Concentrated Homemade Laundry Detergent DIY

Lately I have been seeing DIY laundry and dish detergent everywhere on Pinterest. I am all about DIY, saving money and going green, so this was a much try! My blog bff T-Byrd over at Bit of Byrd even has a post about her Pinterest inspired recipe for DIY Liquid Laundry Soap.

Today I want to share this simply awesome, CHEAP laundry detergent I was inspired to DIY myself from this pin:


The ingredients, which all were found in the laundry aisle at my local Walmart:

1/3 Bar Fels-Naptha (grated)

1/2 Cup Boarax

1/2 Cup Washing Soda (NOT BAKING SODA)


The instructions with super cool pictures, cause that is how I roll:

Grate 1/3 bar of of the Fels-Naptha soap. Reserve the rest or grate it all and store in ziploc baggie to save time the next time.

Melt grated soap in 6 cups water on low heat in. Do not boil.

Add the 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup washing soda, stirring until mixture thickens to a honey consistency. 

Add 4 cups HOT tap water to your laundry storage container. You can reuse old plastic laundry containers or make you own decorative container like I did. Read about that HERE.

Add pot of soupy honey soap mix to 4cups of hot tap water in the container. Stir. Add more hot tap water until container is almost full. (Leave just enough room so you can shake it.)

Let sit overnight to cool. It will appear clumpy the next day. Shake, stir or use a hand blender and mix it back up really well. 

Add a plastic hook and a spare measuring cup. Because this is a concentrated formula, you will only need to use 1/8-1/4 cup per load. 

According to mulitple websites I researched and my BFF’s own calculations, this will cost under .02 cents per load. CHEAP! My husband is impressed with the soap, and I have no complaints, it does its job very well. Better than store bought? I personally think so AND I notice it smells very nice and fresh.

Note: This soap does not get all sudsy bubbly. You don’t need suds for it to be working. That is all bling. 

Today I am linking up with:

10 Weeks of DIY Link Party:

10 Weeks Of DIY
<div align="center"><a href="" title="10 Weeks Of DIY"><img src="" alt="10 Weeks Of DIY" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
Party Rules:
1. Link to a Specific Post, not your whole blog. Each week will have a new list (for easy visiting) so come back every Monday and get the new linky list. The linky lists for that week will be up all seven days, so link whatever day you feel like it. I am doing Mondays.
2. Please link up only projects that you DIYed or crafted yourself. Decorating, remodeling, recipes, crafts etc.
3. Grab the button above – post it on your post, on your sidebar, on a page of a list of link-ups, whatever you prefer. I have a blog hop page and I add them to specific posts.
4. Visit a few other people on the list and share the linky love!


  1. says

    I definitely want to make my own detergent, but doing so will void the warranty on my HE Washer. Similar to the previous comment – not sure if I could use it? This looks like a great DIY project, though, as well as a great way to save money and use less chemicals. I love your step-by-step instructions!

    • TheButterflyMom says

      Drats, wish I knew how it reacted with sensitive skin. Considering it is just three basic ingredients and no dyes or additives I would assume it is safer than any other traditional brand, but I can’t guarantee that.

      • Steven says

        We started making it dry (with same ingredients). My wife is super sensitive to laundry soaps and has had NO reaction to this mix AT ALL.

    • STacy says

      I have been using this same exact recipe since Nov of 2012, my daughter and I both have very sensitive skin and this is the only thing that isn’t extremely expensive that does not affect either of us. I absolutely love it, I don’t add any essential oils to it because I don’t know how she would react, prior to making my own laundry soap all my daughter did was scratch herself everywhere and she had constant rashes, my husband was convinced it was a medical thing she needed to be seen for but since we switched to homeade detergent she’s been fine!

  2. Trina says

    There is a reason modern detergents were invented. Laundry/cleaning is a lesson in chemistry. While I am all for making safer/greener choices, I think you should investigate and think carefully before you make your own “soap” and use it in your machine.

    “So why the production of detergents if soaps are tried and true? Well, there is one big drawback in soaps that seemingly pushed the detergent industry, and that ‘drawback’ is the principal difference recognized between soaps and detergents. Soaps and detergents behave differently in hard water. Soaps form a scum in hard water and this scum will not rinse away easily and is known to turn laundry a grayish hue. The insoluble film it leaves can leave a residue on your laundry much like you would see in a shower stall where hard water is present. Detergents react less to minerals in water and do not leave this residue. (3) If you live in an area where the water is soft, you will have more success with soaps, but even then a gradual build-up of calcium and magnesium ions (also called ‘curd’) will be left in the fabric … of your family’s laundry over time. Another disadvantage cited with soaps is that they ” . . . will deteriorate in storage and lack the cleaning power when compared with the modern synthetic surfactants.”(4) Because of this, detergents have steadily become the cleaning agent of choice since World War II, because for all practical purposes – synthetic or not, they will leave your laundry cleaner.”

