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DIY All Natural Laundry Detergent Recipe

Updated on September 19, 2013

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If you are ready to learn more about saving money, making your own cleaning supplies, real food recipes, or getting a bit greener.. Please check me out at my website Frugal Fit Family

Green Cleaning Saves you GREEN! Liquid and Powdered Green Laundry Detergent!

For the majority of my adult life, I have been a management professional and have been in charge of the profit, loss,and operations of multi-million dollar companies. When baby number 5 came along, I realized that it was time to step back. I became a work from home mother and began devoting my time to my family's profit and loss! I quickly realized that we had been spending too much money buying things for convenience! I never would have accepted that from myself while operating other people's businesses so why start now?

I began looking into ways to save money and to get healthy. I began making all of my own noodles, breads, and pastries from scratch. took an extra minute from my work day BUT it was priceless quality time spent with my children and much healthier for us all. That part was easy. So...I had eliminated costs there but what was next.......after my first trip to the grocery for cleaning supplies, I saw the next challenge. I had already began looking into ways to eliminate chemicals from every-day items and trying to use all-natural cleaning supplies but YIKES was that expensive! The all-natural products on the shelf were almost double what I used to by. So...inspiration struck (and my cheapness...I mean frugality) and I was going to make my own cleaning products!

I ddn't jump into green cleaning supplies all at once. I started with one product then worked my way through the cleaning cabinet. One you buy the ingredients, they are able to be used in most of your green cleaning products so it is so easy to keep adding to the list of what you homemake. They are so much better on the pocket (usually 1/4 the cost or less than what you buy at the store) and better for you!

I finally made my way to laundry detergent. To me this was a leap of faith. I have used the same thing for years!! This is the most labor intensive of all of the homemade cleaning supplies which is why it was last. It works fantastically! Don't be scared that it doesn't suds up. The suds aren't what does the cleaning in traditional soaps...most of us think it is though! It is also safe for HE machines!

Homemade Laundry Detergent:

The larger batch cost:

  • 1 box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Powder – $3.15
  • 4lb box of Baking Soda – $2.12
  • 1 box Borax – $3.39
  • 3 bars Fels-Naptha – $2.91

Total for large batch $11.57. It lasts for about 180 loads, that will be $0.06 per load!

If your family isn't as big as mine, you can make a smaller batch (about 30 loads)

  • 6-8 oz. Fels Naptha or other soap
  • 1 Cup baking soda
  • 1 Cup Borax
  • 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda


grate the soap and place in blender or food processor. Once it is to a smaller texture...mix it with the other ingredients in a large bucket. Make sure you mix it well and some will suggest that you wear gloves. You will use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

If you prefer liquid detergent-

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
1/2 bar of Fels-Naptha
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
2 gallons of water, divided

Also need:
a grater
a large saucepan (8 cups or larger)
large bucket or container with lid
liquid storage containers for finished product

If you like fragrance---you can add some essential oil! Use whatever you like, lavender, orange, etc

1. Grate 1/2 a bar of Fels-Naptha into a saucepan.

2. Cover shavings with 4 cups of water and heat on low and continue stirring often until the soap is melted. Usually about 10 minutes

3. Remove from heat. Add the borax and washing soda (and essential oils if you choose)and stir in another 4 cups of water. Mixture may look like pudding!

4. Pour mixture into a bucket or other container with a lid., add another 24 cups (or 1 gallon + 8 cups) and stir well.This may be a bit tricky but some people use a whisk or immersion blender.

5. Let mixture set overnight.

6. The next day, the congealed soap will have settled to the top. Stir it back in and pour into storage containers.You can use old laundry bottles or any container with a lid. I like to use a square container.

Use 1 cup per load!

***here is a super money saving tip! NO FABRIC SOFTENER IS NEEDED! Your clothes will come out so soft when using this detergent. Even m mother in law tried it and LOVED it! She has always used fabric softener and has now given it up!

Good luck in your efforts to reduce the chemicals used in your home and to use green cleaners in your everyday life! If you have tips or recipes....Please share! Thank you for reading! Please take some time to visit my all-natural Etsy Shop!

Would you consider making your own cleaning supplies?

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    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks Boisegal! I actually do half and half in my detergent. I like the way the clothes feel when I add the Ivory. I had trouble finding the Fels originally but saw it yesterday at Walmart! I guess this "green" thing is catching on! I hope you enjoy it!

    • Boisegal profile image


      5 years ago from Boise, ID

      Woohoo, I found your homemade detergent hub. I'm glad I can substitute Ivory for the Naptha, because that's easier to get my hands on. I'm bookmarking this page!

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for stopping by summerclark7387 - We have been making our own for sometime now and my husband commented yesterday on how long it has been since we bought detergent! It lasts a long time and gets the job done! I hope you enjoy it!

    • summerclark7387 profile image


      5 years ago from Beautiful Southern Oregon

      Nice hub and voted up! I've been wanting to try making my own laundry detergent, this will be a huge help. Looking forward to reading more of your hubs.

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you for reading and sharing! I started simply because I am cheap and was looking to put more money into savings! I also have a post with 7 cleaning supplies and another with green fabric refresher. I got addicted to saving money so I make almost everything now. Enjoy your Cleaning Supply Date Night!

    • Kasman profile image


      5 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Very informative hub. This one could go along with a money saving oriented hub for sure! My wife and I have discussed making our own cleaning supplies and laundry detergent as it is, not necessarily to go green (sorry, not a fan of that terminology anymore, as there are people that misuse what its supposed to stand for, but we do care about the environment), but to save money and have quality time together doing it. I'm glad you detailed the ingredients to some of these so now we can actually step into the next phase......talking to action! Voting this hub up and sharing to Facebook!

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you KAPenderson!The soap bars can be found at hardware stores and some retailers BUT you can also use Ivory soap. If you use the ivory soap, use double the amount.

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      It was a very interesting move for me as well. When I began to look at my home finances like a P&L statement I started examining each line and expense. Going green seemed like it was going to cost too much money until I found that I could go green by making the items myself! It really made a difference in my bottom line and in my family. Thanks for reading!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Very interesting, how you moved from macroeconomics (fiscal management of large corporations) to microeconomics (family frugality)...I like it! On the surface, this article is interesting in that it teaches one how to make laundry detergent. On a deeper level, it appeals to the growing numbers of us who are passionate about going green. Great job! Thanks for sharing!

    • KA Pederson profile image

      Kim Anne 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Where would you find the bars? This is on my to do list as soon as I can get it all together! Voted up and useful!

    • Mommymay profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather May 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for the tips. Its surprising to see that things in my fridge and cabinet work better than those in branded bottles!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hello Mommymay, just to let you know these homemade soaps do work. i've been making laundry soap for a couple of years now and have saved substantially. The cost compared to commercial soaps from the supermarket is almost nothing. I use ordinary vinegar for other cleaning jobs or baking soda. The essential oil is a good idea that I have not tried. Best Wishes.


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