Add one heaping tablespoon of the moistened detergent to each cavity of your mold, then press down firmly until the detergent is tightly packed and level.

One the Laundry Detergent Tabs are dry, pop them out of the mold.

How Many Laundry Detergent Tabs Should I Use?

  • For HE washing machines, use 1 tab per normal-sized load of laundry.
  • For standard washing machines, use 2 tabs per normal-sized load.
To make DIY liquid laundry detergent you'll need Dawn, borax, washing soda, and a one-gallon jug.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup Dawn dish soap (or liquid Castile soap)
  • 4 cups hot water
Pour the ingredients for homemade liquid detergent into the jug, then fill it with hot water.

Directions:

Add the borax, washing soda, and soap to a gallon-sized container (an empty juice or milk carton works great), then add the hot water and shake or stir to dissolve the ingredients. Fill the remaining space in the container with cool water. 

Give your homemade liquid detergent a shake before using.

The ingredients may settle over time, so give the bottle a good shake before each use. (And since the liquid detergent doesn’t contain OxiClean like the powdered version does, feel free to add a bit of oxygen bleach to your washer along with your detergent when washing whites!)

Use a quarter cup of your homemade liquid detergent per load.

How Much Liquid Detergent Should I Use?

  • For standard washers, use 1/4 cup per normal load (or more for large or heavily-soiled loads).
  • For HE washers, use 2 tablespoons per normal load (or more for large or heavily-soiled loads).
You can also save money by making homemade dryer sheets.

A Few Helpful Notes

  • All of these detergents are safe to use in front-loading, high-efficiency washers. (The liquid detergent produces little to no suds, so it’s perfect for HE models.)
  • For a vegan detergent, use Castile bar soap, rather than Fels-Naptha or Zote.
  • Purex Crystals help give homemade laundry detergent a fresh, lasting scent. To avoid synthetic fragrances and chemicals, feel free to leave them out — the detergent will work just fine without them!
  • Another fragrance option is to make your own natural scented crystals with essential oils. (Natural fragrances fade faster than synthetic ones do, so you may want to store and add your homemade scent crystals separately from your detergent.)
  • If you’re looking for more ways to save money on laundry supplies, consider making homemade dryer sheets.
  • For more homemade cleaning supplies, check out my homemade detergent for dishwashers — the ingredients and process are quite similar!

Have you ever tried to make your own laundry detergent?

how to make homemade laundry detergent

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe

Jill Nystul
This has been my go-to detergent for years now! It’s so affordable and easy to make, and it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin like some other detergents do.
3.94 from 176 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Cost $50
Yield 35 cups

Equipment

  • Blender
  • Kitchen Knife
  • Storage Container

Ingredients
  

  • 15 ounces Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap
  • 76 ounces borax
  • 55 ounces washing soda
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 110 ounces OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover
  • 15 ounces Purex Crystals optional

Instructions
 

  • Break down the bars of Fels-Naptha in fine pellets of laundry soap. The pieces need to be small enough that they will dissolve readily in your washing machine.
    make soap pellets with bars of soap
  • Pour the laundry soap pellets, borax, washing soda, baking soda, OxiClean, and Purex Crystals (if using) into a trash bag. Tie it off, put it in another trash bag, and tie off the second bag.
    mix ingredients together in trash bag
  • Roll the bag around the mix, then cut a hole in the corner of both bags and pour the detergent into a big jar or container for storage.
    pour detergent into jar or container to store

Video

YouTube video

Read This Next


Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

MORE IDEAS FROM

Homekeeping Tips

  • I found out where to get the 2 gallon Anchor Hocking glass containers. Walmart and Amazon have it for $13.97 at both stores plus tax. It is huge but does not come with the silicon gasket.

  • Sometimes these DIY laundry solutions leave residues. Have you tried using a Tide washing machine cleaner packet or similar? And always leave your washer door/lid open and any pull-out detergent tray out, so it can thoroughly dry out after you’re done.

  • It’s been at least 7 years since this was first posted(according to the comments). Is the recipe still the same since then, or is there anything you would change?

    I added everything on here for the full sized Powdered detergent into my Walmart shopping list and it says it’s about $75 to make now. Those prices skyrocketed!

      • I figured it out. It’s actually closer to $45 where I’m at. The problem was buying the packs of items (like the 3 pack of Fels-Naptha) or the exact measurements (like the OxiClean). I added them singly or a larger box and the price dropped $30. Still all on Walmart.

