Powerful DIY Laundry Detergent

>> Thursday, August 21, 2014

I've tried lots of DIY laundry detergent recipes. Some of them have worked. Some of them haven't. A month or so ago, we ran out of Charlie's Laundry Soap, which is what we had been using, and I wanted to give the whole homemade route another try before buying more (though Charlie's works beautifully on clothes AND cloth diapers!).

Here's the best detergent I've ever made!


Enough for around 60 loads, use 1 cup detergent per load.

What you'll need . . .
* You can also use standard Fels-Naptha soap. I use Dr. Bronners because it has the essential oils in it already and I just like it better.

Method . . .
  1. Grate your bar of soap (way easier than it sounds). Then pour 6 cups of water into your stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and melt soap -- stirring often.
  2. Pour the rest of your water into your bucket or container and dissolve the borax and washing soda. Then pour in your soap and stir well.
  3. Let sit for 12 to 24 hours before using. 


  • We store our detergent in an old Igloo 5-gallon Jug. It works wonderfully!
  • You'll want to stir around the detergent from time to time because it will separate just a bit. Lumps are OK. They will dissolve during the wash cycle.
  • To wash nasty running clothes, we toss in a scoop of OxiClean Free for good measure and extra smell-fighting power.
  • We have a water softener, so I'm not sure how this detergent works with hard water. You may wish to add some salt to your mix?
  • My clothes are just slightly more stiff after washing with homemade detergents, so -- long ago -- I invested in a pair of those dryer balls. They fluff laundry the natural way without dryer sheets.
We've had great success using this detergent at home. It cuts through stains just about as well as the other detergents we've used, but at a fraction of the price (this is less than 10 cents per load!). I suppose I could make a more concentrated version of it, but -- for now -- I'll stick with what's working.

What's your favorite homemade laundry detergent recipe?

And for more healthy ways to green your home + save money, check out our Homesteading section. I'm really excited to put some focus on this area of our lives. We learn as we go, but the experiments have been well worth the results!

5 Green Cleaners That Work
5-Minute Homemade Deodorant
8 Ways We've Eliminated Plastics
Cleaning Produce The Natural Way
Chemical-Free Clean With Castile Soap

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