Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

I wasn’t happy with the recipes for homemade laundry detergent I was finding so I played around a little with the measurements & made my own. I’ve been using this for several years & have converted many of my friends too. 5 gallons cost you less than $2, & you just can’t beat that. 

For a little extra cleaning power, you can add OxiClean to the wash with it – and for Tide fans, please check out this version!

For extra scent, you can mix in a bottle of one of the many laundry scent boosters on the market (or add it individually to each load, that’s what I do actually). You can also use a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the rinse load of your wash load. 

Make sure you check out my Homemade Fabric Softener & my Homemade Dryer Sheets! 

Buying laundry detergent can put a big dent in any budget, and making my own is one way where I save the bucks.

If you bought 5 gallons worth in the store, you’d be paying around $100!! Maybe even more than that depending on the brand.  But, when you make your own – you can make 5 gallons for less than $2!!

When I buy all the ingredients for the first load – it comes out to $6.95 – but there is still lots of borax & washing soda left, so all that I need to buy for the next few batches is the Fels Naptha soap (which is really cheap!).

That makes 20 gallons for under $10!

Making your own detergent accounts for some enormous savings!

I buy my ingredients at WalMart, which I’ve found to be the cheapest place to buy them at.  Let me break down my costs for you (in Central NC – stores in your area may be different)

  • Borax: $2.99
  • Washing Soda: $2.99
  • Fels Naptha: $0.97

You can also purchase the ingredients on Amazon, but I’ve found that they are more expensive this way for the borax & washing soda. However, the Fels Naptha price isn’t bad on there.

You can also use essential oil for scent, but that’s completely optional.  The essential oil adds nothing to the cleaning power, but does give it a nice smell if you’d like to have it.  If you do want the added scent, I really like using orange essential oil because of the clean smell that it has.  Plus, it’s also the one that I recommend for using in my homemade carpet powder. If you purchase it onAmazon (which has a great price on it), it runs about $5.00 for 4 ounces.  You only need 1/2oz to 1oz for a 5 gallon batch (depending on how much scent you want) so it lasts for a good while, and doesn’t add much to the final cost.  Still way cheaper than store bought.

If you’re a Tide detergent lover – click here for the version which includes the power of Tide!

So, are you ready to make your own laundry detergent & rack up the savings? I’ll walk you through how I make mine.

Here’s what you need:  (printable version of this recipe at the very bottom of the post)

  • Borax
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
  • 5.5oz Fels-Naptha Soap (you can also use Zote or castile soap – about the same amount, you don’t have to be exactly precise)
  • water
  • 5 gallon bucket

First, you grate up your Fels-Naptha soap.  Or you can substitute Zote (which will make your laundry detergent pink for all your girly-girls) or pure pure castile soap.

Add the soap shreds to a pot with 4 cups of hot water.  Put the heat on medium-high, and stir until completely melted – about 10 minutes.

Fill up a 5 gallon bucket halfway with hot water.  Pour in the melted soap mixture.

Then, stir in 1 cup of borax & 1 cup of washing soda.

If you’re using the essential oil, now is the time to add it.  You add in 1/2oz to 1oz, depending on how scented you want it.  Although, I never really measure it anymore – I just shake in enough drops to where I feel satisfied, and stir.

Now, fill up the bucket with warm water all the way to the top – and stir again.  If you don’t have a utensil long enough to reach the bottom, just put on a pair of rubber dish gloves beforehand.

Snap on a lid, and let it sit for 24 hours to gel up.

***Note: it will be more of a gloppy gel than purely gel, and this is completely NORMAL – and what it should look like. Sort of like egg noodle soup – liquid with gel glops in it.  Also, if it is a humid day or you make a minor error in making the recipe – your laundry detergent may remain of a liquid state.  This is completely fine, and you should continue to use it as directed.  It will make no effect on the cleaning power of the detergent! However, if you prefer to have a smoother consistency, more like the store-bought detergent – you can mix it with an immersion blender at this point to smooth it all out.  This is only a personal preference though – I don’t do this myself, but a lot of my readers like to do this ***

At this point, you can divide it up between different containers (empty laundry detergent containers, milk jugs, etc).  I prefer to save 1 laundry detergent container, & refill it as needed to save on space.

A lot of people like to dilute it even more at this step (therefor turning the 5 gallons into 10 gallons) – filling their container halfway with the gel & then the other half with water.  You can choose to do this if you like.  However, my family seems to produce pretty dirty clothes, and I prefer to not dilute mine further.  I feel like the cleaning power is stronger this way.

For HE front loading washers, use 1/2 cup for a large load.  For regular top-loading washers, use 1 cup for a large load.  You can use stain removers or oxi-clean with this too if you would like – just the same as you would use them with the detergent you buy in the store.

love this detergent, and have compared it to store-bought & I can’t tell a difference.

***If you are a fan of TIDE, check out this version I created with the power of Tide – you’ll love it!***

You can leave your homemade detergent in the bucket, or you can split up the large batch between empty detergent containers, milk jugs, etc.

By the way, I created this pretty printable label for your homemade detergent containers too.  Just right click to save to your computer to print, or use the printer friendly button at the end of this post.  You can find the printable version of my homemade laundry detergent at underneath it 🙂

Want to get some more recipes for making your own store-bought products?  Click here to see the Mrs’s other make-your-own recipes!  Interested in more ways to stretch your dollars?  Then make sure you take a look at the Frugal Living category as well!

5 from 1 reviews
Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
Serves: 5 gallons
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda!)
  • 5.5oz Fels Naptha soap (you can also use Zote or castile soap - about the same amount, you don't have to be exactly precise)
  • water
  • 5 gallon bucket with a lid
  • essential oil for scent (optional)
  1. Grate the Fels-Naptha soap. Add the soap shreds to a pot with 4 cups of hot water. Put the heat on medium-high, & stir until completely melted - about 10 minutes.
  2. Fill up a 5 gallon bucket halfway with hot water (I like to use the shower for this, it's easier in my opinion). Pour in the melted soap mixture & give it a quick stir. Stir in the borax & washing soda. If your'e using essential oil, now is the time to add it. You add in ½oz to 1oz, depending on how scented you want it. Although, I never really measure it anymore - I just shake in enough drops to where I feel satisfied. Stir the contents again.
  3. Fill up the bucket with warm water, all the way to the top - and stir again. If you don't have a utensil long enough to reach the bottom, just put on a pair of rubber dish gloves beforehand.
  4. Snap on the lid, & let it sit for 24 hours to gel up. It will have the consistency of egg noodle soup - watery with glops of gel.... This is what it should look like! If you would like a smoother consistency like the store-bought brands, you can use an immersion blender at this point to smooth it out. I don't bother with this step though personally - the 'glops' dissolve just fine in the wash - and having a smoother consistency has no effect on the cleaning power or finished product.
  5. At this point, you can divide it up between different containers like empty laundry detergent containers, cleaned out milk jugs, etc. I prefer to use 1-2 empty containers, and leave the rest in the bucket to save on space - refilling my containers as necessary.

