52 Responses to “Originality : Homemade Laundry Detergent”


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  1. HA! I don’t know much about scenting laundry as I am a total cliched consumer who pays big money at my local co- op for green products when I could come here and get all these simple, fabulous recipes for free. I do know that when someone asked me just yesterday what other blogs I followed I said almost none because I am afraid I will read something, forget, and then later think I have this great idea for a post. I better go, all of the sudden I feel totally inspired to blog about plagiarism and originality.

  2. Great post (you were describing me to a T, which was kind of scary)! As for pleasant lingering scents in the laundry… I put 1/8 – 1/4 cup (small handful) of dried lavender in the toe of an old (clean) white sock, tie a knot in the top and toss it in the dryer with each load. It’ll last for quite a few loads, then just refill when the scent starts to fade.

    • [email protected]

      Thank you so much for the tip! I almost want to get some clothes dirty today, just so I can try it right now. Heh.

    • What would i use if i hang the clothe’s outside to dry…

      • Crunchy Betty

        If you just want your laundry to smell a little fresher, what I would do is put about 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil in spray bottle filled with water. After the clothes dry (but before you pull them from the line), give them a light spritz with the spray bottle.

  3. Oh I love your recipe. I have one that calls for baking soda instead of washing soda (might be the same thing or similar) and glycerin soap – but I’d rather use Zote or castile soap. Thanks for posting this…I’m making some this weekend as I’ve declared (and fortunately my husband puts up with these declarations) no more buying laundry soap. Now, I’m off to check out what else you’re making!

  4. Candice

    I’ve been told that adding baking soda to your water during the rinse cycle will help soften the clothing, and help make sure the soap is thoroughly rinsed out of your clothing.

    I haven’t tried it yet myself, but my mother swears by the last claim, at least. She still uses fabric softener, so I don’t know which is doing the better job.

  5. Holly

    Anyone try using homemade saches in the dresser drawer or hanging on a few hangers in the closet. I’ve repurposed flowers that I’ve recieved into these. When the sent starts to fade, just add whatever EO sent you like to liven it up again. Cheap and easy, not to mention you don’t have to experiment with all of the other stuff. Hope this helps.

  6. If you want to use a food processor, allow your soap to dry out. I’ve found that if I open up the soap packages when I put them away, by the time I need them to make more detergent they’ve dried up and will cleanly grate or food process into a powder–similar in texture to washing soda and borox. As far as I know, letting the soap dry out doesn’t affect its cleaning power. 

  7. Kathy

    Anybody use the homemade laundry detergent in the HE machines???

  8. wildestraven

    Alrighty then, yes Crunchy Betty, this was much easier than the liquid laundry detergent I’ve been making, thanks for putting your spin on the recipe.  Hey there Kathy, I use this in my HE machine with no problem – less is always better!  Keep up the good work ya’ll.  Thanks & Happy Trails!

  9. crissy

    love reading your post, if your not a writer already, you should be.    I actually do 4 c borax 3 c washing 1 c soda 1/2 bar shredded zote.    I mix together including 50 drops of orange essential oil and then put 1-2 cups in a processor at a time.   it does not stick when you’ve mixed the dry with the soap, and definitely helps break the soap peices down.    I don’t notice a real strong orange smell, but a faint nice smell.   

  10. Liz

    I’ve never liked the commercial scents because they always gave me headaches, but my friend makes the most amazing homemade soaps that are scented with various oils, and she sewed a cover to put on a bar so it can be kept with laundry. I put it in my drawer, and now everything I wear smells so good I could just keep my nose stuck to it all day :)

  11. Rachel

    Really disappointed with this. :( Went out and bought everything, made it exactly as directed, and I’ve washed the same shirt twice. I could see deodorant marks after the first time I washed it, and I can still smell it after the second time. Went ahead and gave up and tossed it in the dryer. I’m going back to regular detergent.

    • Luv'd

      That’s too bad.  I have an old machine and wash in cold water but I still have wonderful results with homemade detergent.  Maybe you should consider homemade deodorant too….  if the regular gunk sticks on your clothing after 2 washes, why would you want it on your body?  Just sayin.

  12. J233176

    Looks like a great recipe.  However I cannot find washing soda anywhere.  Can I use baking soda instead?

  13. Our local Walmart sells Fels Naptha for .97¢ a bar!

  14. Terrie Hilbun

    I found that if I put the Ivory in the freezer for a while it grates much easier; no gunk.

  15. Gaby

    can you use pure castile bar soap? 

  16. bethany

    I’ve been using this recipe for quite a while now…..I love Fels Naptha!!! Haven’t been able to find the Zote…Found some colgate octagon soap though…also i use a potato peeler, just for my laundry soap…for fragrance, i throw in a few pellets of lavender unstoppables…cant resist their smell!!

  17. tratliff

    Well, I just used this recipe to make laundry detergent for the first time. I have not tried it out yet because i finished only a minute ago and I am typing this while my son is napping. I used Zote, which is super cheap. Less than $1 per bar. I got the white bars instead of pink and now I understand why you use pink. Well, I know why I will use pink in the future. The pink grated Zote contrasts the white color of the borax and washing soda, and I feel, would give me peace of mind that the concoction was thoroughly mixed. Also, I do not recommend making a double batch…. :)… I bought two bars of Zote and after I had grated the first, I thought, to heck with it, I might as well grate the second now and get it all done with. I had no idea that I would come up with this much detergent. Also, I had to transfer to a different larger container twice. This reminds me that I should think ahead and pay attention to portions!! I am super excited to try this out. Also, if I use 1/8 cup per load, this will get me 176 loads… for about $6… hehehe

  18. Emily Cummings

    LOVE this post! I too have the same problem with originality, but have decided to pretend I am original with some things and accept when I’m obviously not with others. I just made the detergent and I can’t wait to try it. I used Dr. Bronner’s All-One Hemp Lavender because the fels naptha gave me a head ache and I couldn’t find zote. I hope it works and maybe some of the lavender smell will stick; if not when my lavender plants mature I will dry them and try that trick one of your readers suggested. Again thank you for your wit and recipe!

