Make Your Own Laundry Soap for $7 Per Year: Step by Step Instructions

In an effort to really protect our children and ourselves from harmful toxics, my friend Lynda and I decided to make our own laundry detergent. Of course the other advantage is the cost factor. We paid a total of $7 for 3 of the ingredients but 2 of those ingredients still have tons left for us to do it again. I estimate we will get an ENTIRE year’s worth of laundry detergent for $7. Of course based on your family size this will vary but what I know is; it’s way cheaper than a store brand and way better for you and the environment.Before I show you how I have to tell you I felt a little funny making it, like even I had gone too far in the frugality thing but it only took us 30 minutes and was a ton of fun. I would recommend doing it with a friend, you make a HUGE batch!!

How To Make Your Own Laundry Soap

You need:
Borax (around $2.50)
Washing soda. Found in the laundry aisle. ($3.50)
Bar of soap. Use a pure natural one to make this even better for your family. ($.99)
Pan and spoon
5 gallon bucket
I also had 2 empty laundry detergents
TOTAL COST: $7 but we have lots of borax and soda left!

1) First, grate the soap.

2) Put about four cups of water into a pan and heat it up. Keep the heat below a boil and add the soap to it gradually. Stir the hot water until the soap is dissolved and you have soapy water.

3) Put three gallons of hot water into the five gallon bucket. Then mix in the hot soapy water stir it for a while, then add a cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two, then add a half cup of borax if you are using borax. Stir for another couple of minutes, then let the stuff sit overnight to cool.

When you wake up in the morning, your soap will be that’s a paler shade of the soap that you used. One measuring cup full of this will be roughly what you need to do a load of laundry and the ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent. Out of three gallons, you’ll get about 48 loads of laundry.

Tip: You know all those little bars of soap you get that you can’t use anymore as they’re the “end bit”? You can save those and use them for this.

Many of you have asked if it worked well. I honestly love the way it works but I am going to stain and wash two shirts in the next couple of days and show you the results so stick around!

Recipe as used by the Duggars!


  1. ~michelle pendergrass says:

    I grate my soap in the food processor. MUCH easier.

    I choose Fels Naptha soap because my husband works on vehicles sometimes and he works outside, so he gets dirty.

    I also have very hard water so I add in a cup or two of baking soda.

    The other thing I do different is I make add the concentrate to saved gallon jugs then I add the water to the jugs. I think they're easier to store than a five gallon bucket.

    I've been making this for my family for 2 years now. LOVE it. I just got my mom to start using it as well.

  2. Leslie Doughty says:

    Interesting recipe, easier than the one I already have. One thing I'm wondering, does this end up as a wet and gel-like or does it return to a powder? How do you store it?

  3. The Berridges says:

    We just purchased an HE washer. Do you think this detergent will work since you're supposed to HE detergent so it doesn't get too sudsy. Thanks for your input

  4. The Berridges says:

    Do you think that this detergent will work with the new High Efficiency washers? We just bought one. I know you're supposed to use HE detergent so it doen't get too sudsy. Thanks for the input.

  5. Can this laundry soap be used in front-loading (HE) washers?

  6. I love the idea of making your own laundry soap, but I have a front loader which takes a low suds soap, can this be used in there also? Thanks, Audrey

  7. We use a similar recipe and LOVE it!! So cheap, and now when I take the clothes out of the wash they don't smell like detergent, they smell CLEAN. It's great!! 😀

  8. This soap is AWESOME for those of you that are wondering. I thought the same as MUMMY DEALS…. This is way to FRUGAL! No way! This is the best thing for me and my family. We have allergies, asthma and eczema. No problem. We also use scented vinegar in the rinse cycle. I have been making the powder form of this detergent for almost 1 1/2 years. Thank God for the savings.

  9. You can also use this dry as well. Grate the soap but leave out the boiling water part. Works really well, although I find that my whites are a little dingy after several washings.

    Also, this is not as cost effective for me as I thought it would be. Right now I'm enjoying the cheapest big bucket from Sam's Club.

  10. We have been making our own laundry soap for awhile now and LOVE it!! I was very skeptical at first, because I was a Tide girl and all the products had to smell the same (soap, fabric softner and dryer sheets). I have not had any trouble getting stains out and I have 4 kids that stain everything!!

  11. This is such a great idea. You can also turn it into a craft project with the kids. I gotta try this out. It's tops on my penny pinching list.

    arobimom at gmail dot com

  12. Do you know how this works in high efficiency washing machines?

  13. Any idea for homemade fabric softener?

  14. I've made about 3 batches since then. I love it!! Still have plenty of ingredients left too!

  15. Yes, it can be used with a High efficiency machine! I have an HE front loader as well. I have made this detergent several times, and it works just fine in my machine. I use maybe 1/4 cup per load. Test with your machine to see if this amount works well. I also like to add some essential oil to the detergent for some smell.
    I got my mom to use it, but my dad complained about his clothes not feeling or smelling as clean as with the commercial stuff.
    To each his own, right?

  16. I made this last night (it was my new years event haha), and it separated into liquid at the bottom and thick white stuff on the top. I'm not sure what I did wrong. We don't have hard water. Did I stir too much? Was it too hot? I'm assuming the washing soda and borax is in the top layer and the soap in the bottom layer so I'm not even sure how to use it for washing.. Any suggestions?

  17. @mommyg Mine did that too (with the first batch I made, about to make my second one today). I just stirred it up really well in my container, than poured it into smaller containers (I used leftover Apple Juice Bottles) and left about 3/4 full. Than, before I go to wash, I just shake it up to mix it again and have no problem with it. 😀

  18. Anonymous says:

    Yes it's supposed to be that way. just shake or stir before each use. No chemicals to keep it from seperating so it needs to be done manually. Giving it a good shake is worth not having any extra chemicals in our cloths.

  19. We have used this receipe for about 2 years, and we love it! My husband has severe excema, and this works perfectly. We have 5 kids and this "soap" has handled everything we threw at it. We also use hair conditioner mixed 60/40 (water 60) with water as a fabric softner, you can even use it in the little blue balls. For things that we dry we have a 3 gallon bucket that we mix a bottle of our favorite liquid softner and a full bottle and a half of water together. Drop in a few cheap sponges and when it's time to use them, pull one out, squeeze the excess liquid out and toss in the dryer. Works great!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I don't make up the big bucket of soap. I set my washer to fill. While it is filling, I measure out & dump in as I go: 1 T of borax, 1 T of liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner's is the one most commonly known in my parts), and 1/4 c of washing soda (might be excessive for some, but our water is hard). If I think I want extra deodorizing or whitening, I add 1/4 c ammonia. I let the washer slosh it all together 5-20 times & then I put in the clothes. No big batch to mix up or store. The castile soap is the one to watch out for on price. If I was working on cutting costs to the bone, I'd probably try sloshing in 1-2 T of the grated soap instead of the castile. Or making my own liquid soap glop by putting the grated soap in a container, pouring hot water over it, and giving it a stir.

  21. I made it! I used it once, and I think I like it.

    I was just a little nervous at first when I noticed that it doesn't create soapy suds.

    Is it suppose to get sudsy??

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