The BEST homemade laundry detergent!

I wasn’t happy with the recipes for homemade laundry detergent I was finding so I played around a little with the measurements & made my own. I’ve been using this for several years & have converted many of my friends too. 5 gallons cost you less than $2, & you just can’t beat that. | MrsHappyHomemaker.com @thathousewife

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  • Super easy! Love it! One quick question though, my soap has been sitting over night and it isn’t really gelling…at all. It is completely liquid. Just sorta cloudy. I am still using is and it seems to be working fine I just thought maybe someone else may have had the same issue. Thanks!

    • MrsHappyHomemaker

      After 24 hours, it should have sort of an egg noddle soup texture…kind of a gloppy gell, and that’s completely normal.

      • JRomeo

        would it be acceptable to use Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap instead of castile bar soap?

      • JRomeo

        any chance i could get my other question answered? i’ll repeat it here: would it be acceptable to use Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap instead of castile bar soap ?

        • ChemFreeMe

          I haven’t tried it, but I have tried other recipes that use liquid dish soaps. They still work well, but your laundry detergent will be thin and will not gel. If you want a thicker consistency, stick with the bar soap.

    • Erica

      Yeah, mine seems to have separated?? Chunks of gel & mainly watery :/

      • That’s exactly what it should look like – an egg noodle soup consistency is how I describe it in the post. I know it looks odd, but it works great – just give it a shake before using 🙂

    • Kelle Karn

      My first batch did that.. On my second.. I melted the Fels-Naptha soap longer before I mixied it in and it gelled up grate..

  • Kat

    I use a no grate liquid formula similar to this but there is no cooking. The ingredients are as follows for 1gal: 3 TBSP borax, 4 TBSP washing soda and 3 TBSP Dawn dish soap( original not concentrate) I add the borax and washing soda into a recycled 1 gal bottle then I boil 2 cups of water add that to the bottle and put the lid on and swish it around to dissolve it. Then fill the bottle to about 1″ from the top with warm water then add the dish soap. When I use this I give the bottle a shake before adding it to the wash. It is so easy to make. The best part is it doesn’t take up much space.

    • I’m trying it! Thanks 🙂

    • lulu648

      Does this work with liquid cattle soap do you know? Thanks!

    • Phyllis

      I made the 5 gal. last weekend. I ended up paying 1.44 for 5 gal of laundry detergent. I see this one where you make a gallon at a time with the Dawn. Going to try that this weekend. Thanks Kat

  • where do I get the essential oils? are these the ones sold near candles?

    • MrsHappyHomemaker

      Yes, you can get them near the candles in some stores. There’s also a link above to get them off of Amazon too, if you’re interested.

      • Linda

        Will those oils not leave an oily stain on your clothes? I have been scared to try any of those.

  • connie

    I just made this was pretty easy Only problem I had was the essential oil I had to get some at Hobby lobby which was 10.00 but should be able to use 3 times.Can’t wait to see how it goes was fun making it and smells really nice.

    • I don’t use the essential oil in mine at all because the fels naptha soap has such a nice scent to it… citrusy and very clean smelling.

      • Linda

        I feel the same. We really like the smell of the fels naptha soap.

  • Connie

    If you put the Fels Naptha in the microwave for about a minute it will be much easier to grate, It will bubble, let it cool, it will grate into a powder.

  • Jusy

    I’ve been making my own Liquid Laundry Soap for about a year now and totally love it, I sorta use this process but in a different way, I just recently started making my own liquid fabric softener and LOVE it and I am so happy as I like for my clothes to be very clean and have a soft scent to them. 🙂

  • Brenna @ Life After Laundry

    I am about half way through my first batch and love it. Thanks for the info about essential oil. I didn’t do it this time because i was unsure of the amount. Now I know!

  • sounds great I will have 2 try it. I have an HE front load washer. Any problems with using it with mine?

  • Mike

    I made a batch of this exact thing last night. Set overnite perfectly. Question ; this can be used safely in a HE washer just as is without dilution ? I’ve stirred the heck out of it but am left with what is a gel. Just being careful so looking forward to your response. Thanks !

    • There is no problem using this detergent in HE washers, as there is virtually no sudsing. My husband is a mechanic and this soap takes the grease right out of his clothes!!! LOVE it

    • Shelleigh

      I use my stick blender (the kind to mix protein powder drinks with) and mix it up by dunking it into the glop, blend a minute or so then lift, move then dunk, blend… etc. It will mix it nice and smooth like store bought detergent, easier to pour in your containers. It will separate in your containers again, but give it a few really good shakes and it will be fine.

    • Squeezebagger

      I use a 3/8 drill and a paint mixer / drywall mud mixer paddle, can buy HD or Lowes,,, works great for me

  • Karla

    Can you make this same batch… but instead of using one cup borax & one cup washing soda .. use two of each? & also .. I made some liquid detergent & it got a crust like thing at the top and just liquid at the bottom… does that mean I didn’t do it right??

    • I make mine using 1 1/2 c. of both borax and soda with a bar of fels naptha… the extra helps it gel nicely, i’ve noticed

    • no you did it right!! just mix it up and it will be great!! u can add more or less of each product depending on ur water conditions, and dirtyness i use 2 cups!! pls i add oxy clean to the water!!

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  • Sandi

    Thanks for the laundry soap recipe, it worked great! Do you have a recipe for Homemade Fabric Softener?

    • Your quite welcome – so glad you like it!! I am working on a homemade fabric softener recipe – so check back! 🙂

    • For fabric softener, use 1 c. white vinegar, 2 c. cheap hair conditioner (white rain or suave in your favorite scent) and 3 c. hot water… shake it up and use 1/ 4 c. or so per load, depending on your preference… works GREAT and so cheap!

    • Linda

      Homemade Fabric Softner

      6 cups HOT

      3 cups white vinegar

      2 cups Suave
      Refreshing Waterfall Conditioner (or any other of your favorite scent)

      Mix conditioner & hot water well, until conditioner is
      dissolved completely.
      Add the vinegar, and mix well.

      Store in a large container (empty fabric softener container, empty
      large vinegar bottle, etc)

      Pour into a
      downy ball or use approx. 2 tbsp. in the fabric softener spot in your laundry
      machine, then wash!

    • Linda

      Homemade Fabric Softener Sheets

      Use the fabric softener recipe above & get some washcloths (you can buy new cheap ones for this or use some old recycled ones that are not in use in the house anymore)

      Pour fabric softener in a bowl & soak the wash cloth, you can either use it damp to throw in the dryer with the wet clothes or you can hang dry a few wash clothes at a time & put them in the dryer with your load of clothes. Each sheet will last about 6 loads before you need to redo them.

  • Auntie Eunice

    Mine separated, as well. A very thick layer of yellow gel on top and all liquid underneath. I made 3 gallons; 2 Fels Naptha, 2c. washing soda, 2c. borax.

