Best Laundry Detergent Recipe

Okay, so I know you’ve all seen the DIY Laundry recipes floating around Pinterest!  Well, I finally decided to give it a try and I’m soooooo glad I did!

This Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe is amazing!

My clothes have NEVER smelled so fresh—and there’s no perfumes or harsh chemicals—so it’s perfect for my sensitive skin.

DIY Laundry Detergent
Best DIY Laundry Detergent! $20 equals a full year of washes!!

I was hesitant to make this at first because I have EXTREMELY sensitive skin.

We’ve been using ALL Free & Clear for years because anything else causes me to break out. And, we just recently discovered the Little Man has the same allergy (yeah, we spent a day in the ER to find out he had hives from laundry detergent—not a fun day!).

After doing LOTS of research I settled on giving this recipe a try and I couldn’t be happier!  This stuff is POWERFUL and GENTLE.  It works great in a regular washing machine and HE machines too.

You only need 1 TBS because there’s no fillers like you find in retail laundry detergent.  Sometimes I throw in another 1/2 TBS if the clothes are REALLY dirty (like we had an explosive diaper dirty) but 1 TBS is perfect for everyday.

Why homemade laundry detergent is better than store bought

Alright, ready for the Laundry detergent recipe?



2 Gallon Container (I got this beauty – then used my Silhouette Cameo to cut the vinyl lettering).

1 Container OxiClean (store brands work too- but there’s usually a good coupon around for this one and makes it cheaper)

3 Bars of Lever 2000 (or any bar soap that you choose)

1 Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1 Box of Baking Soda

1 Box of Borax (optional)

Everything you see in the picture above I bought at Walmart for $30.01 (including tax) without any coupons….if you look for coupons you can probably get everything above MUCH cheaper!

Here are some of my favorite coupon sources:

Red Plum Printables Printables

Sunday Preview

Okay, now that you have the materials, it’s time for the easy part of making your own homemade laundry detergent:

Using a grater (larger holed graters are better or else you’ll clog the holes)- grate your bars of soap and combine all ingredients!  I would grate 1 bar and then mix in 1/3 of all the other ingredients in the large container and repeat till all ingredients are mixed in.

That’s it!  Easy Peasy!  And your clothes are going to smell oh so fresh!

This project actually took less than 20 minutes—I think the majority of my time was actually spent putting the vinyl on the glass container!

Best DIY Laundry Detergent

Have you checked out the rest of my Laundry Makeover?

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 Are you like me and always on the hunt for deliciously simple recipes that your family will love?  Here’s a free printable for my 5 FAVORITE one dish meals– they’re perfect for busy nights when you don’t have a ton of time and don’t want to clean a bunch of dishes!

Image Map
Are you like me and always on the hunt for deliciously simple recipes that your family will love?  Here’s a free printable for my 5 FAVORITE one dish meals— they’re perfect for busy nights when you don’t have a ton of time and don’t want to clean a bunch of dishes!

72 thoughts on “Best Laundry Detergent Recipe

  1. lynda

    Does this work for HE front loaders? TIA

    • Yes it does. I have a front load HE and it works great!

  2. Liz Adams

    Hi!! I’m super excited to try this!! Quick question though… I see from the picture the washing soda box is 55oz and the OxiClean is 3lb, and you mentioned in a previous comment that the baking soda box is 4lb. How big is the box of Borax? The one you linked to was 76oz. Is that correct?


    • Yes that’s correct…76oz for Borax. I really should update this post with the correct measurements….sorry about that…it’s on my To-Do List this week! We LOVE this laundry detergent…I hope you do too!

      • Mandy

        question though — no harsh chemicals?? Isn’t oxy clean harsh? Someone told me once it wasn’t natural. Thoughts? we too are sensitive skinners…

        • I’ve always heard that Oxy Clean is gentle. To be extra safe I’ve started using the Oxiclean Free which is free of all dyes, perfumes, etc. I’ve also seen that Seventh Generation now makes an Oxiclean…I plan on using that in my next batch.

  3. Mandy

    This is my first time making and using DYI laundry detergent. I noticed that it doesn’t make a lot of bubbles or any really. Is this right?? I was also worried if 1tbsp is too little. I’m use to having to use a lot of soap since I have used store bought for so long.

    • That’s correct. You won’t really see any bubbles because it’s a concentrated cleaner that doesn’t bubble up but it does clean. All you need is 1-2 TBS because it’s pure cleaners….there’s no fillers like the store bought soap. I hope this helps!

  4. Jessica

    I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am to try this. This is the first time I’ve seen a recipie that let’s you use any soap you want. Most recipies I’ve seen call for fels naphtha and this isn’t an item I can get locally. Also I have roommates who like to pour laundry detergent not measure it and I can’t even begin to tell you how much we go through. This is a great way to save money. Super easy recipie no boiling of ingredients. Now to go shopping for ingredients and vinyl for the cricut.

