Homemade Laundry Detergent

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I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for about a year now. I got the recipe from my mom, who I think got it from a newspaper column. I have very hard water, and this detergent makes a huge difference! My clothes are soft and they keep their color well. It’s easy and extremely inexpensive!

You will need:

6 cups water

1/3 bar Fels Naptha laundry bar soap, grated

1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

4 cups hot water

2-gallon bucket



First, grate the 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap. I just use a regular cheese grater for this, and put it into a heavy large pan.


Add 6 cups of water and heat on the stove over low heat until dissolved, stirring frequently. Do not allow to boil. Stir in Super Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat.


Add 4 cups of hot water to a 2-gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and mix very well!! Fill bucket with more hot water, leaving a few inches at the top, and mix well. I cover it with Saran wrap to keep it from developing a yucky film on top. Set aside for 24 hours to allow the mixture to thicken.


Pour into containers. I use old laundry detergent jugs, and I use a funnel to catch any chunks of mixture that didn’t completely dissolve.


The recipe makes quite a bit of detergent!! Use 1/2 cup to 1 cup of detergent per load. Note: this recipe doubles well, but you’ll need a 5-gallon bucket if you double it.


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