How To Make Your Own Laundry Powder

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

I make a simple but effective homemade laundry powder using just three simple ingredients. 

Now remember we live and work on a ranch so we’ve got some hefty laundry needs. We need something that will get out some pretty tough grime on very heavy fabric – denim! This formula works great for us.

Homemade laundry powder is simple to make yourself with only 3 ingredients! #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)

Decide For Yourself

Now before I get started I must remind you that I’m just sharing what we do here. I’m a Homesteader. I live in the country. I’m very interested in being gentle on the environment and doing/making things myself.

And I always love to save money.

It's easy to use these tips to save money. #TexasHomesteader

So I’m just sharing what works for us. OK good – let’s get to it!

Benefits of Homemade Laundry Powder

I feel there are many benefits to making my own homemade laundry powder.

    • Homemade laundry powder is much cheaper.

    • No going to the store & schlepping back a heavy container of  commercial stuff.

    • No figuring out how to recycle the containers for the commercial stuff you bought.

    • Only 3 Ingredients in my homemade laundry powder.

    • It’s quick & easy to make.

    • This laundry powder recipe is effective for cleaning.

So I’ve been making this laundry powder recipe for years now. There’s no turning back for me!

Homemade Laundry Powder Ingredients

To make my homemade laundry powder, first I pulled out three simple ingredients:

          • Borax,

          • Washing Soda,

          • Fels Naptha Laundry Bar.

3 Ingredient laundry detergent recipe uses 1-2 tablespoons per typical load. Cheap, easy to make, and effective! #TexasHomesteader

Then all I needed was my trusty food processor to powder the soap & blend all ingredients together.

Which Laundry Bar Is Best?

Fels Naptha is inexpensive and I feel it’s an important ingredient that helps with our tough laundry needs.

There are other brands of laundry bars such as Zote and others. But I’ve found they just don’t have the same strength to clean heavily soiled fabrics that my beloved Fels-Naptha does.

Fels-Naptha an important part of my homemade laundry detergent recipe. #TexasHomesteader

NOTE: Many people have problems finding Fels-Naptha in their local stores. When I have it available I offer it for sale in my Online Store.

If I’m out, I’ve also found it on *Amazon here.

Ok, on to the easy-peasy laundry powder-making procedure.

Making Homemade Laundry Powder

First I unwrap the Fels-Naptha bar and chop it up a bit. Although feels like a typical soap consistency it chops very easily.

I use large ice cream tub lids as an improvised cutting board. The raised edge keeps everything close so it’s much less messy than a typical cutting board, and it’s a great way to recycle.

3 Ingredient laundry detergent recipe only uses 1-2 tablespoons per typical load. Cheap, easy to make, and effective! #TexasHomesteader

Then I toss the soap chips into my food processor and give it all a whir until it’s powdery.

Don’t Breathe Soap Dust

This fine powder can escape the lid of my food processor while it’s doing its thing and make a wispy airborne cloud. And I certainly don’t want to breathe it.

So to keep it all better contained I place a small towel on top of the food processor during this step to help keep the soap dust down.

I also like to let the dust settle a bit before opening up the bowl.

3 Ingredient laundry detergent recipe only uses 1-2 tablespoons per typical load. Cheap, easy to make, and effective! #TexasHomesteader

Then I simply measure out two cups of Borax and two cups of Washing Soda and mix them in a larger container with the now-powdered soap.

Now you really don’t get much easier than that!

What Container To Hold Homemade Laundry Powder?

After the laundry powder is mixed I pour the mixture into containers that I keep in my laundry room.

3 Ingredient laundry detergent recipe only uses 1-2 tablespoons per typical load. Cheap, easy to make, and effective! #TexasHomesteader

A repurposed glass jar holds the bulk of it, and a small rectangular plastic dish holds a smaller amount for easy scooping and lightweight handling when I’m doing the laundry.

The tiny scoop is a repurposed one from a container of OxyClean, which I add from time to time to my load of whites.

There’s a lot of repurposing & recycling in this method and not lots of packaging waste. Gotta love it.

NOTE: Please make sure you label these containers. There’s no need in someone picking up an unlabeled container and wondering what’s in it. Or worse, guessing what’s in it and guessing wrong.  A label is a quick and easy way to make sure no one mistakes this mixture for something else.

