DIY Laundry Detergent

Doing laundry for 8 people can get overwhelming so I do about 1-2 loads each day to keep it under control. Doing laundry daily means lots of laundry detergent.  I started making my own soap about a year ago because buying detergent frequently was getting annoying & frankly expensive. I talked it over with a good friend of mine and we thought it didn’t seem too difficult and we were right. I found a few recipes I thought looked manageable and ended up going with this one. It yields 10 gallons of soap because it is concentrated. It IS safe for use in high-efficiency washers and as mom of 5 boys I can also attest to its ability to get out stains.

DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent:

1 Cup 20 Mule Team Borax

1  1/2 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1 Bar Fels- Naptha Soap**

#1 5-Gallon Bucket with a lid (Don’t forget the lid it is VERY important!!)


The main ingredients are easily found at your local Walmart at a very reasonable price. I don’t have to buy them very often which is great. I have all of the ingredients on hand in my laundry room to make a new batch when I need it.

1. Put 4 Cups of water in a large pot on medium heat.

2. Cut up the bar of soap. You can grade it by hand but I prefer to cut it in half the long way and use an electric grader. It’s so slick!


image3. Pour the graded soap into the water and stir it as it melts. Stir until the soap dissolves.


4. While the bar is melting in the pot fill the 5 gallon bucket half-way with hot water.


5. Once the soap is completely dissolved in the pot pour it into the 5 gallon bucket and stir it with the existing water.


6. Add 1 cup of Borax to the 5 gallon bucket

7. Add 1 & 1/2 cup of Washing Soda to the 5 gallon bucket

8. Stir until powders are completely dissolved.

9. Fill the 5 gallon bucket to the top with hot water.


OPTIONAL: Once the liquid has cooled to room temperature you can add any essentials oils. Personally I like to add tea tree oil. You can buy it at Walmart in the first-aide aisle near peroxide, betadine.

10. Stir again & then put the lid on and let it sit overnight.

11. The next day it will look like a big pile of gel. You will now want to mix it with a large/long stirring stick or if you have a paint mixer that can attach to a hand held drill that works great too. (That’s what I do)

imageimageNow you are ready to use your home-made laundry detergent*! You can store it in an ice-cream pail or refill any existing laundry detergent container. I have an old Tide one I use because I like the dispenser. Whatever you use fill it half way with the soap and the other half with hot water because this is a concentrated recipe. (front load washers use 1/4 cup, top load use 5/8 cup per load)

*just a heads up the soap will gel and must be stirred up before you use it each time. I just shake the jug before pouring.

**if you have someone with sensitive skin, want a different sent, or dispose Mosquitos I have found that the pink ZOTE soap can be substituted for the Fels-Naptha bar. Using the pink ZOTE makes a laundry soap similar to Dreft and it also contains citronella so it actually repels bugs for a few days worth of wear. (There is also a white ZOTE soap that works well too).

If you conquer this recipe and want to give fabric softener a try I love this one which I found at fabulously frugal.

DIY Fabric Softener:

3 Cups White Vinegar

2 Cups of your favorite conditioner (Pick a sent you like)

6 Cups Hot Water

  1. Mix ingredients into large pitcher or bucket
  2. Pour into fabric softener dispenser
  3. Ready to use (1/4 cup for front load washers)

Happy Washing 😀




2 thoughts on “DIY Laundry Detergent

  1. I may have to try this one. I’ve been making the powdered soap and have liked it, but it would be nice to be able to use a dispenser. Also I like your fabric softener recipe 🙂 During the drier winter months I will add additional 1/2 conditioner to cut down on the static cling. I love reading your blogs, keep them coming!

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