Homemade Laundry Detergent

One of the easiest ways that I cut costs and make the most of our budget is by making some of our own household cleaners.

This homemade laundry detergent is easy and frugal — costing only 4 cents per load! It’s by cutting costs on these everyday expenses, as well as the rest of my budgeting tips, that I am able to afford to homeschool my daughter as a single mom.

This homemade laundry detergent works in my high efficacy washing machine and has kept our clothes in great condition since we switched from commercial laundry detergent when Ella was about 8 months old.

how to make Homemade Laundry Detergent for under 4 cents a load!

Ingredients for Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe:

how to make HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT -- under 4cents per load!

I’ll first start off by saying that some people may have an issue with adding Borax to their homemade laundry detergent, and if you choose to omit it, there is no big impact on the final product. It is a natural deodorizer, but not essential. I personally have read a lot of the scientific research and don’t have an issue with it — the concern was that it effected young male reproductive systems, but research has laid those claims to rest.

If you can’t find washing soda, my friend Blythe shared this awesome tip with me that you can actually make washing soda by baking baking soda at 400 F for about an hour, stirring occasionally to break up lumps. You will know when the baking soda has converted into washing soda when it becomes flat, dull, and grainy but not clumpy.

Making your own washing soda from baking soda is a bit more frugal (about a third of the price not taking into account energy costs), and you can be more confident that no unwanted additives are making their way into your homemade laundry detergent!

Montessori Practical Life Activity: Grating Soap

Grate your bar of soap (or have the kids do it!) and add it to a big saucepan on the stove with 4 cups of water, and heat gently over medium heat until dissolved.

Now, if you have access to a giant plastic tub (you can get them from restaurants or bakeries – you should see the size of their cheese tubs!) you can fill that with 4.5 gallons of hot tap water, and add the melted soap mixture, borax, and washing soda. Stir and leave overnight before using or portioning out. This is also a great option if you’re splitting supplies with friends.

If you’re a bit tight on storage, you can alternatively make a concentrated laundry detergent that you can water down as you go.

Concentrated homemade laundry detergent

To do this, you add the borax and washing soda to the soapy water mixture along with 2 more cups of water and allow it to cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Please do not do this around children and take precautions as the mixture can bubble over if allowed to superheat.

You will get the above gelatinous substance which you can use to make new batches of homemade laundry detergent whenever you run out. Simply add 1/2 cup of this mixture to 6-8 cups of hot water overnight, and then use like normal laundry detergent.

I like to store my concentrated mix in one repurposed laundry detergent bottle, and then water it down in a second bottle.

I tend to use 4-5 oz of homemade laundry detergent per load. This recipe will yield approximately 136 loads for $5, working out to under 4 cents per load.

how to make Homemade Laundry Detergent recipe - works out to under 4 cents per load!

What do you think? Would you make your own homemade laundry detergent?


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  1. Great idea! I have never thought of doing this but I might give it a try! Thanks for sharing with us at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop!

  2. This seems like such a good idea considering all the stuff in regular detergent. Can’t beat 4 cents per load, either! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I was so happy to learn that it was good for my HE washer. A tip that someone else told me is that if it’s not an HE formula, it will suds up too much. Thanks for stopping by!

      1. las opticas… cuando son buenas, definitivamente son una enorme ayuda para muchas personas que tienen todo tipo de problemas visuales. Siempre escojamos buenos servicios que nos hagan sentir mejor, indudablemente

    1. Honestly, I avoided making my own cleaners for way too long because I really didn’t know the costs and savings. I feel so accomplished every time I whip up a batch now! LOL

  3. Wonderful! I think I will try doing this with Mavi, when he’s a bit older. I think he would love to know how to make a detergent since he’s so curious with just about anything!

    1. It would be really cool to explore the science behind it. I think sometimes people think the washing machine is this mystical entity that sanitizes and washes our clothes… it’s good to know what’s actually happening and how we can replicate the process.

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