  5. kelly

    Awesome! Thank you….in that case..I LOVE IT :-)

  6. kelly

    Question…i made this laundry soap and when i used it i noticed that it does not “sud up” like norman laundry soap…is there something i did wrong or is this normal?

    • That’s normal. You don’t need the suds to clean the clothes….the suds are produced by fillers and can leave a residue on the clothes.

  7. Cassie

    Can I add bleach to a load of whites with this?

    • Of course. I’ve never had any issues using bleach.

  8. Cassie

    Been using my batch for a few weeks now…love it! Question: for a load of white

    • I’m so happy you like it!!

  9. Cassie

    For a load of whites, can I still add bleach?

  10. shannon

    has anyone used dove soap

    • I haven’t used Dove but I would think that it should work just fine. Really any bar soap that you prefer the smell of should work right with this recipe.

  11. Hi,
    I used this recipe and I’m curious if anyone’s detergent gets extremely hard and difficult to spoon out? I am curious if I added too much of something or perhaps not enough of something.

    Thank you for the advice! I love your blog.


    • Depending on the humidity of where you live it can start to harden up. All I do is keep a wooden spoon in the laundry room and just break it apart and stir occasionally. The important part is just that it dissolves in your water…which I’ve never had an issue with. Hope this helps!

  12. Aly

    I finally made this happen! This was the best and easiest recipe I found but I did modify it slightly! I went to good ‘ol Walmart and chose the white Zote over Fels-Naptha because it came in flakes for $2.74. I thought those two bucks were worth it rather than grating a bar (or the risky microwave method.) Y’all it worked like a charm! I ground it up just a smidge more in my hand as I added it and I also added Downy Unstoppables because I love the smell! I just washed and dried a load and love it. I’m never going back. Thank you!

    • Awesome! I’m so glad you like it! Hubs refuses to use anything else….even when we go visit my mom we have to bring some of our own laundry detergent because he loves how fresh and clean his clothes smell instead of perfumey! (yeah, totally just made that word up!)

  13. Mary

    Hey, I LOVE your blog! I wanted to try the laundry detergent and if it worked out i wanted to feature it on my blog/instagram/facebook with a “how to” video! I would of course give you credit and if you want me to tell my viewers about any other social media pages please email me :) My page is called The Wife Project and it is all about thriving as a wife yet doing it all with fun and simple tasks! Thank you so much for featuring this and I would love to show you the finished product as long as you are okay with me doing this :)

    • Hi Mary! Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you….I’ve been taking some time off. Of course you can feature this recipe! All I ask is that you don’t list the whole recipe…just leave a link for the full recipe. :) I can’t wait to see your how to video!!

      • Mary

        yay! Thank you so much! Okay great I will just say the ingredients in the video and then in the video refer to the instructions as “add borax” rather than the exact measurement for it! Then I will have your link in my video’s description! Do you have a facebook or instagram page that you would like me to mention? mine is @itsmarychik and this will be my first video! Im doing it this weekend and ill post here the link when its done :)

        • Awesome Mary! I can’t wait to see it! Sorry I haven’t responded….I’ve been at Food Blog Forum in Asheville….it was sooooooooo much fun! :) You can mention either page if you want both screen names are SerendipityandSpice. Once I get the link I’ll give you a shout out too! :)

  14. Rita Schmitt

    I use an old food processor to crumble up the soap. I just put a couple of cups of the baking soda in the bottom and feed the soap while pulsing the machine. I keep the blade in the bottom and use a shredding disk. The baking soda helps to keep the soap from sticking together and turns the soap to fine pellets so it mixes into the other ingredients evenly. Saves time and mess.

    • Fantastic tip! Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Sheryl

    Have you ever made liquid laundry detergent with these ingredients? I love the recipe, but would rather it be in liquid form.

    • I have not made it in liquid form before. But it should be pretty simple to convert by just dissolving the ingredients in water…although you’ll have to play around with what the correct amount to use would be.

  16. So excited to try this! 😀
    How did you make the vinyl label for the jar?
    Sara VanOrden recently posted…My Working Sweet SpotMy Profile

    • I have a Silhouette Cameo cutter that I used to cut out the lettering.

  17. Will it work in cold water wash?

    • Yes. I use cold water for all of my delicate clothes and it works just as great!

  18. Liz

    Do you use the whole box of borax and washing soda?

    • Yep, all of the ingredients listed are the entire contents….just make sure you do it in batches so it’s easier to mix. I’ll throw in like 1/3 of each box and shred a bar of soap then mix it all together and then add in the next 3rd and mix and then toss in the remainder and mix. Otherwise the mixing gets really difficult. :)

  19. Liz

    I am making this today. I’m so excited!! Having a 9yr old and a newborn, we sure do have a lot of laundry!! Lol

    • I hope you like it….I just made a new batch a few weeks ago…this stuff lasts forever!! :)

  20. Kristi

    Can you substitute Clorox 2 powder form for the oxi clean?

