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.