3 Effective Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes

Making homemade laundry detergent is a great way to save money and control the ingredients you use.

3 Effective Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes

There are many recipes for DIY laundry soap. Some contain ingredients like Borax and OxiClean, while others don’t. We scoured the internet and found the top homemade laundry detergent recipes for you to try.

Three Ingredient Homemade Laundry Detergent

If you’re looking for a basic DIY laundry soap that doesn’t take a chemistry degree to put together, this is the one. It only contains three ingredients: two cups of borax, two cups of washing soda, and 1 cup of pure bar soap flakes.

Here’s how to make it.

Step 1: Grate Your Bar Soap

You can use one cup of store-bought laundry soap flakes or grate your own. Use a pure bar soap or laundry soap, like Zote. 

To grate your soap, run it across a cheese grater until it’s finely ground.

Step 2: Combine Your Ingredients

Use a glass or plastic container with an airtight seal to combine your ingredients. It needs to have the capacity for at least five cups.

Add 2 cups of washing soda, 2 cups of borax, and 1 cup of soap flakes to your container. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Step 3: How to Use Your Laundry Detergent

Measure your laundry detergent depending on the type of washing machine and the load size.

  • HE Washing machines – Use one tablespoon of your homemade laundry detergent.
  • Standard washing machines – Use three tablespoons for a regular load of laundry and ¼  cup for large loads.

Since this detergent doesn’t contain enzymes, you’ll need to pretreat stains with a laundry stain remover.

Homemade Laundry Soap Powder with OxiClean

Add OxiClean to the mix for a cheap homemade laundry detergent that can break down stains. 

You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • A 3.7 lb box of Washing Soda
  • A 4lb. 12 oz box of Borax
  • 4lb box of pure baking soda
  • 3 – 5.5 oz bars of Ivory or Fels Naptha Soap
  • 1.3 lb container of OxiClean

Step 1: Grate Your Soap

Grate all three bars of soap, using a cheese grater, until the soap is powder-like. (You can also start with a cheese grater and add the soap to a food processor for better results. )

Step 2: Combine Ingredients

In an extra-large airtight container, combine all ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to mix well.

Step 3: How to Use Your DIY Laundry Soap

Add one tablespoon per regular load of laundry or two tablespoons for extra large loads. You can use this in standard and H.E. washing machines. 

Tip: Mix in Downy Unstoppable Laundry Beads for the best-smelling homemade laundry detergent. Since the scent beads will disperse with the other ingredients, you’ll get a light smell.

DIY Laundry Detergent without Borax

While borax is an effective laundry booster, it can irritate extra-sensitive skin. Use this recipe to make a homemade liquid laundry detergent without borax. 

Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Hot water
  • Baking Soda
  • Unscented Liquid Castile Soap
  • Salt
  • 1 Gallon Jug with Lid

Step 1: Combine Hot Water, Baking Soda, and Salt

Fill a bowl with 14 cups of very hot (almost boiling) water. Then add 1 cup of baking soda and ½ cup of salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until dissolved. 

Once dissolved, add the water to the gallon jug using a funnel. (If you’re using a glass jug, let the water cool first.)

Step 2: Add Liquid Castile Soap

Add 1 cup of liquid castile soap to the mixture and shake to combine.

Step 3: How to Use Your Detergent

Use ½ cup of your DIY liquid laundry detergent per regular load. 

The Best Soap for DIY Laundry Detergent

Most DIY laundry detergents, especially powders, call for soap flakes. The two most recommended include Zote and Fels-Naptha. Both options are “laundry soaps” containing beneficial ingredients for lifting dirt and removing stains.

While you can use any bar soap, body soaps contain added moisturizers that are helpful for the skin but can build up on clothes. 

All Natural Fabric Softeners to Pair with Your Laundry Soap

Use baking soda or vinegar as an all-natural fabric softener. Add either of these to your washing machine’s rinse cycle, depending on the type of washer you have.

  • Front-load washers – Add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser.
  • Top-load washers – Add either ½ cup of white distilled vinegar or ½ cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle.

Pros and Cons of Using Homemade Laundry Detergent

Before you make your first batch of homemade laundry detergent, it’s a good idea to consider both sides of the equation.


  • Cost-effective – Making your laundry detergent can save you over $100 per year, depending on what you use.
  • You control the ingredients – When you make your laundry soap, you know what’s in it.


  • Soap build-up – DIY laundry soap doesn’t dissolve well in hard water. Sometimes, it won’t wash well from clothes, causing build-up that dulls colors. (It can even ruin some types of fabric.)
  • Washing machine issues – Not every type of homemade soap is a good fit for every washing machine. If you have an HE machine, use DIY laundry soap with caution.