Homemade Laundry Detergent

I recently decided it was time to take the leap – time to make my own laundry detergent. I hear about people doing it all of the time and about how inexpensive it is etc but for some reason for years I had been too nervous to try it for myself. In our house we do over 20 loads of laundry a week and the huge ass jug of detergent that we buy at SAMs typically only lasts a month. So cost wise we are looking at about $20/month in detergent which means $240/year. That may or may not seem like much to you but when you’re on a tight budget or are just looking to cut costs well every little bit counts.
After some research I came up with a recipe for laundry detergent that should work for all of the types of laundry we do which includes cloth diapers.



• 1 box (4 lbs 12oz) 20 Mule Team Borax = $4
• 1 box (3 lbs 7oz) arm & hammer super washing soda = $3.25
• 1 box (4 lbs) arm & hammer baking soda = $ 2.25
• 1 container (3 lbs) oxy clean free = $7.50
• 2 bars fels-naptha laundry bar = $1/bar so $2


optional to purchase but you’ll need them to make the detergent
• 1 (5 gal) bucket [I used the one I purchased from Lowes for my “Stemen Scrubber” aka my camp style washer] = $3
• 1 fine cheese grater = $8
• storage container [I used Mason jars that I had on hand] = $12

*prices based on my walmart and I rounded up to the nearest quarter*

total cost of ALL items needed = $42

total cost of ingredients for laundry detergent = $19

Now that you have all of your items go outside, dump the boxes of borax, washing soda, baking soda & oxy clean into your 5 gallon bucket. Then grate the fels-naptha into the bucket. Mix all of the ingredients. Fill your storage container(s) with your laundry detergent. You’ll only need 1-2 tablespoons of detergent per load of laundry. You’ll see this stuff is going to last a while! So for basically the same amount of what I pay for a months worth of laundry detergent this homemade stuff will last me much longer. I’m not totally sure how long but other families that make a similar detergent and have a similar size family say it’ll last about 6 months – I’ll be keeping track for sure and let y’all know how it goes.


PS – I have a HE washing machine [I figure most people do]. Also, add the detergent directly to the wash do not use the soap tray.


3 thoughts on “Homemade Laundry Detergent

  1. Ann says:

    It seems like you will save money and it will last for awhile. Let me know how well it cleans . With baking power and other stuff it should be good on whites

  2. I love making my own laundry detergent. I do’t usually make that much once but it saves so much money. However, I never out oxyclean in the mix. Hmmmmm…. 😉

    I also put my laundry detergent in the soap tray, well the part mean for powder, and never had any problems. Why are you supposed to?

    • I suggest not putting it in the soap tray because the small chunks of fels-naptha could clog it up. Personally with all of my washing machines I’ve had the soap tray go out on me especially when it comes to using a powder for some reason. Also yes try the oxy clean it gives your detergent another extra boost. Tedy’s shirt was covered in pasta sauce and I didn’t pretreat it and it came out great!

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