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How to Make Homemade, Laundry Detergent (Liquid)

Updated on January 24, 2014


5 stars from 2 ratings of Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Soap

If you're on the quest for eco-friendly, green, safe products and getting back to nature, making your own laundry detergent is an easy place to begin. This is a no-lye recipe using simple ingredients: Fels Naptha, Borax, and Washing Soda. It's fast, and easy to make - and it works great!

The best part, is that it will cost you about a PENNY per load. This recipe will give you enough detergent for approximately 64 loads at 1/2 C. per load.

Let's get started! First off, here's what you'll need:

Homemade Laundry Detergent Basics

These 3 basic ingredients are all you need to make laundry detergent. Borax, Washing Soda and Fels Naptha, all available at your grocery store.
These 3 basic ingredients are all you need to make laundry detergent. Borax, Washing Soda and Fels Naptha, all available at your grocery store. | Source

What you'll need for homemade laundry soap.

  • 1/3 Bar Fels Naptha, Soap
  • 1/2 C Borax, 20 Mule Team
  • 1/2 C Washing Soda, Arm & Hammer
  • 2 Gallons Water
  • 1 Large Stock Pot
  • 1 Bucket / large container, 2 gallon size

Let's make some soap!

  1. With a cheese grater, grate 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap into shreds.
  2. Measure 4 cups of water and boil. Once the water is boiling add the soap shreds. Reduce the temperature to low so you don't end up with a soap mess! Use a wire whisk to help dissolve the mixture.
  3. Once the soap is dissolved add borax and washing soda. Plus 6 C. hot water.
  4. Return the temperature to medium and allow the mixture to boil. It won't boil over as long as you keep the mixture on medium heat. It will create suds, but minimally, as this is a low-sudsing soap. (Is that a word?!)
  5. While the rest of the ingredients are dissolving fill your two gallon container with 1 gallon + 6 cups of hot water.
  6. At this point you can turn the stove off, as all of your ingredients should be fully dissolved and ready to mix. Add the hot soap mixture to the bucket of hot water and whisk thoroughly.
  7. Let the mixture sit overnight. When it gels it will look much like egg-drop soup. Cloudy and chunky. These chunks of soap will dissolve when you put them into the wash. Use 1/2 C - 3/4 C Per load.

After 24 Hours your soap will gel, looking much like egg-drop soup.

Finished product homemade laundry detergent has a slightly cloudy, egg-drop soup consistency.
Finished product homemade laundry detergent has a slightly cloudy, egg-drop soup consistency. | Source

Using your homemade soap

I tested my first batch on towels because I was a bit nervous! I am really picky about how my towels are washed, because when not washed properly they don't absorb moisture properly. If you've ever put laundry softener in with your towels you know what I mean!

I am impressed with how well the detergent works. After my experiment with a load of towels, I moved on to other whites, a load of delicates, and even a load of dresses that tend to wrinkle easily. Every load passed the test. I find that expensive store brands produce a lot of static, and an overwhelming scent. This detergent is mild - and these two gallons will likely last me the better part of a year!

The homemade laundry soap exceeded my expectations. I was certainly not this successful when I tried to make Shampoo! :) I would love to hear your experiences in using it.


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    • mariacolomy profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Colomy 

      5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Yes yes, 1/2 lol - will do an update right now! :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Is that a 1/2 cup or 12 cups of arm & hammer washing soda? Based on the " /" I'm guessing its just misplaced "/" typo : )

      Thank you!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am going to make this today. We are a fixed income family and my husband is super sensitive to man made fragrences and detergents. This fits both our budget and our special needs. Thank you for sharing this.

    • mariacolomy profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Colomy 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Thank you so much! :)

    • fcmosher profile image


      7 years ago from near the Equator

      Nice -- well-written and on-point. A good lesson from a good teacher!

    • mariacolomy profile imageAUTHOR

      Maria Colomy 

      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I really like it a whole lot more than I thought I would! My clothes are soft, not fake soft like with softener, but certainly not stiff like with regular detergent.

      Let me know how it works for you!

    • gingerka profile image


      7 years ago from Colorado

      This sounds like a good idea because I need to use fragrance free products. I will try it.


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