Making Bulk Quantities Of Homemade Laundry Powder

I also oftentimes make several batches of laundry powder at a time.

Why not? The food processor is out, my ingredients are out and I’ll have to clean my food processor when I’m done anyway. Might as well do it all at one time!

When I make larger batches of laundry powder I use a Repurposed Coffee Can to hold it all. 

Homemade laundry detergent in various containers - glass canning jar, empty repurposed coffee can #TexasHomesteader

I’m always finding ways to repurpose those handy cans.

(If you’re wanting to do the same, here’s my list of 12 Easy Ways To Repurpose Coffee Cans!)

Homemade Laundry Powder Requires Much Less!

This recipe only uses 1-2 tablespoons for a typical load, but I use about 3 tablespoons for heavily soiled items like manure-covered jeans.  But never more than that.

I make my own laundry cleaning powder using only 3 ingredients. #TexasHomesteader

Don’t be tempted to use more homemade laundry powder.

That’s when soap build-up problems can happen. And soap build-up can be bad for your clothes & bad for your washing machine. Plus it adds no additional cleaning power.

Do Laundry Whites Get Dingy Over Time?

Well, I don’t know if it’s the lack of chemical additives in my homemade laundry detergent, the mineral content of our county water or what. But it’s true, our whites do become dingy over time.

Some people use Oxi-Clean to keep their whites bright, others use vinegar. I’ve had moderate success with those methods but I don’t feel it’s the answer to whiter whites for me.

Others use bleach to keep their whites vibrantly white. We have a septic system so I don’t like to use bleach.

I realize there are some who say it’s just fine to use bleach with septic systems, that bleach from the laundry is so diluted it has a minimal effect on the septic tanks.

But I prefer the healthy microbes in those tanks stay healthy. So I opt to not use bleach until the actual water treatment stage of our septic system.

How I Keep Our White Laundry Bright

When I see my whites are becoming dingy I’ve found something I can add to my loads of whites to make a difference.

It’s  made by OxiClean, but (for me anyway) the results are far superior than plain OxiClean and my whites end up actually being WHITE!

Oxi Clean White Revive Brightens White Clothes In Laundry #TexasHomesteader

I found it in the laundry aisle right where I typically shop, so it wasn’t hard to find or require ordering online.

But if you prefer to order online I’ve found *Oxi Clean White Revive Here. Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll like it.

What I’ve Heard Others Say About Homemade Laundry Powder

Now this homemade laundry powder recipe isn’t new. It’s been around for a long time. I mean, I’ve been using it myself here on the Homestead for over 10 years!

But when I run across various stories of others sharing that they use this recipe too, some commenters mention that this homemade version doesn’t work.

Some say it’s because there’s a chemical difference between soap & actual detergent for cleaning clothes, or warn that it could ruin your washing machine if you use this homemade version of laundry powder.

Homemade Laundry Powder Works GREAT For Us!

I’m puzzled when I read these comments. I’m assuming those people are not sticking to the 1-2 tablespoon measurement for their clothes? I can’t imagine why their experience wouldn’t be the exact same as ours.

Although we’ve used this laundry powder for over 10 years, RancherMan & I have never experienced any issues with our clothes not coming out clean, nor any damage to our HE front-loading washing machine.

But since I have no idea why their experience would be different than ours you’ll need to exercise caution I suppose. Use your own judgement as to whether homemade laundry detergent makes sense in your own home.

And for goodness sake don’t be tempted to use too much of this homemade version, assuming such a small amount of soap couldn’t possibly clean your clothes.

Using too much of any soap will make it difficult to completely rinse the soap away, causing soap buildup both in your clothes as well as your machine. This is where I suspect people are going awry when using this homemade laundry powder.

As for us – it’s worked perfectly for over 10 years. (and counting…) I don’t plan to change a thing.  

Optional Laundry Scent Booster Recipe

For those times when I want a little more scent (like cloth napkins & such) I’ve even whipped up an easy Laundry-Scent Booster. My homemade laundry scent booster is cheap and effective. #TexasHomesteader

Only 2 Ingredients? Yes please! I really like to use lavender essential oils to scent it, but you can use whatever you like, or even mix & match.

Anyway, if you’re wanting to try making your own homemade laundry powder too, here’s the recipe I use. Feel free to try it yourself! 