  19. Lubu

    I just made this wit Fels Naptha and am so excited to try it! A few tips: I couldn’t find washing soda or fels naptha/zote/ivory (in packets less than 10) at target BUT did find washing soda and fels naptha at wal mart! Right next to each other in the laundry aisle. My soap bar was only 5.5 ounces (compared to your zote bar at 14!) and made exactly 2 cups grated. Smells great and cant wait to test it out!

    Fun fact: “Zote” is from Mexico and is actualy Jabon Zote… -ote is an ending attached to words to magnify it in Spanish, in this case, really express how big something is. So if you put a lot of cheese on something, you could say, que quesote!! So Jabon Zote translates to “big @$$ soap” which….it is!

  20. Leana

    I use homemade with borax, washing soda and felsnsptha, but am disappointed with the results. It doesn’t seem to wash well. I asked some hand me downs and they still smell musty. It doesn’t wash food stains off ds clothes either. I won’t go back to regular detergent though. Need help!

    • SueW

      Leana, for tough stains on clothes I keep a solid bar of Fels Naptha soap on hand. Just wet the stain and one end of the soap bar, then firmly rub the wet soap into the stained fabric. (Like using an eraser). I usually let it set for several hours or overnight before washing. I have also made a liquid version of this laundry detergent, (instructions found on YouTube), and put some of the concentrated gel into an old squeeze bottle, (from honey or agave syrup or something), and then can squirt the soap directly onto the stain with a little more precision. My husband gets ring around the collar, so this method has proved to be very useful.

  21. YW

    I haven’t done my research on homemade detergent yet, but I have a question… can you use this in an HE machine? I really would love to make my own and cut the cost of detergent. Thanks.

    • arivs

      i read on another blog that it is perfectly safe (if not more so than regular detergents) for HE machines since there are no suds. i’ve been making/using a recipe of 1 c washing soda, 1 c borax, 1 bar grated fels naptha (or ivory) for about 2 months now and i love it. i still use regular fabric softener b/c my significant other has to have his clothes “smelly” when they come out of the dryer, though.

  22. Oopsadasies

    Essential oil on a cotton ball at the end of the drying cycle works for me.

  23. Jenn

    I use my homemade soap in place of the store bought soap, works great and I think it actually cleans better

  24. Maggie

    I use Dr. Bronner’s Lavender castile bar soap. It works great, smells fantastic , and has no nasty artificial ingredients or fragrences.

  25. myssi

    mine keeps separating!!! what am i doing wrong? i even stirred it with a paint stirring drill bit (lol, i know)

    • Nothing, just shake the container before measuring.it into your washer. Good as new. The ingredients naturally seperate when it settles. If it really bothers you, there are recipes online for liquid, but you have to shake that too before using.

  26. Tara

    Thanks for the tip on finding Zote at Big Lots – I was so excited to find it there, especially since the bar is like 3x the size of Fels Naptha and costs 7 cents less!

  27. Deborah De Block

    Is it okay to just use two boxes of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda instead of combined with the Borax soap? From what I understand, the Borax soap has boric acid, a potential hormone disrupter in it. I still see it used on many natural sites.

  28. Deborah De Block

    Is it okay to just use two boxes of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda instead of combined with the Borax soap? From what I understand, the Borax soap has boric acid, a potential hormone disrupter in it. I still see it used on many natural sites.

  29. Tara

    Thanks for that tip – looking at baking and washing sodas side by side, the washing soda cost about twice as much! I’ll be doing this from now on.

  30. kayla

    does the dry detergent dissolve fine even if washing with cold water? Or is this a warm/hot water detergent only?

  31. Elizabeth Leon

    I love this stuff. I took the advise from a poster below. When I buy my zote I open up the package so it starts to dry. Then after I grat it I let it sit out for a few days to dry out some more. After I add the borox and washing soda I blend it all up in the magic bullet.
    I was able to find zote at Kmart.

  32. Jaime

    Can glycerine soap be used in place of ivory and zote? I am making some for my sister and she is really against palm products and pure glycerin soap is the only one I’ve found that is palm oil free.

    I’ve grated it now and it smells incredibly strong with that soapy essence. Im thinking of letting it dry out then bathing it in citrus essential oils and then letting it dry again… Hopefully it will have a nice smell or no smell at all when the laundry is done

  33. Jane

    Hey Leslie – how much of this laundry powder do you use in a load?

  34. I found a recipe that uses Pyrex crystal..:)

  35. I found a recipe that uses Pyrex crystal..:)

  36. Tess

    I save all my citrus peels (removing all fruit) and let them infuse white vinegar for a cleaning boost and a slight lingering scent. I’m going to try soaking fabric in this vinegar, I hope a slight scent will linger!

  37. Kristi Murphy

    I use white distilled vinager as a “fabric softener”. For scent I pour a small bottle of essential oils into a gallon of vinegar. When doing a load of laundry, just shake the bottle well and add to you machine like you would a commercial softener. The smell (the essential oils, not the vinegar) stays in the clothes even after the dryer. You can adjust the amount of “smell” you add…..obviously the more you add, the stronger the scent. Let me know how it works for ya.


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