DIY – How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

DIY DIY - How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Recently, I started making my own laundry soap. How crazy is that? It’s actually super satisfying.  One, a batch lasts forever.  Two, it is ridiculously cost effective.  And three {and probably my favorite reason}, it’s another step towards knowing all of the ingredients I bring into my home and being more self-sufficient with just the basics.

How to make your own laundry detergent


  • 3 Bars Ivory/Zote/Fels Naptha Soap
  • 1 Box Borax
  • 1 Box Washing Soda {55 oz}
  • 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 Cups Baking Soda {more if you have hard water, less if you don’t}
  • 1 {3 lb} Container Oxy Clean
  • 1-2 Bottles Purex Laundry Crystals or Essential Oil {optional, if you want your laundry to have a pleasant scent}
  • 5 Gallon Bucket {to store the bulk of your detergent}
  • Smaller Container {you can refill detergent from your 5 gallon bucket, but it is way easier to have a smaller container for your daily laundry–the empty Oxy Clean container would work great}


First, grate the soap.  This is honestly the most tedious part.  I took a chance and used my friends food processor.  It did the job just fine, without doing any damage to the blade, but do it at your own risk.  I sent it through the grater first, then I turned it into a fine powder with the chopping blade.  If you hand grate your soap {let me start by sending my condolences}, make sure to grate it finely enough to make sure it will dissolve and do its job in the water.

Now dump the grated soap into the 5 gallon bucket {you can get these in the bakery department of practically any grocery store for free}.  Add remaining ingredients to the bucket.  If your bucket has a lid that is secure, you can mix it by rolling the bucket around on the floor.  If you don’t feel confident that your bucket lid will hold, you’ll need something to mix your detergent thoroughly.

Once it is mixed, you can fill up your smaller container.  I use 2 tbsp. per load, and I’ve been very happy with the results.  {This recipe is fine for a front-loader or a top-loading washer.}

How about YOU, do you make your own laundry soap?  Does it make you feel like a pilgrim?


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  1. Kary says

    I have been making my own laundry soap for about 2 years now. My husband at first thought I was crazy, but it is the best thing I ever decided to do. It helps us save money and has brought me back to the “basics” of living. At first I made liquid soap through a cooking method for the first year or so. But when I realized that the powder would be safe for our septic tank, I decided to save myself some work and make the powder.
    To answer your question does it make me feel like a pilgrim?
    As my 6 year old would say, “Yes, yes it does.”

    • Karen says

      I think this powdered form is great. I’ve tried it liquid form of this in a similar recipe and I found it very “goopy” if that’s a word!
      Two questions: how big is the box of Borax? Also,does this dissolve in cold water?

    • Adriana says

      I have bin making homemade laundry detergant (both liquid and powder plus I make the fabric softner, dishwasher detergant tabs,and body wash )for almost two years and my husband thought I was this mad scientist at first. But now he sees how good they work and how much money we save ( plus we know what ingredients are them) he is all on board .

  2. Mia says

    I’ve been making mine for almost a year now! 1 batch lasts about 8 months since there are only 2 of us and we do about a load a day. I use a mixture close to yours and I also use my food processor to grate the fels-naptha soap.

    1 box borax, 1 box washing soda, 1 box baking soda, 1 small container oxy clean, 3 bars fels-naptha.

    Clothes smell so fresh, no fragrance, just clean!

  3. Judith says

    I have been making laundry soap using just the first three ingredients you list. I make it in smaller amounts–one cake of soap at a time, and I use a pure castile soap without the irritating chemicals that are in most soaps. I have chemical sensitivity, and almost all laundry products make me sick. I can use Charlie’s Soap powder, but for a while I needed something stronger. I had two very elderly dogs and was doing a lot of very dirty laundry for them. So I tried the homemade soap, and it worked better than Charlie’s, and was cheaper.

    I like to grate the soap by hand while I’m watching a movie video. That way, I don’t mind doing such a slow, mindless job.

    • ilona says

      Like you, Judith, I only use the first 3 ingredients and have no issues just sitting on the porch on a nice day and grating the soap … I don’t add any fragrance because my daughter says she likes it that way, especially for her bed linens.