    Just an FYI incase some one reading was not aware :)

    • Amanda says

      Honey please! They do this to make money! Have customers think that you need an “expert” to make products. LOL People have been making their own laundry detergent for years.

  3. says

    I’ve been making my own laundry soap for about a year now and actually have used the recipe you posted above until 2 weeks ago. Your jug is much prettier than mine was!

    Now I’m using a dry recipe. It’s one bar Fels Naptha grated, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup of borax. Mix it all together and use 1 tablespoon per load. It’s essentially the same ingredients without the water and much easier to store =). It seems to be working very well – and I have 6 very messy kids, so I put it to the test lol!

    • says

      This is what I do as well. I also heard you can use Ivory soap instead of the Fels Naptha so I tried it on the last batch and it works great. i just put it all in a baggie and shake it up to mix and then pour in pretty glass jar that sits in my laundry room. So easy and works great.

    • TheButterflyMom says

      I do not have an HE but I have read on other blogs who do have an HE that it works for them since it is low suds. Someone here mentioned that it can violate the warranty if you use a homemade laundry soap though. Check your warranty!

  4. says

    Great tips, I just made my own batch of laundry detergent for the first time but love the idea of hooking a cup to the bottle! I might just put the cup on the washing machine itself :)

  5. Pietro says

    This sounded like a great recipe so I decided to try it. I got all the way down to the end before I realized you didn’t say how much your storage container holds, or how much water to add at the end. I don’t have a container like yours, so it would be helpful to know.

    The concerns about using this in HE washers are baseless. It’s a low suds-producing mix, and besides, the manufacturer would have no idea what kind of detergent you used anyway. The stuff you buy off the shelf at the grocery store is fundamentally the same thing.


  6. ABennett says

    Do you actually use the beverage dispenser pictured at the top? If so, does it gum up or clog up. I like the idea of using that spout instead of it being poured, since my children do laundry as well.

  7. Laura says

    Do you have to shake it every before every use or just after it has cooled down?
    Anyone experience the merit above of soap vs detergent and the affect of your machine or clothes?

    • Sonya Combs says

      I have noticed my husbands clothes are cleaner with this soap. :) he is a landscaper and works in the sun and dirt and muck and I havent been able to wash the smell of sweat out of his clothes in ages. I have even notices more grim in my washers trap,

  8. says

    Preparing homemade laundry detergent will save the cost as well as prove to be eco-friendly with no harmful chemicals added. Thanks for such a nice post. Housewives and others will benefit from the experiences of the blogger.

  9. Holly says

    I love this recipe, just made it and seems great! I have a ? for you…the next day it needs to be stirred or blended but if its already in the laundry container the only option is to shake it is that just as good? Because I have mine in a nice open topped container now and I want to put it into 2 different laundry containers NOW so that in the morning hopefully can just grab them and shake! :) Do I ned to add more water in the morning before I shake it up?
    Thanks for your helpful post!! <3

    • Brittany A.K.A TheButterflyMom says

      The container I put it in made it easy to just shake it up prior to every use. You don’t need to add any water, just give it a quick shake or stir and you are good to go!

  10. TONYA says

    Hi I made this recipe last night and tried to use the following night and it is congealed! shaking may not help much. i keep it in the basement and it is not heated so could it be that the area is too cold?

    • Brittany A.K.A TheButterflyMom says

      It’s possible. My laundry room is right off the kitchen so it doesn’t get below 68 degrees in there.

  11. raquel says

    So how much does this make in the end? 2 gal?
    Has anyone had the residue buildup on their clothes or their machine over time that another comment mentioned?

    • Brittany says

      After a year I can say we have had no issues of residue. I will have to get back to you on the yield, honestly I didn’t think about that when I made the post LOL.

  12. Laulotteb says

    I really want to try this recipe! Great instructions and love the pics!