    • I think you may have misread the recipe. This makes 5 gallons & calls for 1 Fels Naptha, 1 cup of of both washing soda & borax. You made 3 gallons and used twice as many ingredients. I hope you will try it again soon!! :))

      • i use the same recipe as Crystal and dilute it to make 10 gals and have an HE washer and my clothes are clean.I have been using it about a year. Love it.

      • happyinharned

        She could just uae about a fourth cup. Use a stick blender, it will blend it all up right in the bucket. OR add 2 more gallons of boiling water and blend.

  • sammy

    How much tide do you put in for a 5 gal batch?

  • Henks

    I am concerned that adding the essential oil would put oil spots on my clothes. I realize that it is a small amount that is added, but I hate trying to get oil out of clothes. Any problems with this?

    • The essential oil in the laundry detergent is only for scent, and it’s not needed for the cleaning ability. I have personally never had a problem with any spots on my clothes, but you certainly don’t have to had it if you want it. It is an optional ingredient.

  • Countryblueeyes

    Hi I have a family with sensitive skin, any problems? Also my washer is a top load HE, how much do I add?

    • My son and myself both have eczema, and we’ve had no issues with it. And, about 1/2 cup 🙂

    • DClarke1

      I have been making my own laundry soap for about a year now.Very similar to this recipe except I use two bars of ivory soap. My son use to complain his skin was always itchy with store bought detergent.It didn’t seem to matter what type,he complained.Since I’ve been making this,no complaining. I love it! I also make my own softener. 1/2 cup baking soda mixed with 1 cup water.(in a big bowl) Slowly add in 6 cups vinegar. Then whisk in 5 more cups of water. I add 20 drops of essential oil. Usually rose,but you can use orange or lavender.What ever you prefer.I reuse my old softener bottles.I have an HE washer and these recipes work great. Hope this was helpful.

  • I make my detergent as a powder and it’s a tad bit easier. Shaved bar of soap, 1 c. of borax/1c. of washing soda – makes a powder solution and you only need to use 1 tbsp per load so it last for awhile. You can double the amount if you want to make a larger batch. Super easy and works great!

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  • Tracy

    Ive been trying to make this. It doesnt gel right. The top solidifies into a gel and the bottom is liquid. No matter how much or long i heat it or stir it, it will separate and the gel is so hard i cant use it. How do i make it right?

    • Shelleigh

      I use my stick blender (the kind to mix protein powder drinks with) and mix it up by dunking it into the glop, then lift, move then dunk… etc. It will mix it nice and smooth like store bought detergent, easier to pour in your containers. It will separate in your containers again, but give it a few really good shakes and it will be fine.


    The basic test to check the purity of an essential oil is to put one drop on a piece of white paper, and let it sit over night. If, in the morning, there is any oily residue left on the paper, the “essential oil” was either a) cut with a base oil, or b) is not an essential oil (fragrance oil).

    THEREFORE, if you use pure essential oils, rest assures, they will leave no oils residue on your clothes. Rest assured =)

  • Tara R.

    Do you ever make a recipe that adds in OxyClean or sodium percarbonate to get your clothes extra white or would you add this in after the detergent? I really like the option of a liquid one and will be going tonight to pick up the supplies! Thank you

    • I’ve not added the OxyClean to it, but I’ve used it along with the detergent in single loads. However, I do have a new & improved liquid laundry detergent coming this week with the power of Tide… so check back!! 🙂

      • Tara R.

        Thanks! I found a natural alternative recipe using lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and water. I’m getting ready to start making my first batch of this! Excited!

    • squeezebagger

      OxyClean will bubble up (gives off oxygen)and be a mess if added while making home made detergent,,, I add the Sun brand (cheaper) of OxyClean to my HE front load separate from the home made when I wash,,,

  • Bonnie

    I made mine last night and today it looks more watery than gloopy. It smells amazing, but watery. Can I use it or do I start over?

    • It should be the consistency of egg noodle soup… so watery with gel glops in it. No need to start over, go right ahead and use it! 🙂

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  • Tara R.

    Hi! I followed your recipe to a “t” and did not have any scent smell when I dried my clothes. I did have a question for you. The clothes seemed clean until I did a “double check” on my husband’s workout tees and found some “smell” lingering. Any suggestions?? I was hoping to not have to add in any extra cleaners unless they were also natural. Please help!!

    • You could increase the borax & washing soda in the recipe by about a half a cup to make a stronger detergent.

    • Try using vinegar in the fabric softener despenser (for a front load) That not only helps soften the cloths, but it also helps elminate odor

  • ashley

    has anyone used a 5 gallon bucket with a spout on the bottom? does it clog? looking for a less messy way to use it

    • i would not cause u need to shake or stir it before dispening but u could put in smaller containers

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  • Christina

    Does this laundry soap go bad? I have a family of 4 and a 5 gal bucket will last us quiet a long time.

    • Andria Schwortz

      I made a half batch (2.5 gal bucket) and it took me a year and a half to use up in my family of 1 = me. By the end it had dried a bit so sometimes it left detergent spots in my clothes, I really should’ve added water to solve that.

    • Hailey

      It can go bad in about a year. It wont spoil but can leave spots and loose its effectiveness

      • TumaraMarie Steinbach

        Just add water to keep it moist……That is what I do as it starts to dry……

    • sarah

      it lasts my family about 6 months and i do about a load a day

  • missfabulous18

    I have used a similar homemade detergent before in a powder form and noticed after awhile my clothes were totally faded. Anyone have this happen with this formula?

  • omgidk

    I like to use the blender to mix all (decided upon) ingredients… it gives it an initial “foam” & seems to help….. (afterwards- divide into separate recycled laundry soap containers )…. worx like a charm for me:)))

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  • Chelseaf

    I was wondering if this was a good detergent for cloth diapers?

  • In Flight

    O M G! You guys are so awesome! I was using Borax with baking soda(not washing soda) in my wash with store bought detergent, when I could have been making my own detergent all along!! And I buy the essential oils for skin care and whatever else so these recipes are perfect! In fact, I was going to buy a gallon of this wholesale, prefab, generic detergent this weekend for $35, but now that I know I can make my own with the stuff I already use I am so excited! Plus it will be a great project for me and the kids. My kid also had issues with detergents on her clothing. Sometimes I had to double rinse, but then I started to wash their clothes with baking soda, borax and use shout for stains. No problems. But if I can make gallons of this stuff it would save me a lot more money. Thanks.

  • Angela

    Can you use the liquid form of castile soap since that is what i have on hand?

    • Terra

      YES YES YES! For me it works much better than having to dissolve flakes of soap! I use 1c baking soda wash, 3/4c borax, 8oz of Dr. Bronners castile soap (liquid) and about 18c water. Heat on stove top. Remember to dissolve the dry ingredients first in the hot water as doing so after adding the castile soap makes too many bubbles.

      • Angela


  • i have done this many times now and we dont buy store bought soap!! i have starting using the scented laundry beads in it. I add them to the boiling soap, only need like a oz. Also i use a small grater its handheld (like a bigger microplane) and it shreds it very fine so i only takes time for the water to boil ti dissolve it. Also after it sits overnite i blend it up with my hand to break up the goo stuff. Just wonder if anyone has tried using an immersion blender to break up even more??

