Clean Up Your Act: Laundry Detergent DIY


There’s a whole load (har har) of benefits that go along with making your own laundry detergent, but the biggest one for me is cost.  Don’t get me wrong, I love knowing exactly what’s swirling around in my machine and feeling comfort in knowing there’s not a whole host of perfumes and chemicals on my cottons, but the cost difference of store bought and homemade detergent is significant.

It only costs $.07 a load compared to the cheapest Tide option, which is almost double at $.12 a load.  Also, once you buy the 76oz box of Borax, 55oz box of Washing Soda and 10 pack of Ivory Soap for a grand total of $12.00, you won’t have to worry about laundry detergent for a looooooong time, like an entire year. True story.

While my main motivation for DIY detergent is to save money, I take comfort in knowing I’m not bringing (potentially cancer-causing) carcinogens into my home and rubbing them all over my largest organ and depositing them into the water supply. I’m also saving lots of petroleum-based plastic jugs from entering landfills. DIY detergent is good for the environment, your skin, and your wallet.  I guess what I’m saying is, this recipe is a win, win, win.


Supplies and Equipment:

  • 1 c Borax
  • 1 c Washing Soda
  • 1 bar soap
  • Bowl
  • Grater
  • Spoon

Quick Tip:

  • You can find these ingredients at the grocery store near dryer sheets and dyes.
  • Wear a scarf over your face or pull your shirt up over your nose to keep from inhaling the fine powders.


  • In a large bowl, grate one bar of soap then add the Borax and washing soda.  Chop the soap pieces into smaller bits with a spoon as you mix the ingredients together.
  • You can also add a few scoops of powdered detergent booster if you wish.  Sometimes I add Tri-Zyme (a biodegradable version of oxi-clean), but most times I forget and leave it out.
  • After stirring for a few minutes transfer the detergent to an airtight container.  I keep mine in a Mason jar.
  • Before adding your clothes, put one scoop (roughly 2 tablespoons) of powdered detergent into the washer and turn on the hot water, after a minute or two add the clothes and adjust the temperature if necessary.* If you don’t have time for that step, no worries, just put the detergent in first so it starts dissolving in the water immediately.


So what do you think? Do you love spending money on Tide or do you think you’ll try this homemade option?  Powered detergent is classic so return to your roots people!  Really though, I think it’s great and I’ve been using this recipe for three years now.  Lemmmmmie know how it goes!

*Each batch makes enough for twenty loads.
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2 thoughts on “Clean Up Your Act: Laundry Detergent DIY

  1. I love using homemade detergent! My only difference is using Fels Naptha soap instead of ivory, it lets off a subtle lemony scent.

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