    • I’m sure you can…I’ve never used Clorox 2 though.

  21. lisa

    What size box of baking soda did you use? The one in the picture looks pretty big. I bought a 64 oz box – is that too much?

    • I used a 4lb box of baking soda.

  22. Dee

    I Am Getting Ready To Make The Diy Laundry Detergent. Is The 1T. For A Large Load Only Or DO You Use Less With A Med Or Small Load? Thank You!

    • I use 1T for a regular load…if it’s especially dirty or a large load I will do 1.5T. I don’t really make an adjustment for a small load but I’m sure you could use less if you wanted to.

  23. Cynthia L

    This is a great soap recipe. This is the first time I have seen a soap recipe using the Lever 2000. I bet it really is great smelling! Thanks so much for sharing this at the Living Big on Less Money Series!

    • It smells wonderful! Thanks!!

      • lori

        hi Melissa , I also use homemade laundry soap and my husband loves the money we save as we are raising our 7 grandkids we are always looking to save money I buy zoto bars of soap at the 99cent store I put 2 bars and I also add purex crystals to mine its cheaper than the unstoppables and smells better my neighbors always know when we are doing laundry because our neighborhood smells great thanks asgain

        • That’s awesome Lori! I know I’ll never go back to store bought detergent again…it’s so simple and cheap to just make our own…and I think it works so much better!

  24. dee

    looks good but cant use borax with septic :(

    • Amy

      I’m no expert but the borax brand shown indicates on the box that it is safe for septic systems. I did a little looking online and most everything I read said borax was considered no worse than bleach or other normal cleaning products for septic system. The main thing I read was to not overload your septic system by doing too many loads in one day; spread them out over the week to avoid flooding your septic system with more than it can handle. One website said that in colder climates there aren’t as many microbes growing in septic systems during cold months anyway so normal amounts of detergents, cleansers, etc. wouldn’t bother the microbes and should be fine. Might be best to ask a local septic expert to see if there are any specific instructions for your septic system if there is a concern. Also, I believe many brands of powdered detergents have some borax (boron) in them. Hope that helps.

  25. Shannon

    What fonts did you use?

    • I used Lavanderia for the script and Elephant for the block.

  26. Janice

    Just whipped up my first batch and can’t believe I’m actually excited to do some laundry! Do you really only use 1 Tbsp per load?

    • Yep just 1 TBS! Unless it’s a really icky load– then I throw in 2 TBS! Let me know how you like it!!! :)

  27. Katie

    Just made this today. I used Dial soap and also added in a large contained of Purex crystals. 1st load is in the washer now. :) This makes doing laundry so fun. lol!

    • YEAH!! Let me know how you like it! It does make doing laundry fun!! :)

      • Katie

        Just made my 2nd batch. 1st batch lasted me from September thru April. I would still recommend pretreating tough stains but I love the way our laundry looks, feels, and smells.

  28. Leticia

    Could I substitute the lever soap for fels naptha? And if so how many bars of that should I use? I love the way it smells so I’m hoping I can use that to try this recipe out cus something seems lacking in the recipe I’m using now. Thank you!! :-)

    • Of course….you can use any type of soap you prefer…just trade it out equally….one bar per bar.

  29. Linda Watkins Jones

    Can you use it in HE washers?

    • Yep. Just toss it in the basin before throwing your clothes in. :)

  30. I often add borax or washing soda to my wash so I know how well these 2 products work without harming clothes. I have never used OxyClean. Do I need to worry about it causing bright colored clothes to fade?

    • Hi, Christie!
      I’ve been using oxi clean for years and haven’t had any issues with it fading my brights. I especially love it in whites though.

  31. Margie

    How well does this work on baby clothes or mens sweaty, construction work clothes? The homemade version I am using now uses the same ingredients (different amounts) doesn’t do so good on real dirt but does fine on me and my daughters clothes.

    • Melissa

      I haven’t tried it with construction work clothes but it works great on baby clothes. My son has VERY sensitive skin and it works great! We’ve been using it for about 7 months now and I still LOVE it (and we’re only half way through the first batch I made)! For heavily soiled clothes I would try adding a cup of white vinegar and maybe use a stain pre-treater spray.

    • felecia

      ive never made homemade laundry soap but im fixing to try. there is a soap my boy friend washes his body with that is manufactured by WD-40 called lava soap. its sold at walmart for $1, its in a red wrapper. you could probably use that along with the lever soap for his washings. its designed to get out engine oil and other grim from mens line of work. hope it helps. :-)

  32. Kristin

    Do you know of a good substitution for borax?

    • Melissa

      I’ve heard you can use baking soda and vinegar as a substitute…but I haven’t tried it. Sorry I don’t have better advice. :)

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