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  • Cindy

    Has anyone added oxyclean to the recipe? I thought I saw that somewhere but now can’t find that particular recipe. I saw it for the powder recipe but not liquid.

  • ChaosBean

    Just made our first batch, thank you!

  • Rachel Chapman

    Has any one ever used “Dr.Woods Castile Bar Soap”? I was wanting to add it instead of using essential oils.

    • I never have, but if you do try it – please come back & give us your results! 🙂

  • Ginger

    I’ve been making this recipe for ever! Best thing I ever did was find this page! I’ve noted a LOT of people having a LOT of concerns especially about shelf life, cleaning power, use of cold water, and consistency of the liquid….So I thought I would share my over a year of experience with this detergent 😀

    1. Shelf life- Lasts as long as you have it. Doesn’t go bad- I left a misplaced gallon jug of it in my mother-in-laws camper for the summer! It STILL smelled awesome and worked great! I figured if it would have gone bad – the oven like heat temps would have done it in… Nope Also, I made 6 months worth at once… it was excellent to the last drop!

    2. Cleaning power- I have a family of 5 sons (4 are teens and above and the youngest in 12) All VERY active and tend to be quite messy! A Hubby whose job is as a maintenance Man- NO telling what he will come home covered in! Paint, Mud, oily gunk you name it or can picture it in your head and I’ve dealt with it…LOL And we have 2 medium sized dogs that have pet mattresses. I ONLY use cold water to wash and to rinse and this detergent. It works AMAZINGLY!

    3.Cold Water- It’s all I ever use. Ever. No left over stains or oily residues…or funky manly man smells either! LOL

    4. Consistency- It all depends on the heat, cold and humidity of your home. My detergents have been solidly thick, clumpity clumpy, layered thick on top of watery…plain ole watery, and everywhere in between.

    I usually pour my detergents into empty gallon sized milk jugs. I tried putting it into one of those empty laundry soap containers that sits on it’s side, and you push the little button and the liquid pours out into the lid? NOT a great idea…it clogged up the little plungy thingy . All though it would work fine if I’d constantly remember to hoist it up and SHAKE first. Hence me using the Jugs or other empty detergent containers…because it became habit to lift, shake and then pour…easier to do when it’s not a HUGE container…LOL

    Now if it’s a weird consistency while in the larger container (the ‘holding’ bucket) I use a wire whisk before I transfer it, to mix it well!

    5 Allergies- Most of my family is allergic to name brand detergents.they break out in horrible bubble rashes, especially around the collar area that resemble small clusters of grapes… not the case with this recipe!

    6. Essential oils or not- I have used essential oils when in a luxurious mood with NO ill effects. No left over oil spots or over powering aromas…and no odoriferous malfunctions when in contrast to that manly man smell guys have that sometimes turns a shirt ‘sour’ smelling…I haven’t figured the why of it yet except that it doesn’t happen with this recipe.

    Also, I have gone without scent as the fels-naptha has a pleasant scent of its own which is not overpowering once diluted

    I know I’ve written a novel here…. but I thought I should since I am not the one who created this, I do not know the person who did, and I have had a LOT of experience with this recipe. And on top of it all I gain nothing from sharing except to maybe alleviate any fears others may have for taking the ‘plunge’… 😀

    • dana

      yep it work great I think. fels-naptha has a pleasant clean smell and out clothing comes out clean I see no reason to buy store detergent again.

    • Thank you so much for your awesome comment, Ginger! And thank you for taking the time to post all the wonderful tips & suggestions, love it! :))

    • rosie

      thank you SO much for this! quick question…when i’m transferring from the bucket to the bottles, i seem to have a ton of the jelly stuff on top and mostly watery on the bottom. should i transfer until the the jelly stuff is in containers and toss the watery stuff or is the stuff on the bottom just as good. i did mix it up after it jelled but the jelly stayed at the top.

      • dee

        mix it all up before transfer

      • Jeannette Ellis

        Having problems with what to do with the watery part ….. put the gel part in the container leaving some space for the watery part in your storage containers then add some of the watery part to it …….. waste not want not 🙂
        Give a good shake to mix it up when using at laundry time! 🙂

        • Brandi

          I use a my husbands drill and paint mixer attachment to mix it before I divide it into smaller containers. I also let it sit for a day or so after I make it before I divide it.

      • Ginger

        Man! It’s been awhile since I was here! lol… As for the jelly part on top and the watery part on bottom? I have started using my ‘stick’ mixer to mix it up really good and then pour. When you have transferred to other containers- just shake them good to remix and use as usual. Separation is normal!

    • VIJewcea

      Thank you for writing this “novel”, it answered all of my questions. Thanks so much Ginger.

  • kristina jaggar

    I made the soap and it turned into a gel, but I don’t know where to put it in my front load to use it for washing. I placed it in the liquid compartment, but it didn’t dissolve, I placed it in the powder compartment, and still no desolving. Have any of you had this problem a and what did you do to resolve it??

    • Morgan from Oregon

      Try putting it in the washer tub before you add your clothes, or you could dilute it a bit more right before you use it. 1/2 c. soap and 1 c. warm water then mix it together. You could see if it works in the drawer, or you could add it to the tub.

  • Mrs.D

    Thank you for this very simple and easy to follow instructions! I just made my first batch ever and very excited to see how it turned out 🙂 I was already a fan when I purchased the products and realized how much money I’d been wasting.

  • Cheapskate’s Guide to the Gala

    I just made a batch and I hope it works. I do like the smell though.

  • rosie

    so sorry…i think i posted this in response to someone else so i wasn’t sure if you’d see it. apologize for the double comment!

    thank you SO much for this! quick question…when i’m transferring from
    the bucket to the bottles, i seem to have a ton of the jelly stuff on
    top and mostly watery on the bottom. should i transfer until the the
    jelly stuff is in containers and toss the watery stuff or is the stuff
    on the bottom just as good. i did mix it up after it jelled but the
    jelly stayed at the top.

    • Everything works just as good as the other, no matter the texture. A great tip shared with me with a reader to get that store-bought consistency is to use an immersion blender on it. However, no matter the texture – the cleaning power is the same.

  • Trishia

    I have a quick question… I have been using this detergent for several months now and love it!!! My husband gets arm pit stains and they are not coming very clean.. I bought some Shout to spray on before but even that isn’t helping. Can I do anything to help take them out?

    • Oh wow, that seems like a pretty decent stain then! I’ve had a lot of success with the Tide Spray Stain Remover, I’ve found it works better than the other brands of stain removers. Hope this helps!

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  • Martica4u

    I just finished making my second batch of the year. I made both the powder and the liquid. I like the powder best but my family likes the liquid. I can’t remember the last time I bought laundry detergent

  • Jane

    I made this recipe and it is very very gelled. When I put rubber gloves on and squished it around it did get to the consistency you mentioned. Did I do something wrong?

