Create Your Own Laundry Detergent to Save Time and Money

A few people have asked me how we create our own laundry detergent. The recipe we use is incredibly simple, works better than the detergent we used to use, takes less than 5 minutes to make, and is cheaper! If you want to give it a try, keep reading for the full recipe.

Ingredients and Supplies

To make a batch of detergent, you will need the following:

– 20 Mule Team Borax (1 cup)

– Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (1 cup)

– Fels Naptha soap (1 bar)

– A container to store the dry powder. We use a Rubbermaid container with a sealable lid.

– A food processor or blender. It doesn’t have to be large or powerful, we use an old one that we weren’t using for anything else.

This recipe will use 1 cup of the Borax and Washing Soda, and one entire bar of Fels Naptha. The result will be 3 cups of powder which will wash 48 loads of clothes in an HE washer or 24 loads in a regular washer.

The box of Borax and the Washing Soda will last several months.

Step 1 – Chop up the Fels Naptha With a Knife

Use a kitchen knife to chop the Fels Naptha soap into chunks. The soap is fairly dry and flaky so this is easy to do.

Step 2 – Blend the Fels Naptha in your Food Processor

Pour the chopped up soap into your food processor and blend it up!

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Step 3 – Combine ingredients and Shake to Mix

Measure out 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda into your sealable container. Pour in the blended Fels Naptha. Seal the container and shake to mix.

Step 4 – Wash your Clothes!

That’s it! You are ready to wash clothes. Use 1 tablespoon per load for HE washing machines, or 2 tablespoons for regular washing machines.

Put your clothes in the washer and then add the detergent directly to the top of the clothes (don’t put it in the detergent reservoir on the washer).


When I first read about making your own laundry detergent, I thought it was one of those things that might save a little money, but would be a big hassle or take a lot of time. I was completely wrong!

We actually ran out of detergent this morning, so I timed the entire process while Alicia made a new batch. From the time she started unwrapping the Fels Naptha until I took the last photo was 4 minutes! And that’s with pauses for me to take photos. That’s 4 minutes from the thought “Oh, I’m out of detergent” until we had 48 more loads worth of detergent ready to go.

We keep the ingredients on hand, so whipping up a new batch of detergent is actually way more convenient than remembering to put detergent on a shopping list or having to run out to the store real quick because we ran out and need to wash clothes. And at the point when we run out of an ingredient, we just made a batch that’s going to last for 48 loads, so we have plenty of time to get or order another before we run out. It’s a win/win!

Cost Per Load of Laundry

If you are lucky and can find all the ingredients locally, they can be pretty cheap. We found all the ingredients at our local Wal-Mart, so my calculations are based on the prices below:

Fels Naptha ($0.96/bar) – Makes 1 batch

Borax ($4.47/box) – Makes 12.5 batches

Washing Soda ($3.97/box) – Makes 6 batches

Amazon also has some pre-made kits if you are just looking for convenience, but I’m doing the math based on finding the cheapest price locally.

4 cents per load of laundry!

There you have it! 4 cents per load of laundry. The detergent we used to use was about 14 cents per load.

Side Benefit: It keeps our Washing Machine clean

Our washing machine used to get kind of dirty/musty after a while, and we had to use cleaners on the washing machine itself to keep it clean and smelling good, which is kind of ridiculous when you think about it. Since we changed to this new detergent about 6 months ago, our washing machine stays clean and shiny on the inside, and our laundry room smells great (it’s the Fels Naptha smell!).

Go forth, and deal with your dirty laundry!

I hope this helps you save some money and some time. Leave me a comment and let me know.

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