homemade laundry detergent

I have found that I go through laundry detergent much faster than I used to! I have started on the quest for a homemade all natural laundry detergent. Here is the recipe that I have been using. It is so easy and saves so much money!

Homemade Natural Laundry Detergent

1 cup borax (can be found on the laundry aisle at your local grocery store)
1 cup washing soda (looks like a big box of baking soda and will be near the borax)
1 bar of grated castile* soap (we love Dr. Bronner’s soap in lavender scent but Ivory also works although it’s technically not “all natural”)
Just mix the the borax and washing soda in a reusable container. To make the soap much easier to grate, just leave it out for a few days (if you can do a few weeks, even better). This dries out the bar which will allow you to grate the soap into a powder. You can also try putting it in your freezer and then grating. I just use the finest side of my cheese grater to make the soap in tiny granules!
Add about 2 tbs of detergent to a medium load of laundry!
For a frugal and natural fabric softener, add a few tbs of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Your clothes will smell fresh and not vinegary, I promise!
I’m currently on the lookout for a homemade liquid detergent, so stay tuned!!
*The only downside to homemade detergent is that it can’t be used on Lula’s cloth diapers. I have been using it on her diapers for a year but they have started to be less absorbent and produce an unpleasant odor. After a little research, I found that homemade detergents aren’t the best for diapers because they contain natural oils that build up on the fabric. It’s better to use something like Charlie’s Soap or Soapnuts that don’t contain any oils.


  1. 3


    It's SUPER simple to convert your powder recipe, above, to a liquid laundry soap…

    All you need to do is put your dry ingredients (grated soap, borax, washing soda) into a large container (I use a clean kitty litter bucket) and then add boiling water. Add about 2 quarts at a time, and stir thoroughly after each addition. You can keep adding water until you have 2-3 gallons. It will be really thin and watery at first, but will begin to "gel" within about 24 hours. Stir occasionally until it seems to have stopped gelling…

    What you end up with is a sort of – um, slimy – mixture, but 1/2 to 1 cup will get a load of laundry nice and clean.

    I've been using this recipe for about 4 years now, and have no complaints at all. I'm not concerned about going all natural, so I use whatever soap I find on sale/have on hand. And I've never been able to find washing soda, so I use baking soda instead.

    I've tried lots of variations – adding a cup of "enzyme detergent" (Dreft), essential oils, more water, less water, a few tablespoons dish liquid – it all works. It's a very forgiving recipe.

    Anyway! Hope this works for you!

    Oh yeah – if you keep it in the bucket (I do), you'll need to give it a little stir before each use if you store it in a laundry detergent bottle, just give it a good shake before use.


  2. 4


    Hi there!
    I recently started using this as my detergent and after a few months my cloth diapers started to leak as well. I contacted the diaper maker and they said to "strip" the diapers with warm water and 2 cap fulls of bleach. I have an He washer so I did a deep soak first and then the wash. It worked!!! So, you CAN use your detergent…just strip the diapers every now and again 😀

  3. 9


    Hi! I use COLD (usually very cold water, through our chilly Alaskan pipes) water. It's not sudsing up, is that normal? I'm wondering if a little heat is needed to melt the grated bar of soap. …Perhaps I should try the liquid option by Susan?

  4. 10

    Anonymous says

    i have been on the hunt for soap flakes but i heard they no longer make them… in canada at least. i will have to try grating my own. thanks. a note on cloth diapers. there are tons of affordable cloth friendly detergents out there. you don't want to strip diaper on a regular basis. it will break down the fibers – especially the PUL.

  5. 13

    Pam says

    Set the bar of soap, unwrapped, out for at least a day or two and then cut the bar of soap into 1″ cubes and microwave, on a paper plate, for about 1-2 minutes. It will “grow”. Wait for it to cool completely and it will crumble, no grating.

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