        I made your detergent(now that I did my math right. Lol) and I have been loving it! I even shared some of it and your link/recipe to my coworkers. They loved it too! Thank you so much!

  • I love this laundry soap, and it sells very well at my church’s annual Country Fair’s Natural Products section. I combine both Zote and Fels Naptha; use 2 Fels Naptha to every 1 Zote. One thing; I was chopping these soaps very small with a blender/food processor. Last year it broke, so I had to leave the hand-grated soaps in the product. I couldn’t wait to blend them again, but first my family and then customers from church asked me to keep the larger, hand-grated pieces in the laundry soap. So, it saves me time and it’s easier than ever to make (I still prefer the blended soap, but decided not to care, because I also prefer to have extra time in the day whenever possible).

  • You can make washing soda from baking soda as well; Pinterest has recipes. However; buying it for about $4 from Amazon works great–most people can also buy it online from Walmart too.

  • Excellent recipe and easy to make. With just two of us at home, I don’t do all that much laundry. I made 1/3 of the recipe, sort of “eyeballing” the quantities by using dry measures: 1 bar Fels Naptha, 3 cups borax, 2+1/4 cups washing soda, 2/3 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup (that was all I had, but this amount worked well) of Oxi-Clean. Using the blender to grind the cut-up soap by combining one of the powders with it is brilliant. It ground up nicely in my KitchenAid and the entire recipe fit in a one-gallon jar so I could shake it up to blend. I’m one of those people who like the smell of Fels Naptha soap (it’s nostalgic – for me) so I didn’t add any fragrance.

    This is maybe the best detergent I’ve used, and you’re so right about the quantity. My clothes and linens are much softer than they were (I think that must be from using the lower quantity of detergent). They are nice and clean and they smell clean, which is to say they don’t smell at all.

    I’ve made my own liquid detergent, two gallons at a time, for about 10 years now, and this is much easier with such a great outcome. Thank you very, very much for this recipe!

    You are such a resource!

    P.S. I ended up rating my post by accident. I thought I was rating the detergent!

  • Hi Jillee, I’ve been making a similar version of this and we love it. However, I didn’t include the Oxyclean so I followed your link and bought some.
    I love your blog, thanks so much!

  • I was wondering if you can omit the OxiClean altogether? I’m concerned for color fastness. Does it offer other benefits besides added stain fighting power?

    • I haven’t ever experienced issues with colors fading. In fact, I think this detergent is great for the quality of your clothes!

      However, you absolutely can leave it out if you choose to. :-)

  • I love this detergent!! Been making it for years – I keep mine in a 5 gal bucket with a lid and a smaller container in laundry room. I found a hack to make shredding the soap easier. allow it to dry out – then it crumbles very easy.

  • Love your recipe. It’s very close to the one I’ve come to use. I don’t use baking soda because it is redundant to the washing soda. I use to make a liquid because I had heard over and over again that powder was not good for HE. Come to find out later that that is completely untrue. I also wanted to add that being a front loading washing machine is not what makes a washing machine HE. HE machines also come in top loaded machines. I know this because when I purchased mine I did research and found that front loaders could be very unstable and require more maintenance. Which is why I went with a top loading HE machine. Now it has been quite a few years since I purchased mine so this could have changed. But I do like your recipe it’s very clear cut and easy to follow, I also love your idea of using the bags to combine the mixture.

  • With the homemade laundry detergent, I notice there is no suds. Is this correct? With commercial detergents, they suds. Is there not supposed to be suds?

  • Hi Jillie, could you give me substitutes for the Oxi clean and Fels Naptha bar? I live in India and these brands are not available here.

    Thanks!

    • You can replace the Fels Naptha with any bar of laundry soap. If you don’t have access to an oxygen bleach, then I would just leave it out :-)

      • My family used borax for my bedridden grandmother’s laundry for years. It softens hard water, breaks down uric acid crystals, and sanitizes. You can also use it to wash floors and walls to prevent insect infestations (they can move in quickly on a farm!). Don’t overload the washer and rinse well. It can improve skin issues when used properly.
        I have even experimented with adding a pinch to a gallon of water to improve bone density. I am NOT recommending that anyone else try it but it works for me!

