Homemade Laundry Detergent — Pennies Per Load!

Every household has a list of items they always need to buy more of–toilet paper, toothpaste, dish soap, laundry detergent, trash bags and more.  When it comes to laundry detergent, most of the liquid varieties are almost entirely water and the powdered forms have fillers.  At the end of the day, you pay very little for the detergent ingredients and mostly for the transportation of water or fillers.  The average liquid laundry detergent is over 95% water.

This recipe is for a homemade liquid laundry detergent.  I have been using this for over a year now and am glad I made the switch.  This recipe will make 5 gallons of concentrate, which will then make 10 gallons of ready-to-use detergent.  The total cost of ingredients for 10 gallons (640 loads) is around $2.00–or 1/3 cent per load


  • Works well in traditional top-load, HE front-load washing machines and for hand washing
  • The soap is low sudsing, and extremely effective
  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Removes stains
  • Safe for delicates and all types of fabrics

Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients

Homemade Laundry Soap IngredientsTo make the liquid laundry detergent, you will need the following items (all of which can be found at your local WalMart or online (linked below)):

*Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) will not work, it must be super washing soda (sodium carbonate)
**Reused laundry detergent bottles work very well

Steps to Make the Homemade Laundry Detergent

Making the detergent is quite simple and only takes about 15 minutes to complete

Step 1: Using a cheese grater, grate the bar of Fels-Naptha soap

Fels-Naptha Soap and Grater

Grated Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap

Step 2: Add the Fels-Naptha soap and water to a saucepan

Measured Hot Water

Hot Water with Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap

Step 3: Stir the Fels-Naptha and water mixture continually over medium-low heat until the soap is melted and completely dissolved

Hot Water with Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap

Step 4: Fill a 5-gallon bucket half-full of hot tap water

5-Gallon Bucket With Hot Water

Step 5: Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax to the 5-gallon bucket and stir well until all ingredients are thoroughly dissolved

Homemade Laundry Soap Ingredients Homemade Laundry Soap Mixture

Step 6: Fill bucket to the top with additional hot tap water and stir thoroughly

Adding Water to Homemade Laundry Soap Mixture

Step 7: Put the lid on the bucket and let mixture thicken overnight

Final Step: On the following day, stir the mixture (it will be gelled) thoroughly.  Once it is back to a liquid state, fill a used, clean laundry soap container half-full with the homemade laundry detergent and then fill the rest of the way with hot tap water.  Shake the mixture thoroughly before each use, as it will gel.

Measurements, Yields and Options

  • You can add 25-40 drops of your favorite essential oil(s) to the 5-gallon bucket of concentrate once the soap has cooled.  My favorites are lavender, rosemary, lemon and tea tree oil
  • This recipe yields 5 gallons of concentrate which will yield 10 gallons of ready-to-use liquid laundry detergent
  • Top Load Machine – Use 5/8 cup per load, which will yield approximately 180 loads
  • Front-Load Machines – Use 1/4 cup per load, which will yield approximately 640 loads

Purchasing Ingredients

I have purchased all of my ingredients at the local Wal-Mart store.  You can also find the ingredients online at Amazon.com (see links below) or at most stores that sell home-cleaning supplies.

Your feedback is appreciated, please leave a comment below with any questions or suggestions you have!

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