How To Make Your Own Laundry Detergent And Save Money

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Have you been wanting to know how to make laundry detergent? Kendra, a friend of mine, has made it for years and taught me. We decided to see exactly, or pretty darn close, how much a 5-gallon bucket of homemade laundry detergent would cost us. Kendra actually figured out approximately how long the 5-gallon bucket would last each of our families based on estimates of how often we would wash a batch of clothes.

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This would be a great group get together to save money by making your laundry detergent and have fun with friends at the same time.

Here is the laundry detergent cost for 11 batches:

11 Bars Fels-Naptha =$11

***Please note I realize people have different allergies, but I think you could replace this bar of soap with your own favorite bar of soap if you like. I just like the Fels-Naptha bars for stains. I no longer have to use any stain remover. I actually cut my amount to use in my HE washer to 1/2 tablespoon, or less, per load and I have an over-sized HE washer. Remember, there are no fillers in this detergent. No bubbles. Fewer chemicals compared to the stuff you buy boxed stuff at the grocery store. I have heard from readers who use Ivory soap, Zote soap and many people make their own soap bars.

2 Boxes Super Washing Soda = $6.48

1 Box Borax Detergent Booster= $3.38 ——Total cost – $20.86 plus tax

This much makes 11 batches of detergent which is 33 cups = 528 tablespoons = .04 Cents a load

We made a 5-gallon bucket with 25 batches (give or take a couple) 105 cups or 1680 tablespoons

Kendra: If I do 2 loads a day (which I do) that is 730 tablespoons a year
This should last me 2 and 1/3 years!

Linda: does 4 loads a week, there are 52 weeks in a year.  So she will do 208 batches a year so it should last her a little over 8 years!! Crazy!

Laundry Detergent

Emergency Washing Machine

Great tip from Kristi on making homemade starch: I also put 5 drops of Lavender or Lemon essential oil in the rinse water to give your clothes a nice fresh clean scent. Also, if anyone still irons I make my own spray starch from 1 heaping tablespoon of organic cornstarch, 1 small plastic spray bottle (one from Dollar Tree costing $1), 10 drops of Lemon essential oils then filling to the top with distilled water, put the spray nozzle on and give it a good shake and you have homemade spray starch. Just remember to shake the bottle every so often while ironing. Thanks for all your good posts.

Homemade Laundry Detergent/Soap

5 from 1 vote
Laundry Detergent
Homemade Laundry Detergent/Soap by Food Storage Moms
Prep Time
30 mins
 
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 Fels-Naptha Bar-grated either by hand (we used a salad shooter)
  • 1 cup Borax Detergent Booster
  • 1 cup Super Washing Soda (not regular baking soda)
Instructions
  1. Instructions:
  2. Put these 3 ingredients in a blender to blend and grate the Fels-Naptha even more. After doing this it will look just like the store purchased detergent but will not include all the "fillers". You will use less product per load and will have less "bubbles". Remember just having bubbles doesn't mean clean.....I use 1 tablespoon per load. I have an HE-High Efficiency washer and it works great!

 

 

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25 thoughts on “How To Make Your Own Laundry Detergent And Save Money

  • February 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm
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    I’ve been making my laundry soap for a while now and I love it.
    I also make body wash and that saves tons of money too.
    I love your website and emails. Thank you for all your hard work and time you do for others.

    Reply
    • February 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm
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      I’d love to have the recipe for body wash. I am an older woman who takes emergency preparedness to heart. My backpack is ready and under my bed ready to go at a moments notice with cash and all the items needed to survive for seven days or longer.

      Reply
  • February 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm
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    Is the 1 tbsp per load for a “large” load, or something smaller?

    Reply
  • February 1, 2013 at 7:21 pm
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    I make the liquid version in a 5 gallon bucket. One bucket costs me approximately $2.80 (Fels is almost $2 here). I have 6 people washing clothing, and the last bucket lasted 3 months. Not too shabby!

    I liked the powdered version. BUT, I think that the others in my household were using WAY more than they needed to, lol. I like your breakdown for the 5 gal. bucket!

    Now to find a local source for washing soda. The one place I did have closed. I know I have seen it in while in a store, but I have no idea which store. 🙂

    Reply
  • February 5, 2013 at 11:37 pm
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    Was the Fels hard on your salad shooter or blender? I don’t want to ruin my machines….

    Reply
    • February 5, 2013 at 11:48 pm
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      No it wasn’t. I must say though that Kendra and I did 40 or 50 bars. I wanted to do a BIG batch so Kendra wouldn’t have to make laundry detergent until her baby to be could walk! LOL! Next time we will make the detergent outside because I am still finding residue from making it! It is so worth it because Kendra and I are set for years!!! It smellls so good and cleans my clothes great!!! Linda

      Reply
    • February 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm
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      Tricia, I just thought of one more thing….some of the Fels Naptha bars must have been OLD because some of the bars were easier (softer) to grate than some of the harder/old bars.

      Reply
  • March 26, 2015 at 8:06 am
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    Thank you so much, I didn’t realize this was so easy. Will this ruin your salad shooter or blender so that it can’t be used for food?

