Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How to make your own liquid laundry detergent

If you are aiming for a more natural, self-sufficient life, want to save money, and be in charge of your own health, it's time to start making your own laundry detergent.

It's so easy! Easy, easy, easy!  And fast!

Most store-bought laundry detergent is full of weird ingredients, some of them known cancer causing agents, filled with harmful chemicals and unhealthy fragrances.  Even when you buy the "natural" stuff, it's loaded with many unrecognizable ingredients.

Here's the secret.  All you need to get clean, fresh, good-smelling laundry are a few ingredients:

1) Natural bar soap (such as Fels Naptha or Doctor Bronner's)

2) Borax (20 Mule Team Borax is available in most grocery stores in the laundry aisle)

3) Washing Soda - not to be confused with baking soda!!! (Most stores carry the Arm and Hammer brand)

4) Water

optional: essential oils like tea tree oil and lavender, or lemon if you like that smell

If I were really dorky, I would do the math and figure out how much cheaper this is than store-bought laundry detergent.  All I can tell you: it saves you a lot of money.

I have a family of five, including two very, very active teenage boys, and one tom-boy girl, and we have a homestead with lots of dirt, mud, grass stains, dust, sweat, birthing fluids, manure... you get the picture.  Plus, our kids are homeschooled, so they are outdoors almost all day.  

I do a lot of laundry.

A five gallon bucket like this lasts me two months, and it costs mere cents to make.  

In terms of cleaning power, this stuff works.  Our laundry gets clean and smells fresh.

How to make liquid laundry soap

I use little scraps and trimmings of my own home made goat milk soap, but you can easily get Dr. Bronners or Fels Naptha soap.

1. Grate one bar of soap (about 5 ounces) with a fine grater, or even do it in the food processor to chop the pieces nice and small.

2. Put these small soap pieces in a pan with 2 quarts hot water and stir constantly so the soap dissolves completely.

3. Put 4 gallons of hot water straight from the tap into a 5-gallon bucket.

4. Into this bucket with hot water, stir in 2 cups of borax and 2 cups of washing soda until it's all nicely dissolved.

5. Put the dissolved soap mixture from the pan into this bucket and stir well.  If you want to, you could now add a few drops of essential oils.  Lavender and tea tree oils are nice, because they also have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and smell good.

6. Label this, cover the bucket and leave it sitting overnight.

7. Stir or shake it up every time you use it.  Use 1/2 cup or 1 cup per load.

That's it!  I told you it's fast and easy, didn't I?

Why don't you whip up a batch of this and let me know how it works for you?


  1. This could work! And these ingredients are a lot less expensive than the environmentally sensitive stuff I've been using. I'll let you know how it goes. I'll just decant it into the empty liquid soap container from the store for easy storage and use.

    1. Perfect! Let me know how it works for you. I will whip up a batch today!

  2. I did the math and based on Amazon's Laundry kit 4pk ($30) Each batch would cost 7.50 divided by 160 1/2 cup portions it comes out to 21c a load. Of course could be less if you found the items cheaper. does it thicken up at all, sitting between laundry days? I do laundry once a week.Thanks. Tammi

    1. Wow, good for you for doing the math. Now the question is: What is the difference between 21 cents a load with the homemade stuff versus the store bought stuff?
      Mine doesn't really thicken up between loads.

    2. A 50 ounce container of Tide costs $15.00 on Amazon. They say you get 32 loads from a 50 oz. container. That comes to about 47 cents a load.

  3. Liquid detergent powder is always safe for your clothes because it keeps your cloth very soft and smoothly. So you can use liquid detergent powder with your washing machine.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I just love your blog, thanks for sharing such a nice information about detergents .

  6. Hello, I am a 8th grade physical science teacher and am interested in allowing my students to create their own laundry detergent for STEM day. Is there a way to decrease this recipe that would allow students to make a enough for maybe 2-3 loads per group of 4 students without making 5 gallons?

    Ms. Lewis

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  9. Thanks for shearing amazing article and keep update.

  10. Thanks for shearing amazing article and keep update.


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