Homemade laundry powder takes only 3 ingredients - Fels Naptha laundry bar, borax & washing soda. #TexasHomesteader
5 from 6 votes

Homemade Laundry Detergent

It's easy (and inexpensive) to make your own laundry detergent in minutes. And you only use a tablespoon or two with each load. At 2 Tablespoons per load this recipe makes enough for about 37 loads! #TexasHomesteader

Course cleaner
Keyword baking powder, cleaner, Fels-Naptha, Honemade, Laundry
Servings 37 loads


  • 1 5 Ounce Bar Fels Naptha Laundry Soap
  • 2 Cups Washing Soda
  • 2 Cups Borax


  1. Powder the entire 5.5-ounce bar of Fels Naptha finely using a food processor (can use a cheese grater on finest grate)

  2. In a container that has a tight-fitting lid, combine the powdered Fels Naptha, 2 cups of washing soda and 2 cups of Borax.

    Shake to mix well.

    Store in a sealed container that is properly labeled. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: Since the effectiveness of any detergent depends greatly on the hardness of your water, experiment by using the lesser amount, and then increase as necessary.


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78 thoughts on “How To Make Your Own Laundry Powder

  1. Marie

    I consider myself as a newbie. Having said that, can you use this homemade detergent on dark clothing? I am questioning this because using Borax– has bleach in it.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve used this detergent for all my laundry for over 10 years now – delicates, towels, sheets, lights, darks, whites, etc. I’ve never noticed any ill effects on any of it, with the exception that I do need to ‘bump’ the whitening power every so often when washing my whites which I discuss in the post. So I suppose any bleaching action in the borax is so mild it’s never made any noticeable effect on any of my dark clothing. For me, the important thing to remember is not to use more than 1-2 Tablespoons per load.

  2. Grandma

    Found your site tonight and am enjoying it! I have very hard water where I live. Do you think this will work well for me?

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’d think it would work fine. But if you’re concerned about hard water I’d suggest you include the laundry-scent booster recipe. It’s made of Epsom salts which helps soften hard water and the essential oil adds a delightful subtle scent to your clean laundry. I add it to my washing machine’s receptacle that typically holds fabric softener. Here’s my recipe –>

      1. Blake S

        Epsom salt raises pH, so hardens water. They should add an avidy to soften it, such as vinegar or citric

  3. Diana Gilles

    5 stars
    I have used this recipe for my family laundry for several years now and I love it! My laundry comes out clean and fresh smelling with every load.
    I wanted to reduce the amount of chemicals used in and around my home plus the cost of the brand name laundry soap was getting out of hand! My sister laughed at me for being a miser in the face of our healthy family income. I told her it didn’t Matter how much money I had in the bank, the principal of spending more on a product with a brand name just didn’t make sense to me at all, in fact it really irked me.
    I’m not sure why everybody isn’t making their own laundry powder using this insanely easy recipe with its wholesome and money saving ingredients.
    I won’t ever go back to name brand ever again!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We love it too Diana. It’s all we’ve used for over a decade and it does an awesome job on our laundry for pennies! ~TxH~

  4. Micki

    Looking forward to trying this recipe!
    We have an HE front loading washer also, so I’m glad to hear that using the suggested amount has posed no problems.
    My one question is: Is this effective in cold water?
    Unfortunately, we only have cold water in the laundry room, so I want to ensure this will sufficiently dissolve and rinse.


    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We use only cold water too, Micki and this laundry soap always works great for me. The proper measure is placed in my front-loader’s detergent ‘drawer’ making sure not to use more than the 2-3 Tablespoons recommended. My washer dispenses the laundry soap at the proper time to the washer’s drum. Using cold water I’ve never had a problem with the laundry soap dissolving properly, never had white residue left on our clothes. The Fels is (to me) a more powerful cleaning soap than other brands such as Zote, etc. ~TxH~

      1. Micki

        Thank you for responding back! All good news and I look forward to trying this!

  5. Jackie R

    Do you put the 1-2 T in the dispenser of the HE washing machine or in the tub?

