Homemade Laundry Detergent....Yes, it works!

Years ago I came across this recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent by the Duggar Family.  I was skeptical at first, only a tablespoon would clean our clothes?  Doesn't the commercial laundry industry convince us that only huge amounts of THEIR particular brand of detergent will clean our clothes?  That we should pay upwards of $20 a bottle for such a important item?  That we must be NUTS to try anything else!

Well, sometimes you have to scrape by and during those days I decided it was high time I gave this Homemade Laundry Detergent a try!  So off I went for my ingredients, taking note that there was only 3 and all chemical-free.  But would it really clean the clothes for a family of 5 (all males but me!), including a husband that works in a quarry and spends most of his time outdoors?

It worked.  Not only does it work, but it works GREAT!  No chemicals, no additives, no perfumes. This also had a pleasant side effect of no longer irritating our skin (I have occasional eczema) from commercial detergents.  I will say it does not work so great on solid whites.  I have seen people add Oxy-clean to this recipe with great results and essential oils for scent.

Think about it, for less than $10 you can do approximately 40 loads of laundry.  Hmmm... that's just about 25 cent per load.  Let's say a commercial soap for $20 also does 40 loads (and we know it doesn't) that's double the cost.  Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Did I mention, the boxes of Arm & Hammer and Borax will net you about 9 complete recipes so really you're just buying the Fels-Naptha.  I'm no mathematician but that's like 2 cents per load. Again a no-brainer.

Ingredients - total initial cost under $10

  • 1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer super washing soda (not baking soda or detergent!)
  • 1/2 cup borax

Preparation Instructions

  1. Grate soap or break into pieces; place in a food processor and blend until the entire bar is powdered.  Alternatively you can use any type of food grater. 
  2. Mix the powdered soap bar and remaining ingredients together in a small bucket with a lid. If you are using a food processor, just add the remaining ingredients and continue to blend.
  3. Powdered soap can be stored in a dry area indefinitely.   

Use Instructions

For 'really dirty' clothes use two tablespoons per load. For 'standard wear' clothes use one tablespoon (like intimates and towels).

While we're on the subject of soap, here's a quick and 
easy way to stretch your dollars with dish and hand soaps.  

For dish washing, purchase an olive oil dispenser.  Fill about 1/2 way with your favorite dish soap and the rest with water.  Be sure to use a high quality soap; cheap store brand soap won't work as well.  I LOVE Seventh Generation Free & Clear. One bottle will last me a good month, and I was dishes nightly (in fact, we don't even have a dishwasher in the house)!

For hand washing, purchase a Foam Soap Dispenser.  Purchase a REGULAR soap (not foam soap) refill bag like they sell at Target.  The bottle will have a mark for filling.  Generally it's 1/4 soap & 3/4 water.  I haven't purchased a refill bag in weeks!  And just in case you're wondering, being a Homesteading family we continually wash our hands!

As with the savings in making Homemade Laundry Detergent, this is also a no-brainer.


  1. Thanks for posting this at Wildcrafting Wednesday. I don't make my own laundry soap b/c it is one more thing and it is one too much for me. I think it is great that there are folks who do though.

    1. Thanks Jennifer! You'd be surprised; I spend about 30 minutes or less and make enough dry detergent to last several months or more.


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