  • I just made two batches of a very similar laundry detergent; one for my parents, and one for my family. We all love the results! We use a five gallon bucket for storage of the mix. A far as the actual mixing, we dump all the ingredients in the bucket then we use a paint mixer and drill at a low speed to mix. It just takes a few seconds, and you are done! We use the Purex scent booster container ( the gray top pops off for easy filling) as our dispensing container and leave the five gallon bucket in the garage. I hope this helps!

  • If you tie the trash bags correctly, you can reuse them! You can tie a knot where the cut is or use a large plastic cup to scoop out the detergent and place in your container without cutting a knot. I used a very large bowl to mix mine. But even if someone DID dispose of the plastic garbage bags, the amount of plastic containers saved from land fills in a years time needs applause!! Thank you Jillee!

  • This is the best smelling laundry detergent EVER! I used Purex Sparkling Fresh Scent Crystals (pink bottle with Lily’s on it) and OMG! Thank you so much! Super easy to make and cleans wonderfully! I am going to make the liquid scent booster with the same crystals now. Every time I open the container to pop in a load of laundry, my daughter will holler from the living room “Are you doing laundry? Cause I can smell that soap!”…she is in LOVE with the smell. I shared some with my mother-in-law and sister and both just love the scent too!
    I do have a suggestion on the storage, not a fan of using glass containers in the laundry room (safety) but I do know the scent will adhere to plastic containers, so I found a large-mouth container at my local Dollar General store that even comes with it’s own measuring spoon that has a long handle on it, it’s perfect! I store the extra in an empty Tide pod container and refill my container as needed.
    Thank you so much for all your wonderful, helpful ideas!

  • I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I have tried a lot of things here on your blog & with your help, I have been changing the way I clean, take care of my hair, my skin, etc. I now can’t imagine not having essential oils in my life too! It has made such a difference, not to mention the amount of $$ I have been saving. I just made this laundry soap last week, & LOVE it! It not only made a ton, it smells good & works wonderfully! I don’t usually leave comments on any sites, but truly wanted to say thank you for all the inspiration!

  • I love this soap recipe! I only use the first 4 ingredients, and will vary the type of soap bar I use. There are wonderful local soaps that give a lovely fragrance.

  • I use this one, but I love them both! It’s just a matter of preference :-) I buy the bar soap at my grocery store – it’s on the top shelf of the laundry aisle.

  • I make this recipe anyway but in smaller batches. It’s a great recipe. Instead of the Purex Crystals I just use water softener salt as sodium chloride is the main ingredient in Purex Crystals anyway. It’s very cheap by the 40 lb bag and softens my clothes better than the vinegar I was using. Probably any salt will do. You can scent it if you want with essential oils. You’d have to add quite a bit though because even though I scented my salt and it smelled good, it never transferred the scent to my clothes. So, now I just leave it out. I use about 1/8 cup per load in my front loader.

  • Soda ash and Washing soda are the same. You could have a go at using the pool stuff if u like.
    The Washing Soda in the laundry section is an excellent product tho. ( no pool here)
    NEVER NEVER use soda ash or washing soda or any other form of sodium carbonate in the kitchen to replace baking soda. It’s not for eating!!

  • I have been using your recipe for over a year and LOVE IT!! The clothes smell wonderful, and they come out nice and clean. Thank you for another wonderful inexpensive solution!!

    I love all your posts and your recipes!!

    • Anything with grated bar soap in it is best dissolved in hot water, then added in to the wash.

      Nothing like hanging a load of black clothes out on the line and finding gummy bits of undisolved detergent stuck all over them D:

      I use a decommissioned dish brush in the laundry for this task. If you put yr hands in this solution, do so wearing rubber gloves .

    • Linda, I dissolve the powder in the bottom of the empty washer in hot water. It only takes a minute or two. Then I switch the temperature control to cold wash/cold rinse and add the clothes.

      I also add a splash of white vinegar to the water, and pour an ounce or two into the fabric softener dispenser. Everything always smells cleaner,and I no longer have to use chemical fabric softener or dryer sheets.

  • This is my favorite product from your site, to date. I have not purchased laundry detergent in years and once you posted the the recipe for a year’s worth, I thought it was genius! The detergent works fabulously. It is cheap and the clothes get super clean. Thank you!

  • I’ve made a similar, smaller batch version of this for a while. The last time I made it, I added some essential oil for scent and it worked wonderfully, leaving just a hint of scent on the clothes.

