How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

. 2 min read

I love to make my own homemade laundry detergent. Homemade laundry detergent costs 2-3 cents per load, versus 15-30 cents per load for storebought detergents.

It’s good for the earth too, since all the ingredients are natural and you’re not buying plastic containers of laundry detergent. All the ingredients come in cardboard, which is biodegradable.

I usually triple or quadruple this recipe so I can make a bunch at once and have it for months. It’s a fun weekend project to do with kids.

I have seen lots of recipes online for liquid homemade laundry detergent — but they look so messy and and time-consuming to make. This powdered version of homemade laundry detergent is easy! It literally takes 10 minutes if you have a food processor. (Although I have since been told that the liquid version is easy to make, too.)

Thanks to Prairieland Herbs for this wonderful recipe. It works great.

You can find all the ingredients for homemade laundry detergent at most grocery stores. I get everything except the washing soda at Costco because that’s where it’s the cheapest (the washing soda I buy at the grocery store). I buy in bulk so I only have to buy this stuff once every six months or so.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Use 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup per load.


Food processor (optional — you can use a cheese grater)
Large plastic tub or bucket (preferably with a lid — you could also recycle an old cardboard box of detergent)


Borax (2 cups)
Washing soda (2 cups)
[easyazon-link asin=”B001B2W09A” locale=”us”]Baking Soda[/easyazon-link] (1 cup)
Bar soap (1) –it doesn’t matter what kind you use.
Optional: Essential oil — if the soap is scented, you may not want to add this

1. Cut the soap up into large chunks with a knife.

2. Throw the chunks into the food processor and blend into a powder (or as close to a powder as possible).

3. In a large plastic tub or bucket, stir together the Borax, washing soda, and baking soda. Be careful not to breathe in the powder while you mix. Let it settle first and then continue stirring.

4. Stir in the grated soap.

5. Stir in drops of essential oil if you like.

And yes, this laundry detergent works great for cloth diapers. You can use it for front loaders, too. See the comments below.

Check out more stories on saving money:

How to Save $1500 with Cloth Diapers
8 Steps to Slash Your Grocery Budget
Saving Money: Buying in Bulk and Making Homemade Cleaning Products

This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday blog carnival. Visit Kelly the Kitchen Kop for more recipes and tips about real food and living sustainably.

Photo Credit Sewing Geek on Flickr (Check out her awesome Etsy store)