How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent With Washing Soda & Borax

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Tackle your next load of laundry with homemade detergent.
Tackle your next load of laundry with homemade detergent. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Homemade laundry detergent provides all the cleaning power of commercial brands but at a fraction of the cost. Depending on the prices in your area, homemade laundry soap cost as little as 1 cent a load. Washing soda and borax provide most of the cleaning power to the recipe. Both are available in large containers where laundry detergents are sold. Each batch of homemade detergent provides enough to last for approximately 66 loads of laundry.

Things You'll Need

  • Bar soap
  • Cheese grater
  • Pot
  • Borax
  • Washing soda
  • Measuring cups
  • Bucket
  • Paint stirrer

Grate a bar of unscented, gentle soap with a cheese grater. Place the grated soap flakes into a large cooking pot.

Pour 6 cups of water into the pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the soap flakes melt.

Add ½ cup washing soda and ½ cup borax to the melted soap mixture. Stir until they dissolve and the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Place 4 cups of hot water in a 5-gallon bucket. Pour the soap mixture into the bucket and stir with a paint stirring stick. Pour an additional 1 gallon and 6 cups water into the bucket, continuing to stir the mixture.

Put the lid on the bucket. Leave it to sit for 24 hours before using so that the mixture cools and begins to gel. Use a half cup of the laundry soap per load of clothing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if you prefer your detergent to have scent.
  • The laundry soap may separate between uses. Stir it to recombine before doing your laundry.
  • Use ¼ cup of vinegar during the first rinse cycle on your machine instead of purchased laundry softener. The vinegar works well in conjunction with homemade detergent.
  • Do not substitute baking soda, as it isn't the same substance as washing soda.

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