Homemade Laundry Detergent! $22 For a Year Supply!


I have been using this now for 10 days, and I love it!

The only thing that I adjusted is I added in another half bottle of Purex Crystals, mostly for the scent. 

The clothes have been coming out smelling fresh and clean! 

It is no secret I love Pinterest! 

I have found  a million DIY projects I have filed away for those days when I have a free day (as IF!) 

But today- I found one for homemade laundry detergent and I had to try it!

7We are a Tide house- and that is NOT cheap. Considering I do about 7 loads a week, those $20 boxes of Tide do not last long around here. Hubby is very particular with his clothes, so I was suprised he was on board with trying it! 

So I figured I would try this and if I hate it- I am only out $20, and if I love it- I will save myself a LOT of money!

You can double or triple this recipe, but since I didnt want gallons of the stuff around in case I did not like it, I made a smaller batch.

DIY cheap Laundry Detergent

DIY Laundry detergent ingredients

2lbs Borax Detergent- roughly half the standard box

1 bar of Fels Naptha Bar Soap (found in the laundry Aisle)

 1/2 box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 

2 lbs of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda 

1 bottle of Purex Fabric Softener Crystals

1.5 lbs of Oxy Clean (comes in a 3 lb tub- use half) 

I have seen many methods on how to incorporate the bar soap. Some people use a cheese grater or food processor. I was a little worried that that would not be small enough to dissolve all the way, so I found a method that worked to turn the soap into a powder super easy. Throw the soap in the microwave for about 4 minutes, it will get huge and puffy. Let it cool and then it will easily crumble in your hands.  Once it was crumbled up and dry-   I went a step further and worked it with my hands, rubbing my hands together until it became as fine as the baking soda! This took me about 20 minutes for the 1 bar.

Now- no worries about it clogging your HE Washer with soap buildup!  

Grab a BIG bucket – we used a Home Depot bucket we use to store paint brushes. Measure out your ingredients and then slowly layer the ingredients in. Then mix it all up and you are done! 

I poured the detergent into Purex Crystal bottles I had. This batch made 5 full bottles. Does not seem like all that much- BUT you only have to use 2 tablespoons for each load! So these 5 bottles will last me forever! 

Diy Cheap laundry Detergent

I found a great tip on HowDoesShe.com. The cap of the Purex bottle has 3 lines on the inside. the middle line is exactly 2 tbs- so easy measuring! 

Some Sidenotes

* This recipe is SAFE for HE Washing Machines! 

*This WILL dissolve even in cold water! 

*You can add this detergent to the dispenser or directly to the tube. 

* You can substitute the with Zote Laundry Bar Soap too (It is scented, and I have fairly sensitive skin, so I tried to limit the scents!) 

*No additional fabric softener needed! 

* I have heard the Gain Fabric Softener Crystals work well and smell great too!

Let me know if you use this or another version! I am loving it so far and always looking for improvements!


  1. Staci says:

    This is very exciting! I would love to hear a review of the results. Also I was wondering how much Oxy Clean? I see it in the photo, but I don’t see it in the ingredient list. Thank you!

    • cassandra aubut says:

      Oops! I will update it now! Cant believe I forgot that important ingredient! The Oxy Clean comes in 3lbs tubs- and I used half again- so 1.5 lbs. Thanks for catching that! LOL!

  2. Stopping in from Alexa Hop! Http://www.housesbyshannon.blogspot.com (Mommy of One and Counting)>

  3. Whitney says:

    This is awesome quick question in the list you have the Borax listed twice is that right? Thanks for this!

  4. Byn says:

    Looks great!!  I have five kids, and four teens, so we do a LOT of laundry.  I look forward to trying this out, and we love the idea of using homemade everything… so this is perfect.  I hope I can find all of the ingredients!!

  5. Carolyn says:

    Any updates so far? :) I tried a liquid homemade detergent years ago, and after a few months found our clothes weren’t getting very clean :( This one sounds better, though!

    • Cindy says:

      Same here It dulled all my whites really quik!
      I’ll try this one Hope it’s better!

