New Homemade Laundry Detergent

This weekend I decided to try a new laundry detergent recipe. I like my current homemade laundry detergent just fine, but using that process I store two gallon jugs of laundry detergent (water already added) and use about 1 cup per load, so I feel like I go through it so fast. Plus I just can’t wrap my mind around the concept of storing detergent with so much water in it. There’s water in the washing machine! It just seems like a waste of time and space.

The main thing that has deterred me from so many homemade laundry detergent recipes is the need to grate and boil soap. The idea of grating a bar of soap on my box grater seems 1) like it would damage my box grater (it didn’t) and 2) like it would make a gigantic mess (turns out it’s only a moderate mess). But I decided to go for it after reading several blogs that swore it wouldn’t damage my grater. It is just soap after all; I don’t know what my paranoia was all about.

Step 1) the dreaded process of grating the soap. My game plan: place my box grater on top of a large paper plate and grate the Fels-Naptha soap using the larger grating holes and (hopefully) the plate will catch all the bits and then the plate would serve the dual purpose of allowing me to funnel the pieces into my storage jar. Quick shout out to my mom for donating the jar for me to use. She has no shortage of empty glass jars around the house (seriously – where do they come from?) and I have no shortage of uses for empty jars. It’s quite a symbiotic relationship.

Grating the soap was a success! I was also secretly scared that my weak little noodle arms wouldn’t be conducive to soap-grating but the soap turned out to be the texture of semi-hard cheese, like cheddar, and was a breeze to grate. There was a good bit of soap that did not obediently land on the paper plate, but instead was all over my coffee table, but I just scraped it off the side of the table and onto the plate with its brethren. Problem solved!

Next, I added the soap to a large mason jar along with 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda (both ingredients in my old recipe), closed up the jar and shook to combine. The ingredients do have a tendency to separate when the jar sits for a while, but just shake it up before using and you’re ready to go! 🙂 I of course had to do a load of laundry right then to try it out and it worked great – and smelled wonderful! The Fels-Naptha soap has a real “old-timey” clean smell going on. Perfect for someone like me who doesn’t like artificial scents. Note: I still use my homemade spot remover on any visible stains before throwing items in the wash.


Here’s the easy-to-read recipe:

    – 1 bar Fels-Naptha soap, grated
    – 1 cup borax
    – 1 cup washing soda

Mix all ingredients together in an airtight container and store. Shake well before using. Use 1 tablespoon per load.

Using one tablespoon per load means you can do approximately 36 loads of laundry with this one jar! And the ingredients are super cheap and will make you many more jars in the future. Also, the washing soda and borax are both ingredients in my homemade dishwasher detergent so they do double-duty. 🙂


8 responses to “New Homemade Laundry Detergent

  1. I’m going to try this when my current bottle if detergent gets low!

  2. This is great! I am planning to make my own when the current box is out and I was going to use the recipe: irovy soap, borax, and washing soda. Do you know what the difference is between Irovy and Fels-Naptha soap? Also, where did you buy it? 😀 I’m trying to figure out the best recipe for us!!

    • I don’t know an exact difference other than that they are different brands. Fels-Naptha is a very old brand and is well trusted (I once read about it in Real Simple magazine) so that’s what I went with. It was right in the laundry detergent aisle at the regular grocery store – very easy to find! 🙂 I hope it works for your family! I don’t have kids so I’m interested to see if it can stand up to their dirty clothes!

  3. What is washing soda and where do you get it? I’m intrigued.

    • Washing soda is sodium carbonate. It’s something they use to make soaps. But it’s for sale along with the Borax right in the detergent aisle! And it’s all natural 🙂 I never even knew it was there! 🙂

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