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Frugal Challenge: Homemade Laundry Detergent-Powder


homemade laundry detergent

The Challenge: Significantly reduce the cost of washing clothes.

The Solution: Give up the wonderful smell and convenience of my favorite detergent and make one from scratch that will work just as well.

OK, I’m not that thrilled about this one, but dang! Laundry detergent is expensive!  I’ve read a lot about other families making the switch, so we’re jumping in.  This is a recipe I found on Pinterest and my cost for the ingredients is minimal:

homemade laundry detergent

1 bar Fels Naptha soap – $.97

2 c. Borax – $3.47 for a box that will make three recipes worth. So, about $ 1.16 for one.

2 c. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda – $2.79 for a box that will make three recipes. $ .93 for one.

You can add Baking Soda – 1/2 to 1 cup – if you have super dirty clothes to give it a boost.  Some folks also add a fragrance and softener like Purex Crystals.

laundry 3

Grate the bar of soap on a box grater or micro-planer. (I get my DH to do this part!) Then it’s simply a matter of pouring all of the ingredients in a container, putting the lid on tight and shaking them up.  This is definitely a case of “do what I say, not what I do!” Put the lid on tight. 🙂

laundry 4


Finally, the first time we made this, we would find bits of the grated soap that hadn’t dissolved on our clothes.  To alleviate that, I started giving everything a whirl in the food processor so the soap is pretty fine.

We use 1-2 tablespoons per load, depending on the size of the load and level of funk.  Although we don’t have a high efficiency washing machine, I’ve read that this mixture is safe for those machines, too.

The Verdict:  This stuff works!  It’s hypoallergenic and, although it’s fragrance-free, our clothes smell fresh.  I would also guess that this homemade laundry detergent is much nicer to our septic tank. We’re saving money and will continue to use this recipe.

Have you tried to make your own laundry detergent? Anyone use the liquid version?