Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

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So first of all, I’m curious if you’ve ever tried making your own laundry detergent?? If you have I’d LOVE to know your thoughts. Did you make the powder kind or the liquid? Did you like it? Did you save a lot of money? Leave comments with your thoughts please.

If you try it please let me know what you think! Powder Laundry Detergent recipes are more common than liquid, so I was excited when a reader shared this liquid laundry detergent recipe.

Lidia’s Liquid Laundry Detergent


Measuring cup
plastic stir spoon
large stir stick
5 gal bucket with lid (at Wal-Mart with lid for under $3.00)
1 gal empty water or milk jug
cheese grater
medium size pot


1 cup Borax ($2.49 at Winco)
1 cup Super Washing Soda ($2.49 at Winco)
1 bar of soap your choice (She prefers Fels Naptha found at Winco for $1.29)

**The box of Borax and Super Washing Soda will last close to a year since you are only using 1 cup each for every bucket you make.

1. Fill pot with water about 2 – 3 cups, bring to a gentle boil.
2. While waiting for the water to come to a boil grate the whole bar of soap.
3. Start adding small handfuls of the grated soap to the gently boiled water. Stir until that handful of soap is melted.
4. Continue to add small amounts of soap, making sure it melts before adding more soap, to reduce the chance of clumping.
5. Once the bar of soap is all melted, turn off the stove and set the pot of soapy water aside.
6. Add four gallons of extremely hot tap water into the 5 gallon bucket, (an easy way to fill your buck with four gallons of hot tap water is to take the empty on 1 gallon water or milk jug and fill it with the hot tap water, then add to the bucket), then add one cup Super Washing Soda. Stir for a couple minutes, then add one cup Borax. Stir for a couple minutes then add the super soapy hot water to the 5 gal. bucket and stir for a couple more minutes.
7. Put the lid tightly on the bucket and let sit over night.
*In the morning you will have a 5 gallon bucket full of jello-y looking detergent, just add one cup of detergent to your washing machine.


This recipe does approx. 68 loads of laundry.
This recipe should NOT be used with the newer machines.
Which ever bar of soap you choose to use, that is what the color of your detergent will be.

Liquid fabric softener:

Small bottle of distilled vinegar (under $1.50 @ Winco or Wal-Mart)
optional: 40 – 50 drops of essential oils of your choice found at health food stores. Val recommends the lavender.

It is recommended to buy a small bottle of vinegar for the first use so the bottle could be reused by buying the econo size jug of vinegar ($2.49) and just keeping the small bottled filled at all times for easier use.

Add one cup to the rinse cycle.

****SAFETY NOTE: NEVER use bleach and vinegar together b/c the combo. causes toxic fumes*********

Try the MRS. STEWARTS Concentrated Liquid Bluing instead of bleach for whites. This can be found at Winco for $2.49 for an 8 oz. bottle and is safe to use with the vinegar fabric softener.

Thanks Val!!

About the author

Emily Buys


  • I’ve been making this laundry detergent for well over a year. I also use Fels Naptha soap which I get at Ace Hardware or Walmart. The detergent works just fine and I like that I can make 5 gals at a time. It has a neutral scent due to the Fels soap. I think it is a wonderful money saving product. Also, Fels Naptha is an excellent product to use as a stain pre-treater. I keep half a bar on the laundry tub and pre-treat any stains with it. Especially good for blood stains.

  • I have used this (or a similar) recipe off and on for several years. I like the cost, & the ease of using it. My only complaint is that it will gel up & I have to stir it prior to using it. I’ve tried putting it in recycled spout detergent bottles, and it won’t come out because its too thick. Using more water in the recipe doesn’t help, it just makes it clumpy instead of “gelly”. I’ve used fels naptha. It can take a long time to melt, even when grated, so I suggest grating it as finely as possible. I have also used Zote, which is a perfumed, pink soap. I like Zote, but the perfume is a bit strong. After making the detergent my house smelled like Zote for days 🙂

    Overall, I’d say it is worth the money to make your detergent. I don’t know why you couldn’t use this detergent in HE machines or “newer ones”. I’ve read on other sites where ladies have used in newer machines & not had any issues. I’ve never heard a good reason or explanation as to why homemade detergent would be “bad” for them as opposed to store bought, until I do, I’ll keep using my homemade version 🙂

  • Thanks for the feedback. The only issue with some homemade soaps for the HE machines is that they need soaps with low suds. I have heard this recipe is okay.

  • Ive been making the liquid version for over a year now and I have really enjoyed using it …I resently started making the powdered version and love it even more!…makes my budget strect and cleans clothes really well…I wont go back to buying laudry soap again!…

  • I make this detergent all the time and I keep an old wooden mop handle to stir it in the pail.Also if I want to pour it I put a pebble into the used detergent container and it will stir up detergent and it will pour easily.
    Also this can be used as a dry powdered detergent.Grate Fels-Naptha or what ever bar u use and then put into processor and pulverize it to powder.Add washing soda,borax and oxy clean (optional).Shake up well.All u need is 1 tablespoon.

  • I have made laundry soap twice. The one I use has the same ingredients except I don’t use as much water and I only use 1 tablespoon per load

  • Just to warn all of you. Borax is forbidden in all of EU because it’s known to influence hormonal system on children as well as grownips and make fatal damages during pregnancy.
    I will strongly recommand NOT to use Borax on anything in contact with children.

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