How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Bucket and detergent
Making your own laundry detergent at home, will not only have your clothes clean and fresh smelling, it will also save you lots of money by cutting down expensive detergents and cleansers from your monthly household budget. Listed in this article are a few recipes for making laundry detergent at home, the ingredients are simple and easy to find, and you can make as much detergent as you want to suit your needs - individual batches for every single wash or in bulk, which you can store and use for as long as you like. The recipes listed here have ingredients, which are common across recipes, just pick one that you find easy to make, or experiment with all of them until you've found the best recipe suited to your requirements.

Step 1

Common ingredients. Soap bars such as Ivory, Fels-Naptha, Zote, etc, but avoid using soaps that contain perfume in them. You'll also need borax, washing soda, glycerin, baking soda, vinegar, liquid castile soap and lots of hot water. Since the quantities of water required in individual recipes is quite huge, you'll also want to get large containers where the water can be easily stored and moved as necessary.

Step 2

Soap/borax/washing soda recipes. For the first variation, you will need:

  • 2 cups bar soap, grated
  • 2 cups washing soda (sodium carbonate or soda ash)
  • 2 cups of borax powder
  • 1-quart boiling water

Add the two cups of grated bar soap to boiling water and stir until all soap is dissolved. Transfer the soap solution to another clean container and add the borax and washing soda. Stir until these two ingredients are also dissolved completely in the mixture. Add an additional two gallons of water and continue stirring until the full solution is fully mixed. Cover and store the mixture for the next time you need a load of washing done. A quarter cup of this homemade detergent is enough for a regular load of wash. The mixture will resemble a thick gel while it is stored, use a plastic stirrer or swizzle stick to stir the detergent prior to use.

In the second variation of the recipe for homemade laundry detergent, the ingredients and quantities required are as follows:

  • 1/3 grated bar soap
  • ½ cup of washing soda and borax each
  • Hot water

Heat about 3 pints of water in a large container or pot. Add the grated bar soap and stir well, until all the soap is dissolved. Next, add the borax and washing soda and mix well until all the powder is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Meanwhile, pour one quart of hot water in a two-gallon vessel and add the soap mixture. Top the vessel with more cold water and let the solution mix well. Cover and store the liquid detergent for future use. For a normal load of wash, half a cup of this solution will be enough to clean your clothes.

Step 3

Powdered homemade detergent. For this, you will need two cups of finely grated Fels-Naptha bar soap, along with one cup each of borax and washing soda. Mix all the three ingredients together and store your powder detergent in an airtight container, preferably plastic. For washing, you can use 2 large tablespoons of this detergent for a full load of clothes.

Step 4

Detergent with additional ingredients.


  • Two and a half gallons of hot water
  • Three quarters cup each of washing soda and borax
  • 1 grated bar of soap
  • 2 tablespoons glycerin

Melt the grated soap mixed with water over medium heat. Pour two and a half gallons of hot water in a large container and add the soap and other three ingredients. Mix well until the mixture is fully dissolved and use half a cup of this liquid detergent per every single load of washing.

Step 5

More powdered detergent recipes. There are two versions of this homemade powdered detergent, one uses baking soda and the other uses liquid castile soap and vinegar. The recipes are as follows:

Recipe #1:

  • 12 cups borax
  • 8 cups each of washing soda, baking soda and finely grated bar soap

Mix all the powdered and grated ingredients with a large plastic spoon, until they are well mixed, and store in a large airtight plastic jar. Use one-eighths of this powdered detergent for washing a single full load.

Recipe #2:

  • 1-cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup each of baking soda and washing soda
  • Quarter cup of liquid castile soap

Pour the liquid soap into a large vessel; add the washing soda and baking soda. Mix all three ingredients well and add the vinegar in small quantities, while stirring continuously. You will now find a thick paste formed which will then turn dry in a powdered form as you continue stirring. Store this powder in a sealed container and use ½ a cup for every load of washing.

Try out any or all of these recipes in small quantities first, choose the one, which you like best and then make larger batches for storing. Use as and when there is any washing to be done and should you run out of detergent, there is no need to run to the grocery store! Just make up another batch of your own homemade laundry detergent and you're good to go!


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