DIY Laundry Detergent

DIY laundry detergent!  Simple, inexpensive and good for the environment

DIY laundry detergent! Simple, inexpensive and good for the environment

I’ve been making my laundry detergent for a while now.  It gets things nice and clean.  It’s a huge money saver but mostly I do it because I  don’t want to use sulfates and all those chemicals and artificial perfumes in my house.  I also really like the idea of repurposing my milk jugs instead of consuming all that plastic in the packaging that comes with store bought detergent.  The recipe I use is pretty standard.  You can find it all over the internet.  The ingredients are readily available and very inexpensive.  Big box and some grocery stores carry them. You will need;

  1. Borax, 1 cup
  2. Washing  Soda, 1 cup
  3. a bar of soap, your choice
  4.  5 gallons water

This makes almost 5 gallons of detergent!    Before you get started, figure out what you’re going to store it in.  I use gallon sized milk containers.  Also, figure out the vessel you are going to use to mix up 5 gallons of liquid in.    Utility buckets work well.  I happen to have a huge stock pot that I use.  If  you need to cut the recipe in half, that will work fine.

Since I like to keep things as natural as I can, I use the soap that I make.  Dr. Bronner’s, Clearly Natural and a lot of other soaps are available now without sodium  lauryl sulfate and artificial fragrances.   Don’t throw away those little nubs of soap in your shower and soap dishes!  Stick them in a jar and use them up when it’s time to make your next batch of detergent.

  1. Grate bar of soap
  2. Combine 2 quarts ( 8 cups) of water and soap  in a big pot and stir over medium heat until the soap is completely dissolved
  3.   In a utility bucket, combine 4 1/2 gallons of  very hot water with 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup Washing Soda.  Stir.  Add  soap/water mixture.  Mix it up good, cover and let stand overnight.    *If you are making this  in a big pot, like I do, simply add the  Borax, Washing Soda and 4 1/2 gallons of  very hot water to the soap/water mixture and mix well.  Cover and let stand overnight.
  4. The next day, mix it up, pour it into your containers.   A funnel and a  Pyrex measuring pitcher come in handy for this.  I add essential oils  to mine.  Put about 10 drops in each  jug of detergent rather than adding it to the big batch.   Shake it up, that nice fragrance will permeate  the whole gallon.

* Use 1/2 cup detergent for each load of laundry


This is is really easy but the first time I made it I cut corners and ended up with detergent that didn’t emulsify properly.    I poured my detergent into jugs without letting it sit overnight ( so impatient!) and I ended up with detergent that was watery and had lumps  in it.

I  made the labels and printed them on water proof sticker labels that I get from U-Line.  I wanted to send a jug of this with my daughter, off to her first year of college.  I made a special label for her and everything.  It said, “Mommy LOVES YOU!!!!”   Somehow, it got left behind.   Lol

Good Luck!  Let me know how it turns out:)


5 thoughts on “DIY Laundry Detergent

  1. Sounds like it would work great. Any idea on how this affects people with sensitive skin? I have 2 little ones that have their mother’s skin and don’t do well with a lot. We always have to buy the free and clear type of detergents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it would work very well. If you make it I would use a fragrance free soap that doesn’t have sodium laureth sulfate. “Pure and Natural” makes a good glycerine soap that is inexpensive and clean. The only other possible irritant would be the washing soda and that is comparable to the irritability of the ingredients in the natural detergents like Ecover.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I made that same laundry detergent for years, it works great. I now however, make the powdered version. It is also cheap and just as easy to make. A double batch will last me for months and it is much easier to store and lug.

    1 bar soap, grated
    1 cup washing soda
    1 cup Borax
    1 cup Oxi Clean powder (optional)

    Place grated soap in a food processor with either the powdered Borax or the washing soda. Process until the soap bits are tiny. Mix everything together and use 1-2 Tbsp (we use an old coffee measuring spoon) in each load of clothes. Place the powdered detergent in the washer, fill with enough water to dilute the soap and then add your clothes. It has a fresh, clean smell, but not perfumy and there are no suds.

    Liked by 1 person

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