DIY Laundry Detergent Review

Last year, I started making my own laundry detergent.  I can’t remember exactly what made me want to try it.  Probably a combination of Pinterest and saving money.  It’s always fun to look for efficient ways to make your money stretch further.

Now that I have been making my own detergent for about a year, there is no going back.  I have tried two different recipes and thought I would share the pros and cons of both.

There are several homemade recipes to choose from…  including liquid or powder mixes.  I went with a powder recipe both times because it seemed easier to make and store that way.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the website for the first recipe anymore.

Basically, it’s:

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
  • 1 bar of soap grated (I used Dove unscented.)

This is a simple recipe and only takes about 30 minutes to make.  All you have to do is use a cheese grater to grate the soap and then add all the ingredients together.  One tablespoon is enough for a load of laundry.

Store brand detergents contain a lot of fillers which is why you have to use more per load.


  • quick to make
  • inexpensive
  • stores in small container
  • works great for everyday laundry
  • gentle enough to use on baby clothes


  • one batch lasts about 6-8 weeks
  • had trouble removing milk stains

I used the above recipe up until Christmas, but when I found this one on Pinterest, I decided to give it a try.

Source: via Krystle on Pinterest

This recipe calls for:

  • one 4 lb.12 oz. box Borax (detergent aisle)
  • one 4 lb. box Arm & Hammer Baking soda (cooking aisle)
  • one 55 oz. box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (detergent aisle)
  • three bars of Fels-Naptha soap (detergent aisle)
  • two small containers (3.5 lbs. total) of Oxi Clean or store brand (detergent aisle)

You will need a five gallon bucket lined with a trash bag to store your detergent in.  I bought a paint bucket from Walmart.  This was originally one of the holdups for me.  I didn’t have a place to store a five gallon bucket in my laundry room.  But when I saw this pinned on Pinterest, I noticed that a smaller container was used to keep detergent easily accessible.  Grate the three bars of soap and then mix all the ingredients together.

The bucket can be stored somewhere else if needed… it was for me.   I haven’t found the time to make a cute container for my detergent, but mine gets the job done.

Like the previous recipe, you only need one tablespoon per load… or in my case, a coffee scoop because I can’t drink coffee anymore.  (Read more on that here.)  The container above is about a three month supply.


  • one batch lasts nine months to a year
  • works as well as store brands at removing stains (even milk stains)
  • smells great (it even freshens your house as you grate the soap)
  • gentle enough for baby clothes
  • roughly costs $20 a year


  • takes a little longer to initially make (mainly because you have to grate three bars of soap
  • need a place to store a five gallon bucket

I have been using this recipe since Christmas and think I will stick with it.  I think the addition of Oxi Clean really helped.  A plus for me is that I can wash Noah’s clothes with ours since this detergent is gentle enough for her skin.  And because of that, I don’t have to keep several kinds of detergent handy.  I do, however, use Charlie’s Soap to wash her cloth diapers.  From what I have read, some of the homemade recipes can mess up the absorbency of cloth diapers.  And that’s one thing you don’t want to mess up!

Charlie”s Soap and bumGenius cloth diapers can be found on the Products I Love Amazon Affiliate link to the right.  I own and love all of these products!  (If viewing on a mobile device, it appears below the post.)

I love using my homemade laundry detergent and look forward to trying other homemade cleaning recipes.  Does anybody else make their own detergent?  Or have different variations of the recipe?  What other homemade household cleaners have you liked best?

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16 thoughts on “DIY Laundry Detergent Review

  1. Amy@BuffaloRoam

    I’ve been seeing recipes for this all over Pinterest too, but I just haven’t tried it yet. I don’t know why. Lazy, I guess. But $20 a year sounds darn good. I believe I’ll pin this here post and give it a try!

  2. Jen @ Paisley Print Shoes

    I am so intrigued by this!! I bet I could convince one of my friends to make this with me so we can have some fun while we grate our soap. I have like 3/4 of a jug of CostCo detergant left which will last me probably like a year (the joys of doing laundry for one!) but I’m filing this under “must try”. 🙂

  3. Trista

    Thanks for reviewing this! I also found this recipe on Pinterest and plan on making it once we run out of the laundry detergent we already have. Glad to know it works well!

  4. Mary Beth Ketchum

    Thanks for posting where to find the ingredients! Sadly, that’s been one of my reasons NOT to try making detergent because I didn’t want to hunt down all the ingredients!
    I plan to try it as soon as I start running low on what I have…which could be awhile. 🙂 We bought Allen’s Natural detergent for the cloth diapers, but it didn’t do too well, so now we are using it with our laundry.

    1. Krystle Post author

      I am glad I could help Mary Beth. Some o the ingredients I had a hard time knowing where to look for too.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  5. Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication

    I’ve considered trying these recipes but all of them (at least that I’ve found) have baking soda (usually Arm & Hammer) and I’m allergic to their detergent, so I think I’d probably be allergic to these homemade options too. :\

  6. Mama

    I just made my nine month supply! We love it. I had to share Recipe with other people today at Wal mart. I was riding the ingredients around in my buggy and so many knew exactly what my project was! Our Wal Mart has all the ingredients together on the same aisle because so many people are making it! We love it and the house does, too!

  7. Cathy Duncan

    Ive made both recipes and the liquid one too. I like the Oxi Clean one best. David’s white t shirts seem to get dingy though so I’ve been washing them in Tide Bleach just to see if it’s the detergent or our waster. Other than that issue, I’m very pleased.

    1. Krystle Post author

      You could probably add some extra Oxi Clean and it might help. When I started using Charlie’s Soap for cloth diapers they suggested running a load without any clothes to clean the washer. That might help.

  8. Cynthia

    Do you know if this is OK to use in HE washers?I do laundry for a family of 6 and spend a lot on detergent. This would save money but I don’t want to have problems with my washer either. Thanks!

    1. Krystle Post author

      From what I have read it is safe for HE washers. This detergent has less suds than store bought. You might want to check out the the link to the recipe I pinned above in this post. There are more comments to read there, including comments from people with HE washers. Unfortunately, I don’t have one yet… maybe someday. I hope this helps!

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