Home Made Laundry Detergent




So I surf pintrest as well as here and I thought this might be the perfect simple thing for me to write my first instructable. This is a simple and very cheap way to make laundry detergent.

Step 1: Bill of Materials

1- bar Fels-Naptha
1- cup Borax
1- cup Arm & Hammer washing soda
2- 1 quart mason jars

Blender or Hand mixer

Step 2: Prep

To make everything simpler as you add it let's prep all of our ingredients.

take 1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda and 1 cup Borax and mix well. set aside.

Shred or grate the ENTIRE bar of Fels-Naptha into another mixing bowl.

measure 4 cups of water and place in a pot bring to a boil.

Step 3: Melting the Fels-Naptha

after your water has come to a rolling boil add the Fels-Naptha and stir continuously. This will take about 15 min to fully dissolve.

Step 4: Adding Borax and Washing Soda

Once your Fels-Naptha has completely dissolved remove from heat and stir in the washing soda Borax mix.

Stir until you can feel that it is completely dissolved into the solution.

Step 5: Pour Equally Into Jars

once the washing soda and Borax have completely dissolved pour equally into the mason jars.

add water to bring the level to about the shoulder of the jar or 1 1/2 inches from the lip of the jar.

Step 6: The Wait...

flip your jars upside down and wait... 4 HOURS

the soap will begin to seperate. I forgot pictures from after the wait but the bottom will look like vegetable oil and the top almost like curdled milk.

You can wait longer but after 4 hours you get a grainier mixture.

Step 7: Blending

For this part use what works best for you. At first I placed the blades from my blender on the mason jars but was not happy with how well it mixed....

So I scooped it all from both jars into a big mixing bowl and used a hand blender to mix it all into a nice smooth cream... about the consistency of mayo.

Step 8: Jar and Use

scoop final cream back into Jars and label.

when adding to wash simply add one tablespoon directly to laundry by placing under the water as it is filling the tub... and there you have it. Super cheap and simple. All of the ingredients cost under $10 at walmart and for 124 loads... next batch all I will need is a single bar of Fels-Naptha which was 97 cents. not bad if I do say so myself...

let me know what you think of this instructable ... I know I forgot to take pictures near the end and will try better next time or when I make the next batch I'll edit and add to this post



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    10 Discussions


    6 months ago on Step 8

    I've been using a similar recipe but I'd highly recommend Bob's Red Mills baking soda. It's the ONLY baking soda that isn't tested on animals.


    3 years ago

    I have made this gel recipe but had to use about 6x the recommended amount for a large load. now I make the dry method but I still have to use extra amount plus my clothes are not coming clean. even just dirt is not coming out, let alone food stains. i am really committed to cheaper living and more natural products so I keep trying. this last time I added baking soda and oxy clean to my mix. plus essential oils.


    3 years ago

    I've been doing my own for over year now and I love it! I make about 5 gallons at a time. I do laundry and clean my bathroom with it as well. I'll never go back to the store bought stuff...and it is SO cheap! The boxes last me just over a year (I wash 2-3 loads per week). That's less than $15 per year.

    I think someone mentioned it's thick, I used the drill attachment that mixes concrete, etc, it smooths it very nicely.

    always curious

    3 years ago

    Hello again, I made my diy detergent in Australia where the water is very soft in my area. Now in Europe where the water is really hard. Was wondering whether to add Calgon to the dissolved liquid in bucket because I am lazy and just want to have a ready mix for the machine. (Have not made any detergent here as yet) Any ideas for this addition?


    always curious

    3 years ago

    Hi, it is wonderful to see these diy detergents on the internet so frequently. Years and years ago I found a similar recipe- however, I dissolve the soap in about 3 litres of water on stove to ensure ALL soap is dissolved, then add borax & soda, mix very very well to dissolve all, then add to a bucket (10 litre) and add hot tap water to fill the bucket and mix again (have a long wooden spoon for this). Next day you get a bucket of gel. My bucket has a lid to keep dust out. TO USE: about 1/2 to 3/4 cup gel BUT because I sometimes use cooler water in the machine, I take the gel and put it in a jar, add hot water and shake - again making sure all is dissolved and add that to the washing machine. End up with a truly smooth blended liquid.

    Benefit of my easy method - know I have a huge amount of gel for washing clothes as well as using it for spot cleaning carpets (use about 1 spoon on wet cloth-rinse well and blot up excess moisture **check for dye run first of course**.

    NOTE; not only is this cheap, but the washing soda is one of the main ingredients in those very expensive "environmentally" friendly detergents you buy in supermarkets.

    2ND NOTE: No soap suds - looks as though you should add more - but depending on your load, 1/2 cup generally ok. Again, this is good for environment-soap suds are some chemical added to make us consumers feel we are getting a product that really cleans- more psychological than actual.

    3RD NOTE: as stated in the instructible, I sometimes add about 2 teaspoons essential eucalyptus oil (it is strong smelling!) however, it gives a slight nice smell to laundry.

    Interesting to see how many different methods there are now for detergents- good luck with all of them. Love this site and the people who use it. thanks.

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    You apparently do not know what laundry detergent is--not one of these products is, by itself, laundry detergent. I'm familiar with this type of homemade laundry detergent; not only does it work very well, it is also much less expensive than store-bought detergent. Thank you, everettevans11 for posting the recipe.


    Reply 3 years ago

    so Im thinking this might really be an inexpensive way to make detergent.. you only used 1 cup of the dry ingrediants.. and you said you just had to get another pretreatment bar.. for what 97 cents.. you only need a tablespoon to do a load? wow.. seems like you would have alot of the dry stuff left.. to make more.. sounds great to me.. thanks so much


    3 years ago

    I have used this recipe for several years now but I do not turn it to its liquid form. I take the shredded soap bar and one of the dry ingredient and make a finer shred in a blender. Good first project everettevans11

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Not really but sure if thats how you want to see it then sure... What it actually is a multitude of things.

    1. It is not a combination of a bunch of detergents it is a combination of a booster washing soda and a pretreatment bar... none of which would you put into a load of laundry alone or in the case of the bar without some form of either applying it directly to the clothing or some other fashion. With them being combined in the manner that i have shown... (and several others have shown) it turns those 3 simple ingredients into a cream that dissolves easliey into a load of laundry... instead of adding them all seperatly..

    2. being as this was my first instructable yes i went with something VERY EASY... however feel free to change it and experiment as you see fit... add a few drops of essential oil or try other boosters or substitute a bar of irish spring soap instead of the Fels-Naptha.

    3. This now shows and stands as a lesson that no matter where you go even if you are trying to help others and show them how to do something that there will always be people that are condesending and rude instead of offering CONSTRUCTIVE critisism or even if its not something that you like just not commenting at all... pretty simple in a comunity that is supposed to be about building up not tearing down things.

    Finaly if you like it great if you dont then dont waste your time...