  4. Tracie says

    I’ve been making a liquid detergent for over a year and gasp everytime I see the prices for Tide at the store. I am happy with the choice and I don’t mind grating the soap by hand. I use Castille. Fels Naptha is too strong a scent. Basically 1 bar of soap, a cup of Borax, a cup of AH Super Washing Powder, a cup of AH Baking Soda and essential oil (I use sweet orange). Melt the soap in a quart of hot water, mix into a large container with another 2 1/2 gallons of water. Beat with the hand mixer, sit overnight. done. Very easy and cheap and green.

    • richele says

      Tracie- is there any issue with your ingredients separating during storage or do they all remain pretty well blended?

  5. says

    I have been making my own laundry soap for almost a year, and it works great! Plus I’ve noticed that my high capacity washer doesn’t get smelly anymore.

  6. says

    This recipe works well. Plus, I use white vinegar as a fabric softener. Works twice as well and is much more affordable! (And no, clothes don’t come out smelling like vinegar. But if you would like a scent, you can add an essential oil).

    • Jess says

      I second Emma’s question…we have an HE washer…and Lord knows if I ‘ruin’ that with my science experiments…my husband will have a fit! Lol (I have tendencies of breaking things around the house…)

      • Michele says

        It works great in the HE washers. My daughter’s is brand new, and we use them in my apartment building. We have never had a problem, and I think that the homemade actually eliminates that smell that the HE’s are famous for.

    • Gwenn Ferguson says

      They are GREAT for HE machines because there is almost no suds, which at first I thought meant it wasn’t cleaning well however my cloths always come out great. I’ve been making my own for about 15 months and it took me about 11 months to go through my first batch. Mavis is right, it feels good to know what you are using to clean your cloths.

  7. Trish Davis says

    what is washing soda? is it available at the grocery store or is it something you have to get in a specialty store? Its probably a silly question, but I am new to this.

    • Kary says

      Yes, you can buy washing soda at the grocery store usually. But you can also make your own by putting baking soda in your oven in a shallow pan and baking it at 400 degrees F (200 C). The basic difference between the two is that washing soda does not have the moisture in it. So you know it is washing soda when it changes composition and becomes dry and ashy (should leave a film on your fingers.)

      I tried it after researching the subject on the internet, it turned out well.

  8. says

    Thanks for the “recipe”! I have been thinking about making my own laundry soap for awhile and since we are almost out of the store bought stuff, I think now might be the perfect time to try it.

  9. Beth says

    I have the same question that Emma has- my husband would probably be very unhappy if I damaged that super spendy high efficiency front loader machine that we have…

  10. Katelyn says

    On a similar vein, have you tried dryer balls yet? I bought some thru Etsy but I’ve seen tutorials to make your own. They’re felted wool balls (I have 6) that are about the size of chubby golf balls that you put in the dryer in lieu of a dryer sheet. They rattle around with the laundry to soften it up and prevent it from getting clumped together and not drying effectively. If you want a scent, you put a drop of essential oil on one ball every once in a while. I love, love, love them and find that my clothes dry faster. Plus: no more buying chemically dryer sheets!

    • Julie says

      I’ve had felted wool dryer balls for at least four years. They’re easy to make, but every once in a while one will start to unravel. I solved that problem by keeping them in an old piece of panty hose.
      The only time I’ve had trouble with static was when drying flannel sheets. That went away, though.

    • Mandy says

      You can also make a ball of aluminum foil and throw it in the dryer with laundry to reduce static.

  11. Gail says

    I have made my own and let me say I really HATE hand grating the fels I cut it into workable chunks and threw it in an old coffee bean grinder. Came out perfect!

  12. says

    I’ve been making my own laundry powder for some time. I’ve come to realise that you don’t need a lot of fancy stuff, and very simple versions are quicker to make and works just as well. These days all I do is finely grate a bar of pure soap, and mix it will 1.5 kgs (3lbs) of baking soda. You can use washing soda, but baking soda is even cheaper and works just as well (I buy it in bulk from a feed store). I use 1 TBSP per load, and add about 1/4 cup white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser as well (optional). Clean, fresh clothes. :-)

    BTW, did you know washing soda is simply baking soda that has been subjected to heat, and you can make your own?

  13. Cecily says

    How much does this cost to make and how long does it last? I like the idea of saving some money on detergent and having a quality product is important but based on the price of some of the ingredients (like the oxy) I’m not sure this is cost effective for my family. We spend about 12 cents per load for Tide.

    • Ashley says

      There are generic brands of oxy clean that are much cheaper. I have a brand called ‘Sun’ and I think it was only a couple bucks :)

    • Mavis says

      1. Cost? I got everything at WinCo.
      Box of Borax – $3.38
      Box of Washing Soda – $3.17
      Baking Soda – $.94
      Fels Naptha Soap – 3 @ $.97 each = $2.91
      Oxy Clean (3 lb container) – $7.52
      Purex Laundry Crystals (optional) – $8.96

      Total: $26.88 – Will last my family of four about 8-10 months. I do approximately 1-2 loads per day. I figure it costs about $.056 per load.

      ***I’ve tried omitting the Oxy, but my clothes started to look dingy, so I decided it was worth the money. We have really hard water here, I assume that has something to do with it.

      • richele says

        Mavis, I use a scoop of Oxy with boiling water (meaning hot tea kettle & add water slowly to avoid that Oxy run over) to fill my carpet cleaner. No soap at all. This gets my carpets cleaner than any “carpet cleaner” that I have ever used, plus there’s no fragrancy smell afterwards. When I have cleaned all the carpet that I want, I go back over my carpet lightly with the machine using a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar topped off with boiling water. This removes any Oxy residue and any remaining dirt. I have two big, smelly dogs in the house and this removes ALL dog smell from my carpet.

      • Julie Ann says

        I pay about the same for the Borax, Fels Naptha (I use two bars), and the Washing soda, but I don’t use baking soda in mine at all (have naturally soft water), and I buy the generic brand of oxy-type cleaner at Dollar Tree for $1 per lb.
        My yield is 10 reused oxy-type cleaner containers (that come with the perfectly-sized soap-per-load scooper) and each of those containers last me about 20 loads…which last me two weekends of laundry.

    • darlene says

      This is the recipe I use also. We have hard well water, but I haven’t noticed any dinginess in the clothes. Not sure I feel like a pilgrim though =)

  14. Jo B. says

    I have been making this for about a year, I am allergic to most scented detergents so I always had to buy special kinds. The Fels-Naptha is a little strong when I first grate it (by hand, haha) but I just put the bowl out in the garage for a day or two to air out. Also, last time I ordered the soap from Amazon and saved quite a bit.

  15. Amy says

    FYI you can substitute epsom salt for the purex crystals, it does the same thing. For scent you can add essential oil to the epsom salt.

  16. Susan Robinson says

    I’ve been making it for about 2 years now, but mine is not as involved as yours. 1c borax, 1c washing soda, and 1 grated bar of Ivory soap. Mix together and store in sealed container. I use 2-3 tablespoons per load. I used to make the liquid kind but what a mess! This is so much nicer, works as well, and is easy to make in small or large batches.

  17. Tifany says

    I made my first batch of LIQUID detergent 2 weeks ago. We have a septic tank & I’m leery of powders. I have a family of 6 (3 teenagers and a 10 year old, all girls as well as my hubby) and do an average of 12 loads a week. I have not noticed any negative affects from the change. I notice that my washer doesn’t get smelly between wash days like before. Always a plus! I also use vinegar as an additive for especially soiled loads. No, the clothes don’t smell like it. :). This has been a great experience financially and I don’t foresee switching back to brand detergent. I’m loving my laundry soap! And yes, it works for he washers. It doesn’t foam up like regular detergent and that is why there are he specific detergents on the market. Don’t wait on this, just DO IT!!!! :)

  18. Allison Harvey says

    Hi I am in the U.K and can get most of the ingredients here, however so that i get it right and to save expensive mistakes,please could you help me out by telling me,
    a)the weight if the soap bars you use,( the hardest thing to get here ad they are unusual, we can get an old fashioned brand called fairy household),
    b)the weight or volume of a US box of borax,
    c)and the size of the packet of Oxyclean you use.
    Thanks so much, we love your blog and today built our first potato towers and had ham and cheese quinoa bites for lunch, keep up the good work, the Harvey family.

    • Georgina says

      Hi I’m in Australia and I use 2 bars of laundry soap (velvet or sunlight) 125 grams per bar, 2 cups of washing soda,2 cups of borax and 2 cups of an oxyclean nappy/diaper soaking powder. All cups are metric with a cup equalling 250ml. I also use about 1/2 cup of vinegar in the final rinse. Hope this is helpful.

  19. Sherri says

    I have been making the liquid version from the Duggar family blog for 2 years now. All you need is a bar of the soap, borax and washing soda. I have had my same box of borax and washing soda this whole time and it is still over half full. I prefer the liquid to powder. I usually add an essential oil to mine, most often tea tree for its anti fungal use and I like the smell. My towels never get that funky smell anymore and everything is soft and clean.

  20. Marsha says

    Have you tried soapnuts? I use them…They’re amazingly cheap, and they work REALLY well on hubby’s stinky work clothes (he’s a welder, so he gets hot and dirty nearly every day) and also on our cloth diapers…no stains, and no odors. I make a booster for superstanky loads. Two parts washing soda, two parts borax, and one part OxyClean. I use a teaspoon of that with the soapnuts on the truly nasty stuff. I use white vinegar for fabric softener. I made my own dryer balls. I use 6, and each is the size of a baseball. They have cut drying time nearly in half (I was incredulous, but it’s true). My clothes come out soft, static-free, and with no smell. They’re just….clean. Also, I use 5 soapnuts for about 7 loads in my HE machine. SO. Cost. Effective!!

    Oh! I save the “spent” soapnuts until I have about 2 cups. I simmer them with 10 cups of water until it reduces to 2 cups. That liquid can be used to clean with. It cuts grease like nobody’s business. Then, I put the used-up soapnuts on the compost pile.

    • Helen in Meridian says

      Please tell me what soapnuts are. I have never head of them. Where do you get them and what do they look like? Do they cost very much to use?

        • Marsha says

          Sure! Soapnuts, or soapberries, are the dried fruit of the soapnut tree. They are nickel-sized, hollow dried fruits. I got mine on Amazon through a company called NaturOli. I first got the sample size, because I didn’t think they could possibly work. They worked so well, I then bought a 2 pound bag of whole seedless soapnuts 14 months ago for $32.95. I still have almost half the bag remaining! So 14 months of laundry for 2 adults and a baby for about $17. I do about 5 loads of laundry a week. It works out to about 6 to 7 cents a load. You just put 5 of these things in a cloth bag (included when you buy them) and throw it in with your laundry. I then take the bag out before putting the clothes in the dryer. Every 5 to 7 loads, replace with new soapnuts, and save the old ones to make the liquid. Easy peasy! Hope that helps!

          • Marsha says

            Just looked them up on Amazon…price has come down considerably since I bought mine. Now you can get 4 pounds for $38.95, 2 pounds for $28.95. Hmm!

    • Judith says

      I like the idea of soap nuts and I may order some. It’s often hard to find washing soda locally and I haven’t found a good price online. I could make washing soda from baking soda, which is available in bulk online at cheap prices, but it adds one more step to the process of making homemade detergent.

      I like the simplicity of soap nuts. The only thing that bothers me is that you need an additional product if the laundry is really dirty. I would like something that does the whole job by itself so I don’t have to keep stocking up on other products. Do you think just adding Borax to really dirty laundry would do the trick? I don’t care if things come out a little dingy. I just like them to smell and feel clean.

      • Marsha says

        Sure, I’ve added Borax by itself and it works just fine! The thing about soapnuts is, they don’t whiten your whites, and they don’t have stain removers. So if you have a stain that isn’t just dirt, you’ll need to pretreat it (I keep a stain stick in the laundry basket, tied to it with a piece of yarn). Adding a teaspoon or two of Borax to your whites will help keep them white, as well. Naturoli does sell a couple of sample sizes of soapnuts, so if you don’t want to buy a huge quantity to start with, the trial size is a good idea.

        I’m with you…I just want my clothes to be clean! 😀

        • Judith says

          Thanks, Marsha. Do you think that peroxide bleach would also work well to remove stains when using soapnuts? I usually have some peroxide laundry bleach in the house–I think it’s from Seventh Generation. I rarely use it on laundry, though. It’s a good product for disinfecting kitchen surfaces. I feed my pets a raw diet so I like to spray the counter and sink with either peroxide bleach or vinegar for cleanup, and I don’t use chlorine bleach in the house. I guess there is no simple product that does it all!

          I really like the idea of buying enough soap nuts for a year or two, and not having to buy more laundry products at all. I wonder if they are safe in a grey water system? I don’t have that kind of system now, but might in the future.

          I found NaturOli soap nuts at eBay as well as their website.

          • Marsha says

            I know they are safe for greywater systems, since it’s a biodegradable plant saponin. Not entirely sure about the peroxide bleach, I’ve never used it that I know of. A great FAQ resource for soapnuts is

            I love only buying them once in a while, and not having all the plastic laundry jugs sitting around! They are lightweight, and great when we travel as well. Can’t say enough about them!

          • Judith says

            Thanks, Marsha. I did a lot of reading at the site, and finally found information on use in greywater systems. At this link, about 1/3 of the way down:


            And it turns out that soap nuts are one of the best products to use in greywater systems! Good to know! I assume the saponins in the water would not be healthy for small streams, though. Once I use up my castile soap and borax, I will order some soap nuts.

    • Mavis says

      1. Cost? I got everything at WinCo.
      Box of Borax – $3.38
      Box of Washing Soda – $3.17
      Baking Soda – $.94
      Fels Naptha Soap – 3 @ $.97 each = $2.91
      Oxy Clean (3 lb container) – $7.52
      Purex Laundry Crystals (optional) – $8.96

      Total: $26.88 – Will last my family of four about 8-10 months. I do approximately 1-2 loads per day. I figure it costs about $.056 per load

  21. Shirley Hull says

    Been making my own for ’bout a yr-trial & error-but have discovered the soap is easier to grate & finer in texture if I can remember to un-wrap the bar of soap a few days before grating. I prefer Fels to Ivory but did develop a rash so back to Ivory. I start loading the washer with hot water to help with dissolving the soap and then switch to warm temp. And if one uses a hand grater, the finer grated product the better. Oxy products made w/soda and baking soda & washing soda are all basically same ingredient so why waste the money on all 3. Making my own fabric softneer too now; 8 oz (1 cup) cheap hair conditioner & white vinegar to 3 cup water. Better job than the cheapie store brand I used to buy.

    • Cecily says

      Yes, basically the three are the same. Washing soda is sodium carbonate and is stronger than baking soda which is sodium bicarbonate. OxiClean is a combo of sodium bicarbonate and hydrogen peroxide. BTW you can make washing soda by cooking baking soda for 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Great idea for fabric softener!

  22. Penelope says

    I’ve made it for a couple of years but found one of my little ones to be allergic to the laundry bars. I plan to make laundry bar soap so I know exactly what is in it and maybe try that out. I’m just worried about causing another rash because it takes a very long time to get rid of it for her. I always grated by hand as well, but I also let it sit out to dry for a few days first, and I also live in a dry climate.

    Otherwise, I loved the way it cleaned. I’m allergic to many perfumes so it helped me out a lot.

    And for those worried about HE machines, my college daughter takes it to school with her and uses it in her HE machines at her complex without any trouble. The point is that the detergent should not have a lot of bubbles, and homemade doesn’t so it will be fine. The commercial establishment always told us it was bubbles that did the cleaning, and we all know that bubbles in a dishwasher cause trouble, same with HE washers.

  23. says

    Oh Mavis, you do go for complicated. If u are using Oxyclean, why are u adding all the rest?? Plus have you ever researched your laundry crystals?? Your recipe sure is over kill. It’s not healthy or natural or in the least but pilgrimish.

    I have been using my home brew for 5 or more years. I used 4 ingredients. 1 cup each of soap flakes/gratings, borax, 1 washing soda and epsom salts. Dissolve each in a litre of hot water, add all into a big pot or bucket and add 8l cold water. Stir (will go gloopy) and put in used milk bottles. Shake bottle before opening and use half a cup per wash. I add white vinegar to the rinse compartment

    Its that simple. I take out a small quantity of the mix before adding the 8 l of water, to use as a stain remover. I don’t add essential oils as they go out in the rinse water. Its not needed… the clothes just smell – clean.

    The above recipe works fine for hot wash or cold. If u prefer a powder, mix the dry ingredients together together and use 1 Tbsp per wash. I use the liquid as I do a cold wash.

    Things I have learnt. –
    Baking soda does not dissolve in a cold wash and stays on the clothes.
    I have just started adding the Epsom salts as it reduces static cling when clothes have been thru the dryer
    Screwed up pieces of tin foil thrown in dryer help prevent static.

    More about this on my blog if you are interested.

  24. says

    Can someone put some numbers to the “great savings”? I am looking to go to grad school this fall, and hubby is in college already…and I am looking for ways to save $$$!

    • dropofrain says

      commenter You Can Call Me Jane provided above a link with a breakdown cost:

      The Fels-Naptha bar cost $4.20 shipped from Amazon. The box of washing soda (55 ounces) cost $3.35. The box of borax (76 ounces) cost $4.45. For this recipe, you’ll use the whole laundry bar, but only 1 cup of the washing soda and only 1/2 cup borax. When all the math is done (Jamey checked it for me), the 10 gallons of laundry soap cost $4.91. The amount you use for a front loading machine and a top loading machine differs slightly.

      Drum roll, please…

      If you have a top loading machine (like me), you will use 5/8 of a cup per load. If this is you, this 10 gallons of detergent will give you 256 loads of clean laundry at a cost of $4.91 which comes out to less than $0.02 per load.

      If you have a front loading machine, you will use 1/4 cup per load. If this is you, this 10 gallons of detergent will give you 640 loads of clean laundry at a cost of $4.91 which comes out to less than $0.008 (yes, less than a cent) per load.

      • Sherri says

        I can get a bar of Fels-Naptha at Walmart for $1. That amazon price is a lot if it is only for one bar. I believe I spent less on the other ingredients as well.

        • Judith says

          I buy Kirk’s Castile Soap at Vitacost for a dollar or less when there is a sale, and it doesn’t contain ingredients that make me sick. Fels does make me sick and I think it is best avoided for everyone. People like me who have chemical sensitivities are just the canary in the coalmine, reacting acutely to products that are toxic for everyone. Kirk’s works well with just borax and washing soda, and if I feel liks splurging, I make a small batch with a bar of Dr. Bronner’s Lavender soap (and then the grating chore is very pleasant). But most of the time I just use Kirk’s. It’s on sale now for $1 a bar at

          • Maranda says

            I wish I had known that on Monday when I placed my Vitacost order. Thanks for the tip, that’s a great price!

  25. Heather m says

    I read on another blog that you can microwave the ivory bar soap for 1 minute and it will puff up, let it cool and then shake it in a plastic container with lid and it will disintegrate into powder. No grating!

    • Maranda says

      Just wanted to confirm that it does indeed work that way after microwaving! i use Fels-Naptha, and it puffs up huge, its hilarious. I still “grate” it on a grater, but it just powders almost immediately so its really easy. JUST WAIT UNTIL IT HAS COOLED! I think I made my first batch over a year ago, and I just bought more ingredients this weekend. I use the off-brand Oxy Clean, and I’m not going to use the laundry crystals this time since they didnt add much. I also use the vinegar as a softener. I love this stuff!

  26. Tanya Jenkins says

    I use the exact ingredients that Mavis does and the bill comes out to 24 dollars. The last batch lasted 9 months at approx 5 loads a week. I live in Florida and have a lot of swimming towels to be washed. Sometimes they do not get into the wash right away and get that mildew smell. This mixture always gets the smell out, I love it. I have a new HE washer and this soap works very well with it, cold or hot.

    • Megan says

      Do you put the detergent directly in the washer on the clothes or do you put it in the detergent dispenser for your front loading HE washer?

  27. Bonnie says

    I made up a batch using one box of washing soda, one box of baking soda, one box of borax and two boxes of the Zote soap shavings … no shredding required. I was skeptic so I decided to give it a try in my dog kennel. I have hard water and have a septic tank so this recipe works for me. A litter of puppies will create a lot of soiled poop pads (like the kind they use in the hospital) and this stuff worked better than any other product I have used before. Low suds and a clean smell and requires less per load. I will be making a batch for the home wash room now.

  28. Jo says

    Does it have to be a certain kind of soap some people are saying fels some say dove but what kind of dove? Iam just confused as per what kind of soap i can use also where do i get these soaps?

    • Judith says

      Hi Jo. It definitely does not have to be Fels soap, and I don’t recommend using Fels because it has some irritating and possibly toxic ingredients. I use a simple castile soap, Kirk’s Castile Soap, that I get cheap from It seems to work very well. I started making my own laundry product when one of my very old dogs had incontinence, and I had to wash a lot of stained, messy pads (the heavy-duty waterproof pads used in hospitals). It was a challenging test, and it worked better than Charlie’s Soap, which is one of the few products I can use without reacting to the chemicals in them. You can use a non-scented, plain castile soap.

      I only use grated soap, borax and washing soda, and find I don’t need those other ingredients, even though my water is slightly hard. But I’m not picky about how bright things come out, and I add a cup or so of white vinegar to the rinse. When I want a pleasant scent, I use a Dr. Bronner’s scented soap (no toxic ingredients) but they cost a lot more.

  29. Cooky says

    By using the oxi clean have you noticed the dark clothes fading? also how well does this soap work in cold water? Also my husband works in a factory and I have to deal with a lot of oil and grease any spot cleaning recipes? I am excited to try this soap, I haven’t used powdered detergent for years because it contained so many fillers. I am always looking for a way to save money! Thank you for all of your time, hard work and great information you share.

  30. Lisa says

    Started making my own liquid laundry soap a year ago… I don’t like the grating bit, but seriously insanely cheap… I only use the soap, Lux flakes, soda and borax… cook it all in some of the water to melt, then mix it in with the rest of the water. I only 2/3 fill my containers so I can shake the mixture before adding to wash. Oh… also splash in some eucalyptus oil…
    I costed 10 litres at $2, whereas to get 10 litres of bought stuff I’d be paying around $80. In my book its worth 1/2 hour out of my life once every 6 months!! :)

  31. Tanja says

    I love this recipe!!!! I have been making my own for a while now…I also make my own fabric softner using the vinegar and hair conditioner method with great results!!

  32. Katie says

    I’m sorry if someone asked this and I missed it, but I have a quick question.

    Is there something you can substitute in for the borax? I’d live to make this but my boyfriend is allergic to borax.


  33. Carolynn Thiem says

    I am worried about build up on the clothes. I buy the high end tide because it claims to not fade your clothes or have build up. I am nervous about shortening the life of my clothes.

  34. Grandy says

    I’m responding to earlier posts about dryer balls. I find the cheapest alternative to dryer sheets for me is to put about 1/2 tsp. of downy fabric softener on a wet cellulose sponge and toss it into the dryer. You only have to add new fabric softener when it stops working. I just rewet the sponge under the water flow in the washer each time I dry a load. One dose of softener lasts about a month for me and I do at least one load of laundry a day, most days two.

  35. MC says

    Hi. I am little late commenting here, but does this formula get keep the whites white? I used to make my own detergent, but I quit because of the light clothes becoming dingy. Thanks

  36. says

    What size Oxyclean? Ive made the liquid detergent looking forward to the dry. I can relate to the other comments of boyfriend that thinks I’m crazy for making our own detergent. Still have to work on him, lol. Thanks

  37. Andrea R says

    Just found your blog and have spent the last few hours combing every inch of it! Just a side note about the bar soap–You can cut up a bar of Ivory soap and microwave it! It’s a fun experiment to do with the kids and then it flakes up perfectly for making laundry detergent! It’s nice and fine. (I know this comment is 5 months later, but I was thrilled when I found this tip!)

  38. steph says

    I love this laundry detergent I used the Fels Naptha the first time and a batch lasted me 3 months. I found the Zotes soap and was wondering if anyone saw a difference in what kind of soap they have used? What works best in regard to fading an whites?

    Any help is appreciated.

  39. Melyssa says

    I am seeking a recipe to make laundry soap nuggets, like the dishwasher tabs. I made the dishwasher tabs and love them! Currently I use the little pillow-like gel packs of detergent for my laundry. I have found this is the best way for my teens to be consistent on the amount of detergent used per load. They just don’t/won’t measure a liquid, and they get carried away with the powders. (I had mad some of the powdered detergent and instructed them to use the 2 tablespoons, but caught them adding nearly 1/2 a cup at a time! Ugh!) If you know of a recipe please share it! Thanks!

  40. Leslie says

    I keep the box of borax and the box of washing soda next to my machine. I keep my grated bar soap in a third box net to my machine. when I load my laundry, I do a spoonful of the borax, and a spoonful of the soda, and a half of spoon of the soap. I figured out that it came out to a total of about an 1/8 of a cup. If I’m washing dog beds, muddy jeans, etc, then I will use about a 1/4 cup instead. It dissolves in cold water.

    I’ve had a problem with towels collecting soap residue, from using cheap bar soap. To correct this, I used a squirt of dish washing liquid, and two cups of white vinegar, and washed the towels with hot water. They recovered, and now I use a different soap.

  41. janice says

    For the essential oil add what ever smells good to you If you use the downy crystals you don’t have to add anything I started this about a month ago and even my grown son loves it I mixed up a new batch tonight to share with a friend I use soap I buy from a local farmers market I didn’t even use the same scents but it smells so good and I got the soap discounted and it supports the local economy I have super sensitive skin and this does not bother me a bit I am sold

  42. renee says

    I LOVE the detergent. I have been using it since August and have had great results. And I don’t spend a fortune on the store stuff. I do not use the OxyClean because I use chlorine bleach sometimes and don’t want to mix it.
    My question is about the soap. The Fels is a 5.5 oz. bar but the others are different weights. How many ounces of soap should I be using for a batch of the above recipe? Does anyone have a preference for Zotes or Fels?
    Thanks for the help.

  43. renee says

    OK, I just read my question, I woke up and did the math….16.5 oz. Can anyone tell me the best soap to use.

  44. Asanamama says

    Great recipe. Someone may have brought this up further up the thread but FYI for any strict vegans, Fels Naptha has tallowate in it which is derived from beef fat. It’s in A LOT of products but if one is trying to be as vigilant as possible you might want to go with Ivory or Dr. Bronners in the recipe. Fels also is good to avoid if you or anyone in your fam is prone to eczema.

    • Mavis says

      I would be hesitant because it might get too sudsy and because Dove tends to leave a residue. But if you’re feeling lucky, give it a go and let us know how it turns out.

  45. Michele says

    I have been making my own laundry detergent for about two years now, and I will never go back to the grocery store brands. I have saved a lot of money making my own. I started with the liquid recipe from One Good Thing, but recently made a batch of the dry, and think that it is a bit more economical. I even have my daughter using it, and she is very fussy about her detergents. I think she’s hooked, too. I am going to make your recipe, Mavis!
    Thanks for all the goodness you spread!

  46. Charis says

    Ok…. really silly question. I’ve always used liquid detergent in my HE washing machine. I just made this powdered detergent, went to use it for the first time and realized that the dispenser is not really made for powder. I had to kind of push it through a little grate at the bottom of the dispenser. Curious if others add the powder to the bottom of the machine before adding clothes or…??? Like I said, silly question but I’m stumped! Help, please! :)

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