Home & Garden

DIY Laundry Detergent

(For my impatient friends, just scroll over the backstory to get to the recipe)

There are bunch of blog posts and pins on pinterest for various DIYs for household items that claim to be cheaper than buying manufactured items in the store. I look at these posts with some skepticism just because the claims of getting more bang for your buck seem too good to be true. However, there is always a part of me that believes that the claims can be true and with enough demonstration I can be persuaded (oh informercials, that’s why I can never watch you).

I’ve seen the recipe posts for DIY detergent for a few years now. I finally bit the bullet and decided to make a batch for my household since we were out of detergent and I had a few bucks to spare to buy the ingredients. Also, my friend HistoryBeauty said she has been making her own detergent for years now so I didn’t feel so apprehensive about trying this DIY out.

Luckily, the batch of laundry that was the test subject was mostly my “house clothes” (pajamas) since I don’t go out much nowadays. I wouldn’t feel bad in case this DIY would be a complete failure since it’s pretty hard to ruin a slew of old cotton t-shirts and shorts.

The recipe I used was from SixFiguresUnder. I’ve seen adaptations of this recipe on other websites where people have substituted washing soda with baking soda, or used Fels Nepta soap versus Zote, or even supplemented their detergent with OxyClean. I liked Stephanie’s recipe since it was very straight forward and seemed to have the bare minimum of ingredients (which means it is accepted by most fabrics). Plus I can build off of that detergent by adding other ingredients before I use it.

The recipe:


3 Cups Washing Soda (Church & Dwight Co 03020 Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz.)

3 Cups Borax (Borax 20 Mule Team Detergent Booster, 76 Oz)

1 bar of grated Laundry Soap (Church & Dwight Co 03020 Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz.)


1. Grate the laundry soap bar using a cheese grater. This creates 6 cups of grated soap.


2. Combine ingredients in a blender/food processor. I had to divide this up into three batches to keep my blender from overheating. So I did 2 cups zote, 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda per blending batch.



3. Blend the ingredients os that the zote is evenly distributed with the washing soda and borax.



4. Store ingredients in a container. I threw in a tablespoon scoop as well as a silica gel packet to keep the detergent dry.





5. When you’re ready, use 2 tablespoons of detergent per load. My apartment’s laundry room only allows for liquid detergent so I dissolve the 2 tablespoons in hot water and throw the solution into liquid detergent compartment. (Sorry no pictures for this step)


The Math (Cost breakdown):

Stephanie’s numbers come out different than mine because we bought our items at different places. Here’s how my costs break down:

3 Cups Washing Soda ($3.49 at Walmart, $1.52 used)

3 Cups Borax ($8.99 at Smart&Final, $2.99 used)

6 Cups (1 bar) of grated Laundry Soap ($1.99 at Smart&Final)


12 Cups of Detergent = 192 Tablespoons (16tbsp/cup)  = 96 Loads (2tbsp/load)= $6.50

$0.06 per load! = $6.50 / (96 loads)


The detergent works!!!! But the caveat is, it smells like nothing. The detergent definitely did the job of taking out dirt and smells. There is very minimal or no scent at all which is very different to me (being raised as a store-bought detergent girl). I am definitely going to continue using the detergent but will probably supplement it with scent boosters or essential oil. I have to play with it more to determine if its truly worth the savings or if I’d rather pay the premium for scented laundry.


(DISCLOSURE: Amazon Links are Affiliate, but I want you to see reviews on the item  and I would recommend buying the actual items in the store as they can be cheaper)

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