3 Easy DIY Laundry Detergent Recipes

It’s incredibly simple to make your own laundry soap. And it’s more affordable than store bought detergents. Plus, DIY laundry detergent can work just as well as many brand name detergents.
Young Boy with Laundry Basket Standing In front of Washer

Photo by: American Home Shield

Making homemade laundry soap can help you save money, plus you can avoid more synthetic chemicals like added dyes, perfumes or phosphates. With just a few simple ingredients and common household materials, you can make gallons of detergent that will clean your clothes for mere pennies per load.

Recipe #1

We reached out to Andrea Dekker, blogger and DIY extraordinaire, for her favorite homemade laundry detergent. She shared with us this recipe and why it’s more than just a solution for your dirty laundry: “It’s also spot treatment, whitener, brightener, deodorizer, and fabric softener all in one. You can use this detergent for front or top-loading machines and it’s safe for high efficiency machines too."

Andrea's Powder Laundry Detergent
Yields: 2 gallons (Approx. 230 loads)

• Microplane fine grater
• Spoon for stirring (optional)
• 5-gallon bucket with lid or similar container with lid

• 76 oz. box Borax powder
• one 55 oz. box Washing Soda
• one 16 oz. box Baking Soda
• 3 pounds OxiClean
• one 28 oz. container Purex Crystals
• three bars Fels-Naptha soap; grated

• Combine all dry ingredients into the bucket or container of your choosing.
• Shred the Fels-Napths soap with the Microplane fine grater into the mixture.
• Close the container and thoroughly mix all ingredients together. You may prefer to use a spoon to help the process.

Wash Recommendations:
2 tablespoons per load for front-loading and top-loading machines

Note: This is not a green solution for your laundry needs, although several ingredients are considered to be "green" products.

Andrea recommends adding 3-4 tablespoons for larger or dirtier loads.

Recipe #2 (Courtesy of Granny Nutshell)

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
Yields: 10 gallons. (Approx. 40 loads)

• Box grater
• Large saucepan
• Measuring cup
• Spoon for stirring
• 5-gallon bucket
• Recycled, cleaned laundry detergent container

• 1 bar Fels-Naptha
• 4 C hot tap water, plus additional water to dilute detergent product
• 1 C Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
• ½ C Borax
• 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. (Optional) Try lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil or jasmine. Add once soap has cooled.

• Shave Fels-Naptha bar and add to 4 cups hot tap water in a saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat to fully dissolve the shavings.
• Fill 5-gallon bucket halfway and combine melted soap, washing soda and borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Top off the mixture with more water. Stir again and allow it to thicken overnight. The “gelled” detergent may have the consistency of a thick noodle soup.
• You can mix in the essential oils now.
• Stir and pour into laundry soap dispenser. Fill container half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use.

Wash recommendations:
5/8 C per load for top-loading machines (Approx. 180 loads)
¼ C per load for front-loading machines (Approx. 640 loads)
Remember, this detergent may not be as sudsy as a commercial detergent, but it will work just as well to get your clothes clean.

Tip: Adding vinegar to the fabric softener cup or to the rinse cycle will help to keep things more sanitary by breaking up leftover wash residues.

Recipe #3 (Courtesy of TipNut)

Homemade Powder Laundry Soap
Yields: Approx. 3 cups

• Measuring cup
• Mixing bowl
• Spoon
• Airtight storage container


1 C White Vinegar
1 C Baking Soda
1 C Washing Soda
1/4 C liquid Castile soap
10 to 15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. (Optional). Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature.

Start by pouring the liquid soap into the bowl. Next, stir in the washing soda, followed by the baking soda. Now add the vinegar in small batches. The baking soda and vinegar may result in a foam which will settle.

The mixture will become a thick paste at first that will break down into a heavy powdered detergent with continued stirring. Break down any hard lumps by stirring. Tip: Make sure the baking soda does not have clumps prior to adding in the vinegar to reduce foaming.

Washing Recommendations:
Use 1/2 C per load

While these recipes have proven successful for others, you may need to adapt them based on your environment and clothing. This may mean adding more or less water or adjusting how much soap, borax or washing soda you use. Water hardness can also affect the final detergent, so just play around with the measurements until you get the consistency and quality you’re looking for.




Andrea Dekker, Author of Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes Andrea Dekker is the simple living enthusiast behind the Andrea Dekker blog, business, and brand. She is passionate about simplifying every aspect of life in a way that makes sense for real people with real lives and real budgets. She lives her version of "simple" in a 125-year-old farmhouse with her husband, their three children, and an ever-growing to-do list.

Next > Are You Using Your Laundry Detergent Correctly?

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