    Reply
    • March 26, 2015 at 8:15 am
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      Hi Pam, you do need to be careful with the salad shooter. LOL! I never make small batches, I make enough to fill three five gallon buckets at one time. I let the salad shooter and Bosch mixer not overheat….I make small batches and start again. Some bars of soap are “harder” and some bars are fresher and therefore “softer”. I only use this Bosch blender for my detergent. I have a Vitamix and BlendTec for food and smoothies. I saved up and bought the Bosch grater and now I can make the batches faster. I make it for all four of my daughters for Christmas. You can grate the bars by hand as well. But I make way too much to use a hand grater. You can use different bars of soap. You can also add essential oils to your laundry. I don’t because I am too cheap. You will be amazed how little soap you use because there is zero fillers. No bubbles. Have fun saving money, Linda

      Reply
    • November 7, 2016 at 7:38 am
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      DUH… surely you girls have more than ONE shredder!! No?? Then get more.
      I have used this powder for a few years–love it.

      Reply
  • March 26, 2015 at 11:33 am
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    Also, clothes come out so soft….no fabric softener required.

    Reply
    • March 26, 2015 at 11:40 am
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      Hi Emily, I wish I had known about this detergent years ago. I have been paying for filler for years! LOL! Linda

      Reply
  • March 26, 2015 at 11:34 am
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    Does this do a good job on keeping whites white? If I do not use hydrogen peroxide with a white wash I have dingy looking whites. I am using Biokleen detergent. Thank you.

    Reply
    • March 26, 2015 at 11:42 am
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      Hi Sue, I think my whites are not perfectly white. But the cost is my main concern. I wish the whites were whiter so I would probably keep doing what you’re doing. Linda

      Reply
  • March 26, 2015 at 12:36 pm
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    I have an HE also do you put the soap in the drum of the wash machine?

    Reply
    • March 26, 2015 at 1:31 pm
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      Hi Christina, no I pull up the “deal” that says for “up for dry powders” and “down for liquids” where you put the soap. I have a Maytag so thats what mine says. I hardly use any detergent just remember there will be no bubbles because there are no fillers. I hope this helps. Linda

      Reply
  • March 26, 2015 at 2:41 pm
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    Hi Linda and Kendra! I’ve been using my own powdered laundry soap for awhile now and I have a 5-gallon bucket which has lasted just over 2 yrs. This winter I made my 2nd batch for another two years. It’s great!

    I also put 5 drops of Lavender or Lemon essential oil in the rinse water to give your clothes a nice fresh clean scent. Also, if anyone still irons I make my own spray starch from 1 heaping tablespoon of organic cornstarch, 1 small plastic spray bottle (one from Dollar Tree costing $1), 10 drops of Lemon ESO then filling to the top with distilled water, put the spray nozzle on and give it a good shake and you have homemade spray starch. Just remember to shake the bottle every so often while ironing.

    Thanks for all your good posts.

    Reply
    • March 26, 2015 at 4:47 pm
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      Hi Kristi, thanks for the tip on the starch, I just added it to my post, thank you!!! Linda

      Reply
  • March 28, 2015 at 2:18 pm
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    I would like to make the powdered 5 gallon bucket version. How many boxes and soaps (with the correct sizes) will this take? I found one recipe that gave 40 cups etc. but if there is an easier recipe please help.

    Reply
    • March 28, 2015 at 2:32 pm
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      Hi Carmen, I don’t have the exact amounts to make the five gallon version. I have to say I kept running back to Walmart to get more bars, washing soda and Borax. I would make a few batches, let the machines cool down and fill the bucket. Then a few days I would make more. I made enough the last time to fill three (5) gallon buckets. I called it the marathon detergent making. Linda

      Reply
    • March 28, 2015 at 2:34 pm
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      Carmen, I must tell you also that I bought a few too many bars, or boxes and they are in my garage to make more if I ever need to make some. You can’t buy the exact amount because the washing soda is a smaller box than the borax. Or the other way around. Have fun saving money! Linda

      Reply
  • May 7, 2018 at 9:35 am
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    I open my Fels Naptha bars, leave them in the package, just tear off the end. They harden somewhat and they are easier to grate. I love making my own laundry detergent!

    Reply
    • May 7, 2018 at 6:05 pm
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      Hi Tracy, that’s a great tip! I sometimes find the bars I buy are too hard but they could have been on the shelves for a long time. Great comment, thank you!!!! Linda

      Reply
  • September 9, 2018 at 2:07 pm
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    Hello,
    Can you give me the “recipe” for this homemade laundry detergent in ‘liquid’ form, please… I plan to mix it in a 5 gallon bucket.
    I have seen it other places, but I couldn’t make reason in my mind that just 1/2 cup of the Borax and or the Super Washing Soda was enough…
    Also, one more thing; after I have opened the boxes of the ‘Borax’ and ‘Washing Soda’, should I cover them w/a plastic bag or something to keep the humidity, etc. out? I want it to stay in a fresh powder form between making the detergent… (I live alone, so I do less laundry than a ‘family’)
    Thank you very much, Susie

    Reply
    • September 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm
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      Hi Susie, I have never made my detergent in a liquid form. I live in the desert so I just tape my boxes shut and put them in a bucket with an airtight lid. I make enough powdered detergent for five years (a five-gallon bucket). I have two in my family. If you store the dry detergent it will last longer than the liquid. I don’t know anyone that has made it into a liquid form. I’m so sorry. Linda

      Reply

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