Homemade Laundry Detergent

Ahh, sweet maternity leave. Finally time to attack all the projects I’ve been meaning to get to, but never had energy left after an 8-hour work day with a giant belly. I’ll spare you the details of how I changed the belt on our vacuum cleaner all by myself and now our carpets are spotless!

Anyway, I belong to a Facebook group that largely focuses on saving money on normal household chores and responsibilities, and probably a month back, one of the mamas on there posted a recipe for homemade laundry detergent. There’s a time in my life where the idea of making my own homemade detergent would likely not have appealed to me, but we were running low on our giant (and not inexpensive) bottle of Tide, and with Peanut on the way (due in less than three weeks!), it’s always good to know what’s in your detergent and for the minimal time and money expenditures, making my own seemed worth a try.


  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1 bar of regular bar soap (original recipe recommended Fels Naptha, but I went with Ivory snow)


  • With a dedicated cheese grater, grate the bar of soap into a container.

    Soap before 90 seconds in the microwave

  • OR if you’re adventurous, my mom told me about a website that suggested microwaving the bar of soap… yes, microwaving it on a plate for 90 seconds, which does this to it:

Bar of soap after 90 seconds in the microwave!

The soap looks light and fluffy, like meringue, but looks can be deceiving — it will not be delicious! It’s actually light and stiff, so at this point…

  • Slide the soap off the plate into your container and crumble it with a potato masher or similar. Some websites suggest running it through a food processor or VitaMix, but that seems like overkill, as long as you don’t have a problem with some soap flakes in your final mix (and I don’t).
  • Add Borax and Washing Soda
  • Mix well
  • Store in an air-tight container
  • Use 2 Tbsp per normal load of laundry

Finished product in air-tight container

Verdict: This whole process took me maybe 20 minutes from start to finish, and according to somebody else’s math, detergent for each load of laundry only costs about 7.5¢. I’ve still got two bars of soap left and at least two more loads worth of Borax and Washing Soda, so I foresee this lasting a while. Oh, and the cleanup is a piece of cake!


About rokchike

I'm Monica Topping: Mom, artist (Rock Chick Designs), event promoter (North Coast Open Studios), '09 HSU journalism grad, photographer, writer...etc.
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