Homemade Laundry Detergent

I’ve been meaning to make my own laundry detergent for quite a while now.  I’m not sure what But the four jugs of “buy 1 get two free” laundry detergent I had kicking around the laundry room kept me from doing it until now.  Now, those yucky grocery store bottles of detergent are all gone so I can make my own.  This is so easy, everyone (including you) should go make some.   I wrote the recipe on the side of my container so that I wouldn’t have the trouble of losing it like I did with my dishwasher detergent.

Angela’s Laundry Magic:

Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe

Now I can never lose the recipe!

Remember how much I LOVE my Kitchenaid mixer? 

Grinding the bars of soap.

Oh, Kitchenaid, how I love thee!

One more reason: It grinds up bars of soap in no time flat. 

Shredded Bars of Soap

Shredded up bars of Kirk's Coco Castille.

I used Kirk’s Coco Castille for this batch because that’s what I bought months ago when I got it into my head that I would start making laundry detergent, but I will NEVER use it again for two reasons.  One, it is expensive; you can use Ivory soap or homemade soap instead.  And, two it has such a strong scent that I can’t stand it. 

Once you have the bars of soap ground up, dump them into whatever container you are going to use to hold your soap.  (Three bars yielded four cups of grated soap.)  Add essential oil for fragrance if you are going to scent your soap (I used a combination of lavender, lemongrass and rosemary.) and shake or stir it before adding two cups each Borax, washing soda and baking soda.  Shake or stir the entire batch until the grated soap is incorporated throughout the powder. 

I put mine into this container I got from a friend that used to hold some kind of protein powder.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Finished homemade Laundry Magic and Wide-mouthed alternative container.

But, if your husband does laundry (like mine does) and has giant man-hands (like mine does), you may need to find a wide-mouthed container that he can easily reach into so that he isn’t deterred from doing laundry in the future.  I reused this old laundry soap container.  Best of all, it even came with its own scoop.  I use about 1/4 1/8 cup per load, but you may need to adjust the amount you use based on how hard your water is and how dirty your clothes are.

If you like this recipe you might be interested in my homemade Fabric Softener and Sink Scrub recipes


Filed under frugality, green cleaning, green living

27 responses to “Homemade Laundry Detergent

  1. This is an interesting topic that has popped up in the last day on several blogs I’ve been following! I’ve got my list and will be making it to the store next week to whip up a concoction. One thing I read today is to add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to help clean the machine. Thanks for the post.

  2. How did it wash up? Have you tried it? Did it all rinse out ok?

    • aastricker

      Hubby gets to make the final call. I told him if he didn’t approve I’d make a liquid version; I’ll let you know how it goes.

  3. trying this out today for the first time. Ivory soap is a lot easier to grate than I imagined it would be!

    • aastricker

      Let me know how you like it. Hubby is a believer now and I’ll never go back to the smelly, toxic, expensive laundry soap they sell at the store again! I have a whole box filled with ground-up bacon-soap just waiting to be laundry detergent.

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  5. Gail

    What kind of oil did you use in your laundry soap recipe? Where can I buy this?

    • aastricker

      I use about 20 drops of lavender oil and ten drops of lemon grass oil, but you could put whatever scent you’d like in yours. I put tea tree into my dishsoap but it would be good in laundry too. I order my oils here: http://www.vitaglo.com/ . They are a lot cheaper and if you have a biggish order, shipping is free. If you just wanted an ounce or two of oil, you might be better off going to a health food store or an herb shop even though the price per ounce is more.

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  9. Megan

    I make my own but my recipe is a little different and a liquid – it seems to make more in regards to amounts of soap used… in case you would like to try its
    1/2 c. borax($4.00)
    1/2 c. arm & hammer washing soda ($4.00)
    1/3 of a bar of fels naptha ($2.00)

    in a large pot ( I use my canner) 6 cups of water and grated fels naptha – bring to a boil until soap is dissolved – in a tea kettle while that is heating I boil 4 cups water…….once it is dissolved pour the hot water and borax and washing soda in – bring to a boil again – remove from heat ….add one gallon and 6 cups cold water – any oils for fragrance you prefer and then I poor it into empty laundry jugs that I have – it makes over 2 gallons per batch and the cost per load is 1cent……. It’s hypo allergenic …my children have very sensitive skin…..

    • aastricker

      I toyed with the idea of making a liquid, but the powder works fine for us and doesn’t require the time (and electricity) necessary to cook the liquid. If we ever get an HE washer I may need to rethink that. Thanks for sharing!
      I don’t use Fels Naptha because after some research I decided it had too many chemicals but I’d wager other bar soaps would work instead.

  10. Thanks so much for the inspiration! I made a huge bucket of soap and I would never have thought of putting the recipe on the bucket. I also put instructions for how to use the homemade soap and a reminder to add vinegar to the rinse cycle.

    Our first loads were today and it worked great. Some of the clothes were a bit staticy though. Any ideas?

    • aastricker

      More vinegar should help with the static, but with really dry winter air you’re bound to have some static unless you resort to chemicals.

  11. Anita

    I _finally_ made this today! Been meaning to do it for a long time, but always had other packaged detergent around so never got around too it. I used 1 bar of bronners almond soap and that yielded 3 cups shredded, so I used 1.5 cups of everything else and didn’t add oil since the smell was fairly strong as is. Thanks again for posting this easy recipe!

  12. cam

    Do you think a liquid version is safe for HE mashines? I had a friend use regular detergent on a load he brought over and it cost me over 500$ to replace the pump and brain in it. I would love to make my own but would also love to avoid a huge bill.


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  15. Colleen

    You said you would NEVER use Kirk’s Coco Castile soap again to make your laundry detergent because it is too expensive. I would be interested in knowing what you pay. I pay 79 cents for mine and I didn’t think that was too bad compared to the price of other bar soaps. I do like the idea of making my own cleaning products though. I have tried it in the past but we’re “torn up” right now so I have been taking the easier route and buying Arm and Hammer ready made laundry detergent. I like it really well!

  16. Kinna

    I have made homemade laundry detergent about 5 times now and I really like the concept and saving money, which is a huge plus!! I was wandering though what kind of oils is save to use in the detergent and where can you get them? Do you have to order or would some stores have them?

  17. Angela

    i am very new to all this going green… I know this maybe a silly question but what is laundry soda …is it just regular store bought laundry soap?…

    • aastricker

      Washing soda is chemically similar to baking soda, but is not edible. It is in the laundry section and has been used for laundry for years; it just doesn’t have extra chemical brighteners and fragrances added.

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