How to Make Your Own Powdered Laundry Detergent

I did something bold this weekend.

I refused to by my normal laundry detergent in hopes of making my own…and it WORKED.

I know, I know. How cheap can I be? Well the answer is…CHEAP! I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of paying close to $20 for laundry detergent every couple of months.

Pat and I choose to do our laundry separately mainly because he can’t be trusted in washing my “delicate” items. Case in point……he thought he was doing me a favor one weekend and decided to wash my clothes I had separated for the laundry. My expensive sweater ended up with a few extra holes it didn’t have before. And my “hand wash only” tank top ended up unraveled in numerous places. $$ down the drain – or washing machine drain – quite literally. From that day on Pat was no longer allowed to touch my laundry unless given SPECIFIC instructions. And even then I’m a little wary. (This was per HIS request, not mine!)

Seeing as we don’t combine our clothes, we are talking about 2-3 loads of laundry EACH per week, or around 5-6 loads of laundry total for a 2 person household. Which is at a minimum 24 loads of laundry a month, not including bedding, towels, etc. That’s a LOT of laundry for 2 people.

So I totally boycotted buying laundry detergent this weekend and decided to make my own. It’s easy, inexpensive (less than $10 for a large amount of supplies!), and WORKS. And only takes about 20 minutes! Say WHAAAAT?

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup grated Fels Naptha soap
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • pretty jar
  • measuring tablespoon
  • wooden spoon
I purchased multiple bars of Fels Naptha soap to account for making multiple batches. In a bowl, I grated enough soap to make 1 cup.  Use a very fine grater so the soap pieces are small and easily dissolvable. This is the longest part of the process, but isn’t too bad. :)
Then, measure 1/2 cup of washing soda, and 1/2 cup borax. Pour each ingredient into your pretty jar and stir together with a wooden spoon. That’s it!
I doubled the recipe since one batch didn’t make as much as I wanted. I used one tablespoon for light loads, and 2 for heavy or soiled loads. Perfect every time so far!
You can also add some essential oils for fragrance, but I was content with the light fragrance of the Fels Naptha soap alone!
So, are you going to try it? Or are you totally content with buying your normal laundry detergent?  I’m sure I’ll use store-bought detergent again at some point…but this is a nice option to have on hand in a pinch! :)


  1. That looks so easy! Do you know if it okay to use in he machines?

  2. I used this same recipe and I will NEVER use store made detergent again. I made a full batch in August I think and I am not even half way thru it. I absolutely love love it and it was soooo cheap. We r a family of 4 and I nanny 2 so we do a lot of laundry! :)

  3. This is the best..been using it for almost a year. If you want to replace your fabric softener use plain old white vinegar in your dispenser..yes vinegar…it works fabulously! And your clothes don’t smell. Towels are soft and no static cling.

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I know people have diff. recipes that include oxy clean, etc. but felsnaptha used to be used for stains, so you really do not need anything else. I have a top loader and 1 TBS for normal loads still works. I use two TBS for heavier loads. If you like some scent, use fabric softener with lavender, etc. Also, if you have septic (like we do in the country) this is the best! Try it – you will never go back to “regular” laundry detergent :o)

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