Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent 

I have been making homemade laundry detergent for over two years. I had finally ran out of my stockpile of All Free & Clear Laundry Detergent, went to store to buy some more, and got shocked (more like heart failure) over the price! I needed a cheap solution! I do laundry for at least five people every week and at least two, if not three, loads a day during the week and 5-9 loads a day during the weekend. I am on a budget here! 

I had read the book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting!: Raising One of America's Largest Families--How they Do It, and in the book Mrs. Duggar had a recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent. I couldn't believe how easy it was to make, how much it made, and the cost! This only costs me $2.00 a batch and it fills a five gallon bucket full. I had been making it ever since!

While I haven't messed with the original recipe, I do things just a bit differently...

Homemade Laundry Detergent

4  Cups - hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. 

Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

Here is where I do things differently. I leave the detergent in the bucket. I do not follow the rest of the instructions that I will include after this. The laundry detergent should look like this after letting it sit overnight:

Nice and smooth. I use the big wooden spoon shown before to ungel the detergent so it is nice and runny. It looks like this:

(Great pictures, I know.) I use a regular one-cup measuring cup to dump in the washer. For really soiled loads I use a full cup on the extra large washer setting. For regular loads I use a half cup. I also keep the lid on the bucket of detergent all the time or it becomes a drowning pool for the Asian beetles. I don't mind them drowning, but not in my detergent please!!! 

Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of 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. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons. (My way yields 5 gallons)
Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

Another hint: Mark the bucket as laundry detergent. This way your bucket doesn't get dumped out and used as the car wash bucket!

Please try this! I will put in a disclaimer that I have soft well water and I have heard that makes a difference. I don't know exactly! You will be amazed at the cost savings and how well it can clean. I do use Target's brand of OxyClean for the whites because they always need help becoming white. 

Thanks for reading! Have a great night!


  1. Erica, I use this too! I mix mine in a slightly smaller bucket though for a stronger soap. Here's my write-up:


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