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Make your Own Laundry Detergent At Home

Updated on August 24, 2017
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An engineer by training, Gary loves to find hacks and make common household materials come alive with new uses.

It's easy to make your own laundry detergent.

Major suppliers of commercial detergents may make the soap-making process look complicated, with large factories churning out neat packs of detergent from industrial scale vats. But at the very essence of it, laundry detergent is bar soap, washing soda and other ingredients mixed well together.

Over the next few sections, you'll learn how to make your own washing detergent, know exactly what goes inside, and save a bundle in trips to the departmental store!

Make your own washing detergent powder


What you'll need

  1. 1 bar of soap, preferably natural and gentle (for delicate fabrics)
  2. 1 cup of washing soda, or make your own using baking soda
  3. 1 cup of Borax, or additional washing soda
  4. 2-4 drops of lemon essential oils (only when just about using the detergent)
  5. Hydrogen peroxide (only when just about using the detergent)

Pro Tip: Add an oxygen booster for extra white clothes!

Adding a chemical like Hydrogen Peroxide or a commercial equivalent will help brighten white clothes and remove stains. Keep it away from washing soda until you're just about to use it though, since both chemicals will gently react over the course of a day.

How to make laundry detergent

It's actually really easy to mix all the ingredients in and start churning out proper detergent effortlessly. Here's the exact steps to follow.

  1. Grate the bar soap and place in a food blender.
  2. Throw in the washing soda and the Borax, wearing gloves to prevent either chemical from drying your fingers.
  3. Blend the ingredients together, but let the powder settle down before opening the lid once done.
  4. Keep the powder in an air-tight jar.
  5. When you want to use the detergent, add 2 to 4 drops of lemon essential oils and hydrogen peroxide (if preferred).

Use your detergent in washing machines


Variations on this recipe

You can replace Borax with extra washing soda, if you're concerned about its purported toxicity. Also, add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to act as a fabric softener.

Readers' Poll

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Benefits of making your own laundry detergent

So is making your own laundry detergent worth the effort? Here's the low-down on the pros and cons!


  • You know exactly what goes into your detergent
  • Save a bundle from buying detergent from the store
  • It's easy to do so!


  • Homemade detergent lacks extra ingredients for whitening or anti-bacterial agents
  • The savings may not be much, especially if you go for cheaper brands

Did you know?

If you have sensitive skin, look for commercial detergents with no colouring or dyes. These chemicals have no effect on the cleaning effect, but merely improve the aesthetic appeal - something you might be able to do without.

Clean clothes at a fraction of the cost

Comparison of laundry detergent prices

Type of detergent
Cost per wash
Homemade detergent
80 washes
6 cents/wash
48 washes
23 cents/wash
40 washes
30 cents/wash


There's so many extra chemicals added into commercial laundry detergent today, and that might make you worried. If you're just looking to wash your clothes and keep them clean, making your own laundry detergent is a cost-effective solution that doesn't take up much time.

Just remember to store the powder in a cool and dry container, and always have a spare batch easily available just in case.


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