    • It sounds like you it just sat a little longer before mixing it up. No worries! It works just the same, and actually – a lot of my readers actually prefer letting it sit until it gels like that, and then they use an immersion blender to mix up… they tell me it turns into the same consistency as storebought! 🙂

  • Ashley

    Mine is more gel than water.. I had to go in with my hands to loosen it up to the vague consistency everyone talks about.. I think I might need to use a blender for a smoother consistency.. Do y’all think this will still work right? I did everything just the way the instructions indicated..Thanks!

    Ps. I should mention that it was about freezing temperatures last night and got quite cool in the house while it was setting. Maybe this caused it?

    • Temperature can definitely cause it – but no worries, it will work just the same! Some people actually prefer for it to get to the more gelled stage, and then they go in with an immersion blender and tell me that it turns into the same consistency of store-bought gel! Mine has turned into a more gelled state on occasion, mostly from me just forgetting about it and letting it sit too long – and I just go in with my hands and break it all up and use it as I normally would. The cleaning power is left unaffected.

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  • Rachel Hartman

    I accidentally used baking not washing soda….. can I still use it?

    • Oops! I wouldn’t recommend it for the laundry. Baking soda doesn’t work like washing soda does in the wash.

  • PuddyTat

    I used mine for the first time tonight. I love the scent without the essential oil. Only thing I’m questioning is there is no suds. Is this normal? The water got dirty, so it’s obviously cleaning, but no suds. Thanks

    • Ginger

      That is very normal. A lot of us are taught to think that the sudsier it is the better. Actually it’s not the bubbly part that works but the ingredients. No foam means less gunk in the washer and less chance of a residue left on your clothing.

  • PuddyTat

    Hi – I made this for the first time and tried it tonight. I had no suds in a top load washer. It appears to have cleaned the clothes fine though and smelled great. Is there supposed to be suds? Thank you for your response

    • No, this is a low sudsing soap, which makes it HE Washer safe! It’s not the suds that clean your clothes, but the soap itself – so no worries!

      • PuddyTat

        Excellent. Thank you!

  • elizawife

    I just finished washing my first load of clothes with this stuff and wow! Thank you so much! So quick and easy (a plus when you are great with child and have a 2 year old)! I wanted mine to be a little more smooth (but lacking an immersion blender) we used a paint mixer attachment for my husband’s drill. Cost about $7 at the local hardware giant and worked great!

    • Yay! I’m so glad you had such wonderful results!

  • Squeezebagger

    I use half a bar of Zote and half a bar of Fels-Naptha , one cup Borax , one cup washing soda, and two cups of any decent HE detergent to my 5 gallons of soap,,, after it gels I mix it with a cordless drill and a paddle used to mix drywall mud or paint,, then I pour it into the jugs ,,, this has worked for me for over a year now,,, I do not add oils as the 2 cups liquid HE adds fragrance,,,

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  • Jenna

    I have used this same recipe for over a year now. As of lately, though, I’m noticing that many of my garments are coming out with small “spots” all over them. I’m making sure to mix the detergent before each load, but the spots still appear and DO NOT WASH OUT! Does anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid this problem?

    • I’ve been using this detergent for 3 years, and haven’t had that issue – so I’m not sure what’s going on here, and I totally hate that for you! Do you think maybe your washing machine needs to be cleaned? My mother had that issue before in the past (but she uses storebought detergent) and it was because her washing machine needed to be cleaned. In case that’s something that interests you, here’s a good link to help out with it. It’s REALLY easy! http://bit.ly/1fQIGHM

    • Andria Schwortz

      I recently had this (white splotches over some of my clothes) with a batch I’d made 1.5 years prior. I’m pretty sure it’s just that my detergent had dried out a bit, as I only got the spots when I poured the detergent onto the dry clothes, and didn’t get the spots when I added the detergent at the bottom of the bin or with the water streaming in.

  • Ginijean

    Do I have to use one of the two soaps suggested or may I use any?

  • Ginijean

    Do I have to use one of the suggested soap(fels-naptha) or may I use my own?

    • You could definitely make your own!

  • Michelle

    Finally made this last night, and this morning it was super gloppy just like you said. But I found that using a whisk during the process of mixing and then the next day using an immersion blender makes it completely smooth. Thank you so much for this recipe, we are going to save so much money!!!!

  • Kylie

    I am on my second batch of this recipe and I love it. I let mine set up and then stir it with an paint stir attachment to my husband’s drill. I then pour it up into a empty laundry soap bottle and then fill a couple 2L drink bottles with it leaving some head room. When I need to refill my soap bottle I just shake up on of the 2L bottles and then pour it up. When my 2L bottles are empty I just refill from my bucket because I have found that mine settles some in both the buckets and bottle. This eliminates having to deal with stirring from the bucket everytime I need to refill my soap bottle.

    • So glad you like it! 🙂

  • big_log

    I use this same recipe, but I also add a cup of generic OxyClean that I find at Dollar Tree. It’s great for stains and whitening, and that $1 provides enough for three batches.

  • happyinharned

    I have made my detergent for 2 years and I love it. I use I cup borax and 1 cup washing soda, but I use 2 bars of zest or irish spring and I also add 2 cups of a good fabric softener. It smells good and the soap is a green color. I melt my grated soap in the microwave then pour it into my bucket , that is filled with the boiling water and fabric softener. It is quicker and easier this way. I then stir a few times the first day with my whisk. The next day I use my stick blender and it blends up perfectly. I started out making it different ways I had read about but this one is faster and easier. My soap would usually boil over and make a mess. Now all I have to wash is my bowl from the microwave, I keep all my supplies together and separate ready for just soap making.

    • jeff gerou

      so from what i’m reading here is that ya can use basically any kind of bar soap and still use the borex & washing soda, and wouldn’t be a problem adding oxyclean to the mix for the whites, and with the ingredients this will make 5 gallons correct?, because i’m starting mine tomorrow.

  • Leisa Eldridge

    Is this safe to use with septic tanks?

  • Sandy Parker

    I made the homemade detergent yesterday and I’m now washing a small load. My question is its not soapy or blubbly in the wash, us this normal?

    • its normal

    • Yes, this is perfectly normal – and it’s why it works in HE washers as well. No worries!

  • Lindsay

    Could you make a detergent “concentrate” and not worry about adding the extra water? Say you use the four cups for the soap, add the powders… would it be essential to add the gallons of water? Or could you blend the said ingredients and only use a tbsp or two of the mixture?

    • Jennifer Nelson

      I made this recipe and realized while I was making it that I had a 14oz bar of Zote instead of the 5.5oz it called for. I did the math and increased the Borax and Washing Soda but not the water. I figured it would just be concentrated and I could add water later. But now it is a VERY thick concoction, think oatmeal. When I put it in a container and add the water to it, it just doesn’t seem right. Help please.

  • Paige

    Can you make this as a “concentrate” by using half the water? Or will that mess things up?

  • Oh this is so neat!! I am so trying this soon!