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve always put it in the dispenser on the washing machine, it’s always worked great for me. ~TxH~

      1. Najla Biamini

        I use a method for dingy whites that I learned from my Grandmother. She used Bluing. That’s the name of it. The package has little blue squares that you dissolve in your water before you add your white for a quick rinse. I think you can get Mrs Stewart’s at Ace Hardware, it’s a liquid. I buy Recketts which is the blue squares.

  6. Angela

    5 stars
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this method of making my laundry soap I have been using this recipe since 2014. It’s now 2022. Ever since it was ‘popularized’ on Facebook. I am always leery of make it and try it but this has served me PERFECTLY.

    I use the exact method you described above and use 2 tbsp. I have septic and all my clothes come out just as clean as store bought brands. I love how much time it saves me 1 batch last me MONTHS.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Me too Angela. This is all I’ve used for over a decade so far. Works well for us! ~TxH~

  7. Kimberly

    My fels turned into little balls in my food processor instead of powder. Has anyone else hadn’t this problem? Will it still dissolve in the wash this way?

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Oh wow – I’ve sure never had it do that before with my food processor. It’s always powdered beautifully for me. I wonder if the speed of a higher-quality food processor goes fast enough to generate enough heat to do this? If I were you, I’d let the Fels Naptha air dry for a day or so and then pulse in your food processor just until it breaks up the little balls of soap? Let us know how it comes out! ~TxH~

    2. Angel

      I always take part of the grated fels nathpa and a cup of borax and process it then the other portion of fels nathpa and the super washing soda together. It doesn’t clump up at all. Then mix it together.

    3. Grandma

      I live in a very humid climate without a/c. I could see where that might be an issue getting soap to dry out. I’d still like to try this, tho.

      1. Texas Homesteader Post author

        All of the ingredients for this laundry powder are already dry. Storing them in an air-tight container should help keep humidity out too. We love this laundry powder and our weather is hot & humid, I’ve never had a clumping problem or anything. ~TxH~

  8. cody

    5 stars
    Oxiclean is primarily sodium percarbonqte, which — as soon as it hits water — breaks down into sodium carbonate (washing soda) and hydrogen peroxide. You can probably save a few bucks by putting peroxide in the bleach dispenser of your washing machine instead.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks for the tip, Cody. I’ll research it further. I must appease my eco-warrior self while placating my budget-minded side. Around here 16 oz (2 cups) of hydrogen peroxide costs $0.75 and is sold in a plastic bottle. (Oh how I hate plastic! LOL) I’m seeing various posts online showing recommended applications if you use it in laundry to be 1 cup per load, although I’ll need to check it out with an .edu site or equivalent to make sure I’m receiving the most accurate information. Thanks again for your tip, I’ll research it. ~TxH~

  9. Timmy Jo Given

    5 stars
    I have a blender. Will that suffice? Perhaps I could snag a real food processor at the thrift store… But thanks for all of your homesteading tips. I find your website utterly refreshing.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      A blender isn’t going to be as powerful as a food processor. Maybe you can chop up the Fels Naptha as finely as you can and then use the blender to make it into powder (in small batches so you don’t burn up your blender) and then manually mix the three ingredients? I know I wouldn’t want to breathe the fine powder so if you do that be sure to mix gently and/or wear a mask. But the food processor I have is second-hand and that’s the only thing it’s used for. And now I’ll make up several batches and store them in a repurposed coffee can, re-packaging them into my small laundry soap container as needed. That way I only pull everything out once, clean everything up once but have several months of laundry powder. ~TxH~

  10. Pam Gervais

    5 stars
    I am thinking about trying this laundry detergent recipe. The prices of everything in the stores has gone sky high and this sounds like the perfect compromise to save money and use one of my favorite products…Fels Naptha. I used Fels Naptha 37 years ago when my first child was on the way and someone gave me handmedown baby clothes, they were so stained up and had been in her attic for years. I got those clothes pristinely clean using just Fels Naptha and laundry soap. I’ve been using Fels ever since. Thanks for this recipe, I will be trying it soon.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I agree, Pam – I’ve found Fels Naptha is an amazing cleaner as well. This laundry detergent recipe is all we’ve used for over 10 years now. I’m puzzled when I see comments on the world-wide-web about this being a laundry SOAP recipe and not a laundry DETERGENT. I’ve read warnings about how it can ruin your washing machine, how it can’t be used in a HE machine, how it builds upon your clothing, etc. I don’t know why their experience may be so vastly & strikingly different than ours. Maybe they’re using too much? Maybe the makeup of their water? I have no idea, we’ve never ever experienced any trouble at all. BUT, because I’ve seen those comments in various places over the years I’ll warn you to try it slowly to make sure it works for you as well as it works for us. I can’t imagine how much money we’ve saved over the years, and I know I’ve saved lots of landfill-bound trash. And it cleans wonderfully for us, even with our heavy fabrics and ‘difficult’ laundry problems of working around cattle and barbed-wire fences. ~TxH~

