The Best Homemade Laundry Detergent

So I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for over a year now. No, I’m not a hippie I just like really clean clothes and I can’t justify paying extortionate prices for soap. That’s it. It’s just soap. 

There are a few reasons why you should make your own laundry detergent:

  1. You know what’s in it. No need to add specialty colors or scents unless you just want to. 
  2. It’s cheaper. Now a few of you are going to look at my list of ingredients and do a double take. “I thought you said it was cheaper!” It is. This is enough detergent to last about 12 months doing about 6 loads of laundry a week. That’s a lot of laundry. 
  3. It cleans REALLY well. Like I-don’t-have-to-spot- treat-hardly-anything-anymore well. Unless you just have really dirty clothes it only takes about 1 tbsp per medium sized load of laundry. It is super-concentrated. 

Here is a list of what you will need:

    • 2 bars Zote (Mexican laundry soap, available in pink or white) $.88 per bar at Wal-Mart (unfortunately you must go to Wal-Mart for this one. I haven’t been able to find it at any other store)
    • 2 bars Fels Naptha $1.29 per bar at Harris Teeter
    • 1 box 20 mule team borax $4.09 per box at Target
    • 1 box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (this is sodium carbonate, not baking soda) $4.99 per box at Harris Teeter
    • 2 lbs baking soda $1.29 at Target
    • 16 oz oxygen based laundry booster, like Oxiclean ($1 at Dollar Tree or you can buy a much larger tub of OxiClean at Target for $7.59 and you’ll have lots leftover for other cleaning projects) πŸ™‚ 
    • 1 small container of scent boosting crystals, I used Purex (mine was clearance at Target for around $4.50 but any scent booster will work)

    As you can see some of the ingredients are a little tricky to find, but they really are necessary so try to find them all!

    The first step in making the best laundry detergent ever is to get your bar soaps into tiny pieces. Unwrap your Zote and cut it into chunks and put it in a microwave safe bowl.

    The next step may seem a little strange but microwave the Zote for about 2 minutes. It will expand a lot so make sure your bowl is pretty big. This is what it will look like:

    Strange, I know, but just go with it. Pull off the fluff with a spoon and place in another bowl. It will be very hot so be careful. There will probably still be dark pink un-fluffed soap at the bottom of the bowl. Microwave again for 30 seconds and repeat until all soap is fluffy. 

    Once all soap is fluffed, let it cool for about 10 minutes. Then begin breaking it apart with a spoon so that it crumbles- you may have. to use your hands.

    If you don’t want to go through the trouble of microwaving the Zote you can also grate it, I just hate grating things. However, you do have to grate the Fels Naptha so I like the microwave trick for the Zote. 

    Next, using the fine side of your grater, grate both bars of Fels Naptha in with the Zote.

    Once all the soap is grated, add all other ingredients and mix well. It makes such a large amount I have to mix it in the three gallon Anchor Hocking jar I store it in. This is the jar, before I made my new batch:
    Once you’re finished mixing you’re good to go! You can now relish in the knowledge that you won’t need to buy laundry detergent for a whole year. 😊

    Categorized as Tutorials

    By Mary Katherine

    I am a wife, mom, human resources professional, and Independent Pampered Chef Consultant. As an Independent Pampered Chef Consultant, I may, at times, have links in my posts that allow you to shop from my website, and i do receive a commission, if you make a purchase.

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