Homemade Detergent: Getting Thrifty With it!

Posted on October 24th, 2011 by Discount Debbie

Sometimes you can get some great deals with coupons for laundry detergent. However, I’ve never found a deal, unless it’s free, that can beat making your own. Plus our family is super sensitive to chemicals and scents in a lot of detergent, we have to be picky about what we use. So, I solved the problem and started making my own. It’s so easy to make your own detergent it’s ridiculous.

Even if you aren’t a crafty, do-it-yourself kind of person, this is still for you. I am not Suzie Homemaker by any stretch of the imagination, but I am so glad I gave this a shot.

First of all, I went to Tj Maxx and got this really nifty container that I could pour from. I made powder detergent because out of all the recipes I searched around for, it was the easiest. I even got a paint marker out with my attempt at decorating the poor container. You can tell by the picture that I am NOT crafty.

The recipe is only three ingredients. All of which can be found in the laundry soap isle of most grocery stores. I got all of my ingredients from Wal-Mart.

You need…
Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
Fels-Naptha or plain Ivory Soap (buy whatever is on sale)

The Measurements…
I don’t think there is a set recipe for this, but the ratio I used was 1.5 cups of Borax and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda to one bar of soap.

The Method…
Shave the bar with a food processor or cheese grater. Mix together in food processor til powdery.

One “recipe” of this doesn’t make enough in my opinion to dirty up the food processor so I made four times as much. I used four soap bars and 5 cups of each of the powders.

You use 2-3 tablespoons per wash and your clothes come out perfect!

I even did a comparison and washed one load with our regular free and clear detergent and one with my powder and there was no smell difference and the clothes were just as clean.

The Price…
These are Wal-Mart prices since that is where I get mine from. Prices do vary store to store.
Borax $2.98
Arm and Hammer Washing Soda $3.50
Fels-Naptha $1.50
Total cost: 7.98-$12 depending on how many bars you get.

A lot of people have asked me how many loads it will do. I did not count, but I made it over a month ago and still have it left. I have heard an estimate of around 90 loads if you use the proper measurements.

I haven’t experimented with essential oils, but I have heard you can put a couple of drops into your mixture and it makes it smell nice.

In all my research, I have also found that this is safe for front loaders and some say it’s even better because you use so little of it.

Have you made your own detergent? What do you think? Share your recipes with us!


  1. Kaydee October 24, 2011

    Boooo! I am allergic to Borax : (

  2. Kelly October 24, 2011

    Kaydee, from what I understand you can just double the washing soda and it should still work. If you try, let me know 🙂

  3. Pat Croft October 25, 2011

    I have been making my own laundry soap the last few months and will not buy store brands anymore. it’s easy to do-a little time consuming,but not much-i use old plastic containers from store bought i had saved. clothes smell great and are very clean and no suds-what a saving and i get three containers full and last couple months-

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