  11. Sovola Sips

    Rather late to the party, but I have a suggestion that works so well for me I just have to share.
    I have used the same laundry powder recipe you posted, with equally awesome results, for several years. It not only cleans well, and is cheap, but I like the fact that it’s compatible with bleach, laundry sanitizer, and Oxy-Clean when you need them for specific loads (hello, face masks, children’s underwear).
    Love the laundry powder. Reducing the Fels-Naptha bar to fine granules, not so much. I’ve grated it, I’ve worn out two small chopper-blenders with it. Then I saw the thing about microwaving a bar of Ivory soap, to make a poufy cloud-like mass. Presumably, kids love it. So I tried microwaving a bar of Fels-naptha. Not quite as poufy, but when it cools it can be put into a plastic (or other) bag and easily crushed into fine flakes with your hands.
    I put one bar on a microwave-safe dinner plate and microwave at 50% power, or until big airy lumps appear. Takes about 5 minutes in my microwave. Microwaves vary, (mine runs a little hot) so you might need to adjust power setting or time for yours. You don’t want to melt or scorch the soap, so go slow at low power until you see what settings work with your microwave. Let the poufed bar cool, place in a bag, and crush with your hands (or, if you are feeling kinda tense, beat it with the flat side of a meat mallet – very satisfying).
    Mix the soap flakes with your borax and washing soda, and you’re good to go!

  12. Sarah

    I have been thinking about switching to a homemade laundry detergent but haven’t made the jump yet. However, now may be the time as I’m almost out of store bought detergent, so instead, o buying more I might just pick up the materials needed to make this. If it works well with my front loading machine and gets things nice and clean, then I’ll stick with it.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It’s worked beautifully for us for years Sarah. The most important thing to remember – don’t use too much! I’ve read in other places that some folks give it a try & then get frustrated that it seems to gum up in their machine or not wash out of their clothing – I’m guessing because they don’t feel there’s any way such a tiny amount of soap will actually get their laundry clean so they try to use too much. I’ve not found either of their problems to be the case with our use. But I’m very careful to use only 1-2 Tablespoons per load. Give it a try, I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. And even if you decide to go back to the commercial stuff for whatever reason you’re not out much $$. ~TxH~

  13. Beth

    I was wondering if Sunlight laudry bars would work well for this recipe?

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Not sure I’ve ever heard of Sunlight laundry bars, Beth. Sounds like it’s the same type of product, but I will say I’ve tried other laundry bars and none performed as well as the Fels Naptha. So that’s the only laundry bar I’ll use. ~TxH~

  14. Greg Hill

    Thanks for sharing this on your blog. Recipe looks simple and that’s perfect.
    Very well explained How To Do.

    1. Jennifer England

      Could these 3 ingredients cause an allergic reaction? I have been getting a rash where every the clothes sit ex specially on my bottom, legs and arms!

      1. Texas Homesteader Post author

        Our clothes are washed and line-dried so there’s no other product such as fabric softener, drier sheets or such touching our clothes. We’ve never had any negative reaction to this detergent in the years we’ve used it. But I realize different people are sensitive to different things. Some are allergic to fragrances, some to pollens, some to pet dander – heck our daughter is allergic to apples. I’m not a doctor & wouldn’t dream of giving medical advice to anyone, but when I see a rash on my skin I assume I’ve been exposed somewhere to something to which I’m sensitive. ~TxH~

  15. Gina

    I have never actually made homemade laundry detergent. Glad to know this is a good recipe, will have to try! Thank you for sharing on #ShareTheWealthSunday link up!

