After hearing some great reviews from friends and reading a few online, I decided to give making my own laundry detergent a try, just to see how difficult it was, and to see if it actually worked. I consistently read that you could save a significant amount of money by doing it yourself — and I sure do like that idea.

When I finally found a recipe that I thought was worth giving a try, I was excited for several reasons:

  1. The person who originally posted the recipe did the cost/price analysis for me, and it looked like I could be saving as much as 30 cents per load.
  2. There were only three ingredients, and they were very easy to find.
  3. The recipe didn’t call for any melting of soap or any “cooking” at all – which meant it was going to be quick, and it wasn’t going to get too messy.

I thought I’d share the recipe here since it might be useful option to try if any of your family members have particularly sensitive skin, if you want a more natural option than store-bought detergents, or if you just want to save a little dough!

For the ingredients, you’ll need:

  • Borax (20 Mule Team is recommended, and it’s recommended that you stay clear of Boric Acid)
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (Not Baking Soda!!)
  • Fels Naptha laundry bar OR Ivory Soap

First, simply grate a bar of Ivory Soap or a half bar of Fels Naptha into a large pot.

Next, add one cup of Washing Soda and one cup of Borax.

Stir very very thoroughly – I stirred for several minutes – until you eventually have a powdery mixture.

{I stored mine in a clean and dry applesauce jar.}

Use 1 TBSP (yes, just one tablespoon!) of the mixture per load. You can use 1 -2 TBSP for heavily soiled loads.

So far I’ve used this simple recipe for regular clothes and delicates, pretty soiled loads (little boys) and smaller/shorter wash loads, and it has done very, very well. I used Ivory soap because I’d been given a heap of it a while ago and wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, and I occasionally stain treat with the Fels-Naptha bar (or good ol’ shout) before washing. It leaves the clothes smelling great!

Feel free to leave questions in the comments!

Caroline Collie loves to write, to read and to laugh. She and her South African Hero Hubs live in North Carolina with their two young boys. {Expecting number three this November!} When she’s not mommying, baking, or serving as the Site Manager here at Signposts, she writes on her own blog,