DIY: Laundry Detergent

So I have been asking around, doing a lot of research and finally attempted to make my own laundry detergent last night.

I decided to try powder, and after looking at a bunch of similar recipes I decided to try this one. Everything can be found in the detergent aisle except the Baking Soda which is in the cooking aisle. 

1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax

1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean- (This is optional but I went by her recommendation and added it to this batch.)

2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap- I had to use  6 (5.5 oz) bars of Fels Naptha.

1 (4 lb) Boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

1 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener (This is optional and adds a very subtle fragrance to the clothes)

You only use 2 TBSP per full load!!!

So the longest part was grating the Fels Naptha bars. Glad I’ll only have to do this about once a year. Other than that it’s just the mixing which is a little dusty. This picture shows one bar and what that bar looks like when it’s grated. I also used my hands to ‘crush’ it up smaller, but it dissolves easily in water.

Get a 5 gallon bucket & lid for storage. I called around and Sherwin Williams thankfully price-matched Home Depot’s cheaper price. This batch will fill up a little over half of the bucket.

This cost me $33 (plus the bucket for $2.79, also no sales tax in OR). This cost me a few more dollars than the website claimed, but I decided to pay for convince of getting it all in my neighborhood vs. driving around to save about $5 and waste time/gas.  This should last us anywhere from 12-18 months, which is about $2-3 per month for laundry detergent… awesome. I put yesterday’s date on the lid so when we run out I know how long it actually took us to use it.

When you use the Purex Crystals, you can reuse the bottle. The cap has 3 lines on the side and the middle line is exactly 2 TBSP.

I did one load last night and although the jury’s still out I’m pleased with it. I guess time will tell.

I would read through the original post for some tips on how to do this, it was really helpful for me as I was making a go at it.


I’ve done a few loads now and still LOVE this recipe. It smells fabulous (after wash/dry it’s just a faint scent).  I’ll try and remember to update after a few months of use!

***update 1/8/14***
It’s now been a year and a half and I still have half of the batch left.  This has been a great recipe for us! The only thing I’ll change next time is to put a trash bag into the bucket before filling with detergent to preserve moisture. It gets a little dried out/clumpy.

***update 1/16/14***
This past week the detergent got put to the true test, washing vomit out of clothes. Not just a little but all-over-you soaked in vomit. Clothes are good as new.


3 thoughts on “DIY: Laundry Detergent

    • I think liquid is sooo messy, esp for storage and refilling, etc. Even store bought gets messy, that’s why I wanted to try powder. I might at some point try the liquid though. I like the crystals’ scent but with the Fels N. bar and Borax those two smell really good too. It’s not as strong as store bought but you’re probably use to that if you’ve made your own liquid.

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