Homemade Laundry Detergent

You’ll love this homemade laundry detergent: it comes together in 5 min with 3 simple ingredients and it cleans all your clothes effectively!

Let me just say this right away: a lot of blogs and websites have a laundry detergent recipes. So why do I write about it, too?

Well, because this is so easy, simple, inexpensive, and effective that it just had to be on my blog, too. Sometimes things are so good that we can’t repeat them often enough.

Generations ago, people used very simple ingredients for their everyday tasks. Laundry included. These days we seem to be so obsessed with cleanliness while being bombarded with advertisements for yet another better product. Most laundry detergent contains a whole plethora of chemicals and synthetic fragrances. Most if not all have them have been proven to be bad for your health.

However, I think there is a better, simpler, healthier way. This homemade laundry powder checks all my boxes: it is simple, it only takes 3 ingredients and 5 mins (okay maybe a bit more if you’re making it for the first time), it’s non-toxic, yet effective, and cheap!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to youYou can read my full disclosure.

Ingredients for your homemade laundry detergent

  • Washing soda
  • Borax
  • Soap

washing soda borax soap detergent

You can buy these ingredients in most grocery stores or drug stores. If you can’t find those ingredients locally, you can easily get them online: washing soda, borax, and castile soap. This recipe with these ingredients is so “famous” that amazon.com even sells them as a bundle 😜.

How to make:

grate soap bar for detergent
  1. Grate a soap bar with the fine or coarse side of your grater. You can also grate it in your food processor. Sometimes, I grate it on the coarser side and then put the shavings into my food processor. It comes out as a fine powder of about 2 cups.
  2. Add 1 cup each of borax and washing soda.
  3. Mix ingredients well and put them into a container with a tight lid.
  4. Use 2 TBSP to 4 TBSP for a load of laundry, depending on the size of your washing machine, the size of your load, and how dirty your laundry is.

That’s all.

simple laundry powder

Mostly, I like things clean and unscented. However, it’s nice to have the bright smell of lemons or the calming scent of lavender.

diy laundry powder lemon scent

Now, you could just add some essential oils to your powder. Lemon works great, a combination of lemon and grapefruit, lavender, whatever you like best. Plus, you can change it all the time. When I do, I add about 20 drops of essential oils to my detergent.

How much does homemade laundry detergent cost?

Even though it can be a bit tricky pricing this out exactly, I will tell you what I paid. Keep in mind that we live in California where things tend to be a bit more expensive. Meaning, that depending on where you live, you might be paying less.

For my single box of washing soda, I paid $5.00 at the store but I know you can get it for less online.

The borax I still had but you can buy it online for about $5.00 a box.

The price for the soap varies greatly, depending on where you live and how many you buy at a time but I am assuming about $1.50 per bar.

Then I went ahead and calculated how much I would need for this recipe. Very, very conservatively calculated 2 TSBP of this homemade laundry detergent will cost > $0.18.

A quick Google search will confirm that a homemade laundry detergent is most often wayyyyyy cheaper than store-bought.

Homemade laundry detergent has even more advantages:

  • I like laundry powder much more than liquid (for some reason powder seems to be harder to find)
  • I like how I am saving plastic bottles or other packaging
  • it works in both top-loading and front-loading washing machines

Shop this post:

Super washing soda: https://amzn.to/3cVhPNQ

Borax: https://amzn.to/3tEab05

Fels-Naptha soap: https://amzn.to/2Lwst2e

Kirk’s castile soap: https://amzn.to/2Ob313c

Stainless steel box grater: https://amzn.to/3q2izof

Lemon essential oil: https://amzn.to/3jvHgqp

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Have you made your own laundry detergent? What are you experiences? Do you prefer liquid or powder? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Pin For Later:

How to Make Laundry Detergent with Only 3 Ingredients


  1. It can certainly leave a build-up in your clothes over time. Soap leaves scum, especially in hard water areas that will build up in your clothes, so a vinegar rinse can help. FYI fabric softeners add to the build-up issue. Also, technically you would be better off learning to make your own 100% Coconut oil soap with 0 superfat for use in your washing machine. Store-bought and even farmer-market CO soaps are high superfat meaning a lot of free oil is left in the soap, again another problem using it for laundry. Yes, I was a long-time soapmaker and seller and only used homemade laundry soap for approx 6 months then went back to surfactant-based laundry detergent. There is nothing wrong with synthetic fragrances they are all body safe which are used in laundry detergents.

  2. Hi someone told me that using the homemade detergent has builds up after time in clothes She no longer makes her own. Have you noticed your clothes with similar problem after using for a time
    Enjoy your smiling self and appreciate the dyi
    Thank you

    1. I have not personally experienced this after so many years of using homemade laundry detergent but maybe it depends on your water source. You can always do a vinegar rinse and/or switch back to commercial laundry detergent ~ Anja

  3. Hi Anja,
    Could I use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap instead of the bar?
    Thank you for your fun and interesting tutorials, I have made the sourdough starter, and tomorrow will make your recipe for Whole grain bread. I want to make the beeswax wraps also, when I have all the materials gathered!
    Yours in spirit, Care

    1. Nice! If you’re using the liquid soap you’d probably have to add more water to make it pourable but you could always experiment. I am so glad you’re enjoying my tutorials!!!

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  7. Love this! I use the same ingredients plus a few extra but no doubt it’s worth every saved penny! Thanks for sharing!😊

  8. I’ve made ours for years (borax free)! Such a budget saver. I’m so grateful to know how to make simple household products like this for my family.

  9. Thank you for the recipe! I used to make a liquid version of this soap…. We have a front load washer- would I put the soap in the washer with the clothes, or in the dispenser drawer?:)

    1. We also have a front-loading HE washer. I always put the detergent into the dispenser drawer. Clothes come out nice and clean all the time 🙂

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