How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent and Save Money

Now that I’m no longer working, I am actively looking for ways to save money. We have cut back on as many bills as is possible and really the only place left where we can cut back is on our grocery bill. I am pretty much washing laundry everyday at this point so when a friend posted on Facebook that she switched to making her own laundry detergent, I was immediately intrigued.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent and Save Money

When I saw the long list of ingredients I was skeptical, it seemed like it was going to be expensive so I wasn’t sold that it would be worth it but decided to give it a try anyway.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

So my sister and I spent a Saturday afternoon making laundry detergent, which didn’t require nearly as much effort as I expected it to. Altogether we spent less than 30 minutes on it. The hardest part was grating the Fels-Naptha bars, which need to be finely grated. Everything else is just poured in and mixed together, so it’s no big deal.

You can substitute the Fels-Naptha soap bars with a box of soap flakes and then there won’t be any elbow grease required on your part, you can just pour everything into a container, mix it together well, and be done. Unfortunately for us, Wal-Mart  was out of soap flakes. If you end up using the Fels-Naptha bars, you can use a cheese grater to grate them or utilize a food processor, which is what we did. Before you put them in the food processor they need to be thinly sliced, here is how we sliced them:

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent


We then put the slices into the food processor and ended up with this:

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

This probably isn’t as finely grated as most people do it, but it has worked fine for us. We then mixed all the other ingredients with it (use the entire boxes of all ingredients) and viola, we are the happy owners of 18 lbs of laundry detergent.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

That’s right, I said 18 pounds! And you only need to use 1 to 2 tablespoons of detergent per load, so 18 pounds will last a looooong time. I estimate that it will last me about 10 months, but I know some people with families bigger than mine who have said it has lasted them a full year.

The total cost to make this was around $20. I was spending $12.47 on liquid Tide detergent and that bottle was lasting me for about 40 loads. At 5 loads washed a week a bottle was lasting me 8 weeks. This $20 detergent should last close to a year. And honestly, my clothes are cleaner, brighter, and smell wonderful thanks to the Clean Sensations Purifying Crystals I added to the detergent.

Here is the recipe I used:

Homemade Laundry Detergent
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  1. 1 Box Super Washing Soda (3 lb 7 oz)
  2. 3 Fels-Naptha soap bars (5.5 oz) (or substitute with box of soap flakes)
  3. 1 Box Borax (4 lbs 12 oz)
  4. 1 Box Pure Baking Soda (4 lb)
  5. 1 Container Oxi-Clean (1.3 lb)
  6. Purex Crystals (optional for added scent)
  1. Finely grate soap bars using a cheese grater or food processor.
  2. Place grated soap in large container with a lid and add all other ingredients.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Use 1 - 2 tablespoons of detergent per load.
Adapted from Happy Money Saver
Adapted from Happy Money Saver
The Mommy Vortex
Some helpful tips:

If you choose to use the crystals to add a nice scent, use it sparingly. They are surprisingly powerful, so you probably don’t want to use the entire container. I used half of the container for mine and the smell is noticeable on my clothes but not overpoweringly so. My sister’s family is more sensitive to strong scents so she only used a fourth of the container in her detergent and her clothes still come out smelling fresh and clean.

The scooper that comes with the Oxi Clean makes the perfect scooper for your detergent. We measured it and to the fill line is 1 tablespoon and the entire scoop is 2 tablespoons, just the amounts you need to measure out your detergent.

If having to grate the soap bars is turning you off making your own laundry detergent, substitute a box of soap flakes for the bars and there will be no grating necessary.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Overall I am happy with my DIY detergent and may never buy the store brands again! When this runs out (a long time from now!), I am going to try my hand at making my own liquid laundry detergent next.

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