How to make your own laundry detergent

I started making laundry detergent right after we moved to Denver and I'd used up all our pre-bought stuff. I like the powdery stuff - it's easier to measure. Plus it's easy to make, and it's cheap.

This is SO EASY and SO FAST. It can easily be doubled or tripled or whatever you want.


- 1 bar of soap (You can use special laundry soap if you want, but I've just been eating through my enormous people-soap stockpile. Ivory is my favorite because it has the greatest percentage of soap in it. When the stockpile is empty and I'm making my own soap, I'll be using that.)
- 1 cup of Borax (I've never been to a grocery store that didn't carry it in the detergent area.)
- 1 cup of Washing Soda (I get mine from Ace Hardware - you can either buy it online and ship-to-store, or you can call and ask them to order it for you if they don't stock it. There's an Ace right near the church and I haven't found any local hardware stores yet, but when I do, I will ask if the local joint carries it. Buy local, and all. But for now, Ace is easiest.)
- Jar or other container for the detergent (I use a pickle jar. It needs to be able to hold at least 2.5 cups of stuff.)
- Food processor or maybe a blender, or a cheese grate and a bowl
- An implement capable of measuring out by the tablespoon, approximately (I use a plastic measuring spoon that the dish disposal chewed up. Having something dedicated to the laundry area will make your life easiest.)
- Funnel, optional
- Dust mask, optional, if you have sensitive lungs like I do. This stuff can kick up some powder.

And that's it!


Cut the bar of soap into hunks and put it in the food processor until it's reduced to a fine powder. (Alternatively, grate the soap as finely as you can.)

Dump the borax and the washing soda into the food processor with the soap.* Or, dump everything into a bowl and mix it up by hand. You want it nice and combined and awesome.

Pour into your jar. (I fancied mine up with my label maker, so that next time Brian takes it upon himself to do some laundry, he'll know to use the powder, and not all my Woolite, to wash his yard work clothes. This might or might not have happened at some point...)

Stick your measuring scoop in the jar, and stick the jar wherever it is you like to stick your laundry detergent.

DONE! (beside cleanup, of course. And when you're done cleaning up, toss the sponge or rag straight into the wash pile. You don't want to take any chances.*) All in all, it takes me maybe 10 minutes from start to finish.

I use a tablespoon for regular loads of laundry. I'll use 2 tbsp for huge or especially dirty loads. And that's it! One jar of this stuff lasts me about 2 months or so, and I typically do 3-ish loads per week. If I had a bigger jar, I'd double the batch and be all the more awesome because of it.

*Some people are concerned about having these ingredients in their food processor. I personally am not too concerned, but I do wash everything twice, once in the sink and again in the dishwasher. I've never had anything come out of the food processor tasting like soap or borax, and (to my knowledge) I haven't become ill as a result, either. I do make sure the dogs can't get into the kitchen when I'm working, because they are very 'licky' and Borax can, in high doses, be very toxic.


  1. I remember the woolite incident. Jessica also was confused about Woolite--handed it to me for a stain remover.

  2. Some of the best stories are about Jessica.

  3. How great! I would totally do this if I wasn't an unfortunate lazy mom. Care to make me some???

    Visiting from


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