Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder


Every once and a while, I would stumble upon a homemade laundry detergent recipe.  I would think to myself “I want to do that” and then I would forget.

Over the break, I decided I was going to try it.

I found one of the easiest laundry detergent recipes and headed off to the store.

My first discovery was that the grocery store had all of the ingredients; Tar-jay, not so much.  

The Recipe:

Each batch yields approximately 32 ounces (Using 1 T per load, you should get approximately 64 loads).

  • 1 bar of shaved bar soap (Fels-Naptha) ($0.99 at the store) You can use other bar soaps like Ivory, and Zote.
  • 1 cup of borax ($3.99 at the store)
  • 1 cup of washing soda (3.99 at the store)

The cast of characters.  I should have bought a lot more bars of the Fels-Naptha soap, but I wasn’t certain I would stick with it. 


The recipe suggested shredding the bar soap.  However, there were comments saying the food processor did a good job, so I went for that.  Don’t do this with sleeping kids.  It is LOUD.


I then added one cup of the washing soda and one cup of Borax and mixed it all together.


Once it was mixed together, I put it in a container, added a scoop and was good to go.

The results:

I’m amazed that this works so well.  I got school ravioli sauce out of the girls’ clothes!  That’s a huge success.

It has a nice gentle smell (from the Fels-Naptha) and hasn’t caused a reaction on any of our skin.  In fact, I was reading that many people use this soap for their cloth diapers.  I figure, if it’s good enough for a newborn’s bottom, it will be plenty good for us.

And, it is lasting for a really long time.  Believe me, we’ve done a ton of laundry this past week with our 3 day potty training event.  In fact, I’ve done at least one load every day!

Now, if I could only remember to make some homemade fabric softener, our clothes wouldn’t snap when they come out of the dryer.



Final Thoughts:

This is so much cheaper than brand (or even store brand) laundry detergent.  And, it took me less than 10 minutes to make it.  I only wish I would have done it sooner.  Saves money and time.  And, it is much cleaner and safer for the environment.

Have you tried homemade laundry detergent?  What did you think?  Were you happy with the results?  I think my inner granola cruncher is definitely showing.

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  1. I also make my own but I use a liquid that takes a tad more time but I love it!! I also use Ivory soap because it makes our clothes much softer than the fels naptha! In my opinion! I don’t even have to use Downy anymore!!! Totally worth it! Glad you love it! I may have to try your recipe next time!!!

    1. Here’s what I’ve found. HE washers want you to use low suds detergent…and well, this is very low suds (bubbles), so it’s a go.

      I’ve also read that some people have problems if you have to put it in a detergent drawer in your machine and they just sprinkle it over the clothes in the washer before starting.

      1. That’s what I’ve heard too…….from what I’ve seen, for regular washers you use 2 TBsp of the homemade soap, but only need 1 for the HE washers……
        However, in general, the homemade stuff doesn’t really suds up…..

        1. I’ve been using about 1T in my traditional (ie non-HE washer) with great success!

  2. Here’s what I’ve found. HE washers want you to use low suds detergent…and well, this is very low suds (bubbles), so it’s a go.

    I’ve also read that some people have problems if you have to put it in a detergent drawer in your machine and they just sprinkle it over the clothes in the washer before starting.

  3. make my own soap?? dude i am starting to think i am not crunchy enough to hang out with you…nor that good of a scientist 🙂

  4. mrs. hils says:

    I’ll have to give it a shot. I washed O’s shirt from the ravioli and his stain is still very much there!

    1. My stain was a new one..not a washed/dried one, so no promises…but at least it’s a ton cheaper:)

      PS Let me know if you get this in an email…to make sure my notification thingy is working.

  5. I have been making a liquid kind.. that turns into a gel.. it does pretty good.. but I think I would like to try a powder kind.. where did you find that bar of soap? Is it just in the soap isle or is it a special kind?

    1. Did I email back? I can’t remember.

      I found the bar soap in the grocery store (Publix) right next to the Borax and Washing Soda on the same aisle as the laundry detergent. At my store, it was on the top shelf.

      It is a special soap for laundry…not the body. So, you won’t find it by the body soap in the store.

      Let me know if you make it and what you think.

  6. I’m so glad you tried this and blogged about it! I’ve been wanting to try homemade laundry detergent, but have been very skeptical. I make my own wipes, but that’s it. Now, I can’t wait to try it!!

    1. Homemade wipes? The ones from paper towels? I just wondered if the savings was really there for those. I thought about it with my kids, and then never did it.

      Let me know how it works for you if you do it! We’ve been really happy with it.

