DIY Laundry Detergent

Have you discovered Pinterest? I have and it's amazing! It's like having a super organized virtual filing cabinet of all the information you could ever need or want. It's a pay it forward system for the masses. You can find Kirby's boards here.


I pinned this recipe weeks ago for making my own laundry detergent.   I read review after review which convinced me to give it a shot. When I finally ran out of my store brand I mixed up a batch.  The six ingredients cost me $31.39 at my local Wal-Mart so if it lasts for a year (6 loads per week = 312 loads = 10 cents per load or 60 cents a week) then I am definitely saving money!

Photo by Jen from Our DIY Diaries

Photo by Jen from Our DIY Diaries


  • 1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax
  • 1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean (Optional but highly recommended)
  • 4 (3.1 oz) Bars of Ivory Soap*
  • 1 (4 lb) Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
  • 1 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener (Optional for scent and softness)

All of these products can be found in the detergent aisle at your local Wal-Mart or grocery store.  The original recipe recommends Zote or Fels Naptha soap which must be grated with either a hand grater or food processor. I couldn't find the Zote soap, and since the Fels Naptha soap has an eye and skin irritant warning on the label so I decided to use Ivory soap which I love.

Did you know just two minutes in the microwave results in a big soft puff of Ivory soap. Place a plate or sheet of parchment paper in the bottom of the microwave and place the soap on top of that. I do one bar at a time. Once the soap cooled all I have to do is crumble it into the bucket. Awesome and a really fun experiment for kids. I did spend some time crumbling it in the bucket until it was a fine powder but I'm pretty sure grating would have taken much longer and way more energy.


I love the smell of lavender in my bedroom so I used the Lavender Blossom scented Purex Crystals but It also comes in Tropical Splash and Fresh Spring Waters. 

Once the soap is prepared, pour each of the remaining ingredients into a large container (we used a 5 gallon bucket) and mix until fully blended. After I had placed all of the ingredients in a large bucket with lid, Doug shook it and rolled it around in the yard to mix everything up.


You only need 1-2 Tablespoons per load depending on the size. The Purex Crystals bottle cap has measurement lines, one being two Tablespoons, and looks great sitting in your laundry room. Just refill from the bucket when it gets low. I filled the empty OxyClean container for Doug since he didn't really care what it looked like.


So is it any good?  Yes!  I've washed bed sheets, jeans, and some work clothes.  Everything comes out clean, soft and smelling fresh. Doug uses it for his smelly work clothes and they come out fresh and clean too! 

Have you made your own using this recipe or another recipe? Tell me your experiences. Now I must find a great DIY dishwasher detergent! Does anyone know of a great recipe?

CREDIT: Original Recipe created by Jen from Our DIY Diaries posted on How Does She? pinned to Pinterest

UPDATE: We love this stuff so we just made a new batch today, November 24, 2013 which means that first batch lasted more than a year even though we gave away several cupfuls to friends and family members. Colors don't fade, clothes don't wrinkle, and we don't need to use dryer sheets. I wash towels and sheets in hot water but everything else in cold water and have no problem with clumping or undissolved detergent.