  16. goodie odom

    I wonder if I can use the powder on my front loader? BTW keeping the door open will help much with the odor.I had mine for 3 years now and never had an odor.I clean it once a month with vinegar and baking soda.I always make the liquid laundry soap,but this dry method is so much faster, and will take up much less storage room.I guess if I throw the powder in the drum when loading the clothes would work.I had bad results adding powder to the little compartement ,it always seems to clump up. Also if one over loads the washer it tends to leave the clothes smelly, especially with heavy jeans .Hubby learned that the hard way…:) Yes he does the laundry SOMETIMES. Thank you for all the tips and your posts, I truly enjoy reading them.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I don’t know that I’m allowed to recommend that you use it for your frontloader Goodie – you’ll need to check your owner’s manual and decide for yourself. HOWEVER, my machine is a front loader and I got frustrated at all the fru-fru requirements of the machine so I decided to take the leap and use this detergent recipe with mine – it works wonderfully. Things to remember: front loaders use less water but are more efficient. You need a fraction of the soap you used to dump into your top loader – I use about 2-3 tablespoons. Too much & not only will you be wasting soap that’ll be hard for your machine to rinse out of the fabrics but you’ll also have a mess. Like you I strive to NOT overload the washer and I leave the door open after laundry day to allow the machine to completely air dry. I’ve never once ‘cleaned’ my machine by running an empty load with various things included yet I’ve never had that stale mildewy odor I’ve heard others complain about, so I must be doing something right!

      1. MO

        5 stars
        I have a front loader as well and have used this detergent since its initial post. Unlike the commercial brand of powder I used to use that required more, this recipe only requires 1-2 T on most loads and 2-3 T for heavier soiled clothes so it was not enough to ever clump in my washer. I too leave my door open to completely dry and do not have any mildewing. I will swear by its cleaning power and my washer efficiency. I hope this helps.

        1. Texas Homesteader Post author

          I’m glad you like this laundry detergent too, MO. I’ve used it successfully for years. It’s quick & easy to make, effective cleaning and super cheap. Plus, no hauling back expensive bottles of detergent from the store and trying to find a place to recycle said plastic bottle when it’s empty. Our budget and the environment are grateful for the switch!

    2. Kookooracharabioso

      Tried the microwave idea 1 time. Stank up the microwave for months! NOTHING got the stank out. Every body complained. Sometimes I blend the other ingredients with the soap in the FP. Seems to help get the soap particles smaller. Been using this recipe for years. My only issue is that the soap and the other ingredients have different weights so they settle accordingly so I always have to stir before scooping hoping to get equal balance of ingredients. Tried it in liquid form – similar problem – then when I shake the liquid to mix there’s so many bubbles that I can’t measure accurately – so definitely stick with dry. Thanks for the easy laundry scent recipe!

  17. Ashley Mullen

    I used to make our laundry detergent, I used to make all of our cleaners. But three kids and horrible water issues brought that to a stop.

    I don’t think I have ever seen so many pairs of jeans a on a line before! 🙂

  18. Sue Mosier

    I want to try making the laundry detergent. I have been using natural laundry detergents for years. I have a problem with my whites looking dingy. I cannot use a clothes line where we live. I do not like to use bleach. Any ideas how to whiten whites? Thank you.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Hanging them in the sunshine while line-drying helps keep brights white – helpful since I always air-dry our clothes.

  19. Heidi @ Pint Size Farm

    I’ve been making homemade laundry detergent for years, although my recipe is a little different from this one. It smells so much better than the chemical laden store ones! Thanks for your homeacre blog hop submission 🙂 Feel free to stop by this week and submit another!

  20. Marla

    I DIY recipes and think they are safest and most economical way to go. No toxic chemicals to pollute your body or environment. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Home Acre Blog Hop!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I agree Marla. People have different drives for doing the things they do. Most of the DIY hobbies I enjoy are healthier options and significant budget savers, as well as time saver by providing for myself instead of having to drive to/from the grocery store & lug in heavy boxes of detergent. It’s a fun hobby for me, but my main driving force is environmental footprint. When I think of the manufacturing plants and all the shipments of raw product that must arrive there to produce the detergent, then shipment of the finished product to warehouses, shipment to distribution points, shipments to retailers not to mention all the raw materials required for product, packaging, shipping, etc – it motivates me to find a gentler way. It’s not a zero footprint, but certainly a gentler one and I like that.