  7. Krystyn, first you got me thinking about potty training, now homemade detergent? LOL. I think this is going to be one amazing year. I plan on doing this as well, one of these weekends 🙂

  8. Grammy Staffy says:

    I am so proud of you. I am going to make some too. I am excited to try it. Thanks for the recipe and for the good example.
    I hope you are all doing well. Have a great week. Hugs, Grammy L

  9. WOW! That is sooo awesome! I wanna try that out! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  10. That’s cool……so glad it worked.
    A while back I was investigating the same thing! I’ve never gotten around to blogging about it…..I wanted to made some detergent using goat milk soap. They now sell a bar for doing that…….however, they also sell the premade detergent, which is not much different in cost than making it yourself…….so I’ve been buying their premade stuff….
    It’s working so great on the cloth diapers!

    1. Hmmm…never tried the goat milk soap…plus, I bet you can’t buy it at the store.

      This stuff is supposed to be great on cloth, too.

      Does your childcare provider (daycare, right) let you use cloth?

  11. If you open the Fels Naptha and let it dry for a day or two, it grates MUCH easier!

    1. Thanks for the tip! I noticed this last time I did it (this month) because it’s much drier here, it was was easier to do.

    1. Hi Terri-

      I don’t see why you couldn’t. In fact, I’ve read that people do that and/or they add a something like Oxiclean powder right to the detergent mix so it gets in every load.

  12. Heather in VA says:

    I’ve been making my own laundry detergent using your recipe for over two years. I love it and still can’t believe how much cheaper it is. Takes me less time to make than a trip to the store.

    1. It’s so much cheaper isn’t it? Well, I did kill an old food processor, but grating it takes no time at all! And it lasts forever!

  13. nicole dziedzic says:

    With laundry detergent being so expensive this is a huge money saver, why didn’t I think of doing this a long time ago, so easy too!

  14. I’ve made my own laundry detergent in the past, but haven’t recently. It’s super simple to do!

  15. Elisabeth says:

    I’ve always wanted to make my own detergent too, but thought it was hard to do… this isn’t so bad! I’ll have to give it a go! 🙂

  16. Never made my own but whenever I ran out I used dish soap instead.

  17. This is the BEST homemade recipe! Love, love, love never having to buy store bought again!

  18. Julie Wood says:

    I want to try making this homemade clothes soap. I think it is easy to make and sounds like it really works. I will give it a try and get the items for it tomorrow. Thanks for the idea!

  19. Sandy Klocinski says:

    Thanks for a great idea! I’d love to make this and start using it for the savings and the cleaning results. They will have to pry my homemade cleaners, remedies, etc from my homemaking little fingers!!

  20. Pamela Gurganus says:

    I have never made homemade laundry detergent, but have always wanted to. I love this recipe because the ones I had looked at before has the same ingredients, but had you melting the soap to make a liquid detergent. I really didn’t want to get in to all of that! I’m going to give this recipe a go! Thanks for sharing. I’m all about saving money any way I can…especially when it comes to laundry products! Let us know when you make you own fabric softener. I’d be interested in that too!

    1. Yes, I’ve seen the melting ones, too. Seems like an unnecessary step.

      For fabric softener. I either a) put a little vinegar in the rinse (depends if you have hard a water or not) or b) most often, don’t use it.

      I use wool dryer balls and the most important thing I’ve learned to prevent static is to not over-dry my clothes. I no longer use the setting that detects moisture and dry on medium heat for only like 30-40 minutes.

  21. I have recently joined the ranks of involuntarily retired and need to budget tightly now, so this article was both interesting and helpful. I also have a 1 year old grandson so am looking forward to more posts about children as well.

  22. Brenda Haines says:

    I’ve made the liquid, but never powder. I’ll give this a try, thanks

  23. mrs. hils says:

    I’ve been meaning to ask if you are still using this?

  24. Oh yes, we always do our laundry detergent, well that’s unless we get free Natural samples for review which is what we just used today. Anyway we have been doing detergent for a long time now and love it.
    It’s a simple way to do good and save some money along the way and I am one that is always up for that.

  25. This looks pretty easy. I wonder if it be used in a front load washer?

    1. According to my research, yes, this is okay for a front loader because it is very low sudsing!

  26. I’m always looking for ways to save money, but I’ve never tried making my own detergent. This looks super easy. 🙂 Do you know if it’s safe for HE washers? Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. According to everything I’ve found, yes. This is low sudsing, so it should work and I’ve seen many people say they’ve used it in an HE machine.

      1. Awesome, thanks. 🙂 I might try this with a bit of lavender essential oil!

  27. Natalie F says:

    I will have to try this. We currently spend about $18/month on laundry detergent. Thanks!

  28. Amy Orvin says:

    This sounds great! I have never tried to make my own laundry detergent before, but it should would save money. Thanks for the tips and the recipe.

  29. Michelle S says:

    Thanks for the “recipe”; I have always wanted to try this out, will finally have to get around to making it this spring.

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