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Making Your Own Soaps and Cleaners

Updated on December 13, 2016

Shopping for Cleaning Supplies


Laundry Soaps, Fabric Softeners, and Stain Remover

Today's prices seem to get higher and higher making it harder to supply our families with all the things they need each month. We find ourselves trying to locate ways to cut cost while still providing for all the necessities of life. While we may be able to forgo some expenses at the store all together on things like sodas and candy, some things just cannot be cut out of the family budget. Therefore, we find ourselves looking for ways to cut the cost of the things we have to buy without cutting the quality. But how do we slash the cost of things like laundry soaps and cleaners, so that we can hopefully afford at least some of the things we want each month?

Being price conscious consumers, we must find ways to provide those much-needed items as cheaply as possible. One way we can cut cost without cutting quality is to make our own. Most recipes for laundry soaps and fabric softeners cost only pennies per load to make.There are many recipes available if you look in places like Pinterest and Facebook. Another great advantage to making your own is that you can make them without most of the dangerous chemicals that are usually in most our the products readily available.


Making Liquid Laundry Soap

Laundry Soaps

Whether you prefer liquid laundry soap or powder, you can easily find a recipe to meet your needs. A personal favorite is the following recipe for a liquid laundry soap. It makes approximately ninety ounces and only takes a fourth a cup per load. One thing that is hard to get used to after using name brand products is that most homemade products do not suds up the way store bought products do. The main reason for this is that name brand products usually add chemicals like sodium lauryl to their products. This is what causes the suds. Usually, we associate cleaning with the suds which is really a myth. Laundry, dishes, and other things can all be clean without hardly any or no suds at all.

For a cost, efficient, easy liquid laundry soap try this one. You will need the following items.

An old laundry detergent bottle of juice container that holds about ninety ounces.
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing Soda ( this is not baking soda)
1/2 cup Dawn Dish Soap ( You can use another kind, but I prefer Dawn.)

Place four cups of water in a pan and get it hot. Measure out your other ingredients and mix them together with the hot water. Put it in the bottle and fill the rest of the way up with cold water. This only takes 1/4 cup per load and costs only pennies. It takes only a few minutes to make and is way easier than most other recipes.

You will have about ninety ounces of soap. It takes 1/4 cup per load or two ounces, so you get about forty-five loads. A bottle of Dawn at the Dollar Tree is $1.00. You can get 3.3 batches per bottle. So the cost of the Dawn is about thirty cents per bottle. A box of Washing Soda has 55 ozs. and costs $3.97. You can get 13.75 batches per box. So it costs twenty-nine cents per bottle. A box of Borax has 76 ozs and costs $3.97 a box. You can make nineteen bottles per box, and a bottle costs twenty-one cents to make each bottle. So you can make a bottle for eighty cents. You get forty-five loads per bottle at the cost of a little over one and a half cents a load. The Gain does sixty-four loads at the cost of sixteen cents per load. A bottle of Gain the same size costs $9.97. So you save fifteen cents per load by making your own, or $6.75 per bottle. It takes me less than five minutes to make.

Alternate Laundry Soap Recipe

You will need 1/3 Bar of soap (Fels-Naptha).
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax

Grate the soap and put it in a pan. If you do not want to use a cheese grater for this, you can use a food processor. Add six cups of water. Heat until it melts. Then add the Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until all dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour four cups hot water in a bucket and add soap mixture and stir. Add one gallon and six more cups of water. Stir. Then let it sit for twenty-four hours. It will gel up. You will use 1/2 cup per load. If you want, you can add about an ounce of essential oil of your choice for fragrance. If you use fabric softener, there is no real reason to do this. This recipe costs about the same as the previous one but makes a higher yield of laundry soap making it cost about a penny a load to make.

Making Fabric Softener


Fabric Softener

Making fabric softener is very simple and cost effective to make. It also only takes a few minutes. A very simple recipe is as follows:

You will need a large container to store the finished product in.
6 cups hot water
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups Suave Hair Conditioner ( or even VO5, which is less than a dollar a bottle.)

Measure the conditioner and pour in a bowl. Then add the hot water and whisk it together. Then add your vinegar and mix well. Pour it into your bottle for storage to use. It only takes 2 tablespoons per load, and you should dilute it with some water.

A comparable bottle of Downy costs about ten dollars. This costs less than two dollars to make. Your savings are around eight dollars a bottle. It goes a really long way and is so easy to make.

Homemade Stain Remover

We all have those days when we get a stain from something. Simply washing is sometimes just not enough for really set in stains. A really simple alternative to buying expensive stain removers like Shout is to try this recipe:

You will need 2/3 cup Dawn Dish Soap.
2/3 cup Ammonia.
6 Tablespoons baking soda
2 cups warm water
1 spray bottle

Simply mix it all together and pour it into the spray bottle. Spray the stain and let set a few minutes before washing as usual.

