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Homemade laundry detergent is an easy DIY, but it can be somewhat of a daunting task to make at first. If you want to know how to make laundry detergent, this recipe will be a good one to start with!

There are several great benefits to make your own laundry detergent: you can control the scent, and you avoid most of the chemicals that are unnecessary in cleaning your clothes. And, the biggest one that made me interested in figuring this out was the cost savings! You can save so much money when you learn how to make your own laundry detergent that you will be hard pressed to purchase a bottle in the store again!

Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients

You can find all of the ingredients for homemade laundry soap at most stores or on Amazon. You can add a lovely scent using essential oils.

Most other liquid soap recipes call for making 10 gallons at a time, I do not personally have storage space for 10 gallons, but feel free to double the recipe and stock up if you do. This homemade laundry detergent recipe makes 5 gallons and is more than enough to last me awhile.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Directions

  1. Grate ½ bar of Fels-Naptha Soap. I grate the whole thing while I am at it and put the rest away in a baggie for the next batch.
  2. In a large pot on your stove top pour about ½ the water, and grated soap. Warm over medium-high heat stirring continuously until all flakes are dissolved.
  3. Remove pan from heat, add washing soda, Borax, essential oils, and remaining water. Stir well to combine. Cover with a lid and let it “cure” overnight.
  4. Stir again and transfer to containers, filling halfway and then the rest of the way with just water.

You can use recycled laundry soap containers, gallon milk jugs, or pitchers. I use recycled milk jugs to store excess and a pretty gallon glass jar to sit on my washer for what is being used currently. I tied on a twine ribbon, and made a “hook” with a paperclip to hold the measuring cup, I like to have one dedicated to just my laundry soap so I am not scrambling to find one at wash time.

Be sure to save this on Pinterest for later!

Find MORE Household Cleaning Recipes HERE

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

With just 5 ingredients, this homemade laundry soap is an easy DIY laundry detergent recipe to make if you want to learn how to make laundry detergent! Best part: it's all natural and chemical-free!!

  • Author: Savings Lifestyle: Andrea
Scale

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Grate ½ bar of Fels-Naptha Soap. I grate the whole thing while I am at it and put the rest away in a baggie for the next batch.
  2. In a large pot on your stove top pour about ½ the water, and grated soap. Warm over medium-high heat stirring continuously until all flakes are dissolved.
  3. Remove pan from heat, add washing soda, Borax, essential oils, and remaining water. Stir well to combine. Cover with a lid and let it “cure” overnight.
  4. Stir again and transfer to containers, filling halfway and then the rest of the way with just water.

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This homemade laundry soap is an easy DIY laundry detergent recipe to make if you want to learn how to make laundry detergent! All natural and no chemicals! via @AndreaDeckard

About Andrea Deckard

Andrea Deckard is a personal finance expert and speaker. She lives by the following motto, "save on what you need so you can spend on what you want." She started Savings Lifestyle in 2008, and long-time readers remember the site as Mommy Snacks. Andrea is a go-to resource on frugal living for local news outlets such as WDTN, WGRR, and Cincinnati.com as well as national outlets like Good Morning America. She has also been featured in multiple national publications.

25 Comments

  1. heidi on March 11, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Can you use this on new washer/dryers? I know I have to buy he detergent and am always afraid of using anything else. Washers arent cheap to repair or replace.

    • Terra Coons on December 25, 2015 at 3:55 am

      I have made about 20 or so batches of homemade laundry soap with basically the same ingredients in different amounts or different processes and essentially they all arrive at the same finished product more or less. I have not noticed a difference in the cleaning ability f homemade versus store bought and I , ust admit im addicted to making it! I’m semitive to chemicals, dyes, and fragrances which is troublesome on the pocket book buying store made products that claim they are free of those additives and as a housecleaner by trade a veritable pain in the back side! I have been experimenting with different homemade diy non toxic alternatives recently and not only are they better on my skin many clean and deodorize average household dirt and stains and clean as well as the chemicals I have used for years!Most of my clclients love the switch, and are also switching to the laundry soap I make for them! My research of the laundry detergent seems to be truthful in regards to the front loading he machines as no one I know has had an issue. I myself live in an apartment and use the laundromat lare machines, again with spectacular results. My only complaint comes from my husband when our tiny kitchen is overtaken by buckets and bottles and containers for a day, but he’ll enjoy the fantastic dinner out we will have for our anniversary with all the money saved!

  2. Rebecca on March 12, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Can’t wait to try this. Have pinned it and will buy the ingredients this weekend.

