DIY Detergent

I've been making my own laundry detergent for years. Originally I decided to do it because we were broke and I thought it would help save some money (which it did!) but then I started thinking about the fragrances and chemicals in most store bought detergents and figured they didn't need to be going in our bodies if I could help it. And with babies, you're supposed to use only Dreft or something similar and I got tired of washing the baby clothes separately from ours. It turns out my son has extremely sensitive skin and this detergent does not bother him. And I actually really like making my own detergent. Makes me feel somewhat pioneer woman-ish. Which is my goal in life. Just kidding. So here we go...this is easy and simple. Two of my favorite words.

First you need a pretty container. I found this beauty 50% off at Hobby Lobby. It is a 1.5 Gallon Montana Jar.

Then your ingredients:

Now, I decided I wanted to pretty my container even more. You can buy nice neat little chalkboard labels, but I was like what's the fun in that? So I had some chalkboard paint and a sponge brush already.

I painted a couple of coats in a rectangular shape. Not a perfect rectangle, but who cares?

Whoops, a run. It's ok, I'll scrape it off after it's good and dry.

Ok, while the paint was drying on my jar, I got out my grandmother's old wash tub because I needed something big enough to mix all the ingredients. And I thought an antique wash tub was an appropriate thing to mix washing powder in. And it makes me think of my grandmother....

Add the Super Washing Soda.

Add the Baking Soda.

Add the Borax.

Add the Oxiclean. (And hey, there's a scoop if you don't have one already. I'm using a metal tablespoon for my scoop. But no shame in this free plastic one that comes with your Oxiclean.)

Now, the fun part. The part that makes your house smell amazing. I use an old hand cheese grater to grate my 3 bars of Fels-Naptha. Sure there are easier ways....some people use a food processor. But I only make soap once every 6 months or so. No harm in putting in some elbow grease.....or getting your sweet kid to lend a hand....

Now, don't be a dummy like me and put your grater in the dishwasher when you're done. You will be trying to figure out why all of your dishes are filmy for days. True story. Pathetic, I know. Hand wash that thing.

Now, my lovely assistant stirred my ingredients for me.

I don't usually add essential oils to my detergent but I know several people who do. And I love my oils so I decided to give it a shot this time. Any of the citrus oils will give you a clean scent. Lemon or Orange or Grapefruit. But I chose Tea Tree and Orange this time. Tea Tree has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. And Orange is very clean smelling.

I added about 10 drops of each scent. So 20 drops total.

And gave it a final mix.

It smells wonderful!

I then used a measuring cup to transfer into my pretty glass container.

I waited until the next morning to scratch off the drip of paint and to use chalk on it. That's it!

I had a little extra that wouldn't fit in the glass jar so I put it in my oxiclean container. I do about 5 loads of laundry a week and this recipe will last me about 6 months. You can use 1-2 tablespoons. I usually use about 2 tbsp per load.

If you try my recipe or have one of your own to share, please leave a comment below! Thank you!


  1. Making detergent is so thrifty. I love the jars you used too. Does it smell good though? Well, I guess I mean fresh. I like clean scents.

    1. Yes, this recipe smells very fresh even without the essential oils!

  2. Great way to go. I wonder if I can use it with my washer. When we purchased it, we were told we should use detergent for he machines, even though our washer is not an he machine. Will have to research that.

    1. From what I've read, this is HE safe. I do not have an HE machine but I understand that high suds soap is the issue with HE machines. This soap is not very sudsy.

  3. I think I need to actually try this! I've had lots of friends who talk about doing this, but I've never tried it myself. When you mix the soap together, do you need the container you mix it in to be a lot bigger? Also, just curious, are you able to find all of the ingredients in the store or do you buy off Amazon?

    1. Yes, I would get a big container to mix in just to give you a little room to mix. And yes, all of the ingredients (minus the essential oils) can be bought at most grocery stores or Wal-Mart. I've bought them from Amazon before too. And the container came from Hobby Lobby but you can get that on Amazon as well. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. You're a woman after my own heart! You make your own laundry soap and use Now Essential Oils. Making my own detergent has saved us SO much money!

    1. Aww thanks for checking out my recipe! Yes, it saves lots of money and I just feel better about using my own :)

  5. This is great! My husband is extremely allergic to the fragrances in regular laundry detergent, and we have just tried to buy "clean" soap from stores like Sam's Club. Never thought of making my own, but this seems pretty easy!

  6. Wow this is very innovative idea. We should use top brand laundry detergent powder because it is better than normal unhygienic detergent powder. Get more resource visit here.