This best homemade laundry detergent recipe is super simple to make and saves us a lot of money per year. You’ll only spend $21 to make enough to use for up to one year!
Call me weird, but I love doing the laundry. Each time I see my laundry baskets clean and emptied every day, I just feel a big relief that an important job is already done. But let’s face it, laundry detergent is EXPENSIVE.
As of writing this, my previous detergent costs $33 which is only good for 110 loads. Since I do more than one load a day (because, well, I have a baby, I am constantly dirty and we have three dogs), I’d easily do at least 8 loads a week.
I was shocked to realize that, annually, I do over 384 loads and consume close to 4 bottles of detergent costing over $120. That does not include the cost of fabric softener, water, dryer sheets, bleach and electricity. All that combined and you’d probably spend a good $300 just for laundry.
I knew this needed to change so I started researching ways on how to trim the fat and eliminate unnecessary spending in this area.
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Ways to Save Money on Laundry
I’ve learned really cool tips that could help you lower the cost of your laundry such as using dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. I got this kind of dryer balls for only $4 at Marshalls and they’re reusable and eco-friendly. What they do is they fluff clothes good so you don’t have to use fabric softener and they help dry everything so quickly! That said, I ditched using fabric softener and save money on electricity as well.
I’ve also discovered an amazingly easy powder laundry detergent recipe and I am in love! What I really like about this homemade laundry detergent recipe is that it only costs me around $21 that will last me a year and it’s tough on stubborn stains. Our clothes smell good, too!
I know you can find tons of liquid detergent recipes online, but most of them look a bit complex to make and require more ingredients. After adding up the costs, I realized they are not the best options if you are looking to save money.
On the other hand, the best homemade laundry detergent recipe I’ve tried is super simple to make, and just works as good or better than my previous detergents.
The Best Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
Now, onto the recipe and, I repeat, it’s really super simple.
Washing Soda 55 ounces / 3.53 lbs
Oxyclean 7.22 lb
You can substitute this with Borax but while Borax is a great stain remover, I’ve read it is not recommended for sensitive skin. Since I have a baby here, I decided to use a more baby-friendly ingredient.
2 Bars of Fels Naptha
First, grate the Fels Naptha bars in a bowl using a cheese grater.
Then, add Oxyclean and the washing soda into the bowl. Mix and voila, you already have a stain removing detergent!
How much does it cost per load?
As of writing this, these are the Amazon prices of the following ingredients:
Washing Soda- $4.12
Oxi Clean – $12.98
You can buy the 7.22 lb box here.
Fels Naptha – $2.08 each x 2
So, this jar full of detergent lasts us a full year as you’ll only have to use two tablespoons of detergent to clean a small- to medium-size load. You may need twice for big loads. Each load only costs between 4-8 cents!
Awesome! I can’t wait to try this recipe. I have used a homemade liquid detergent for years and have thought about switching to a powder. Thanks for the recipe!
Hey Christine, thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll love this recipe.
Can you use in HE washer?
Yes because it does not sud up like other detergents that are not he.
i have made homemade laundry soap and all the recipes ive made isnt sudsey enough. Ive used 4 bars of soap. what can i do?
This worked great! I only used one bar of soap since I was in a rush since there was a stain waiting for me (our puppy had a #2 accident on the bed) but one bar worked fine. I’ll be adding the second because I love the smell of the soap lol. We had planned on switching to powder detergent since the pods are so expensive and won’t work on a mattress so luckily I had all the ingredients waiting for me. This worked great at getting the stain out. And we’re so looking forward to saving the extra cash! Great recipe thank you!!
What size scoop are you using to measure out the amount per load?
Does this work with front loading machines and does it keep dark colors bright over time?
What did you replace the Fels Naptha with?
Hi Yvonne, you can simply omit Fels Naptha and just mix the other two ingredients, as I’ve read it “collects” soap scum in the clothes. I’ve used this recipe (with Fels Naptha) for quite sometime now and it’s worked really good and I love it. It smells really clean and good.But I use the mix sans Fels Naptha for expensive clothes.
Just ordered my supplies! For a front loader, do you put the detergent right in the washer or can you still use the drawer that takes the liquid detergent?
Hi Lauren! I just put the detergent directly in the washer 🙂
Hello! I was just curious what size box or tub you use to store the detergent?(: I’m about to order my supplies and wanted to go ahead and order that too!
Hi Tabby, I didn’t buy my detergent container. I bought a huge jar of pickles from Costco a long time ago and saved the container for the detergent. You can find awesome air tight jars here
How many cups does the mixture make? So I know what size container I need…
Good luck trying to find washing soda in the states at least.
You can get washing soda at Walmart arm & hammer make it and you can also buy it on Amazon
Walmart. Tho I don’t like going there.
Jeannine J Cox
you can make washing soda, preheat oven 400- put baking soda in large pan, get all the lumps out with your hands spread it out evenly- now put in oven for 1 hour. Stir 3-4 times during baking time. it doesn’t matter if you leave it longer, you can’t over bake it. As soon as it comes out of the oven, put it in a container with a lid.
Got all of mine off Amazon & Walmart I’m in the states
I find it in the cleaning supplies isle, close to laundry soap. I’ve also swapped it out for a giant box of regular baking soda and it worked well, Good luck to you.
How much of this are you using per load?
2 Tbsp for a small-medium load, more for a larger load
I made this yesterday and my daughter in law tried it last night and I tried it today and so far so good we love it. Thanks for the recipe
Hi! I am wondering if this clumps if I don’t have an airtight container to store it in. Thanks!
Hi Serena, I’ve stored it once in thin plastic containers that are not airtight and it was ok. Didn’t clump. But I recommend using airtight containers most especially if you are living in a humid area.
How much of all supplies do you use?? The whole box of washing soda and whole box of oxi clean? And how big are your boxes
Trying this for the first time today. I made something similar yrs ago and loved it. Lasted our family of 7 six months. I used this recipe today and also added 2 lbs baking soda to it. No scent booster cause i want to see how i like it first without it.
Would it be ok to use an all natural laundry bar instead of fels naptha?
YES! All natural laundry bar is great too!
How much do you use per load?
2 Tbsp for small-medium load; more fore larger load
I dont care for the smell of the bar soap you use inthis recipe and substitute zote bars instead (two bars per recipe.) I used borax with no skin sensitivity noted by me or my allergy sensitive daughter. Twelve dollars make 2 gallons of powder. I preferr a finer poeder and used ny blender to make a finer powder .Just blederized powder for 4-5 secongs every 1.5 cups. ) . I use a tablespoon per regular load and two of realy soiled.
The washing soda makes me itch along with the borax what can I use instead. Please reply.
Sorry for this late reply, Christine. Borax does the same to me. It’s the reason why I didn’t use Borax for this homemade laundry detergent because I have a toddler with sensitive skin. I highly recommend using Oxyclean instead of Borax
Would this be OK for newborns?
Can I add laundry scent beads to this?
I’ve not tried it but I believe you can. Just make sure to store the detergent in an airtight container and keep in a cool place. 🙂
Can this recipe be used to make laundry tabs by adding vinegar?
How much do you use per load? Thank you so much!!
2 Tbsp for small-medium loads; more for large loads
Valerie L Kotrc
I have made this and works wonderful. I did add the scented beads to it along with a 1/2 container of OxiClean. 1-2 Tablespoons per load and you’re off the to races.. Works Great!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have used a recipe almost identical to this for years and love it! I wouldn’t go back to store bought for anything. My teen daughter that is allergic to almost every brand in the stores can easily use this. I also use it in a front load machine (Missy) without issue. I just put it in with the clothes instead of the top cup. It tends to get crusty with any powder soaps so I just make that alteration and it works great. I also love a few drops of Dawn liquid for set in grease stains. A few drops, rub a bit and drop it in the wash. It works fabulously!
Adding a few drops of Dawn liquid is a great idea! Thanks!
What is it that you use in your laundry soap cuz I have cancer and very sensitive skin and my son has psoriasis so is their a different way I can make it?
I have made this recipe and found that I can put whatever bar soap I use in the microwave for a minute or two, and it kind of foams up and becomes very crumbly. Then I simply crumble it up into the mix. Works great and saves my arthritic hands from the grater.
How much detergent do you use per load?
2 Tbsp for small-medium load; more for large load
Can I use essential oils in the recipe to boost the smell? Or, has someone already tried this…..would like your opinion.
Hi Linda! Yes, you can. I use essential oils as well and it works wonders!
Do you add essential oil to the entire amount when you first make it, or are you adding the drops per load as you do laundry?
Looking forward to trying this. Would you get the same results by omitting the oxyclean? I plan on using Sunlight laundry bars instead of the Fels Naptha. TIA.
What is everyone using now that Fels naptha has been discontinued?? Kirks Castile is available but doesn’t get the job done very well. Looking for ideas. TIA
Zote Brand bar soap is what I’ve always used!
I just wanted to let you know that I have been using this recipe for over 2 years now and I absolutely love it! I refuse to use anything else as it doesn’t compare! I do however use the Zote brand laundry soap bars.
I made an eighth of the full recipe to try it (didn’t want to waste ingredients in case it didn’t work well). Well, I liked it so much that I just made a whole big container of it. I also added about 50 drops of Lemon Essential oil to it this time. It works well and I feel good about the ingredients. I’ve been looking for a natural laundry detergent for a while and now I can stop looking! Thank you so much for this!
How big of a container do you need?