Looking for the trial-sized version? Click here, or continue reading.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve been sharing recipes for homemade cleaning products for years and years now. And way back in the beginning, it all started with homemade laundry detergent!
The DIY laundry detergent that I’ll be sharing with you today has been my go-to for about seven years now. It’s easy to make, and it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin as some other detergents do. Oh, and did I mention that it makes nearly a year’s worth of laundry detergent for around $30 in supplies? Yep, you will save money too!
Reviews For The Best Natural Laundry Detergent
But don’t just take my word for it! 🙂 Here’s what other OGT readers have been saying about this detergent:
“I just made this laundry soap last week and I LOVE it! Not only does the recipe make a ton, but the soap smells good and works wonderfully too! I don’t usually leave comments, but I truly wanted to thank you for all the inspiration!” –Michaelle T
“This homemade laundry detergent works fabulously. It’s cheap to make, and it gets my clothes super clean. Thank you!” –Karen
“This is the best smelling laundry detergent ever! It’s super easy to make and cleans wonderfully. I shared some with my mother-in-law and sister, and they both love the scent too!” –S. Allen
“I LOVE all of your homemade cleaning items, especially the laundry soap. I haven’t bought from a store since the first time I made it; it’s FUN!!” –Cindy R
It’s incredibly rewarding to know that other people have benefited from using this homemade detergent as much as I have. Here’s the laundry soap recipe so you can give it a try too! (And be sure to check back in to let me know how it goes!)
Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent
Ingredients for Laundry Powder:
- 3 (5 oz) bars Fels-Naptha laundry bar & stain remover
- 1 (76 oz) box of borax
- 1 (55 oz) box washing soda
- 2 cups baking soda
- 2 (55 oz) boxes OxiClean versatile stain remover
- 1 – 2 (15.5 oz) bottles Purex Crystals in-wash fragrance booster (optional, see below)
Author’s Note: Borax is used in laundry detergents and household cleaners to help whiten and get rid of dirt.
Step 1 – Make Powdered Detergent
First, you’ll break down the bars of Fels-Naptha into fine pellets of laundry soap. The pieces need to be small enough that they will dissolve readily in your washing machine.
I like to do this by chopping the Fels-Naptha bars into big chunks, then blending them in my Blendtec along with a scoop of OxiClean. (The OxiClean just helps keep the laundry soap pieces from sticking to each other too much.)
If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you can use your food processor or even a cheese grater to break up the soap. (Grating soap by hand is quite the workout, but it gets the job done!)
Step 2 – Mix The Ingredients
Next, you’ll combine all the detergent ingredients. In my experience, the easiest way to do this is to use a couple of trash bags!
Pour the laundry soap pellets, borax, washing soda, baking soda, OxiClean, and Purex Crystals (if using) into one trash bag.
Tie the trash bag shut, then place the tied bag into another trash bag. Tie off the second bag, then push, tumble, and roll the bags around for a few minutes to mix all the ingredients.
Step 3 – Transfer To A Container
When you’re done mixing, just cut a hole in the corner of both bags and pour the detergent into a big jar or container for storage.
If you live in a humid area, make sure to choose an airtight container so that your detergent stays dry! You can also toss a few silica gel packets into the detergent to help absorb any moisture.
How Much Detergent Should I Use?
- For a standard wash load, use 2 tablespoons of homemade laundry detergent.
- For large or heavily soiled loads, use 2 1/2 tablespoons.
- For small loads, use 1 1/2 tablespoons.
This detergent works perfectly in any washing machine, including high-efficiency machines! (Bonus HE Tip: Skip the dispenser and toss the detergent right into the washer!)
If you enjoy making your own cleaning supplies, you should also try my homemade detergent for your dishwasher. The ingredients and process are similar.
Looking For My Trial-Sized Version?
To make a trial-sized version of my DIY laundry soap powder (perfect for empty-nesters!), use the ingredient ratios below and follow all other instructions.
Homemade Laundry Soap – Trial Size Version
- 1 bar grated Fels Naptha soap
- 3 cups Borax
- 2 cups washing soda
- 3/4 cup baking soda
- 4 1/2 cups oxygen bleach
- 1 cup (heaping) fabric softener crystals – store-bought or Homemade (optional)
Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
- Kitchen Knife
- Storage Container
- 15 ounces Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap
- 76 ounces Borax
- 55 ounces Washing Soad We like Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- 2 cups Baking Soda
- 110 ounces OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover
- 15 ounces Purex Crystals Optional for fresh and lasting scent
- 1 bag Trash Bag
- Break down the bars of Fels-Naptha in fine pellets of laundry soap. The pieces need to be small enough that they will dissolve readily in your washing machine.
- Pour the laundry soap pellets, borax, washing soda, baking soda, OxiClean, and Purex Crystals (if using) into one trash bag.
- When you’re done mixing, just cut a hole in the corner of both bags and pour the detergent into a big jar or container for storage.
Laundry Detergent Tablets
Like store-bought laundry detergent pods, tablets offer several advantages over traditional laundry detergent delivery methods.
The Advantages Of Laundry Detergent Tabs
One advantage of detergent tabs is that they offer a simple solution to the problem of detergent overdose. If you eliminate the variable of scooping or measuring, you’re much more likely to use the correct amount of detergent. Avoiding detergent overdose saves money, is better for your clothes, and protects your washing machine from excessive wear.Related: How To Avoid Detergent Overdose
Related: How To Avoid Detergent Overdose
Another advantage of using detergent tabs over powdered detergent is that they can make doing laundry easier for everyone. If you have a husband, wife, or teen who tends to struggle with doing laundry, detergent tabs may be a great way to simplify the process. (After all, saying “drop one of these tabs into the washer” is much easier to remember than “use this scoop, but only fill it two-thirds of the way up…”)
Some other clever uses:
- If you use a laundromat (I like to take my really big blankets and use their really big washers), grabbing a few tabs is a lot easier than lugging a bottle or jar.
- If you put a few into a sturdy Tupperware container, you could easily take them with you on longer trips.
- You could also pack them up and send them to your college-age kids in a care package! The sky’s the limit for these handy tabs. 🙂
The only real downside to laundry detergent tabs is how much they cost to buy. Almost all regular detergent brands are more expensive in tablet/pod form than in liquid or powder form. However, if you’re willing to make your own detergent tabs using homemade laundry detergent, you can do it at no extra cost! How’s that for a win-win situation? 🙂 Here’s how it’s done.
How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent Tabs
Start by pouring a cup or so of white vinegar into your spray bottle. Then put a couple cups of your powdered laundry detergent into a bowl, and spray it with the vinegar to moisten. You want to get it just damp enough that the mixture forms a clump when you squeeze it in your hand.
Add one heaping tablespoon of the moistened detergent into each cavity of your ice cube tray (or whatever mold you choose to use). Press the detergent down firmly until it is tightly packed and level.
Once all of the detergent mixture is packed into your mold, allow the tabs to dry completely. This usually takes about 12 hours (or for those of us who live in Utah, about 12 minutes! It’s occasions like these when living in such a dry state really comes in handy.)
When the tabs are dry, pop them out of the mold and put them into an airtight storage container.
How Many Laundry Detergent Tabs Should I Use?
- For front-loading washing machines, use one tab per normal-sized load.
- For top-loading washing machines, use two tabs per normal-sized load.
I’m really glad I took the time to think this “homemade detergent tabs” thing through. Now I think they’re a brilliant idea, and I can see so many ways they could come in handy!Got a dirty washer? Go read my post on how to clean a washing machine.
How To Make Your Own Liquid Laundry Detergent
To make this batch of my No-Grate Liquid Laundry Detergent, I used a gallon-sized container (an old juice carton). You can use any similar carton, but if the size is much different, that’s okay; you might just need to adjust how much you use once it’s finished. Use the same measurements listed below. When you’re ready to use it, you’ll want to add a bit less of your detergent to your wash than I recommend using below, because your detergent will be more concentrated (due to having less water content).
No-Grate Liquid Laundry Detergent
Fill the container the rest of the way with cold water. (The ingredients tend to settle at the bottom between uses, but I just give the bottle a good shake before adding it to the washer.)
For a regular load of laundry, a 1/4 cup of this detergent should be sufficient. If you’re doing a large or heavily-soiled load, use closer to 1/3 cup.
I have washed dozens of loads of clothes using this mixture and have been, once again, completely satisfied with the results. Since this liquid version of my detergent doesn’t contain oxygen bleach as my DRY version does, I add a bit of that along with my liquid detergent if I’m washing whites.
Just another option in our fight against grass stains, lingering body odor, dirt, blood, and other tough stains 🙂
A Few Notes
- This laundry detergent should work perfectly fine in front-loading, high-efficiency washers. It produces very little to NO suds. Many, many readers have commented in past posts that they use it in their HE washers with great results! 🙂
- Washing soda has a higher PH than regular baking soda. So if you want to make more eco-friendly laundry detergent, you can increase the washing soda and eliminate the borax.
- For a vegan recipe, you can substitute a bar of Castile soap for the Fels-Naptha bar soap.
- Adding Purex Crystal is an easy way to give homemade laundry detergent a fresh and lasting scent. If you prefer to avoid fragrances, feel free to leave the crystals out! The detergent will work just fine without them (or you could make your own all-natural scented crystals with essential oil and use those instead!).