Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder

January 6, 2011 in recipe

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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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather B
Twitter: heathershaci
January 6, 2011 at 11:03 pm

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!!!


Krystyn January 7, 2011 at 7:46 am

You’ll have to send your recipe!


Mandyland January 7, 2011 at 12:39 am

I wonder if this would work with an HE washer…


Krystyn January 7, 2011 at 8:09 am

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.


Amy AKA TigerMommie January 13, 2011 at 10:13 am

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…..


Krystyn January 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

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


Krystyn January 7, 2011 at 7:48 am

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.


amanda January 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm

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 :)


mrs. hils January 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

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


Krystyn January 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm

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.


Lindsay @ BytesOfMemory
Twitter: bytesofmemory
January 7, 2011 at 10:21 pm

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?


Krystyn January 8, 2011 at 8:21 pm

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.


Abbie January 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm

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!!


Krystyn January 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm

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.


Blessing @ WorkingMomJournal
Twitter: worknmomjournal
January 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm

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 :)


Grammy Staffy January 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm

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


LLama January 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm

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


Amy AKA TigerMommie January 13, 2011 at 10:17 am

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!


Krystyn January 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm

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?


kmburck December 20, 2011 at 10:57 am

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


Krystyn December 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm

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.


Terri Sapp July 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Can you use clorox with this laundry detergent?


Krystyn July 27, 2014 at 10:20 am

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.


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