    I’m sorry if
    You’ve answered this question before, but i need to know, how big is the container you used for this recipe? I kept 3 different old containers but I dont know how much this recipe yields (i know it’s minimum 10cups of water…)


  13. Renee says

    I decided to try the liquid laundry soap. I did not use the Fels soap, but used Castile instead. Looks like a smaller bar. I tripled the recipe, so 18 cups of water, 1 1/2 cups of borox and soda each. since the Castile bars were smaller, i used two bars. I have been cooking it now for about 40 minutes. It does not appear to be thickening. I am not sure what thickens the recipe, so I am thinking of adding another bar of Castile soap. Any thoughts?

    • Brittany says

      I have neve played around with other ingredients or changed the recipe size so I honestly have no idea. I am not familiar with the Castile bar. Perhaps that brand does not thicken as well as Fels?

  14. Angie says

    I’ve been wanting to try this recipe. I’ve seen different blogs about it but with the same ingredients. One uses a 2gallon bucket and I see you have a smaller one. Also one says use a 1/2 cup while yours say 1/4 cup. What is the minimum/maximum about of water to add at the end? Does more water mean you need to use more of the mix (1/4 v. 1/2)?

  15. Ginny says

    I made this laundry soap and now I am addicted , not going back to the store bought. This is way cheaper and cleans great. I added a cap full of the downy unstoppables to give it that extra boost of scent:)

  16. Esther says

    I tried your method but mine didn’t come out a honey consistency.. Did I do it wrong? Mine was more watery with small chunks. I am still using it and it seems to be working. Also have you tried adding scents to your laundry detergent? Was going to try adding some lavender oil to give it more of a odor.

  17. says

    Hi there – love this recipe! Have been using for the most part for a few years. Few comments: No buildup or residue or graying on my clothing. No issues for my daughter with sensitive skin. Yes it gets weird sometimes like egg drop soup (the less hot the water I add in that early step the worse it is). We LOVE the lavender smell of detergent, so I add about 20 drops of lavender essential oil to the mix and my laundry comes out smelling fantastic!! Thanks again – LOVE your site!

  18. Mary says

    Do you think that this would work using liquid castile soap? I’m could sub the fels naptha with the bar castile soap, but I don’t want to ruin my ceramic cookware. 😉

  19. Larissa says

    can you add a scent to this liquid detergent? i have found other recipes where you can add like scentcy whiffers to it to make it smell good

  20. Sumitra says

    Thank you for sharing this simple and easy detergent recipe. I am making a second batch as I type! I have a He washer and so far the detergent works great!
    I am planning on having a homemade get together with the Women’s Lifegroup at my church. Would it be ok to use your recipe and have copies printed with all credits to you?
    Thank you for helping make my family’s laundry less expensive!


  21. SOnya Combs says

    So I am attempting my first batch of detergent after the horrible things my dad found out about HE detergent, and the severe reaction he had when using it. Well my mixture isnt getting thicker , it is just getting foamy and I have it on low heat and am trying to consistently stir.. did I something wrong?

    • Sonya Combs says

      I am getting ready to start my second batch , I have a family of six and I have noticed that this detergent gets our clothes cleaner than HE detergents, there is even a dirty film in my filter trap that is supposed to be cleaned monthly and it has never been this dirty in the two years I have owned this machine and It took me a year to figure out how to open the trap. And my husband hasn’t complained about his clothes smelling after a couple of hours of being at work either, he works outside and when he sweats or they get wet his work clothes had a stench that I couldn’t wash out. Plus the $10 dollars I spent will make 6 1/2 gallon jugs (im reusing pre bought detergent containers) and I would pay $7-10 dollars for a bottle that size at the store
      savings of $32-50 over three months , $128-200 dollars for a year..

      • Sonya Combs says

        I turned the heat up on my second batch just a notch and it thickened this time. :) also with my above calculations I didnt consider that after my third batch I only need to buy the bar of soap for a dollar.. saving even more for the next 3-? batches

        I also put it through my electric blender on day two before using it to mix it..

  22. Joy says


  23. Joy says

    I love this soap. I am preparing my second batch as we speak. I can’t believe how well it works, and how cheap! I use it in the dispenser of my front-loader HE washer. My washer is out of warranty, so not too worried about the ‘detergent police.’ lol I’ve received no complaints from my husband…and believe me, if he didn’t like it, he would say so. When my 26 yr. old step-daughter came to visit and do her laundry, she asked, “Is this all you have?” I replied, “Yep.” It’s amazing how we’ve been conditioned to think that homemade is not as good as store bought. Thanks so much for the recipe!

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