Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Updated on April 18, 2019
Krysanthe profile image

I enjoy using homemade laundry detergent and love giving tips on making it.

Easy to make homemade laundry detergent
Easy to make homemade laundry detergent

In the economy today, most of us are looking for ways to save some money. What better way to save a few bucks than to make your own laundry detergent? The recipe for homemade laundry soap is easy, and it takes less than an hour to make.

All you need to make homemade laundry detergent.
All you need to make homemade laundry detergent.

For an initial investment of about eight dollars you can make one batch, which yields five gallons of laundry soap or the equivalent of 320 loads of laundry. On top of that, you will have enough left over supplies to make at least another six batches of the soap by just spending another one dollar each time.


  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 bar Fels Naptha soap
  • 5 one gallon containers
  • water
Bar of soap after about 2 minutes in the microwave.
Bar of soap after about 2 minutes in the microwave.

1. To start, the Fels-Naptha needs to be broken down into small pieces. There are two easy ways to accomplish this. The soap can either be grated directly into a large stock pot or it can be microwaved. Microwaving the soap dries out the soap and it basically just falls apart.

To microwave the soap, put it in a microwave safe bowl and cook it on high in 30 second intervals. After each interval, give it a quick stir or chop to help break it up. It takes about 4 minutes to get the soap broken down into small enough pieces to use.

After 4 minutes the bar of soap is ready to use.
After 4 minutes the bar of soap is ready to use.
Bar of soap that has been dried out and broken up in the pot.
Bar of soap that has been dried out and broken up in the pot.

2. Once the soap is broken up, place it in a pot on the stove and add 4 cups of water.

3. Cook on medium low, stirring frequently, until all of the Fels-Naptha is dissolved.

4. Add the Borax and washing powder and stir until it is completely dissolved.

5. Take the soap mixture and divide it up equally into all five of your plastic containers. The mixture will thicken up a bit, and quickly at that. It gets a cottage cheese like consistency that is difficult to pour. Just add some water when it does, and give it a quick stir when adding it to the containers.

6. Add water to each of the containers to fill them up all the way and give them a good shake.

The soap should thicken up overnight, and will be ready to use.

To use, shake up the laundry soap and use a ¼ cup of soap for each normal load.

Looks kind of like spoiled milk at this stage.
Looks kind of like spoiled milk at this stage.

Additional Information

The finished product takes on some interesting consistencies as it cools down. It goes from a floating cottage cheese like mixture to a lava lamp type one. By the time it’s cooled completely, it almost completely separates. It’s nothing a little shake won’t cure though.

While making the soap there is definitely a very strong soapy smell. Its best to do it on a day when you can open up the windows to help get rid of the strong odor.

Make homemade laundry soap
Make homemade laundry soap

This is a great project to get kids involved with. It not only teaches them about saving money, but also recycling. Helping stir the soap as it dissolves and watching the bar soap transform in the microwave is pretty cool for them too. They also can see the different consistencies the soap takes on as it cools.

The burning question now is...does it work. Check out the link below to find out...

Want to Know If It Actually Works?

I tested the this laundry soap recipe and compared it to store-bought detergent. Feel free to read and see the comparisons if you want to learn more.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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    • Krysanthe profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy Hull 

      7 years ago from Bloomington, Illinois

      I'm so glad you have had success from it. We love it, and it's so much cheaper than buying it at the store. Thanks for sharing Carrie!

    • ICarrie profile image

      Carrie Jones 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Well I am excited to add that this laundry soap works great! Our first load just finished and we are happy campers.

      Also- we shredded the bar soap in our cheese grater and that seemed to work well.

      This is a great way to reduce, reuse, & recycle! :) Thanks again

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My family and I made this laundry soap last night! We were running low on our conventional stuff and decided to give this a try. It does take on some interesting forms :) We used Dr. Bronners lavender soap instead of Fels Naptha which is very difficult to locate in this area. Very excited to see how this works! Thanks for the recipe! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Terrific hub! I'd never thought about making laundry soap, but now I know it can be done. And without all those nasty dyes and fragrances you get in 99% of laundry soap in the store. Thank you!!


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