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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. I have a similar recipe. I use Fels Naptha soap, you can get it in Walmart for .97 cents a bar. Never buying laudry soap from store again. I love the way my laundry comes out so clean and it smells great too.

  2. I have to leave a comment here to say, “thanks!” for all the great tips/recipes for cleaning supplies. Probably half of the page views on this post are because I keep coming back to double-check your proportions and ingredients. You have helped us streamline our lives and made this house wife feel really empowered through making my own stuff. Thanks again – keep it coming! 🙂

  3. I just made a batch of this using one of the many hard-milled gift soaps I have scenting my dresser drawers (the scent fades then I have extra bar soap….), The grating did not take as long as I thought it would — I made a batch in less than 20 minutes. Thanks!

  4. please read this article on borax. It is no longer believed to be safe.

  5. I have been loving all the links on your blog here… but I have to pass a linky on to you about borax. The Environmental Working Group says it’s not as safe as we thought. There are alternatives that can be made with washing soda, though. Just google homemade borax free laundry soap recipes. Here’s the latest:

  6. I’ve been using the liquid recipe for three years now. We are a family of seven with the kids ranging in age from 5 to 18 and a farm. Trust me, we’re doing an average of three big nasty loads a day minimum! I use the Fels Naptha bar and/or my own homemade soap. I make 5 gals 3 times per year for around $12!!!! I cannot tell you the swelling of smug satisfaction I get when wheeling my cart past the laundry isle without buying a $24 bottle of name brand goo 😉

  7. My recipe is similar but I use Fels-Naptha bar soap (find it @ Wal Mart along with the washing soda) and my clothes come out sparkling clean. My husbands greasy spots from food and work come out with no pre treat and since I have an HE machine this is safe cause no bubbles. Then use white vinegar as fabric softener and towels are so much fluffier and clothes softer since it rinses off any soap scum.

  8. I can’t stop clicking on ALL of your stuff. Keep up the cool ideas and especially the frugal ones.

  9. So I decided to give this a try. My kids think I am crazy for making laundry soap when you can go buy it at the store, oh well. I am washing my first load with it, we shall see how it works!!!

  10. what do you do with your essential oils since its a powder soap?