Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent

Introduction: Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent

Many years ago when I (Mary) started cloth diapering I hated paying $12 for a gallon of laundry detergent to wash them. I sought out recipes for homemade laundry detergent. I stumbled across many different options, but settled on this version and 4+ years later we are still using it.

*Use 1 TBSP per load of laundry, 2 if the clothes are really dirty!

Step 1: Ingredients & Tools

1 Cup Borax
1 Cup Washing Soda
1 Bar of Kirk’s Castile Soap Hypoallergenic (what Kim is trying out) or Fels Naptha (what I use)

Large bowl/dish, grater, measuring cup, mixing spoon & Storage Container

Step 2: Grate

Grate the bar soap on small grating side. We found that Kirk’s Castile Soap was a harder soap and took much longer to grate…it may have also taken longer because we were chatting. I will say that Fels Naptha has a pretty strong odorants and Kirk’s didn’t, but I can purchase Fels Naptha at City Market.

Step 3: Mix, Store, and Tips

Just mix the 3 ingredients together and place your detergent in a reused container or jar. (We quadrupled the recipe this time!)

Use 1 TBSP per load of laundry, 2 if the clothes are really dirty!

Couple of things:
1. If you are washing in cold I would recommend putting the laundry detergent in first and maybe even with warm to help the grated soap dissolve.
2. You can add baking soda to the laundry detergent, but I didn’t notice much difference when I did this, so it is your call.
3. If you are washing cloth diapers I would put either vinegar or Dawn in the warm load (the second load) every couple of weeks to keep the pours from getting clogged.
4. You can use Dove or other bar soap, but try to keep it as natural as possible.
5. If using an un-scented soap you can add essential oils to the mixture to give it a pleasant smell.
Thanks for checking us out!
- Kim and Mary

Be the First to Share


    • Go Big Challenge

      Go Big Challenge
    • Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge

      Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge



    6 years ago on Introduction

    can you use Zote bar instead of fels naptha, and what is the ratio of Zote bar to washing soda & borax? Its a pretty big bar. how many bars of Zote do you use if you want to make a big ole batch?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    OK, just made my first batch using Castille. I'm trying it out on our sheets and some white/light colors. I'm using HOT water and added a third TBSP, just for good measure. ;) Waiting to see how it does.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Baking soda (NaHCO3) and laundry soda (Na2CO3) are pretty close to the same thing. You can spread out baking soda on a cookie sheet and heat it in an oven to drive off the hydrogen and turn it into a make do laundry soda if you can't find any or need laundry soda now. In a pinch using baking soda alone as is will also work but causes the detergent to clump.