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Homemade Laundry Detergent {All-Natural Laundry Soap}

The BEST Homemade Laundry Detergent you can make with just three ingredients! This all-natural laundry soap is perfect for sensitive skin and actually smells good! An easy homemade laundry soap that only costs pennies a load.

ingredients for homemade laundry detergent - washing soda, borax, and soap.

About 3 weeks ago I got fed up with the detergent we were using.  Our clothes didn’t smell clean and stains were not coming out. I won’t call out the company that made the stuff, but let’s just say the brand rhymes with tALL tree and tear.

Now maybe you’re saying that perhaps my clothes didn’t smell clean because I was using a non-scented detergent.  Scented detergents do not get your clothes any cleaner – they simply mask any odors left on the clothes by the icky phosphate soap that damages water pipes and ecosystems. 

Clean clothes should smell like nothing but air.  Remember being a kid and playing under the clothesline while sheets were drying?  THAT is the clean scent I’m talking about.

So, I went on to the interwebs to find a recipe to make my own.  A good friend of mine uses this recipe, but I didn’t have a big enough container or let’s be honest – the patience to make a liquid.  I ended up using a recipe for powder, and so far it’s working GREAT! 

Our clothes smell super clean, stains are disappearing, and we’re saving buco bucks.

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ingredients for homemade laundry detergent - washing soda, borax, and soap.
Homemade Laundry Detergent {All-Natural Laundry Soap}

The BEST Homemade Laundry Detergent you can make with just three ingredients! This all-natural laundry soap is perfect for sensitive skin and smells good! 

  • 2 cups bar soap grated
  • 2 cups borax
  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 30 drops essential oils optional
  1. Grate the bar soap. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to distribute.

  2. Normal loads use 1TBSP - 1/4 cup.  I use about 1/8 cup with great results.

When my parents moved out of their house they owned for about 19 years, my sis and I had 27 hrs to pack them up and get them moved.  While packing up their bathroom closet, we found a little box full of tiny bits of discarded bar soap that looked like it had been hidden away by a family of cheap squirrels.  THIS would be a great use for those nubs for additional savings.

Pro Tips

  • Borax and washing soda can be tricky to find, but I found them in the laundry aisle at our Fred Meyer grocery store (Fred Meyer is owned by Kroger, so if you have a Kroger or a Ralph’s, you may be able to find it).
  • If you want to use essential oils, use 30 drops of your favorite scent.

Costs (be impressed, I don’t just “do” math for anyone)
-Bar of soap – $3 (5 oz)
-20 Mule Team Borax – $2.79 for 76 oz = $.0367 per oz
-Arm & Hammer Washing Soda – $3.29 for 55 oz = $.059 per oz
-Arm & Hammer baking soda – $5 for 12 lbs (192 oz) = $.026 per oz

Costs per batch – note the interwebs say 1 cup = 8 oz
-Soap – $3 (could find this cheaper for sure)
-Borax – $.587
-Washing Soda – $.957
-Baking Soda – $.208
Total: $4.752

If I’m using 1/8 of a cup (1 oz) per load, that works out to $.1056/$.11 a load. Had I used my parent’s creepy doomsday soap, it would be $.0383/$.04 per load.

Compared to tALL tree and tear, where I was paying $.249 per load, that is a damn good saving! Plus, I’m keeping waste out of the landfills, and chemical crap out of the water stream.

Making laundry soap isn’t going to make you a millionaire, but I’ll just reiterate when you’re watching your budget, every penny can make a difference.

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47 comments on “Homemade Laundry Detergent {All-Natural Laundry Soap}”

  1. What kind or brand of bar soap do you use?

    • Whichever you prefer! I recommend using something your family already uses so that you 1) have it on hand aka it’s cheaper 2) know that no one will react to a new brand.

      I’ve even saved bites and pieces of soap from various bars and put them all together to make the detergent.

  2. A cousin on my Mom’s side suggested this method and I love it… I run the soap through the Cuisinart on shred and then put it in with the blade until it is in tiny pieces. A bar makes a little over a cup so I use 1 cup per recipe. I found it disolves more easily this way and distributes more evenly in the container among the other ingredients. I do 2 batches of 2 bars and the put the extra ~3.5 cups in a mason jar for 3 following times that I need to make laundry soap. I also wrote the recipe on tape on my container so Eric could make it too (last time he used another recipe and my Tea Tree Dr. Bronners that I like for the shower).

  3. Wow!  Pennies!!

  4. We’re definitely going to give this one a try. We use powder detergent, and we even add color safe bleach just to make our clothes smell better. We’re doing it totally wrong!

  5. I love the thought of homemade soap however, I find they are missing key ingredients, cleaning agents. I have yet to find a recipe that acutally has cleaning agents in it. Yours is the best one I have yet to find, but I know it work on our clothes or worse yet, our diapers. Thanks for sharing 🙂