  • For several years now I have been a fan of this laundry detergent recipe. A few weeks ago I gave some to my adult son who has suffered from a rash on his lower legs for years. He called the other day to say that since he has been using this the rash is almost gone. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Even if this was not cost effective (though it is) I would still make it because I think it is less harsh on our clothes, our skin and the environment. I will say mine is not as cost effective as most because I am always giving a portion away for someone to try!

    By the way, our store carries Zote flakes so I substitute a box of the flakes for two of the Fels Naptha and then just grate one bar of Fels.

    Thank you, Jillee, for caring enough to post recipes like this that make a huge difference in so many lives.

  • I put a bar of soap in the microwave in a large bowl, for only a minute or so (I don’t remember, just watch it). The soap puffs up. I usually have to remove the puffed up part, and microwave what hasn’t puffed up yet again. When it cools down, it disintegrates. Much easier than grating or using a blender or food processor.

  • I find this so easy to make – I use the food processor and will add some of the borax to help keep the soap from being sticky (and make a finer grain.) This stuff cleans so well and removes odor (dog towels and beds smell good!) Thank you!

  • I made this almost a year and a half ago and since it’s just me I’m still using that original batch. I’ve been making homemade detergent for close to a decade now and I love this recipe. I already knew how it would get my clothes clean but I like how this version incorporates the OxyClean and fragrance crystals. And since it makes a ton I don’t have to worry about running out very often. I highly recommend.

  • Jillee, I have been well pleased with your “recipe” for homemade laundry detergent. I can’t believe how clean our clothes are with only using 2 TBS. per load. Our whole family has allergies, so I am happy when my children and grandchildren visit that this “recipe” is good for your skin. Of course everyone loves to save $$ too!

  • I was a little on the fence about this but tried it and could not tell any difference between my expensive detergent and the DYI version. That was proof enough for me. My clothes don’t look any different but my wallet does. :) .

  • Is it 55oz of oxyclean total or 2 55oz boxes. You only have one box in the photo and 3 bars of felsnaptha and 2 bottles of Pyrex. I’ve been making it for 2 years with 55oz total and just wanted to make sure I was making it properly. We think it works better than the store detergents but I use more than 2TB in my large top loafer. I usually fill it to the 3 line on the oxyclean scoop. I also have heard about grimy clothing with homemade detergent but I do use the extra water button on my washer and 2 rinses because I hate these low water washing machines!

  • I have been using this recipe for over a year and have loved it! But I recently saw a post (from someone selling a different detergent, of course) that said soaps like this were only made for pre-treatment and would actually lock in bacteria and dirt. She posted photos of “stripping” the clothes washed with homemade detergents and they were disgusting. Granted, I could pour dirty water in a picture and post it so who knows! But does anyone know of any truth to the soap trapping theory? I absoltely love making my own detergent so I’m hoping it was hype for a sale!

    • Jill, I’ve been making my own detergent for a few years now and my thought is, if it works for you it’s just fine. I remember as a child, my mother using a wash board with Fels Naptha soap to wash her delicates. Also, both my grandmothers would slice off pieces of a Fels Naptha bar into their wringer washers for their detergent. I haven’t tried the above “new” recipe but make the basic recipe with 1 bar Fels, 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda. I add Oxyclean and scent crystals into the washer only if I want. Personally, I think with the vinegar rinse, the clothes come out smelling great without the scent crystals. Just me. :D

  • I have been making my laundry detergent since April of 2014 and saved £85 in the first year. I also supply my daughter with her laundry detergent, she must save at least £40 per year.
    I passed my recipe to a family with 4 kids and they are amazed at the savings. We have had no skin irritations and the washing machine works well…people think I am nuts but it works.
    Folks who want to save on household costs should not hesitate to make their laundry detergent.

  • I am interested in making this detergent and have done “loads” (Haha) of research. I noticed that you use two Oxiclean tubs…Is it safe to mix that much? Will I get the same effect with one tub? Thanks!

    • Forgot to add, any low moisturizing soap will work. I’d imagine you would be able to find a stain pretreatment bar or even soap flakes. Most hard water soaps are low fat.

  • Hi Jillee! Thank you for this post and the accompanying video! While browsing my local Walmart for the ingredients to make the Homemade Laundry Detergent I discovered a box of Zote Laundry Detergent Flakes. Even though it was a bit more expensive ($1.00/bar for both Zote and Fels Naptha; $3.97/box of Zote Flakes), the fact that I didn’t have to cut, grate, or blend anything in a blender was enough for me to decide to spend the extra $1.00 for the Zote Flakes. I have been using the detergent for about a month, and am thrilled with the results!

