How is it that I have never posted my recipe for homemade laundry detergent? I started making my own homemade laundry detergent about a decade ago, tweaked the process over time, let the recipe evolve and even included it in my book Modern Homestead: Grow, Rasie, Create. It just takes a few simple ingredients and about thirty minutes to make a huge batch.


  • 1/2 bar of Fels Naptha soap, grated
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • hot water

Fels Naptha soap has been around a long time and is found in many DIY cleaner recipes. Most grocery stores carry it in the laundry soap aisle. It’s one of those products you never notice until you’re looking for it.

detergent-meltingHeat a half gallon of water on the stove, which is about eight cups. When it’s hot, but not necessarily boiling, add the grated soap. Stir it around until it melts, which usually takes about fives minutes.


When the soap has melted, stir in your powdered ingredients. Both washing soda and borax are found in most grocery stores in the cleaner aisle. Stir the mixture for a couple minutes until dissolved.


Mix your half gallon of soap with another gallon of hot water, or sixteen cups. I do this over the sink in case I spill and mix it all into a two gallon jug. Give it a good, vigorous stir and let it sit to cool.


I use about a half cup of detergent with each large load of laundry. I used to make this recipe about twice a year when it was just Jay and me, but make it about once every three months now that we have a family.


Making your own green cleaners can be really cost effective – borax, washing soda and Fels Naptha are all super cheap and often found in other green cleaner recipes. I also really enjoy knowing exactly what’s in our home cleaners. They are safe for our little one to be around and are not petroleum-based. It takes a small commitment of time, but is worth the effort.

Do you already make your own green cleaners? Have any other ideas or recipes to share for simplifying your homestead? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson