Homemade Laundry Detergent

About this time last year, I decided that enough was enough and I wanted to find an alternative to buying laundry detergent.  It just costs sooo much and lasts for maybe a month. That's $10-15 literally going down the drain every month. Well, I was through with buying it and determined to make my own.

Here is the recipe that I found works the best.

Home-made Laundry Soap Recipe :

1 bar Fels-naptha
1 cup Arm&Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
5 gallons and 4 cups HOT tap water (total)
1 5 gallon bucket with lid

*Grate bar of Fels-Naptha with Food processor or by hand with cheese grater.
*In medium sized saucepan, add grated soap and 4 cups water.  Cook over medium heat till melted, stirring often.
*While the soap is melting, fill 5 gallon bucket with 2.5 gallons of HOT tap water (half full). Add melted soap, Super Washing Soda and Borax to water and stir well till dissolved.
*Add 2.5 more gallons of HOT water. It should total 5 gallons of soap mixture. It will be quite heavy at this point.
*Cover tightly and let it sit overnight or until it thickens into a gel-like substance. Optional: you can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons of soap after it has cooled.
*Stir and fill a used, clean laundry soap dispenser (old tide bottle or the like) half full of soap. Fill the rest of the bottle with water.( 1 part soap/ 1 part water)
*Shake well before each use. Top load machine: 5/8 c. per load ( approx. 180 loads); Front load machine: 1/4 c. per load ( approx. 640 loads)

Yields 10 gallons of detergent.
Cost: less than $2 per recipe. This will be more for your initial recipe if you don't have the ingredients on hand already. Fels-naptha costs a little over $1, Arm&Hammer Super Washing Soda and Borax are $2-3 each.

I am not kidding when I say that I made this recipe in April or May of last year(2009) and I didn't need to make more until November. I do 10 or more load a week. You can always alter how much soap you need per load. I will never go back to buying laundry soap. This works just as well and the savings is incredible. You only pay about $2 for 6+ months of laundry soap. CRAZY!

Here is a link to 10 more Laundry soap recipes including powdered soap recipes.
Original recipe from Michelle Duggar


  1. I won't burden you with my story, but have suddenly found myself so broke that I'll have to delay making your wonderfully cheap laundry detergent till I can find enough pennies on the sidewalk to buy the ingredients. That said I was just checking in to see if you have any revisions/suggestions since you posted this over a year ago... Many thanks!

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  3. I am so sorry to hear of your current situation. I am not aware of any alterations to the recipe that would make it cheaper/free. Maybe you could ask friend/family for the ingredients. You can use Ivory soap instead of Fels-naptha but with not as great results. I wish I had more answers for you. I am sorry.