  • I made this yesterday and am eager to try in the washing machine! I used only a 1/2 bottle of the fabric softening crystals as I found the smell overwhelming. In addition, rather than purchase a container, I used an empty see through, round pretzel container – it was just the right size! Finally, I made the mixture in a Rubbermaid like tub, but will want to use a garbage bag next time as the powder/dust was irritating when I mixed it in the tub.

  • I used to make powdered laundry soap. I recently moved and now have a new HE washer. Can this powdered soap be used without causing damage or building in the washer? Thanks.

  • I’ve used homemade laundry detergents before, but found them to be harsh on our clothes. Have you noticed a breaking down of the fabrics at all with this recipe? My clothes were becoming stiff, almost brittle feeling, and prone to hoIes. it possible I was just using too much detergent per load?

  • Hi Jillee! Huge fan! I made this stuff about 6 Mos ago and I’m still loving it!! Quick question though: is it 2 TBS for regular washers and 1 TBS for HE washers? I could have sworn that was in your other post about this detergent. In this post it says 2 TBS. I just want to make sure cuz I only use 1 TBS now and it seems to work great for me. With Tide I used to have problems with my HE washer stinking after use but thanks to your great concoction no more musty smell EVER! I also stopped having to use those super expensive washer cleaners!! Thanks a bunch!

  • 1. Any laundry soap bar will work. I know there’s one called Zote, you might have something else :-)
    2. Yes!
    3. Absolutely! It is much better than store-bought detergents when it comes to sensitive skin. You may want to leave out the fabric softening crystals if perfumes irritate your skin. :-)

  • I’ve been using this recipe for the last 3 years. It may sound expensive, $30+ for your first big batch, but when I added up what I was spending each month on laundry detergent, oxyClean, and softener, plus an occasional bottle of pre-treatment spray, it was well over $50 per month. And this big batch DOES last me several months. There are two things I’d like to add: First, Zote, (which some recipes call for instead of Fels-naphtha) now offers Zote flakes, at the same price as the Zote bars. Saves you from chopping the bars up and/or grating them by hand! Second, and this is important, Do Not use this detergent with chlorine bleach. There’s a chemical reaction between them, which causes whites to yellow or even turn grayish, with some darker gray splotches. Luckily, I had only washed my hubby’s white underwear and socks by the time I figured it out. So I have a small bottle of (commercial) liquid laundry soap that I keep for my “bleach” loads. Thanks Jillee, for all of the wonderful tips you bestow upon your audience.

  • My youngest child has extremely sensitive skin and has not been able to tolerate any commercial laundry detergents without breaking out in horrible skin rashes. She has actually been able to tolerate this product without any problems even though it isn’t “free and clear.” We have been using this for about a year and a half so each batch lasts approximately 6 months for our family of 6, with lots of small active children.
    I believe jillee has a trial sized version of this recipe posted elsewhere on the site that you could try out before you commit to making an entire batch.

  • I find that the fabric softener crystals don’t really help with fragrance … so left them out last time I made the detergent (and I do use a separate softener). BUT … my detergent clumps more easily. So I think I’ll get some of the blue dots and add them to my jar.

  • If you’re trying to do this recipe all natural, keep the borax, baking soda and washing soda but put in only a natural bar soap instead of the fels-naphtha. Ivory or a castile soap work well. Leave off the other high-chemical ingredients. You’ll still have a fine detergent and it’ll be even less expensive.

    • I use this same formula, and I add a cup of epsom salts and one additional cup of baking soda. My family has not had any issues in the 18 months I’ve been making it. Plus it works great! For fabric softener I use wool dryer balls. I find that the gentle scent of the castile soap is more pleasing than the heavily scented commercial products I used to use.

  • I too have been using this recipe for close to three years. Being a family of two I only make about half at a time and mix it in a large 5 gallon bucket. I then store it in old containers that my protein powder comes in.And I also use mine in my HE machine with no problems at all.

  • I use this same recipe, and yes, you can use it for whites and darks.
    I don’t know what laundry type bar soaps that you have available, but I know people who use Zote. In my experience, Fels Naptha does a better job, and it’s available on Amazon.
    I’ve used this detergent to wash my infant granddaughter’s clothes, and she hasn’t had any problems.
    I hope that this helps!

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