Homemade Laundry Detergent

Have you ever noticed how expensive Laundry Detergent is?  After a well-meaning relative went through a detergent that was supposed to last for 96 loads in one day, it really hit me how much I was spending.  I was buying the big Wegmans detergent for $12.99.  It lasts me two months, so I was buying 6 a year.  That is $77.94!  So, when I heard about laundry detergent that costs $28 for a year, if you do 6 loads a week, I had to try it.

You start by collecting your ingredients:

1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borox – Found in the detergent aisle

1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda – Found in the detergent aisle

1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean – Found in the detergent aisle. (This is optional but I highly recommend adding it)

2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Zote Soap – Found in the detergent aisle (You can also use Fels Naptha, we weren’t able to find the Zote Soap)

1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda – Found in the cooking aisle (You could also get four 1 lb box, I couldn’t find the larger 4lb box when I went)

1-2 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener- Found in the detergent aisle


Once you have the ingredients, the only thing you need to prep is the Zote Soap/Fels Naptha.   This needs to be grated.  I tried to use my food processor and found the grating attachment was broken.  I have a hand grater I could have used, but decided to try another option.  The microwave!  I cut it into smaller pieces, put it on a large plate, and microwaved it for 1.5 minutes.  It then looks like this:


WARNING: It is VERY HOT!  I tried crumbling it right away and burned myself.  I found if I put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes, it was cool and crumbled easily.  It does not crumble well when it is still warm.  Once you have all of the soap crumbled in a bowl, you get to the fun part!

Edit: The microwave method is very stinky. Both my microwave and freezer  stunk for weeks. The next time I made it, a year later, I used the hand grater. While it took for effort, I preferred the texture and the lack of stink. 

Layer your ingredients and mix in a large container.  I had a 30 qt rubbermaid bin and it worked really well.  I did about 1/4 of each ingredients at a time to make sure it mixed well.


Once all the ingredients are in and mixed, you are done!  This detergents is safe for HE washers.  I filled the OxyClean bin with the detergent so I don’t have to open the large bin every time.  You can also put it in the Purex bottle.

To use, measure 1-2 tbsp into your washer with your laundry.  That is it!  A little bit goes a long way.  It does not sud like traditional detergent, which is actually better for your wash.  I will note, if you keep the measuring lid from your Purex you can fill to the middle line for 2 tbsp.  I, however, managed to purchase the one bottle without a lid. 

We also took a minute to practice shaping letters in the mix.  She may be home sick, but that doesn’t mean she can’t learn! And now our hands are super soft. 🙂



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