How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

The following Best Savings Tip comes from reader, Carrie:

We have saved so much money by making our own laundry and dishwasher detergent and it’s so easy. We have a front load washing machine so we needed the more expensive HE soap. This recipe works just as good.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients

:: 1 bar, Fels-Naptha Soap
:: 1 cup, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
:: 1/2 cup, Borax
:: Essential Oils (optional)
:: 4 cups, Hot Tap Water
:: 5-Gallon Bucket

Homemade Laundry Detergent Instructions

{Step 1} Grate the soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

{Step 2} Fill a 5-gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved.

{Step 3} Fill the bucket to the top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.  We purchased a semi see-thru 5 gallon bucket with a handle and a lid from Lowe’s – about $7.

{Step 4} If you are adding essential oils, add them when the soap has completely cooled. Some ideas include: lavender, rosemary, and tea tree oil.

{Step 5} Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. This will form into a gel.

This recipe makes 10 gallons of homemade laundry detergent.  For a top load machine, you will use about 5/8 cup per load (approximately 180 loads). For a front load machine, you will use 1/4 cup per load (approximately 640 loads).

One recipe will last our family of 8, including 5 small children, for an entire year! YES, just one recipe!  Our first year’s cost, including the bucket, was maybe $10. This year I think it cost me about $3 since I still had the Borax and washing soda left over.

No cutting coupons or watching ads for laundry soap, just refilling my same old laundry detergent container. Using white vinegar as the fabric softener also saves us money and boosts some of the cleaning power of this soap, too.

What homemade recipes do you use to clean your house or fill your belly?
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by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on March 08, 2012


  • Pat - August 03, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    Thank you for sharing. I am sharing it with family and friends so we can all learn fromyou.

  • Brenda - November 03, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

    This works good. Have made our own for 2 yrs. Saves lot of $ w/ family of 5. Lasts us sometimes over 6 months. I also buy little container of favorite scent laundry detergent & put bout 1/2c in each jug.

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