Thursday, January 24, 2013

DIY Laundry Soap

After hearing several people talking about making their own laundry detergent, and after my husband badgered me for months to get the recipe & buy the ingredients so we could try it... I finally did - and I am extremely happy with the results.  This stuff will save you SO much money, and after using it for a few weeks now, I can confirm that it actually works BETTER than the stuff I was buying at the grocery store.  Here are the supplies you need:

One five gallon bucket and lid to dedicate to detergent making/storage = $3.88
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda = $3.24
Borax = $2.98
Bar of Fels-Naptha soap = $0.97
Bar of Ivory soap = $1.00

Total to get started = $12.07
(Note:  You will get quite a few batches out of the Borax and the washing soda, plus the bucket is a one-time expense.  So the cost per batch is around $3.50)


  • Grate the Ivory & Fels-Naptha soap and add to saucepan with 4 cups of water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
  • Fill 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add the melted soap mixture, plus 1 cup of the washing soda and 1/2 cup of Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
  • Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of the way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
  • Optional: you can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. (I didn't do this)
  • Yields 10 gallons of laundry soap

This is what ours looks like, all done.  It has a thick, gel-like consistency.  Remember, you use a smaller, everyday use bottle with a mix of half this stuff, and half water... so this should last a long time.

And here are before and after pics of one of Shane's dirtiest, grubbiest work/garage shirts.  The before pic was taken AFTER the shirt had been laundered in our old store-bought soap - I pulled it from the clean clothes basket to see if there was any noticeable difference with the new homemade stuff.


Now I know the after shot isn't pristinely beautiful, but in comparison to the before shot, I think it's easy to see some improvement!  What do you think?

Oh, and one more benefit of the new soap - I really like the smell of it.  I did not choose to add any essential oils, so it just has a nice clean soapy smell (which came from the Ivory & Fels-Naptha) rather than the overly perfume-y smell of the store bought stuff.  So there you go: $3.50 for 10 gallons of laundry detergent, that works BETTER and smells nicer than what you buy at the store.  Everyone should be doing this!


  1. This is awesome! You should add a "Pin it" button to your post. :) I've been very, very curious about making our own detergent. You've just inspired me!

  2. Thanks for the idea, Katie! I just figured out how to add a button and pinned it myself to make sure it would work. :)

  3. This is great! I can't believe the difference on the already "clean" shirt. I'm trying this!

  4. I did a few batches of this stuff, too. After a while -- not sure why-- our clothes stayed smelling musty after a wash. I bought some "store soap" and the smell disappeared.

    We have a front loader, now. It tends to smell after a while, even though we leave the door open between washings. We have to run a cleansing tablet through it every couple months. I saved the homemade laundry soap, though. It's good for scrubbing out a bathtub and the laundry sink.


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