Homemade Laundry Detergent

March 25, 2011

Last June, I wrote this post about a homemade laundry detergent recipe I was testing out. Turns out, it works just fine, but I found one that I like even better, and I've been using it ever since.

DIY Cleaners

The recipe I've been using comes from Sew Much Ado, and it's really simple to make. Most of the ingredients can be found in your local grocery store's laundry aisle (or online), and they're inexpensive and good for the environment. I tend to double or triple the recipe. It lasts forever, smells nice, and effectively cleans stains. I highly recommend it:

1 bar Fels-Naptha bar soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup Baking Soda

Grate the Fels-Naptha bar with a cheese grater. Pour the soap into a food processor and pulse a few times until crumbly (I sometimes skip the food processor step out of laziness, and it seems to work fine).

Pour all of the ingredients together and stir until well combined.

Use 2 Tablespoons per load.


  1. I have thought about making my own but didn't know whether to trust the recipes offered. I will give this a try since you have given the thumbs up. Love that it is only 2T a load.

    Have a nice weekend.

  2. You too, Sherri!

    Let me know if you try it. Last week, I threw in some pillow covers that had stains all over them (wine stains included), and they came out completely clean. I hope it works as well for you.

  3. Found your blog via Oh, Hello Friend today and saw that you're in Portland too! It's always fun to discover blogging neighbors :)
    Also, I'm excited to try out a bunch of stuff you've posted on your blog... like the granola, and laundry detergent... Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful things!
    Hope your weekend is filled with joy.
    ps. love the colors of your paper garlands! I'm sure you could find different things to do with them

  4. Let me know how the recipes work out for you. And thank you! :)

  5. I am excited you stopped by...loving your blog.
    I actually make my own detergent! Its pretty much the same except its liquid and kept in a 5 gallon bucket:)
    Adorable jar!

  6. Thank you. :)

    For some reason, I've always used powdered detergents. I guess it's what I grew up with, but I've been curious about the liquid varieties.

  7. I've made this detergent and love it, but where did you get that cute label?!

  8. Hey Kaitlin,

    Check out MyOwnLabels.com. :)

  9. Does this work well with a HE (high efficiency) machine? The instructions with the machine says that you must use a HE detergent. I'm not even really sure what makes for a HE detergent other than the words on the label!

  10. Hey Suzan - I don't have a HE machine, so I've never had the chance to try it myself, but I did some searching on the internet and found this link (which leads to a couple more links) on the subject. I hope you find it helpful:


  11. Hello! What a lovely blog! I first want to say that I NEVER leave negative comments on blogs, but I wanted to warn readers to try this on a small load of clothes. It's definitely not your fault (I've seen this recipe all over Pinterest), but I found it to be harsh and abrasive. My sweaters were faded and knotty, and I may have to replace them. I don't know if they look nice enough to wear to work anymore. It was a great idea and I hope it works for others!

  12. Hey Jessica, thanks for the comment. I'm sorry that happened to you. I was wondering... did you only experience negative results with your sweaters? Or did this happen with all your clothing? I've only ever had positive results using this recipe, but I also habitually wash my sweaters separately from the normal laundry.

    Again, thanks for the feedback. Any information you can give is much appreciated.

  13. It was pretty rough on all of our clothes, but most noticeable on the sweaters (which I also wash separately.) Strange, huh? I'm glad it's working for you! :)

  14. Since posting about this recipe, I've had a couple conversations regarding the Fels Naptha bar. According to some, it can be quite abrasive, and is best substituted for something more gentle. I don't have skin sensitivities to it, so I haven't gotten around to testing out the theory, but I can't help but wonder if it's behind the problems you were having with your clothes bunching and fading as well. It might be a theory worth testing.

  15. Lindsey & Jessica,
    I've doing the homemade powder for years because it's what my grandmother from holland used.

    Here is a link that give 2 recipes for the different bar soaps. http://homesteadrevival.blogspot.com/2010/03/homemade-laundry-soap.html

    But 2 things I can tell you from my own mistakes, I always wash delicate & dark things(mostly my clothes) separate and spend the money for woolite.
    2) I made the mistake of using reg baking soda instead of washing soda once and it will rough up the clothing.

    By the way love your blog!!

  16. Thanks Montana. Info much appreciated. :)