Which is tougher?

Which stain is tougher to get out?

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The Dishes

Whether you have a dishwasher or do your dishes by hand, you can safely and economically make your own soaps. They will not suds like store bought cleaners do, but will still get your dishes clean.

Homemade Dish Soap

For doing your dishes by hand try this recipe for homemade dish soap. You will need:
1 3/4 cup boiling water 1 Tablespoon Borax 1 Tablespoon grated bar soap (Fels-Naptha) 15-20 drops of essential oil (optional)

Heat water to boiling. Combine Borax and bar soap. Pour water over it. Whisk until it melts. Allow it to cool about eight hours, but stir it occasionally. Then put it in a squirt bottle or old dish soap bottle. Then if you are going to add essential oil add it. Essential oil not only helps it smell good but also helps with antibacterial properties. Lemon is especially good. Shake the bottle to combine. Use as you normally would wash your dishes

Homemade Dish Washing PODS

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup Epsom Salts
3/4 cup Lemon Juice

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Take 1 cup dry and mix 4 tablespoons Lemon Juice. After it is mixed, fill the ice trays. Then do the rest the same way. Place the trays in a window or warm place to dry. When they are dry, dump the pods out and store in a container with a lid. Use as you normally would.

Alternate Dish Washing PODS

2 cups Washing Soda or Baking Soda 2 cups Borax
1/2 cup Epsom Salt or Kosher Salt
1/2 Vinegar
15-20 drops of lemon essential oil

Mix all dry ingredients. Add vinegar. Fill the ice trays. Dry the cubes in a window, After dump out and use as usual.Store in a container with a lid.

If you prefer powdered dish washing soap, this is a recipe to try to make for that.

Powdered Dish Washing Soap

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 Citric Acid
1/2 cup Kosher Salt 1 teaspoon white rice (helps prevent clumping)

Mix it all together. Use 1 tablespoon per load. You can also add white vinegar in the Jet Dry to help your dishes look sparkly clean.


Powdered, Liquid. or PODS Dish Washing Soap

Do you prefer Powdered, Liquid, or PODS dish washing soap?

See results

Other Homemade Cleaners

Cleaning scum off the shower and tile can be a big task. This is a very simple recipe for removing scum.

Scum Removing Cleaner

1/2 cup Dawn Dish Soap
1/2 cup white vinegar 1 spray bottle

Heat the vinegar. Add the Dawn and shake to mix. That is all there is to it. Your Dawn cost about thirty cents, and you can get a gallon of white vinegar for about two dollars, So for under thirty-five cents you have a cleaner to clean your shower and tub.

Homemade Drain Cleaner

To keep your drains cleaned out every few weeks try using this recipe.

1/4 cup baking soda 2 ounces vinegar 2 quarts of boiling water

Pour the baking soda down the drain. Then add the vinegar and cover the drain for at least fifteen minutes. Then pour the boiling water into the drain to clean out any build up or clogs,

All Purpose Cleaner

In an empty gallon milk jug put a 1/4 cup ammonia. Then add 2 cups of rubbing alcohol. Add a tablespoon of dish soap. If you want, you can add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. Fill the rest of the jug with hot water. Pour some of it into a spray bottle to clean with and refill as needed.

Homemade Window Cleaner

In a spray bottle add 3 Tablespoons Ammonia and 1 tablespoon Vinegar. Then fill the rest of the bottle with water.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, making your own cleaners and soaps is not only economical, but it can be fun too, You can find many recipes for cleaning different things easily on the Internet if you just Google it. The money you save will far outweigh the small amount of time and trouble you spend making your own.


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    • Rebecca Reagan profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Reagan 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Jan, Thank you for reading my hubs. I live essential oils and currently add lemon essential oil to most of my cleaners. Thanks again. Rebecca

    • Jan Wiese profile image

      Jan Wiese 

      4 years ago from Odessa, Texas

      I, too, want to use the essential oils, but I'm thrilled at all the different cleaners you have listed here. Thank you so much. I've now done the laundry soap (I don't have a dishwasher due to having a weird hubby) and it worked beautifully. I make the liquid laundry soap because I have the new washer with the front opening door. It works great. I'm going to try the drain cleaner today. I'll be looking for more articles from you because they seem to fit into my life perfectly.

    • Rebecca Reagan profile imageAUTHOR

      Rebecca Reagan 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Lots of people add essential oils to their laundry soap and cleaners to make them smell good. Making your own laundry soap is easy and costs very little compared to buying it at the store. Good luck trying it out and have fun.



    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My son plays football and I would love to make my own laundry detergent, and after reading that I can make stain remover as well I'm going to try it. I want to know if I can make my own laundry detergent that smalls good too. Can I put an essential oil for fragrance?

      Thanks for your time and I am going to have to try this, this weekend


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