  3. Donna Cranmore on April 2, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I have been using this soap for over 2 years now but have of late noticed white streaks on dark colors. Has anyone else experienced this? If so is there anything I would be able to do to correct this? I love making and the inexpesiveness of this detergent.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on April 2, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Donna, I haven’t heard of that issue. I’ll do some googling to see if there is a solution out there. It could be a laundry machine issue. I’ll comment here if I find something to help out!

    • Tammie on September 30, 2018 at 3:24 am

      I sometimes have white streaks and will I turn my dark color pants inside out to prevent it

  4. Anna on April 5, 2014 at 1:22 am

    I’m excited to give this a try! Do you use about the same amount per load as you do regular/ store bought liquid detergent? Thanks!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on April 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Anna, yes, use the same amount. Although I never used the “recommended” dosage the store bottles have. I always use 2/3 of what they suggest.

      • Francine Johnson McGee on May 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm

        I only use a couple of tablespoons in my front loader, I used to use 1/4 cup in my top loader.



      • Francine Johnson McGee on May 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm

        Oh, and if you have trouble finding washing soda, which is sodium carbonate, and is a very safe water softener, try your hardware store.

        I used to be able to get all of the ingredients at the grocery store, but as all of these new and fancy, and expensive, cleaners are introduced, they squeeze the very plain and inexpensive old fashioned products out. I’m surprised I still see borax at the grocery store. Probably because so many families use it to boost detertent when cleaning diapers.

        Fels Naptha is also a great stain remover. Something else you don’t have to buy. Just wet the stain and rub the bar into the stain.. One bar which costs 1.89 around here, will last a long time used just as a stain remover.

        I also mentioned cleaning my washer, there are lots of tutes online, but I use vinegar run through a short cycle and I also carefully clean the seals on my front loader.



  5. Tracie on April 17, 2014 at 10:50 am

    How does this make 5 gallons-maybe it’s me but I’m a bit confused. The recipe doesn’t call for adding that much more water. If I need five containers, how much of the finished product do I put in each container?
    Sorry, just not getting it through my head today. Want to try it- have all the stuff.
    Thanks,
    Tracie

  6. Francine Johnson McGee on May 4, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I have used this recipe for years. The only difference is I used to use ivory soap flakes, which they stopped making years ago. Fels Naptha is a great soap, and much more effective at cleaning. I now have one of the new front loading washers and it works fine with it as well. I actually use a little less.

    I have found, perhaps because this is more of a soap than a detergent, and by the way much safer for the environment and ourselves, I need to clean my washer every few months. I also have very hard water

    I would much rather deal with a small amount of soap build up than deal with the strong chemicals that build up from the detergents, that no one know what will do to us, and takes more than one wash to get it out of your clothes.

    Learn to make your own softener too, because the chemical kind really coats your clothing, be it liquid or sheets, because of the current laws, they do not have to disclose what these chemicals are. Testing has shown some of them to be very hazardous.

    The home made recipes on this website could be saving more than just money.

    • Jeannie Waechter on January 14, 2019 at 11:32 pm

      The book you want to read is titled “What’s in this Stuff. It tells you what those ingredients are and what they do. It’s an eye-opener.

  7. Felecia on June 7, 2014 at 2:06 am

    I cant wait to try this!

  8. Tracie on August 17, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I made this this last night. Is it still usually runny in the morning? I did add the water at the end like you said but it seems like it is just water with a bit of soap in it. Please tell me what the consistancy is supposed to be like.

    Thanks,
    T

  9. Reba Jackson on September 19, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Where do I find the essential oil?

  10. Alex on October 13, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I notice that this recipe calls for 2 gallons of water, but its noted that it makes 5 gallons of detergent? Does the 2 gallons of water expand into the 5 gallons of detergent? Or is there really more water needed?

    Thanks!

  11. Heather on December 2, 2014 at 11:47 am

    how many containers do you use for this recipe?

  12. Cassie on November 14, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I just tried this recipe and it’s sitting to ‘cure’ right now. It looked like it was the right texture for detergent when I had just one gallon of water, but now that I have added the second gallon of water it looks very thin. I notice the intro says that this makes 5 gallons, not two, so I just want to make sure the volumes are correct. Thanks!

  13. Tricia on December 11, 2015 at 10:57 am

    How much do you use per load? I must be overlooking it. Thanks!

  14. Keny on June 22, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    I made this today. Super easy and smells amazing!!! This 24 hour cure is killing me though! I have never been more anxious to wash clothes. ;)

  15. Vera on October 30, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Does this recipe actually make four gallons?

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