When it comes to tossing your dirty clothes into a washing machine, you might think that all detergents are created equal. You’d be wrong if so – Some detergents contain harsh chemicals that can dry out your skin, degrade the durability of your clothes, or even cause allergic reactions. Whether it’s the scent or the feel of it, you need to be careful when selecting detergents. That’s not even getting into the cost – The more laundry you have to do, the more detergent you’ll go through, and the higher your laundry bill will soar. There are other options, though – And even if you’re not particularly sensitive, making homemade laundry detergent can be fun and rewarding. You can get the scent just right and even save money when making it in bulk! This helpful guide will show you how easy and rewarding it can be, so give it a try one of these days!

What Do I Need?

With all the ingredients and chemicals that go into the average bottle of detergent, you might think that you’re going to have to bring home a whole warehouse of ingredients, but you can find most of the things you need at home already! If you do need to go out and get anything, it shouldn’t run you more than $15 or $20. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need:


  • Cheese grater with large holes
  • Measuring cup
  • Rubber gloves


  • Borax
  • Washing soda/Sodium carbonate
  • Plain bar soap
  • An airtight container

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

First up, grate your bar soap into large flakes in a place that will make it easy to collect. The easiest way to do it is to grate it over the container you’ll be using to store your detergent. You might wind up using more than one bar, depending on how much you want to make. Next, add the borax and soda to your airtight container. The ratio will be two (2) parts borax, two (2) parts washing soda, and one (1) part soap flakes. Be sure to wear rubber gloves for this part, and mix thoroughly! The gloves are important because on their own, washing soda can irritate the skin, but when mixed, this is somewhat less of a concern. Still use care when handling any sort of detergent – But once you’ve mixed your three materials, you’re ready to wash!

Now What?

Measure out the right amount for your washer. If you’ve got the standard old-fashioned style washer, just use three leveled tablespoons – But a high efficiency (HE) unit will usually only need one! This is a low sud mixture, so no worries there. Once you’re done with it, close the airtight container as tight as you can. You don’t want moisture getting in here since that can cause the detergent to cake up and harden, which will make it harder to dissolve. This can leave soap residue on your clothes, so toss out your leftovers once they start to clump and cake.

If you have any desiccant or silica gel packs lying around, it might be a good idea to toss a couple into the detergent container. Label it clearly, so you don’t forget what’s in it, and keep it out of reach of children and pets. Since you don’t need to use much of it, this mixture can last you a long time. If you use soap that has essential oils mixed in with it for your soap flakes, you can even pick your fragrance! Many homemakers swear by this formula, so give it a try and start saving money on laundry detergent today!