  • OK, I’m going to FINALLY try this (or your version with TIDE) this week! Looking forward to it. 🙂

  • Logan

    I use a paint stirring attachment for a power drill to mix mine. It gives it a better consistency more like store bought.

    • Wendy DuhMe

      I didn’t have anything like that, and I needed Something to mix the gloppy stuff with! Lol. Duct tape to the rescue!! My son took a potato smasher (fortunately for him, not my favorite) and duct taped it to a 1/2″ pvc tube, a little over 2′ long. He taped the whole handle of the smasher to one end of the tube, wrapping the tape around 3 or 4 times. When I first let the detergent set overnight, I usually get a solid layer on top of the liquid. I use this contraption to break up the solid layer and mix up the detergent thoroughly. I’ve made 3 batches of the detergent since then, and the tape is still holding up as good as it was the first day.

  • Rachel

    If I’m going to make my detergent with liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronners) How much do I use? And, do I need to heat it/mix with water & boil before adding it to the bucket?

  • Kristen

    Made this last night, and it set up beautifully. Although, stirring the bucket was a bit of a pain, I finally broke down and grabbed my blender. Can’t wait till tomorrow to share with my mother, grandmother and a few friends.

  • Brianne Lindauer

    Do you use fabric softner with it or is it not needed? Thanks!

  • Brianne Lindauer

    Do you need to use fabric softner with this detergent?

    • No, you don’t have to. That’s a personal preference.

  • Jackie

    I grated the soap the first time and my hand hurt for two weeks, so this time I put the Fels Naptha in a jar of water and am letting it dissolve to make it easier on myself. It’s dissolving.

  • Stephanie Vieira

    Has anyone had trouble with their pipes clogging because of this detergent?

  • Kristy

    Can you melt in the purex crystals for scent instead of using the oils ?

    • KB

      I think the point of this recipe is not only to save money but to eliminate the chemicals…Adding the purex crystals would be counter intuitive as they are basically only chemicals…

  • RS

    I have used a liquid version that doesn’t need any grating for years: 1 Gal hot water, 1/4 cup washing soda, 1/4 cup borax, and 1/4 cup liquid Dawn (the blue only). Easier than grating and boiling stuff. Don’t buy washing soda… you can make it by putting baking soda in the oven at 400 degrees for about 4 hrs.

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  • Wendy DuhMe

    This is the first time I’ve made this recipe. The other ones I’ve used required cooking the borax & soda with the fels-naptha, so as I was making this, when the fels-naptha was melted, I added the other ingredients. Realized at once what I did, so I turned the heat off and just stirred until everything was dissolved. Guess I’ll see the outcome tomorrow. Uhm…I’m making your BooBoo Salve next…Does it help with brain-farts? (Or should I be PC and say BrainGas?)

    • Wendy DuhMe

      To update about my mistake. It was no big deal. The detergent worked great. Even my adult son-a welder who stops in once a week to do his laundry 🙂 – likes this stuff.

  • Jenn

    I made this and I absolutely LOVE it!!! Ive been looking for ways to save money especially with expecting a newborn in just a few weeks. I will never buy laundry soap again!! I will be making more this week to have some spare so I dont have to worry about running out when the baby gets here!! Thank you!!

  • Elizabeth Irving

    I made this and there is no gel to it at all. It is all completely liquid. Like water basically. It smells lovely, but if I try to pour it in the detergent drawer of my front loader, it just goes right through the drawer because it is so thin. What might I have done wrong? And is there any way to thicken it?

  • Renee Henson

    This is great thank you so much for the recipe!!!

  • Chasity Haynes

    Question when soap is in washer is it suppose to Sud up like normal detergent.

    • emarieg

      No, it doesn’t suds up.

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  • Dianne Clanton

    You can turn your baking soda into washing soda and make this even cheaper! Natures Nurture blog gives these instructions and it’s really simple! The process is really simple. Just heat your oven to 400 F (or 200 C), sprinkle some baking soda on a shallow pan, and bake it for about half hour, until it changes composition. You should also stir it up occasionally, just so that it bakes more evenly.So how do you know when it changes into washing soda? That part takes a little more work; just a closer, watchful eye. Once you know the differences between the 2 sodas, you’ll be able to tell in no time. Penny breaks it down like this: Baking soda is powdery, crystallized like salt, and clumps together. Washing soda is grainy, dull and opaque, and is separate grains.

  • cylina

    Could I use liquid castile soap instead of the bar? How much?

  • Bobbie

    I made two batches and the one won’t gel. I did everything the same. Is there anything I can do to salvage or is it a compete loss?

    • Mara

      It will work just as good in the watery form, sometimes I get a batch that is watery and I use it just the same. I have never really noticed a difference.

  • Kathie

    I just made my 2nd 5 gallon bucket using basically this recipe. I substituted Zote soap flakes so I wouldn’t have to grate the soap (I’m into as EASY as possible) and I used a bit less borax and added oxi-clean. I kept the soap in the 5 gallon bucket next to the wash machine in the basement since it is not an area we use for anything but laundry. I just scoop it out with a measuring cup and use it in my front-load wash machine. My familly has noticed NO difference in our laundry. It is clean and smells as if we used unscented detergent. It takes about 20 minutes to make start to finish – and is very worth it. I got over 100 loads out of one bucket – I tend to use more like 3/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup – so I could probably have gotten more. THANK YOU for the recipe.

  • tracie

    How can i make it smell like tide or fain without acctualy adding tide or gain to it. And how much would i have to add to a 5 gallon bucket??

  • Krystin

    We have tried this twice we followed the recipe except we added a box of baking soda. The first time we got a big foam that fired on top and second time a hard like soap bar formed on top. It seemed that’s where the cleaning components went is in the foam and water underneath both times. What are we doing wrong??

    • I would say adding the baking soda was what did it. I would not add any baking soda to the mixture, and just go with the washing soda.

    • Candy Jones Van Frachen

      You need to use washing soda, not baking soda. You find it in the laundry isle.

  • Grace

    I have been making this recipe for over a year now. It is terrific. I have found that it is best to store the homemade detergent in heavier containers, such as vinegar and Dr Bonner’s soap type containers. I have stored the detergent in gallon milk containers and have had problems with the containers leaking. I have no problems with the heavier plastic containers. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • I’m so happy to hear that you’ve had great success with it! It’s all we’ve used in our home for years! Thank you so much for coming & letting me know that you like it!! 🙂

  • Joy

    So, how much do I use in a normal load of laundry? Do I just measure it as usual, about a cup per load?

  • Eddie Shuck Jr.

    I’ve made this twice (lasts me about a year with two of us). I use Zote soap bar it’s a bit chunkier than the Fels-Naptha (and same price). It makes the whole house smell wonderful when “cooking” and setting in the bucket. I also use cold wash and rinse and have not had any problems with stains, odor, or leftover residue. I add a bit of vinegar to the wash and no problems. We love this detergent and haven’t bought any since a year ago. I do have one question I was going to give some to a friend but they have one of those HE washers and I was wondering if this detergent was safe to use with those? Thanks you for sharing this wonderful detergent.

