How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent so You Never Have to Buy it Again

Various liquid and powdered laundry detergents may fill supermarket aisles, but you need to search high and low for an option that’s fragrance-free, lacks harsh chemicals and allergens, and remains affordable. Tucked on those shelves, you’ll also find the ingredients for homemade laundry detergent, and making your own detergent is a quick and easy DIY project that lets you skip the extras and cut your final cost to a few cents per load. Before you start, it can be difficult to remove the soapy taste from the tools you use when making detergent at home, so you may want dedicated ones for this project. 



  • • 1 bar of soap, 5 ounces 
  • • 2 cups baking soda 
  • • 2 cups washing sod


  • • 2 teaspoons Borax 
  • • 6 to 10 drops essential oil, such as lavender or lemon


  • • Cheese grater 
  • • Mixing bowl 
  • • Mason jar 


  • Step 1: Grate the soap Using the cheese grater, grate the soap into fine shreds. Measure 2 cups of soap shreds into a large mixing bowl, storing any extra soap in an airtight container to use in your next batch. 
  • Step 2: Mix in the powders Slowly pour the baking soda and washing soda into the mixing bowl. If desired, add borax and a few drops of essential oil. Using a large wooden spoon, stir until well combined, using a gentle motion to keep the particles from dispersing into the air. 
  • Step 3: Store the detergent Slowly pour or scoop the detergent into a half-gallon jar and seal it with an airtight lid. Label container and store it in a dry place out of reach of children. 

Using the Detergent: 

On laundry day, measure 1-2 tablespoons (1 for a small load, 2 for a large load) into the drum of your washing machine before adding the laundry and starting the machine. Adding the homemade detergent directly to the washer drum keeps soap flakes from clogging the machine’s dispenser. If you have hard water and notice soap scum, reduce the volume of soap in your next mix. Since this recipe doesn't contain a sudsing agent as an ingredient, it's safe to use in high-efficiency washers.