      • Dawn says:

        I just made this last night. It made almost half of a 5 gallon buckets worth. I have done 4 loads of laundry so far, and everything looks and smells amazing. I tried the liquid as well and it smelt like vinegar and didn’t make my clothes smell or look good and clean at all.

  6. kim says:

    Even if you dont crumble the soap, and grate it up instead, it wont clog up your HE washer. I have had no problem with it dissolving , even with a cold water wash. I guess if you are concerned, you could run a sanitation cycle more often. I love this stuff! 

  7. Joelle says:

    Well, I microwaved soap and burned it. Have any idea what the liquid stuff that came out of it was that turned brown and burned?

  8. Jennifer O. says:

    I had to find a recipe that is cloth diaper safe and wanted it borax free since it is known to be harsh on the skin. I also and using Sun Oxygen Powder instead of Oxiclean. I found out that Purex Crystals are safe to use on cloth diapers. I wonder how much of each ingredient you would use when you are only using Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, Sun Oxygen Powder, and Purex Crystals. Any thoughts?

    • Teretta says:

      I used the sun crystals as well. I noticed that the batch as I stirred the components together had a heat reaction. I used it and the smell of the clothes for weeks afterward were great. Now here a couple weeks later I have noticed the mix still smells great, but my clothes aren’t sweet smelling any more after they come out of the drier. Has any one had this problem, and does usiing oxi clean really matter apposed to the other sun brand. Thanks,

    • Teretta says:

      I used the sun crystals as well. I noticed that the batch as I stirred the components together had a heat reaction. I used it and the smell of the clothes for weeks afterward were great. Now here a couple weeks later I have noticed the mix still smells great, but my clothes aren’t sweet smelling any more after they come out of the drier. Has any one had this problem, and does usiing oxi clean really matter apposed to the other sun brand. Thanks,

      • cassandra aubut says:

        Teretta- I think using the Sun brand would work just as well, although I have not tried that version. I did notice after a while that the clothes did not smell much like the crystals anymore, so I did start adding some in the washer load. I thought it might just be me! :) Otherwise- I am still loving it and still using the first batch I made! :)

  9. Rebecca Clark says:

    I don’t know about the crystals, but I’ve seen recipes with either equal parts baking soda, washing soda, and oxygen powder. I’ve also seen adding 2 cups washing soda per 1 cup of the others. I guess it just depends on your water, etc. I use equal parts each and it works for me. Once again, I don’t know about the crystals.

  10. Silly question, but it is late: if I double up the recipe, do I still use 2 tbsp? Or 1? 

  11. Antoinette says:

    I made this last weekend and am loving how clean our clothes get.  However, I am not getting that wonderful fabric softener smell at all.  I doubled the recipe and used two bottles of Purex Crystals.  Any thoughts as to why no smell?

    • Michele says:

      I have heard you may have to use another bottle of purex crystal or even 1/2 bottle.

    • Shirley says:

      I am wondering what size bottle of Purex Crystals and also we have real hard water and was wondering if a 1/2 box of Calgon would help?
      Thank you

    • Dawn says:

      I bought the coordinating fabric sheets for the dryer and my clothes smell really good. I used the Lavender Blossom Crystals so I bought lavender arm and hammer dryer sheets and it smells great.

  12. Sharon says:

    i am going to try to make this recipe into liquid. 

  13. Suzanne says:

    Would like the metric or english measurement included (250gr or 1 Cup) because the packaging of the ingredients is different depending on where one lives. I haven’t been able to find the bar soap (Fels) in the stores where I live, but they have Sunlight soap so I tried that (for another recipe) but without the fabric softener crystals. Thank you so much for sharing.

  14. I’ve made two batches of this awesome detergent. Such a wondeful idea on saving money. I used to be a die-hard Tide fan, but as we all know, times are tough and this recipe not only saves money but allows my children to realize that there are alternatives to the frugile way of living that works perfectly and saves money too. My son is 19 and he will hopefully use the detergent I’ve made rather than spending so much money on the namebrand products. Thanks again for sharing this. I’ve even posted the recipe on my FB and have heard many a mother/father, whoever does the laundry have very postivie feedback. Lovin this site and thanks again!