  • We have been hearing about complaints of skin irritation brought by chemical in laundry detergents. The shift from chemicals to natural ingredients is a great idea to address these concerns.

  • yoja

    how can I make it more foamy? do what do I have to add?

    • I don’t really think there’s a way to may it more foamy – but ‘foam’ doesn’t clean the clothes any better so there really isn’t a reason to need to make it that way. Hope that helps!

  • Melanie Nichols

    Can anyone tell me whether or not this detergent is safe for newborns? Ive been making it for about a year & love it!

    • I’m not a professional, but as a mom I used it with my son when he was a newborn with no issues & he had very sensitive skin.

      • Melanie Nichols


  • Lydia Widener

    I made this soap yesterday and im disappointed I followed the directions to a t but it came out extremely watery. I don’t know what went wrong!!! So not happy about this!

    • Candy Jones Van Frachen

      It will still clean well.

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  • maria

    I made this with the castille. It’s been 24 hours and it hasn’t gelled at all. Any suggestion

  • Autumn

    Can you use purex crystal instead of essential oils?

  • Tyrel B. Harness

    To those who ask about Castile soap for use in laundry detergent: no. It’s has a super-fat (meaning that some fat has not been turned into soap by the lye). Laundry bars are 0% super-fat. You don’t want that extra oil in your laundry: it’s good for your skin but not for your clothes. If you used a bar of soap with 0% SF on your skin it would severely dry it out.

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  • sarah

    i love this recipe. I have a family of 6 and it will last me 6 months . I also add in a half of a container of gain fabric softner . My clothes always look good and smell great. 🙂

  • Dominika

    Do you know how well it works for cloth diapers/inserts? I don’t want to use the wrong detergent and. A use my diapers to get a build iPhone of some kind…. any reports on that?

  • susan_oconnell

    I’m curious: did you use regular bar soap instead of the Fels Naptha? We’ve been using a nearly identical recipe to the one above for about a year without any issues, but I’ve heard that castille soap can cause issues. (asking because we’re about to make a new batch & I was thinking of going with the castille this time).

    • I have used castille soap with no issues, but I make sure I purchase 100% castille soap for best results.

  • Michelle Hicks

    I made 5 gallons of laundry soap and mine doesn’t make any sudds. Is this normal and if it is has can I make it so it does make suds. I am sorry I no I am funny I believe my clothes don’t get clean with out suds.

    • DISQUSted

      Suds aren’t necessary.

  • Jenny Dvorak

    Can you reuse the pot after for food or will everything taste like soap?

    • Brittney N.

      Of course you can use the pot. They are just cleaning supplies, they aren’t going to leach anything into a metal pot; wash your pot normally and you’ll be fine.

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  • Felisha

    I’ve made this split it into two 5 gallon containers so it’s a little less concentrated, and I may have overlooked but can I use this on an he washer I just

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  • Susan Brousseau Hensley

    Does this work in HE washers?

    • Katelyn Scafidi

      It looks like the recipe says that you can, but just to use half the amount 🙂

  • Labradorsrule

    How does this smell if you do not use any essential oils added to it? I am aware of how Fels Naptha smells but not the other products.

  • Joe B

    I made 10 gallons of liquid laundry detergent. I have a family of four and it was gone within 4-5 months. However, to account why it went so fast I gave probably 5 gallons away! Everyone loves it!

  • Andriana Eichenberger

    i made mine using liquid castile soap and i find that it is a very watery consistency. How can i thicken it?

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  • Ashley

    Hi! I’m loving this idea! You used 1 bar of soap, right? I made it last night and want to make sure I got that right. Thanks!!

  • Mom ‘O 8

    Ok, i did this and have 5 gallons of goo! Do I just drop the goo directly in the washer as I fill it up? How do you put goo into laundry containers? It doesn’t pour out like water??

  • Stephanie Vaupel

    Would I be able to add a cup of oxiclean in addition to the other powders or would that mess with the consistency?

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  • Norma Lowell

    I have been making this soap for over a year and I still can’t get my soap shreds to completely melt.. What am I doing wrong??

  • Deb

    It takes a whole cup per large load? That seems like a lot.

    • Mark A. Carlisle Sr.

      What size cup in ozs

  • Cathy Ballenger

    I just made my first batch of this and it seems as if it works well. But I have that old idea still stuck in my head that there has to be bubbles in order for it to be getting clean. When added to my top-loading washer, my water + laundry soap mixture looks almost clear (no bubbles at all). Is this normal?

    • Wendy DuhMe

      That’s the good part about this detergent. The bubbles aren’t necessary, and from what I read when I first got my HE washer, they tend to ‘gunk up’-my words- the washer. My clothes have been much cleaner since I’ve been using this detergent. It took a couple washes before I really noticed the difference-I held a couple shirts back, to compare. I’m not sure why, though.

  • Mark A. Carlisle Sr.

    When you say a CUP. is that an 8 oz cup or are you talking about a laundry cup like on the regular detergent bottle?

    • DISQUSted

      I use a regular laundry cup.

  • Wendy DuhMe

    I know this isn’t my recipe, nor my site, so I apologize if I’m stepping on anyone’s toes, but I see you don’t have a response. After my first batch, I started doubling the water in the pot, and after the Fels-Naptha is melted, I add a cup of the borax and washing soda, and bring them to a slow boil, stirring frequently on low heat, until they are dissolved. Then about another ten minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on it. It will over-boil. I don’t have a really large stockpot to use though. When I add it to the bucket and add hot water, I do add orange essential oil. I didn’t have a problem with odor before I used the essential oil, though. My son stayed with me for a little while, between ‘away’ jobs; he’s a welder…a dirty, smelly job. His clothes always came out clean. He liked this detergent much more than any brand out there. Hope this helps, if you try again!

  • Nicole Millwater

    Can you still use bleach with this?

    • Ginger

      Yep. The same as you would with any other detergent.

  • Brooke

    Thank you so much for this recipe! We go through a ton of
    laundry at our house with 2 kids, a mechanic, and 2 big dogs. I was so sick of
    buying spending so much on laundry detergent. First I started buying cheaper
    soap but it didn’t clean as well so I was using more and not actually saving
    money. I found your recipe, tried it and I love it! Easy to make, smells clean,
    and cleans great! I wash all of our clothes in cold water and they always come
    out clean! I’ll never go back to store bought detergent! Thanks!

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  • Aimee Leaumont Kovis

    how much of this mixture do I use for one large load of laundry? I have a High E washer.

  • Vic

    If I have a HE washer do I put the detergent in the dispenser or directly in the washer?

  • Corrine

    I have been using this exact recipe for a while. It is the best one I’ve found and has saved us a ton of money.My husband and I go through it pretty quick and now with a new baby, even faster. It’s gotten to where I can’t stand the smell of the fake scents in store bought detergent (that I used to love). I also throw a little vinegar in a downy ball as a fabric softener. It doesn’t make your clothes smell like vinegar at all.

