Experiment in Homemade: Laundry Detergent


I will admit it.  When I first heard about the new trend of making your own laundry detergent, I thought, “I’m not that ‘Little House on the Prarie’ yet.”  I envisioned spending hours doing some task like old-fashioned churning of butter. No, thank you.

But then that little voice started whispering, as I was spending almost $20 for a large box of Tide: Maybe you should consider making your own detergent.

I also started thinking about how we really don’t know the long-term effects of all these chemicals we use on a daily basis.  Perhaps I should look into a healthier alternative. 

When I started getting low on Tide, I decided I was going to bite the bullet. I got online and googled, “homemade laundry detergent recipe.” I came up on this blog and followed the directions.

I had never heard of these ingredients, but he was right, the borax and washing soda were right there on the laundry aisle. They were even cheaper than he said. 


My biggest concern ahead of time was time spent shaving the bar of Ivory soap. I’m the girl who uses my food processor to shred cheese. I hate manual shredding that much.  But this wasn’t so bad.  I timed it and it only took about a minute.



Then I added 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda and mixed for 5 minutes.  I found that it wasn’t completely mixed at 5 minutes so I mixed longer. Perhaps I need to use a finer shred setting on my shredder next time.


I then put it in an empty 32-oz. yogurt container.


And as suggested, I only used 1 tablespoon for my load of laundry. He recommended 2 tablespoons for heavily soiled loads.

After the cycle, I was amazed.  Not only could I not tell the difference in the cleanliness of my clothes, but they smelled….clean!  Not laundry detergent clean, but clean-clean. 🙂

For those of you with HE washers, he said this recipe is HE safe. 

Now, for me to calculate my savings:

My large box of Tide, which I got on sale for $16.99, lasted me 10 weeks.  That’s $1.69 per week.

My homemade detergent cost:  $1.30
Washing soda: $3.24 for 55 ounces, or 6.88 cups = $0.47 per cup
Borax: $3.38 for 76 ounces, or 9.5 cups = $0.36 per cup
Ivory Soap: $0.47 per bar

I’ll have to trust the blog on this one, that this recipe will last 64 regular loads.  At 5 loads per week, this will last me 12.8 weeks. 

Weekly Cost for Tide: $1.69
Weekly Cost for Homemade: $0.10

Monthly Cost for Tide: $7.27
Monthly Cost for Homemade: $0.43

That’s a savings of almost $7.00 per month. PLUS, it’s non-toxic. PLUS, it’s safe for our septic system. 

What about you? Have you ever tried homemade laundry detergent?

4 thoughts on “Experiment in Homemade: Laundry Detergent

  1. I have been making my own for about 10 mo now! It is so great. I prefer liquid though and heat it up on the stove to dissolve the soap. Ive also found that using Fels Naptha bar soap works much better than just a regular bar and I’ve found it for 50 cents at some grocery stores. It really helps to get little stains out that i didn’t notice. I always feel so great making it and it lasts so long! 🙂

  2. Jill, We have been using the liquid for over 1 year. Having tried about 3 diff. recipes, I really prefer the same one that the Duggar’s use. I also found as Midon said, that the Fels-Naptha works best. Some of the others bars such as Zote seemed to ‘build up’ in the clothes which eventually led the whites to look dingy. I keep a spray bottle of water w/ a scoop of Sun Oxygen (cheap version of Oxi-clean) handy to “pre-treat” any stains. It works amazingly well….wet the spot w/ my mix, rub a little Fels-naptha in and throw in wash. I almost always toss a scoop of Oxi in the whites. We have been very pleased w/ this method:)

  3. I’ve been making my own powdered detergent sine October. Now my mother, my sister and my best friend make it too. I found my recipe on pinterest and love it. One box of Borax, One box of Washing Soda, One large box of baking soda, three bars of Fels Naptha soap and two small things of Oxy (I use generic). One – two tablespoons depending on load type.

  4. Pingback: Experiment in Homemade: Dishwashing Detergent | Bibs and Aprons

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