  21. Nancy

    I’ve made my own detergent for years, and have saved a lot of money. I have been using a recipe that also adds baking soda. I’ve made it with Fels- Naptha, Zote and Kirk’s Castile Soap. Kirk’s is more expensive, and I don’t think it gets laundry as clean, but it is probably milder for people who might have allergies.

    I just made a batch of detergent, using your recipe, and it was so fast and easy.

    I sprayed my food processor with vinegar water, to help get the soap residue off, when I was cleaning it.

    Thanks for all of the great environmentally safe and economical ideas you share!

  22. victoria witte

    This is a fantastic recipe! I’ve been making and using it for about 4 or 5 years. So easy and inexpensive. I’m always amazed now when I walk through the detergent aisle at how much that stuff costs and am so pleased with myself for trying this and saving so much money.

  23. Cynthia

    Thanks for sharing – I also had a hard time finding Fels Naptha at the grocery store (I tried several, no luck). One day I stopped by the local hardware store (Ace Hardware) for some gardening stuff, asked if they had heard of Fels Naptha- they had it, borax and washing soda too!

  24. ColleenB.~Texas

    I also make my own laundry mixture and found my Fels-Naptha soap @ Wally World (WalMart). As long as I’m making the mess, I will mix up enough that will last me for a whole year or a bit longer. I do use an old grater to grate the bar of soap and a Very Large container to mix everything in.

    Only difference is that I also in with my mixture I add a box (4lb) of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda as well as a 3.5 container of Oxy Clean along with 1-2 cups Downy Unstopables (for scent).
    I only use 1-2 T. per load :}

    1. ColleenB.~Texas

      I find the Fels Naptha soap on top shelf in laundry detergent isle

      1. Texas Homesteader Post author

        Yep, but all our local merchants carry Zote instead of Fels Naptha. I’ve had others tell me they had trouble finding Fels Naptha as well – good to know it can be ordered from Amazon. Different merchants in different areas will stock different items, you’re lucky you don’t have to look far to find Fels Naptha in your area. Luh-KEY!

  25. michelle

    I have tried the soap bar laundry soap, didn’t too much care for it, was too watery. You can make your own real liquid detergent like the store bought kind, except without all the harsh and artificial ingredients. Olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, distilled water, borax, and potassium hydroxide. You can also scent it with essential oils, like lavender, lavandin, tea tree oil, etc. I got this recipe from (Bonnie at edential farms, just type on Google (how to make liquid soap with potash or koh) and it should come up. It really is worth it, and making your own soap bars is really fun too. Once you get started, you won`t want to stop. You can make a whole loaf of all natural soap bars, unlike the commercial type soap bars that dry your skin out. Sorry so lengthy, but just wanted to help. It seems everyone is using the soap bar method, but no one really knows about this one. When I use Bonnie’s soap method, and dilute with the water and borax’ I get at least 5-32oz bottles of liquid detergent. We used to buy Ecos detergent, until I had a dream about a doctor was telling me to stop using it, because of something to do with cancer. I took it as the Lord trying to give me a message, and so began my journey on how to make your own liquid detergent. I`ve been making our own detergent since October of 2012, and soap bars with Shea butter, and goatmilk which is the best since June of 2012. God bless.

  26. Kathy

    I’ve done this before – great recipe! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  27. Mary

    Awesome post! I’ve been making my own laundry detergent too with the same ingredients! I do add Oxyclean in with mine, but I’m not sure how environmentally safe that is. I should definitely try it without next time and see how that works! I’ve also found a natural fabric softener too recently with just vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and lavender essential oil. It’s been working great!

  28. Elaine

    i found all the ingredients at my local walmart for under $15. i mixed a big bucket up and it has lasted so long. love how clean my clotbes get and i dont need to use fabric softner. i use my wonder washer that i got from amazon and hang dry. i added a bar of zote soap(pink or white) and geniric oxy clean from local dollar store. i’m on a very tight budget, and this thas saved me from buying a bottle of detergent($5-$10) every month. so now i have more money to buy other much needed items. love getting your emails and all the great tips you pass along. thank you

  29. Karen

    Hi. Can you tell me if Fels Naptha has any fragrance added?

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Karen, I’ve grated up my last bar of Fels Naptha for my latest batch of laundry detergent so I can’t look at the list of ingredients on the package to tell you for sure. I detect a subtle scent so I’m assuming there is some scent added, although as I mentioned it’s subtle and not overpowering like some of the commercial stuff these days… Just smells like soap to me.

