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Homemade Laundry Detergent for High Efficiency Washers

Updated on July 3, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

  • One 4 lb 12 oz box of Borax

  • One 4 lb box of baking soda

  • One 3 lb 7 oz box of washing soda

  • 5.25 lbs of OxyClean (any brand including store brand)

  • 3 bars of grated Fels Naptha soap (Zote also works.)

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in a closed container.


For 1/3 of Laundry Detergent Recipe

  • 25.33 oz of Borax = 3 and 1/8 cups
  • 21.28 oz of baking soda = 2.66 cups
  • 18.33 oz of washing soda = 2 and ¼ cup
  • 28 oz of OxyClean = 3.5 cups
  • 1 grated bar of Fels Naptha soap (or Zote)

Mix ingredients thoroughly and store in a closed container.

As anyone knows who shops for groceries and household supplies on a regular basis, laundry detergent is very expensive, especially for high efficiency washers. Even the generic brands and the detergent from warehouse clubs can add to quite a chunk of change. However, for the do it yourselfer, laundry detergent is actually very easy to make and is much cheaper than store bought detergent!

Laundry soap comes in powder or liquid form, and homemade laundry soap can also be made in either way. From experience, powdered laundry detergent is much easier to make and use on a regular basis. Keep in mind however, that some high efficiency washing machines require liquid laundry detergent.

There are numerous laundry detergent recipes that work quite well, but the recipe listed below is a tried and true homemade laundry detergent recipe that has worked for many people. This homemade laundry soap is safe for a high efficiency washer and has been used many times with no problems in multiple front loading high efficiency washing machines.

You can make the full recipe, make half, or even make a third of the recipe. The full recipe makes about one gallon of detergent, so a very large container, such as a lidded bucket, is required to store the laundry soap. If you do not have a large container to store the full recipe, the easiest thing is to make a third of the recipe because there are 3 bars of soap to grate. For your convenience, both the full and the third recipe are listed.

The OxyClean is optional, but it definitely helps whiten white clothes. Use about two tablespoons of this detergent for each wash. Hint: the scoop that comes in the OxyClean container works quite well for measuring out the laundry detergent every time you wash clothes.

This laundry detergent lasts for a very long time; depending on how much detergent is used, the 1/3 recipe last for about 3 to 4 months, while the full recipe lasts for about 9 to 12 months. And while costs will vary, the full recipe can made for as low as $21. Yes, that’s right: $21 for 9-12 months worth of laundry detergent. That makes this homemade laundry detergent a pretty incredible cost savings.

Adding Scent to Your Detergent

While this laundry detergent has no scent, your clothes will just smell clean.

However, if you would like scented laundry detergent, there are two options:

  1. You can add your favorite essential oil to the baking soda. Mix it well with a fork before adding the other ingredients. Lavender essential oil smells very nice in laundry detergent.
  2. You can use scented laundry booster that can be purchased in the laundry detergent aisle. Just follow the instructions on the bottle. Scented laundry boosters are typically placed in the washer drum separately from the detergent, not mixed in with your powdered laundry detergent.

Keep in mind that both of these scenting options will increase your costs, so if your goal is to make the cheapest laundry detergent possible, it is recommended to not add scents.

Do you use liquid or powder laundry detergent?

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3.5 out of 5 stars from 11 ratings of Homemade Laundry Detergent


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      5 years ago

      will any old blender work to grind the soap? Thank you.

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      SunriseSunset12 5 years ago

      My mother and my mother-in-law have made this detergent. It does work really well and it does not seem to be as harsh on the fabric.