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The Best Homemade Laundry Detergent

Updated on October 28, 2015

I have attempted several different recipes in the quest to find the right one. I have tried using Coast bath soap, instead of Fels Naptha, because I usually buy it in bulk, which makes it really cheap, approximately $.20 a bar.

Using Coast worked well for a while and it left my laundry smelling really good, but after about a month, I noticed the smell of mildew inside the washing machine. I was not positive where the smell was actually coming from but after I changed the recipe to the current one I use, and cleaned the washer with the manufacture recommended cleaner, the smell went away.

The best part about making your own laundry detergent is that you can experiment with it until you find the best combination that works for you and still save money. I started out making small batches at first to accomplish the results I wanted. There are a lot of recipes on Pinterest that use the same basic ingredients, Borax and washing soda. I even found a recipe to make my own washing soda by cooking baking soda on a cookie sheet for an hour at 250 degrees. That saves a little more money but takes more time because you are waiting for the baking soda to cook. Either way, I have found the quality to be just the same.

I also decided to keep my recipe dry. There are recipes for liquid detergent, and, in my opinion, that works well too, but with the liquid detergent, you have to make sure that the ingredients are mixed well before you use it and frankly, I would rather cut out the one extra step to make laundry time a little easier. With having four children ranging in ages 2 years old to 15, anything to make life easier is good for me and my lifestyle.

The only other suggestion I would make is to separate the fabric softeners from the detergent. Some people use Unstoppable or essential oils added in their recipes but I just use liquid fabric softener that I get on sale in a Downy Ball. This is what works for me but everyone has different preferences and that is great too. It's all part of being an individual and what makes us unique.

I hope that you enjoy the recipe I have provided and that it works as well for your family as it does for mine.


  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups Baking Soda, Cooked at 250 degrees for an hr
  • 3 cups Purex Crystals w/ Color Safe Bleach
  • 1 Bar Fels Naptha
  1. Use a cheese grater to grate the bar of Fels Naptha into the container of your choice. ( I use a large Tupperware container with a lid)
  2. Add Borax, Baking soda and Purex Crystals. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.

The Savings

It's so simple! The most time spent is grating the Fels Naptha and cooking the baking soda. Now all you need is two tablespoons of detergent in each load and you can save about $76 a year.

Here's a quick breakdown of the cost of my recipe vs my favorite name brand detergent, Tide, which I do have to confess, I still use, when it's on sale, to wash my blankets, sheets and pillow cases. Unfortunately, unless it's on sale and I have a coupon to use, I can't afford the cost. ( Which, when I combine the sale with the coupon, is still not cheaper than my homemade laundry detergent recipe, I might add)

Borax $4 ( I use 1/4 of the box in this recipe which adds up to be around $1 per recipe)

Baking Soda $.40 a box ( I use half the box which adds up to be $.20)

Purex Crystals with Color Safe Bleach $3 ( This is about half the box at $1.50)

Fels Naptha $1

Tide $9.98 on sale for 56 oz ( This usually lasts less than a month in my house)

That adds up to be $3.70 for about a month's worth of homemade laundry detergent. With that much in savings you can definitely splurge a little on your favorite fabric softener or essential oil to add to each load for added freshness and scent.


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