Make Your Own Laundry Detergent!

I know, I know… Most of my posts involve children’s activities, but once in a while I will slip in some totally random posts, because that’s how I roll.

And you can actually use the following as a learning activity!! Think Measuring, mixing, following directions….

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Yup, you read that correctly. I make my own laundry detergent. I started doing it a few months ago, and I doubt we will ever go back to using regular detergent. I got the idea from some friends of mine when we were discussing the little things we do to save money. And believe me, making your own detergent will save you a TON.

What you will need:

  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda!! They are different!)
  • Borax 20 Mule Team
  • Ivory Bar Soap or Fels Naptha Bar Soap (I use Ivory)
  • 1 cup measuring cup
  • Cheese Grater
  • Plastic Storage Container
  • Food processor or Blender (optional)


  • Grate one bar of soap so it looks like grated cheese
  • Put grated soap in the food processor/blender on GRATE for about 10 seconds.
  • Add one cup of washing soda, one cup of borax, and blend for about 10 seconds.

Yeah um…that’s IT. Simple, right?? Now, you don’t have to use a food processor/blender, you can mix it by hand. However, a friend of mine suggested the food processor, and it works GREAT. Then place it in a plastic container, and get this, you only need ONE TABLESPOON per load! that’s IT!

I did 6x the recipe to fill our container above. The cost for that full container above is approx $5.50 and should do well over 200-250 loads of laundry. (I double wash my diapers…more below.) Last time, I did 4x the recipe and it lasted 3 months.

I did have issues finding the washing soda in my area. I went to Target, Walmart, and CVS, and I ended up ordering several boxes from Alice dot com. I plan to do the same in the future – $2.99 a 55oz box. I got the Ivory Soap (10 pack) at Target for around $4-5 dollars, and the Borax for around $3-4 for the 4 lb box. So far, I have made a total of 10x the recipe, and I have used one whole box of Washing Soda, plus I think two cups of another box, 10 bars of Ivory, and around 3/4 of the box of Borax.

And also, if you use cloth diapers, I have used this on my cloth diapers with NO ISSUES. I have heard of people using the Fels Naptha soap on Cloth and having issues (stink), but we have used it with no build up at all and no stink! :D Now, I do “double” wash them, meaning I do a prewash WITH soap, and then a regular wash with soap, using about 3/4 of a tablespoon each time. They come out FRESH!

My daughter did, in fact, help me make this… She loves helping. She helped pour and push the on/off button on the food processor, and we practiced counting to 10 each time we blended. :D My son Ev tried to help too…you know, by taking a nice big bite out of a bar of soap…fun times! ;)

Also, if you prefer liquid detergent, there are recipes for that also, just check out pinterest. I know it uses the same ingredients but made differently. However, I prefer the powder.

Do you make your own laundry detergent? What about dish washing detergent? I have a recipe on my Pinterest board that I have wanted to try but haven’t yet…


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