Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ditch the Tide: Homemade Laundry Detergent

Everything you need to make your own laundry soap

Grating the bar of soap

Adding the soap mixture

Adding the washing soda & borax
The finished product after sitting overnight

With three teenagers in the house I find myself on perpetual laundry duty. As a genuine cheapskate I never pass up an opportunity to save a buck. Recently I decided to try out a recipe for making homemade laundry detergent and kill two birds with one stone. There are numerous variations of this recipe floating around on several frugal living sites. I pulled this particular one from as it was simple and cheap. Using just three ingredients you can produce a five gallon bucket of laundry soap in only fifteen minutes at a cost of just pennies per load. One batch kept my family in clean clothes for eleven weeks and I was a little heavy handed with my soap. I found no difference in cleaning results compared with the name brand detergents I had used in the past. This soap is low sudsing but does a great cleaning job without the bubbles. Also do not be surprised if your soap appears to have a gloppy uneven texture. The mixture will still work just fine. I use one and a half cups of detergent per load with excellent results. The hardest part is finding a store that carries the washing soda.

Ingredients: Bar of soap, Borax and Washing Soda (Not Baking Soda).

After grating the bar of soap place the shavings in a saucepan with 4 cups of boiling water until melted. While the soap mixture melts place three and a half gallons of very hot water in a clean five gallon bucket. Add the melted soap mixture to the five gallon bucket and stir. Next add 1 cup of washing soda and a half cup of borax stirring well after each addition. That's it! Just let the whole concoction sit overnight and in the morning you will be ready to hit the spin cycle.


  1. Thanks for this post with pictures. Making my own interests me but something about it scares me. Your pictures help!


  2. I've been wanting to try this forever! Thanks so much! I have a feeling I'm going to learn so much from your site!

  3. I just bought a couple boxes of borax and washing soda last night while grocery shopping. As soon as my hubby buys me a bucket at Home Depot I will make my first batch. Thanks for this post!

  4. Thanks for the recipe. We all need all the help we can get to save a dollar. Have a good weekend. Becca

  5. Go to Rite Aid..Laundry detergents in only 3 cheap con you be?