Homemade Laundry Detergent




Introduction: Homemade Laundry Detergent

I wanted to
A. Save money
B. Be ecologically phosphate free

If you learn from my mistakes your results will surpass mine in both respects, I am sure.In addition to my clothes coming out "so fresh and so clean, clean" it was a very satisfying and aesthetic making process!

Step 1: Gather Materials

You wil need:
Food processor
1 bar laundry soap like Fels Naptha or Zote, or Ivory - Zote can be found in hispanic grocery stores
1 Box Borax - found in the laundry aisle
1 box Washing Soda or Oxi Clean, orBaking soda - (Washing Soda AKA soda ash AKA sodium carbonate available in some grocery stores made by Arm and Hammer or you may find it art supply stores in the dyeing section)

OPTIONAL- essential oil of your choice, I didnt do it but I think tea tree might be nice.

Some recipe considerations, there are many variations to be found online but I based mine on this here http://www.thegreenguide.org/article/diy/household

Powdered Laundry Detergent
# 1 Cup Grated Fels Naptha Soap
# 1/2 Cup Washing Soda
# 1/2 Cup Borax
# For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons.

I adjusted for the fact that Zote is at least twice as big as a Fels Naptha bar, and personally if I'm going to make a mess I'd rather double or triple the recipe which still easily fit in the food processor, also I used baking soda AND oxi-clean instead of the washing soda, the reason being that I could not find the washing soda, and Oxi-clean is essentially the same thing but with added peroxide* which does add a mild bleaching action, should be "color safe" though. It is also my understanding that baking soda is similar to washing soda but half as alkaline, so using baking soda will give you a gentler blend.

*note don't try and make the liquid recipe behind the link with "oxi clean" because the peroxide will make the whole mess foam, that was what I originally tried -- and ended up with useless semi solid foamy spooge.

Step 2: Grate Your Bar

I used the ultra pink Zote laundry bar though the recipe called for Fels Naptha (or you could use Ivory), this is where I wonder if it's actually phosphate free, but look at the color! yummy pink shreds! you may want to cut the bar down a bit before stuffing it in and using the grating disk attachment.

Step 3: Add Other Ingredients

The big shreds of the bar soap might not dissolve as is, so you will need to change to the chopping blade of your processor, and now is the time to add the powder to the bowl of the food processor and blend it till it is fine, and don't huff the particulate OK? it will feel and taste beyond gross.

Step 4: Conclusion

Clothes came out great!
But not sure if ....

A. that Zote is phosphate free, and (EDIT: someone commented that phospahates have been illegalized anyway, havent fact checked that though)
B. the purchase of the oxy clean sure drove my cost up, next time I will find the Washing soda.

borax 3.59
baking soda .75
Zote .75
oxyclean 5.00
= 10.09
But since one or two little scoops are enough I estimate about 75 washes? so that comes out to .12 a wash, I guess even using oxi clean it's not so bad.



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329 Discussions

Sounds like a winner! I just read an article about the benefits of doing laundry in cold water so just wondering how well this detergent works in cold water?

1 reply

what I do for cold water.... I START machine on HOT just enough to gather about half a cup in a plastic glass...put two tablespoons of my dry detergent mix in and stir for a half min..dissolves fast..switch over to cold water..you are all set


2 years ago

Hi, I have been wanting to try to make my own laundry detergent but I can't find Borax in my country. Can I use Oxyclean instead?

1 reply

you really do need Borax.. my email is below.. im so crazy about this ...maybe I can get you some if its legal

hi again...I took several photos but their in my ipad..im on desk top

I made this yesterday and am about to go collect neighbors wash!!!!! I made about a years worth and have found that about 2 tbls is all that's needed..whites are awesome..cuts construction type dirt completely..Ill never use store bought detergent again.. I used Zote,Washing Soda, Baking sods, Oxiclean ,borax AND sented crystals. ..dhendriks33@gmail.com for those that want "dry powdered detergent" instead of the cooking method


Great 'ible. I've been using a similar recipe to make my laundry detergent for a while. At 3 gallons per batch, it's much cheaper & cleans just as well as the store-bought detergent.

However - washing soda & baking soda are NOT the same thing. Baking soda's chemical makeup is NaHCO3 (1 sodium, 1 hydrogen, one carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules). Washing soda's chemical makeup is Na2CO3 (2 sodium, 1 carbon, and 3 oxygen molecules).

For those of you who can't find washing soda but do have baking soda, there is good news & an easy fix. You can make washing soda out of baking soda. Just spread a thin layer (probably 1/4 inch or less) of the baking soda on a cookie sheet, sheet pan, large cake pan or something oven-proof & bake it at 400 degrees F for an hour. Mix & bake for another hour or until the powder turns dull & yellowish. Now you have washing soda.

1 reply

I did that but it didn't turn yellowish, and it never turned "grainy".

It did become exothermic with vinegar, however.

( I baked it for about 4 hours.)

I can't find household soap in the UK to use these home made powder recipes. Can you suggest a brand from the UK for me please. Love this. I want to save money and be environmentally friendly too. Thank you Jessie

2 replies

I've been out of the UK for several years so don't know if it's still available but Fairy used to do a Laundry Soap.

I can't get a laundry soap in Asda or Tesco. Ordering it online is quite expensive. I will try to find a Fairy laundry soap online thanks for the tip


2 years ago

Your group is closed and not taking any new members, so posting this "info" is just teasing and not at all useful. This type of comment is not very constructive since all you are doing is saying that this is being done wrong, you know the answer but you won't tell us.

I think you can tell us why but you are fishing for members. If you are not going to share information, do post negative comments you can't or are unwilling to explain. It's just bad manners.

So why do you say homemade laundry detergent is not good? I think you should explain because you did post on a page that is how to make homemade laundry detergent. Thank you in advance for your explanation.

My sister gave me a batch for christmas one year and it works great. I am making the liquid version for when I run out next.

I've been making this for years, using Zote, because of my Eczema ridden daughter, I use three bars of Zote (bought from Big Lot .90 ea) 2 boxes of Washing Soda (from Walmart or Meijer 2.99 ea) and 1 box of Borax (Walmart or Meijer 2.99 ea), I have in the past added a small container of and oxiclean like product also from Big Lot, I didn't notice a difference. It works great.

1 reply

OMG> the thought of having to go to BigLots, Walmart and Meijer just made me sick to my stomach! But I guess your batch reduces trips to the store. So that's good!

Man Up

2 years ago

Important note: even though it's called Naptha bar, there's no naptha in it. Also, going phosphate free isn't an issue if you're on septic. The problem with phosphates comes when you're connected to a sewer system. The phosphates invariably wind up on rivers and lakes where it fertilizes aquatic plants and algae, upsetting the balance of the ecosystem. Residential use is a small part of the problem (commercial fertilizers are the biggest part of the problem), but it's something you can address individually.