How to make homemade laundry detergent

Updated February 21, 2017

Making homemade laundry detergent is easy and environmentally friendly. Just follow these few simple steps.

Use the knife to shave the soap into small pieces. Then place 5 cups of water into the pot and heat the water on the stove.

Place soap into pot and begin stirring until the soap melts. If the water begins to boil, turn the stove off to prevent it from bubbling over.

Place 3 gallons of hot water into the 5-gallon container once the soap has melted.

Pour the melted soap mixture into the container of hot water. Stir.

Add 1/2 cup of washing soda. Stir until the soda dissolves, and then add 1 cup of Borax. Stir until dissolved.

Add fragrance, if necessary. Add a few drops of essential oils from your favorite scent.

Cover the container and set it aside. Let it sit overnight so it can cool and gel. The detergent will not gel uniformly; it may appear watery and clumpy.


1/2 cup of detergent is sufficient to clean a full load of laundry. Homemade laundry detergent is low sudsing and thus perfect for high-efficiency, front-loading washing machines. This recipe makes 442 oz. of laundry detergent. At 4 oz. per load, you'll be able to wash 110 full loads.


If you're using a high-efficiency washing machine: Prior to adding the homemade laundry detergent to the dispenser, stir it to break up large lumps. This ensures the detergent will fully dissolve in the normal wash cycle.

Things You'll Need

  • 3.1 oz. bar of soap
  • 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • Water
  • 5-gallon container
  • Knife
  • Pot large enough to hold 6 cups of water
  • Long stirring stick or spoon for 5-gallon container
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