  30. Mel

    I make this and it’s fabulous plus as a bonus my little ones stopped getting rashes

  31. Mindie

    I always add borax to what ever store detergant I use, but now that I know where to get that fels-napatha, I might consider giving this a try!

  32. At Rivercrest Cottage

    I’ve thought about trying this. Your recipe looks good and the benefits sound worthwhile. thanks for sharing this.

  33. Deborah Davis

    This is such a great homemade recipe that I shared it everywhere and pinned it as well. “Save money and the environment with this DIY Laundry Detergent Recipe”. I am so glad I found you on the “Small Footprint Fridays” linkup.

  34. Sheila

    I’ve been using a similar recipe for years. Mine additionally calls for Oxy Clean. I have several children and LOTS of very dirty clothes. I’ve not had great luck with this as I feel like it doesn’t get the clothes very clean. It doesn’t even take care of the general dirtiness let alone any stains. They never smell nice either. Sometimes, they really smell bad, kind of like they’ve been left in the washer wet too long, but they haven’t. I’ve tried adding nice smelling fabric softener to help with the smell but it doesn’t do much. I love the idea of making my own detergent and it’s really all I can afford to do, but I’m not very happy with the results. Any ideas anyone?

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Our clothes are always hung on the line, I’ve never noticed an odor like you describe. As a matter of fact, there’s really no detergent smell either, just country sunshine! 🙂

    2. Peggy

      Do you have an HE washer? If so, they are notorious for developing a sour smell that transfers to your just washed laundry.

      I make a similar detergent, but add baking soda to it, also. You can also add white vinegar to the rinse water. Your clothes won’t smell like vinegar but any smell should be gone.

  35. Fay

    Great stuff. Just be aware that Washing Soda is caustic, so WEAR GLOVES and don’t use the same container for food that had the washing soda in it. Just the nurse in me speaking here!

  36. Tracy

    I have often wondered how people make their own detergent. Now I know! Thanks for sharing this money saving information!

  37. Jessica

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I’m excited to try it! Do you know…is it okay to use on cloth diapers?

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Jessica, I can’t imagine why there would be any restrictions – we are well past the baby stage so I’ve never washed diapers with this detergent but we wash all our clothes in it – towels, sheets, jeans, whites, darks, etc.

  38. Ashleigh

    I LOVE this! I make a similar detergent and I’ve been using it for about a year now. I’m excited to search through your blog and learn more, when it’s not so late. LOL Thanks for sharing.

  39. Peg

    Have been making this same recipe for the last 4 years. My daughter and I make about 6 batches in 30 minutes that last about 4 to 5 months (she does a lot of laundry) We grate it in the food processor with the chopper blade in the bottom. Take the top off and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Blend for about 3 minutes. It makes a great powder that dissolves easily even in cold water

  40. Lisa Lynn

    Great recipe! I have made the concentrated liquid version of this and it works great 🙂 Thanks for sharing

  41. Jenny

    This is the recipe that I use and I was happy with it until we moved out to the country. It doesn’t seem to do as well with rural hard water. 🙁 I’m taking a break and using something I picked up at the store but I’d like to try it again. I hadn’t thought of putting the Fels Naptha through the food processor! What a great idea! Part of my problem was that the soap flakes weren’t dissolving in the water; so this solution might work. Thank you for sharing this

  42. Hannah

    Yay! Same recipe I use. I use laundry soap made and sold by a friend rather than the fels naptha. Thanks for sharing your post

  43. betty

    Found you at Hickory Trail. I just made laundry detergent for the first time this past weekend. I made the liquid version. I was surprised at how easy it was too. Wow…it would be hard to go back to paying so much for it now. I want to live on a ranch 🙂

  44. Kerry@PlentyPlace

    Yay! Another Fels Naptha girl! That stuff is serious stain magic. =)

  45. Kenya G. Johnson

    Go Amazon! They have everything. Thanks for the recipe. I keep Borax on hand because every now and then I soak my sons jeans in the tub and have to scrub out the grass stains in the knees. I like doing it in the tub because its a “free” clean. I don’t have to do anything but let the water out and my tub is sparkling. TALU


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