  • Ben Rubenzer

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for posting this recipe. I have lots of allergies to commercial additives. I’m looking forward to trying this.

  • NellieJ

    I and my pocketbook love your home made laundry detergent! Thank you!

  • Nancy Wilson

    I just made the second batch of this liquid laundry detergent. I followed the directions exactly as written. Then let it sit in the 5 gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid for about 36 hours. My husband used his drill with the long paint stirrer to properly mix it until the gel was completely dissolved. I then used a funnel in the clean plastic gallon jugs to pour the detergent from the bucket to the gallon jugs. I used a 2 cup measuring cup to do this. I only filled the gallon jugs about 3/4 full to leave room to shake/mix it as I use it for my laundry. The jugs stay in our garage until I’m ready to bring one jug at a time into the laundry room; there isy no spoilage in hot or cold weather.

  • Linda Petrekovich

    This is my first time making this. I heated the bar soap tell melted then mixed with powders. Let it sit in jar and the liquid is on bottom and on top it looks the bar soap is hard. How do I get this to be a gel?

  • Hillary

    Hi! I’ve made this recipe before with no problems – loved it. Just made it again yesterday but today when I went to separate into containers saw that it had gelled into one solid 5-gallon sized block. Definitely not egg drop soup. Any ideas what could have caused it to do this? Thx

  • Jon & Janet Wolff

    Has anyone made this without Borax? Are there adjustments that need to be made? Is it still as effective?

  • Karin OBryan

    Just came across this site looking for liquid detergent to make. I have been making powder for about a year and love it, just wanted to try liquid. My batch has NOT gelled AT ALL. Use as is or wait longer?? Its been over 24 hours.

  • H2o

    Hi i was wondering if i could use liquid castile soap for this

    • DISQUSted

      I think you can, but it probably wont gel like it would with bar soap.

  • Ayana D

    Thank you for this recipe. My mother and I decided to each make a batch at my house. 1 with naphtha bar soap and 1 with pink zote. I prefer naphtha over zote. My consistency is more like fabric softener vs detergent, but I’m loving it. I also made a concentrated vs for my brother. 1/2 gallon and is the consistency of mayonnaise. We are a family of 7 with twin 1 year olds so I’m sure we’ll get thru the batches shortly

  • Kayla Sawyer

    do you have to wait for the 24 hours before you can use it?

    • Siebert200

      You can use some right away. Then let the rest gel overnight.

  • Rose

    Is the detergent safe for he machines?

    • Siebert200

      Totally safe.

  • Ruth Anne Majors

    Just found this post and an FYI – 1 TBS of liquid laundry detergent is all you need to get your laundry clean. This was told to us by a repair man – when questioned, he said, “who writes the directions for the amount of detergent needed for a load?”. Yup, that’s right, the detergent manufacturing company and if you use more then you have to buy more! Most problems with washing machines is because too much detergent is being used and clogs everything up!

  • Dawn Strohl

    1C seems like a lot of detergent. Is this really the amount used?

    • DISQUSted

      I think it depends on the size of the load and how dirty the clothes are. Play around with it and see what amount works for you.

  • I’ve been making this for over a year now. It works great on getting dirty gunk off clothes, but it doesn’t do a very good job on odors. I didn’t use essential oils though, so that might fix it. The only real complaint I have is the globs. It doesn’t work properly in my detergent dispenser. I don’t mind it that much except it means my husband complains and is that much less likely to do a load.

  • CherylA

    Always make sure you read the directions – I added the borax to the pot ON THE STOVE – let’s just say – it erupted!! Haha! SMH!

  • Annabel

    I use this for a HE washer?

    • DISQUSted

      Yes, you can.

  • Annabel

    Can I use this with a HE washer?

    • DISQUSted


  • Lena Rosselli Marinaro

    I broke this down into the 2.5 gal works great . going to keep some plain smelling then take some and add different scents Like one gallon Lavender and I gallon Vanilla. Sweet

  • Kathy

    Does anyone use an unscented soap in place of the Fels-Naptha I just made my first batch and I’m not a fan of the fragrance, I was planning on adding essential oils but don’t think it will go well with the Fel-Naptha. Any suggestion.

  • Margie Fourie

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I misplaced my old recipe, but now have yours saved.

  • Julie Higginson

    THANK YOU!!! This recipe is the BEST. We do a LOT of laundry. Each of us has noticed that this liquid laundry soap gets our clothes cleaner than the store bought stuff. We have very hard well water so I add 1/2 cup to each load, plus I use distilled water to make this. Just love this laundry soap!

  • Cheryl

    I have been using this recipe for years and LOVE it! At one time I lost the recipe and tried another one, which I did not like at all. I’m so glad I found this one again!!! It lasts forever, is inexpensive, and works the best. After I make it, I re-stir it and move about 1/2 gallon to another container (I use a 1 gallon ice tea bottle with a handle.) Then I can shake it if it starts to separate or add some more water if it’s too thick. I also stir the big bucket once in a while. I will never buy laundry detergent again.

  • ChemFreeMe

    I just tried this today, with a few mods. I live alone, so I scaled the recipe down for 2 gallons instead of 5 since I only use about 2 gallons of liquid detergent per year. I also used Dr. Bronner’s lavendar castile soap instead of Fels Naptha. It’s sitting for 24 hours now, so I plan to let you know how it turns out tomorrow!

    • ChemFreeMe

      My soap turned out runny, but I used it with a load of laundry and it still cleans well! I’m going to try the salt solution to see if that thickens it and will try to remember to update again tomorrow.

    • ChemFreeMe

      The salt solution didn’t work, it just made foam on the surface. I think next time I’ll use more of the bar soap or try Zote, which has a less dubious ingredients list than Fels Naptha.

  • Tom Flores

    Surprised that you did not include ho to make your own washing soda and it is easy to do. here is how:

    DIY Washing Soda Instructions
    Turn oven on 400 degrees F.
    Pour a thick (1/2 inch or so) layer of baking soda on the bottom of the baking dish.
    Bake for 1 hour, stirring 1-2 times in the middle, or until it has changed in look and feel. …
    Let cool and store in air-tight jar.

  • Barbara J. Sterling

    Rather than putting in all that water, I just dissolve my soaps in 1 Qt of boiling hot water & put it into a smaller container using 1t – 1T depending on how dirty the laundry is.

  • cagenuts

    In South Africa, prices are that great so my mixture came out to $10 for 5 gallons. This is 2017 though. I used mass instead of volume to measure out the Borax and Washing Soda so I hope it works out.

    If you need to fill an old 1.5l washing liquid bottle and you have a 5l bucket handy then these are my measurements;

    To make 4.5l worth of washing liquid.

    56g each of Borax and Washing Soda
    1/3 of a 4oz/113g cake of pure castile Soap
    About 20 drops of essential oils.

    The effective ratio of 5 gallons to 4.5 litres is 4.2.

    Thanks for the recipe.

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