homemade liquid laundry detergent

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

If you feel trapped into spending money on laundry detergent and have ever wondered if it is possible to make your own, I have good news for you.

Homemade liquid laundry detergent is simple, cheap, and satisfying to make!

With a few basic ingredients and a little know-how, you can start washing clothes for mere pennies a load!

ingredients for homemade laundry detergent
Ingredients for homemade laundry detergent

I have been making and using homemade liquid laundry detergent off and on since about 2010 adapting a very simple “recipe” that has been floating around forever.

Many people have asked for the recipe, but I always hesitated to share it because I felt it wasn’t perfect enough.


  • Gets our clothes clean
  • Saves money
  • Easy to make
  • Has a nice smell


  • Doesn’t work well on sweaty work-out clothes (spandex)
  • Since it doesn’t contains stabilizers, it may separate (you may need to shake it from time to time)

Rather than take an all-or-nothing approach, I simply keep a container of commercial laundry detergent on hand for spandex work-out clothes. Everything else: towels, bedding, jeans, other clothing, and rugs cleans just fine with my homemade product.

As mentioned earlier, homemade laundry detergent can and will separate – it doesn’t contain stabilizers to keep it homogenous.

The remedy for this is simple: fill containers only two-thirds to three-fourths full to allow airspace at the top for shaking or re-blending.

👚👖Making your own laundry detergent is doable and affordable – start saving money right away! 🌳🏡🌳

You can even fill a small squirt bottle to spot-treat stains. (Be sure to leave 2 inches / 5 cm headspace at the top for shaking.)


Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

This should go without saying; it’s laundry detergent, not for eating! Be sure to label your laundry detergent and keep it out of reach of small children.

  • Author: Michele Pryse, FNTP
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: Set overnight: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 224 loads
  • Category: household cleaner


2 1/2 gallons water (9.5 liters; you can round it up to 10 or down to 9 to make it easier)

1 bar Fels-Naptha soap

8 cups (2 liters) water

1 cup (200 grams) Borax

1 cup (270 grams) washing soda

Optional scent:

30 drops tangerine essential oil

25 drops rosemary essential oil

20 drops lavender essential oil (other nice scents include lemongrass, geranium, grapefruit, and tea tree for its antibacterial qualities)


5-gallon (18 liter) bucket with lid

Re-purposed laundry detergent containers or jars with lids

Grater or knife

Large (6 quart) pot

Large metal spoon or whisk

Stick blender, optional



1. Measure 2 ½ gallons (9.5 liters) of water into a clean bucket and keep safely covered to protect small children and pets.

2. Grate Fels-Naptha bar or chop into small bits.

3. Meanwhile, bring the 8 cups (2 liters) of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the grated soap and stir with a metal spoon or whisk until melted. Add Borax and washing soda and stir until dissolved. Mixture will turn foamy.

4. Pour melted soap mixture into the bucket of water. Measure essential oils, if using, into the mixture and stir to combine. It will thicken slightly as you stir.

5. Cover securely and set aside to cure overnight. The mixture will congeal to form a thick gel. Whisk thoroughly (I like to use my stick blender) all the way down to the bottom of the bucket to make a smooth, pourable liquid.

6. Use a funnel to ladle your homemade liquid laundry detergent into old jugs (clean) or jars for storage. Fill containers about two-thirds to three-fourths full to allow airspace at the top for shaking. Keep one by your washing machine and store the rest.

7. Use ¼ – ½ cup (60-120 ml) per load of laundry, depending on load size and dirty the clothes are. Since homemade laundry detergent doesn’t contain stabilizers it can and will separate. Simply shake or re-blend to recombine.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag me — I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!



  • Hi Michelle,
    I am really enjoying your website and videos. I was wondering if you ever did the infused vinegar one for use as a fabric softener that you mentioned in this homemade detergent video?
    Thank you for a lovely and informative website!

    • 🌸Hi Jane, I’m so happy you stopped by! That video is at the top of my list. I’m glad you enjoyed the homemade laundry detergent video.

  • Hi Jane,
    Thank you for your videos! Just wondering if you would be doing floral vinegars recipe any time soon

    • Hi Victoria, I am so sorry I dropped the ball on the vinegar video. I was planning to make lilac vinegar this spring and our lilacs were frozen back by a very late spring freeze. Thank you for the reminder, I still need to do that! Blessings, Michele

  • I believe I made this recipe years ago (as in 18 years). I want to start making laundry detergent again. I’m not able to use a metal spoon in our current pots. What type pot do you recommend using that is safe with a metal spoon? Thank you for your videos. I discovered your YouTube videos about two years ago and will be purchasing the Ankarsrum from our local store, Bread Becker’s soon. I am excited to be able to bake more than two loaves at a time as I usually give one loaf to my mother-in-law or gift it. Blessings.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Recent Posts

Subscribe to the Chocolate Box Cottage Tidings

Receive special recipes and cottage wisdom directly to your inbox!