DIY Cleaning Supplies

Homemade Laundry Detergent

About 6 years ago my husband Jason and I were expecting our first son.  The excitement of that special time is always mixed with nervous anticipation; ours was coupled with the financial stress of having just been married.  Jason brought up several cost-saving ideas, including making our own laundry detergent.  Considering the amount of laundry a newborn brings, I thought it was a great idea!

We do have a high-efficiency washing machine, and have had no issues with this soap working in the machine.

It is ridiculously simple to make and lasts us a long time.  Between our personal laundry and the amount that I have to do for the daycare, we do 2-3 loads of laundry per day; every darn day.  Making our own detergent lasts us between 5-6 months!  Definitely a time-saver!  The upfront expense will run you about $24, which seems like a lot for detergent.  However, when you calculate it out it’s only about $4/month!  Huge cost savings!

I’m sure you’ve never seen, or may have never heard of, some of the products you need for making this detergent.  Well what luck, I am going to tell you where to find them!  Baking soda you can of course find anywhere.  OxiClean, Borax, and Super Washing Soda are easily found at Target in the cleaning section, or at your local grocery store.  The best deal you will find for Fels-Naptha is on, where you add it on to a purchase for a huge discount.  All of the items can actually be purchased on Amazon if you want simplicity.  The list below has approximate prices based on what we usually pay.


  1. 5.5 lb tub of OxiClean ($9)
  2. 3 lb 7 oz box of Super Washing Soda – we buy Arm & Hammer ($4)
  3. 4 lbs 1 oz box of Borax – we buy 20 Mule Team ($4)
  4. 5 oz Fels-Naptha Bars ($2 each x 3 needed = $6)
  5. 16 oz box of Baking Soda

We use a 16 quart Sterilite container with lid purchased at Target for around $3.  This has plenty of room to hold the detergent and allows you ample space to mix it when prepping.  We’ve had the same container for nearly 6 years.

The first step is to grate the Fels-Naptha bars.  We use a cheese grater and grate right into the Sterilite container.  Less mess means less stress!

Those 3 small bars will make a lot of product once grated.  Let me tell you – I love the smell!  It just smells…clean.

Next step is dumping the rest of the items into the box and mixing them up.  Sometimes these products will come out of their containers in giant clumps.


No worries; they are super easy to break up by hand.  No special tools required here.

…unless you’re my husband and simply opening a box just isn’t manly enough.

Once all your items are in the box, mix them thoroughly by hand.  And you’ve done it – you have made laundry soap!  I’ll share a few extra tips if I may.  First, over time, your soap will clump.  It’s just a fact of life.  We keep a scrap piece of dowel rod in the container to easily break up the soap as needed.  Second, we also use our soap as a stain remover and pre-treater.  No need for excess spending!  Simply add a little water to a small amount of detergent and rub into any stains.  It even takes out the grease stains Jason gets from working in a restaurant!

Third, for measuring the detergent, all I did was keep one of the scoops from the first time we purchased the OxiClean.  You only need 2 Tablespoons of detergent per wash!  I filled that amount into my scoop and then used a Sharpie to mark the amount.  Easy peasy.

Last bit of advice, as always, get your children involved whenever possible!  There’s a lot that can be learned from this project that is beneficial to little minds: measurements, following directions, and household chores to name a few. There’s absolutely nothing harmful in these products that would make it unsafe for them to mix them up for you.  And let me tell you, it’s a lot more fun to a little guy (or gal) to break up the clumps than it will ever be to you!


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