Saving on Laundry Detergent: Making it myself. (Adventures in Laundry)

I had been eyeballing various DIY laundry detergent recipes on Pinterest and have been very intrigued. Problem was, I didn’t want to make a liquid detergent. I’ll be honest, it seemed like too much of a pain and I didn’t feel like going through all the trouble- plus I didn’t have anything large enough to hold 10+ gallons of liquid laundry detergent!

I finally came across this little gem on Mommy’s Kitchen and decided to give it a try.

DIY Dry Laundry Detergent Recipe

  • 2 Cups Laundry Bar Shavings (Fels-Naptha had great user reviews across the web || 2 cups = 1 bar)
  • 1 Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Use 2 TBS or 1/8 Cup of detergent for top loading machines.

Here we go! I’ll admit to being a little nervous.

First, I bought and assembled all my ingredients. Looking at the recipe I guessed it would come out to 4 cups or less, so I rummaged the tupperware cabinet until I found an old container that held up to 5 cups.

Borax: $3.38, Washing Soda: $3.24, Laundry Bar: $0.97

Borax: $3.38, Washing Soda: $3.24, Laundry Bar: $0.97

-I had found many pages talking about using any bar of soap but found many longtime users of DIY mixes cautioning against it because of long-term laundry effects. And apparently stains do not remove as well with just plain bar soap.

Next, I got out my cheese grater and went at it. Remember to advise any family member walking through that it’s not cheese.

grated laundry bar 1

It feels (and looks) like you are grating a bar of cheese.

grated laundry bar 2

Not cheese (either going to be a horrible practical joke or an embarrassing ER story, the hubs and I couldn’t decide which).

Then, I had to grate it into powder. The web suggests using a blender or a food processor. Seeing as how my blender is rarely used, I decided to make it feel loved and use it to powder my laundry bar gratings. It’s probably the first non-margarita substance it’s ever encountered, to be honest.


2 Cups Laundry Bar shavings


After the bottom part was powdered, it kept making holes in the center of the shavings. Never fear, that stops and the blender begins to suck it like a vacuum down to the blades.


Falling into the hole.


Husband came in to investigate and began tapping on the sides of the blender to knock the shavings down into the center faster.

 Now, to combine all my ingredients into my super-fancy plastic bowl. The hardest part was opening the box of 20 Mule Team Borax, no matter how hard I pressed on the “press here to open” tab it wouldn’t budge. It finally succumbed to a butter knife.


Powdered laundry bar. I used my fingers to get out all the little bits of laundry bar stuck to the bottom and sides of the blender.


1 Cup borax (and the butter knife I attacked the box with).


1 Cup washing soda and stir. I used my box opening butter knife.


Final product. Probably could have gotten the laundry bar grated a bit better but this seems fine.


Well, that was easy.

 I threw in an old tablespoon to keep with the mix for when I do laundry. The recipe calls for 2 TBS (1/8 of a cup) for top loading machines. The whole process took less than 5 minutes to make.

Now, let’s look at the savings.

  • Previously I was paying $2.78 for laundry detergent. I buy it every two weeks and by the end of the year was spending almost $72.00 a year for laundry detergent.
  • By making it myself I am spending $1.77 for laundry detergent. If I use 7 bars of laundry soap, 9 cups of borax (leaving a ½ cup in the box unused) and 7 cups of washing soda (the box) I am making nearly a years worth of detergent for $13.31.
  • That’s a savings of $58.69 a year. Combine that with the savings by making my own pancake mix, and I am saving nearly $100/year by making just two items on my own. Umm, I’ll take it.


** Update:**

We have been increadibly happy with this laundry detergent!! Both the husband and the teen have commented how great our clothes smell and how clean they look.

-So far it is lasting longer than the store bought detergent was. It took over three weeks to use two cups of this batch.

-Our clothes are coming out brighter and whiter than before (I actually got makeup stains, that I had decided were permanent, out of white washclothes in one wash with NO bleach or additives. Husband was speechless when I showed him the results).

-The original smell of this is very overwhelming in the container. Our clothes smelled good though. I went ahead and I added one $.49 small bottle of essential oil (add the whole bottle, stir around, and let it sit overnight), which really helped improve the smell. Our clothes smell even nicer now. Win!

3 thoughts on “Saving on Laundry Detergent: Making it myself. (Adventures in Laundry)

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