Making Own Laundry Detergent

Updated on August 18, 2013
J.G. asks from Cincinnati, OH
15 answers

Hi Moms,

I am looking into making my own laundry detergent and I was wondering if anyone had any tips or recipes for anything that worked for them. I am having trouble finding washing soda but I have a ton of baking soda and I wasn't sure this would substitute well or not. I want to make my own because my son has been having really dry skin and it seems the detergent I'm using is only making it worse. Thanks!

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answers from Cincinnati on

I was considering buying these magnets, but I have not done it yet. If you decide to try, please let me know what you think:

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answers from Kansas City on

you may just need to go chemical free in your house all the way around. both myself and my kids have ridiculously sensitive skin and we started buying all of our stuff from an online whole-sale club that is naturally based and it has made a HUGE difference in our skin. most of it is cheaper then what you buy at the store anyway, because its concentrated, so you get more use out of it then the other stuff. We can even use the scented laundry detergents and bubble baths without it hurting our skin. their laundry detergent is one of my absolute favorite products that they have. check out there is a lot of info there on chemicals and sensitive skin and if you want more info on the store that i buy all my stuff from, just fill out an information request and include in it that you are concerned about chemicals and dry skin and someone gives you a call to explain all the details and answer any questions.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Here is the recipe that I use:

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe

4 Cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

Use an old pan, and an old spoon that you will not need for cooking again, so your food does not taste like soap

Grate or finely cut up one bar of soap

Place ground soap in the pan with the 4 cups of water, on the stove top over low heat.

Stir constantly until soap dissolves and blends with the water

Use a clean 5 gallon bucket with a lid

Fill bucket half full with hot water

Add the melted soap and water mixture to this bucket

Add the washing soda and borax

Stir all ingredients until they combine

Fill the bucket to the top with water

You can add 10 drops of an essential oil like lavendar (optional)

Cover the bucket and let it cool and set up overnight

In the morning it will turn into a big bucket of thick gel

Stir it up and It will turn into a liquidy lumpy jello consistancy

I use a huge paint stirrer attachment (the kind used to stir 5 gal buckets of paint) on the end of a cordless drill to stir mine because I had trouble finding a spoon long enough to reach the bottom of a 5 gal bucket and do a good job mixing well.

I had also been saving liquid laundry soap containers for awhile and just filled some up using a funnel and then store the remainder in the back of a closet in the bucket. Only fill the containers 3/4 full so you have wiggle room to shake before each use.

If you go online, you will find everything you need - I just had it delivered to my local hardware store and there was no shipping charge. I have also seen all of the stuff at my local hardware store and/or Walmart.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

You could just skip it. I read this recently: I have also heard baking soda or vinegar just poured in the wash themselves will work, but not tried it. My friend tried skipping the soap on her husbands laundry and said it did fine. You could save quite a bit of money by doing that, and just use detergent for really grubby stuff or undies.

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answers from Cleveland on

I used this recipe and really liked it. No one knew I was making my own. I also added lavendar essential oil (about 10-15 drops) I found the washing soda and oils online at Got it on sale for buy one, get one. You really can't substitute. Keep your old detergent bottles and rinse out really good. I also used white vinegar as softener instead of store bought ones. Hubby couldn't believe it. No smell!

1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated) I used Ivory
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

■Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
■Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
■Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
■Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).



answers from Columbus on

This is the recipe that I've used: 2 cups finely grated castile soap, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax. Mix well & store in airtight container. Use 2 TBSP per full load. I don't know that baking soda & washing soda are interchangeable, but I've found washing soda at Meijer, Kroger, & Giant Eagle.



answers from Cleveland on

I am going to try making my own laundry detergent (I'm going to make the Duggar's powdered recipe) too. I was going to buy all the ingredients yesterday when I was at Kroger but I don't want to use the Fels Naptha. A couple substitutes for Fels Naptha are Ivory or Zote. I want to try the Zote because on other boards people have commented that the Ivory does not dissolve very well in cold water. Supposedly people have found Zote at Walmart but I didn't see any.

On the other board I read, people are getting their ingredients from I have not ordered from this site but it is getting great reviews from the other board.



answers from Indianapolis on

I have been using the Duggar recipe for liquid laundry detergent since August, and love it. With a family of 6, we are always doing laundry, and I go tired of paying so much for store bought detergent. It really doesn't take too much time, and I immediately noticed how much softer and cleaner our clothes looked and felt. I'm not sure where you live, but the Fels Naptha bar we found at our local hardware store, along with the 5 gal bucket and lid, the Borax at Walmart and the Washing Soda at Kroger. As I understand from my research, the washing soda and baking soda are NOT the same thing. The Arm & Hammer washing soda is in a large yellow box (not orange like the baking soda). I know we are saving money, and getting better results! I believe one of the moms listed the recipe, but you can also get it online at along with a bunch of other great recipes. Happy soap making!!



answers from St. Cloud on

Hi J.! I agree with Kim S. That's the best recipe I have found so far. I would not use Fels Naptha, as it's a toxic cleanser.
Also, this homemade recipe is MILES better than the Melaleuca products that one poster mentioned.

I have had trouble finding washing soda too, but have found that small grocery stores often carry it.
Good luck!



answers from Dayton on

My recipe was 1 bar Fels Naptha, 1 c washing soda, and 1 c Borax. Use 1-2 T per load. I only stopped using it b/c if it didn't dissolve completely I found these oily stains on my cloths. (and I was too lazy to make the liquid!) Be sure to look for the washing soda in the laundry detergent aisle. It looks like a box of baking soda. I was able to find it at Meijer's and Walmart.



answers from Indianapolis on

I have never added the washing soda and still have had good results.



answers from Cleveland on

I am not sure how you would make your own detergent (luckily I've never had to look into it) but I shop from an eco-friendly store called Melaleuca that has wonderful detergents that are specifically made for sensitive/dry skin. Most people don't realize the impact laundry soap can have on your skin, so it's wonderful you are searching for an alternative. If you'd like more info, just let me know!



answers from Evansville on

we use the same one as Starr and love it, never had an issue with it and started making it cause I am tired of paying the silly price for soap at Walmart..*our only store* going up and up and up for no more product.

If you can't find the washing soda ask someone to carry it, contact the company online and tell them you can't find it in your area. When we couldn't get Totally Toddler we contacted them and they got the then local KMart to carry it...

good luck



answers from St. Joseph on

Washing soda??? Never heard of it. Any brands and where to buy it. Just try to get a simple recipe, with amounts and ingredents - would be appreciated.


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