How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
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How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Posted on Monday, May 30th, 2011 at 6:12 am
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Laundry detergent can be expensive, no doubt. But did you know that you can save money by making your own laundry detergent at home? Homemade laundry detergent is a great alternative for those who are doing large amounts of laundry, costing you as little as pennies per load!

What You Need (Liquid Laundry Detergent):

1 quart boiling water, 2 gallons room temperature water
2 cups grated bar soap (Any brand will work, just avoid strongly scented soaps)
2 cups washing soda (Arm & Hammer washing soda is $4.29 at ACE Hardware, or $5.78 for a 2-pack at Meijer)
2 cups borax (20 Mule Team borax is $3.12 at Meijer)


1) Finely grate the bar soap while you are waiting for the water to boil.
2) Add bar soap to water and stir until it is completely melted. Keep on low heat while mixing.
3) Pour soap-water mixture into a large bucket or container and add borax and washing soda. Stir until mixture is completely dissolved.
4) Add 2 gallons of water and stir well. Cover container.
5) Use ¼ cup of your homemade laundry detergent per laundry load.


  • Stir your laundry detergent before each use. It will be thick and lumpy, but don’t worry, this is normal.
  • If you have extremely hard water or a well, clothes may appear dull. Try slightly increasing the soap to water ratio for better results.
  • Recycle your leftover detergent bottles. They make great storage containers for you homemade detergent. Instead of stirring your mixture, just shake it up!
  • If you don’t have a large enough bucket or container for mixing your detergent in, check with a local paint store. They often have extra 5 gallon paint buckets that will work great – just make sure you clean it well. If you can’t find a bucket, you can also cut the top off an empty water dispenser jug.
  • Test your homemade laundry detergent on a load of towels or old clothes to make sure you are happy with the results.
  • For scented laundry detergent, you can opt to add essential oil once your mixture has cooled. About 10 drops per batch will do the trick. My personal favorite is lavender.

If the liquid laundry detergent isn’t for you, you can also make your own powdered detergent by simply swapping water for baking soda. Simply mix 8 cups baking soda, 8 cups grated bar soap, 8 cups washing soda, and 12 cups borax. Store your powdered detergent in a sealed container and shake before each use for best results. Use ⅛ cup of powder per laundry load and you’re good to go!

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.