Homemade Laundry Detergent


2 years ago, my friend and patient Ruth Hudgins inspired me to make my own laundry detergent.  This recipe is an altered version of hers to account for the harder water we have in Fayetteville.

For our family of 6, I make a 5 gallon batch every quarter for a cost of $11 per year.

That’s correct.  Less than $1 per month for laundry detergent for a very active family of 6.  And it works great.

The whole process takes 15 minutes – less time than it takes me to run to the store.

It is low sudsing and therefore perfect for HE machines.  You need 1/2 cup per full load.


  • 5 gallon paint bucket to store the detergent and a smaller container to refill and keep wherever you currently keep your detergent.  I use an old Tide container and refill using a funnel.
  • Fels Naptha Soap
  • Kirk’s Castile Soap
  • Borax
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

All of the ingredients are available at Harp’s grocery stores in NWA.  The soaps are in the regular bath soap area, and the Borax and Washing Soda are in the laundry area.  Sometimes they are available at Walmart, sometimes not.

Here’s how to do it:

1.  Put 4 quarts of water in a stock pot and place on high.

2.  Cut the Kirk’s Castile and Fels Naptha in half.

3.  Grate 1/2 of each bar on a cheese grater and save the other half for your next batch.

4.  Put the grated soap into the water.  Stir until all of it is dissolved into the water.

5.  Add 1 cup each of Borax and Washing Soda.  Stir until in solution.

6.  Bring to a boil.

7.  Place 12 quarts of cold water into a 5 gallon paint bucket.

8.  Pour the detergent concentrate into the cold water.

9.  Let sit until cool.

10.  If you would like to scent it, add essential oil to achieve desired intensity.  I use grapefruit essential oil because I love citrus.

The final product is not as smooth as a store bought detergent, but don’t let this scare you.  You will love the results.

One thought on “Homemade Laundry Detergent

  1. Rosa

    HI Charlene,Thanks for stopping by! Washing soda is dreffient from baking soda, although Arm & Hammer makes it. I get mine at our local grocery store in the same section as laundry detergents. If you can’t find it at your local store you can most likely find it on-line. I haven’t used in a front loader so I can’t say as to how it would work in those machines. Since it’s a liquid detergent just like what you’d get from the store I’m assuming it would be OK? If you try it and it works let us know! Naturally,Ruth Ann


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *