How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent | A 2-Step Recipe

How to make homemade laundry detergent by Woodard Cleaning & Restoration in St. Louis, Mo.

Let’s do a little math, shall we? The most common store-bought brand of laundry detergent, Tide, in the 32-load size, is priced between $7 and $12, depending upon factors like, stain fighting power, scent, and formula ingredients. So, if we take the average cost between this range, we end up with a price tag of approximately $9.50 per 32-load bottle, equating to approximately $0.30 per load. Still with us? Great! Now, we’re going to let you in on a huge money-saving secret: how to make homemade laundry detergent.

Unbeatable Savings

Just as powerful as those over-priced store-bought brands, our recipe for homemade laundry detergent will leave your clothes stain-free and smelling fresh for a fraction of the price! Consider this: if the average family does about 400 loads of laundry every year (about 8 loads per week), they’ll need approximately 13 bottles of 32-load laundry detergent to get the job done, which rounds out to about $125 a year. If that same family used our homemade laundry detergent recipe to wash their clothes and linens, they’d spend only $0.05 per load, and only $21 per year on laundry detergent. The savings speak for themselves, folks!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 2 Cups Bar Soap
  • Cheese Grater
  • 1 Cup Borax or Citric Acid Powder*
  • 1 Cup Washing Soda
  • 5 Drops of Lavender Scented Essential Oil
  • Airtight Container

Play it Safe

Before we delve into the steps of the recipe, we’d like to remind you that while borax is an all-natural substance, it can be a skin irritant and toxic if ingested. This safety precaution is especially important if you share your home with small children and/or pets. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of using borax to launder your clothing and linens, use citric acid powder as a substitute. Now, let’s get started!

Step #1: Grate & Measure

The first step of the process is to finely grate two cups of bar soap. For health reasons, we suggest using an old cheese grater for this process, or investing in a new one altogether, using it only for your future laundry detergent making needs.

Next, measure out one full cup of borax (or citric acid powder if you are substituting) and one full cup of washing soda. When shopping for these items, check the detergent aisle of your grocery store, or make a trip to your local hardware store; both locations should have everything you need.

Step #2: Mix It Up!

Mix the grated bar soap, borax (or citric acid powder), and washing soda together in a re-sealable airtight container. Before sealing the lid, add about 5 drops of lavender essential oil; this will give your laundry that store-bought detergent scent that you love!

Let’s do Some Laundry!

Forget using an entire cap-full of detergent – two tablespoons per load is all you’ll need! Since this detergent produces a low amount of suds, it is the perfect formula for high-efficiency washing machines. Don’t let that low-sud count scare you into adding more soap; doing so will only get in the way of removing those tough stains and odors. If you’re dealing with some seriously stained clothing, take a few minutes to pre-treat the stain before tossing it in the washing machine; that’ll do the trick for sure!