    Best regards and happy homemaking to everyone! It’s difficult when I have to pay $1.75 to go to the apartment complex’s in order to do laundry. Needless to say until I got this recipe I was always fighting my mile high laundry hill and now it’s becoming more of an exciting venture rather than a burden.
    Here’s to a wonderful alternative!

  15. Cathy says:

    The two tablespoons is for a full load?

  16. norma goss says:

    I own a cleaning company with 25:employees.  i mixed a double batch for all the rags we do.  only change i made is i used a magic bullet to pulverize the naptha bars after microwaving.  i cant wait to see how all the rags we wash turn out.  thanks for posting.

  17. Kimberly says:

    Has anyone had an issue using the Purex crystals in their Front Loader? I saw someone mention that they were damaging to the rubber seal. I just got a brand new washer and I definitely don’t want to ruin it! Thanks

    • Melissa says:

      I heard the same thing, so I use the Downy Unstoppables. I don’t mix them in the detergent. I just add it to the wash.

  18. Heather says:

    How much do you use if you use a top load washer?

    • Constance Moreau says:

      I use up to the top line on the Purex bottle cap (which is what I use to hold my mix in the laundry room) and it seems to do the trick for top loader loads. 

      P.S. I made my batch back in September – I’ve only filled my Purex bottle twice, and still have at least 3 bottles worth left in the batch. This stuff really does last forever!

  19. Tammy says:

    it says 1/2 box of arm and hammer baking soda.. is that the regular size box? I notice the picture is a bigger bag. thanks

  20. PATRICIA OCHOA says:

    Walmart in my area carries Zote soap flakes! makes it much easier.

  21. Ashley West says:

    I have recently come a crossed a post on pintrest about home made laundry crystals. It looks like it will be way cheaper but wondering if you or anyone has tried it with this recipe?

  22. Jayme Wood says:

    Excited to try this….wasn’t too impressed with a homemade one I tried four months ago, so I’m hoping this one is better. I had the same problem as another poster about my soap burning in the microwave…beware! It was smoking at 2 minutes in….will def just grate it next time. 
    Also, simply b’c I’m new to this “homemade” stuff, should I be concerned that there are no suds? I noticed this with the last recipe I used & my mind sort of wants to freak out that suds = clean. Not true here?? 

    • Constance says:

      No, not true here. There won’t be any suds, as I don’t believe any of the ingredients have lauryl sulfate (the chemical that causes lathering soap, shampoo, etc). Your clothes will still be squeaky clean,and smell great to boot.

  23. Constance says:

    Update: I tried this in September 2012. I decided to grate the soap which, while time consuming, is easily knocked out watching a few episodes of your favorite TV show on Netflix. I doubled the above recipe because I didn’t want a bunch of half-empty containers lying around of stuff I don’t use for anything else. Make sure to store your mix in an air-tight container, otherwise they will clump together hard as a rock. I suggest using a funnel and and maybe a screwdriver or a plastic chopstick to push it through – it helps break up any of those clumps so that you can easily pour it later at laundry time. I have yet to make more, as my orginial (double) batch is still going strong. I took the OP’s suggestion and used the Purex bottle to store and measure out my detergent, though I fill all the way up to the top line for more fragrance. Enjoy!

  24. Shelia says:

    I use this “formula” but modified it as I didn’t think my clothes were getting clean. They smelled wonderful but clean I’m not sure. If you mix the crystals straight you we notice they don’t mix very well. I started to worry that some loads were getting more fragrance and less cleaning power. So, the next batch I added 3 more bars of the Fels Naptha and using my blender, I broke down the crystals and the bars. I also used SUN oxygen instead of oxyclean (cheaper) now I  confident in the cleaning power oft detergent and my clothes come out smelling fantastic consistently.

  25. Tammy says:

    Just wondering if anyone has tried adding fragrance oils to their mixtures. I want to try it ( they have a gain scented fragrance oil) but concerned about mixing it in well as well as staining clothes? any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Tammy says:

      I have found that this recipe works GREAT when used to clean toilets and also washing dishes. Works wonders on coffee pots, too. Pondering trying it out in the dish washer. Also, instead of using Fels naptha I have switched over to Zote flakes and it smells so clean and less chemically. Although I do keep grated up Fels Naptha on hand for really dirty clothes.

Speak Your Mind