How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

By Drue Tibbits

Some people make their own laundry detergent to save money, while others want to avoid the additives found in many commercial products. Whatever the reason, homemade laundry soap takes only three ingredients: bar soap, washing powder and powdered borax. Most supermarkets carry all three of these items. You can use either commercial or homemade bar soap. Castile soaps, made from olive oil, or commercial laundry bar soaps make good choices for homemade laundry detergent.

white washing in machine one green sock
credit: Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images
You can save money by making your own laundry detergent.

Dry Laundry Soap

Step 1

Set up the food processor with the fine grating blade. Place the 1/2 bar of soap into the feed chute and finely grate the soap.

Step 2

Pour the grated soap into a 1-quart bowl. Add 1/2 cup powdered borax and 1/2 cup washing soda.

Step 3

Stir the ingredients with a spoon. Pour the mixture into a 1-quart container and seal it with a lid.

Step 4

Measure out 2 tablespoons for each load of laundry. Put the laundry detergent in the washing machine as it fills with water. Add the laundry last.

Liquid Laundry Soap

Step 5

Set up the food processor with the fine grating blade. Place the 1/2 bar of soap into the feed chute and finely grate the soap.

Step 6

Pour the grated soap into a 1-gallon cooking pot. Add 1 quart of water

Step 7

Heat the soap and water over medium heat, stirring with a long spoon occasionally, until the soap melts and mixes with the water. Depending on the soap, it may dissolve completely or resemble egg drop soup.

Step 8

Pour the melted soap mixture into a 2-gallon container. Use care when pouring the heated mixture. Add 1 quart of warm water to the mixture and stir.

Step 9

Add 1/2 cup powdered borax and 1/2 cup washing powder to the 2-gallon container. Stir the mixture with a long spoon. Add a gallon of cold water and stir again. When the mixture cools, cover the container with a lid and wait 24 hours before first use.

Step 10

Stir the mixture before each use. Use 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid for each load of laundry, adding it to the machine before adding water and laundry.