How to Save Money by Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

Brew laundry detergent that cleans your clothes for just three cents a load -- a fraction of what it costs with store-bought detergent.


Up next in Stains & Laundry (80 videos)

No matter what you spilled on your clothes or furnishings, we can tell you how to get it out.


You Will Need

  • Water
  • Bar of soap
  • 1 c. washing soda
  • 1/2 c. Borax
  • Baking soda
  • 4 c. soap flakes (optional)
  • Covered glass jar (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Heat four cups of water

    Heat four cups of water in a large pot on the stove.

  2. Step 2

    Shave some soap

    Start shaving a regular-sized bar of bath soap, and begin adding the shavings as the water gets to just below a boil. Maintaining the water at that level, keep adding soap shavings and stirring until the entire bar is dissolved.

  3. Step 3

    Boil more water

    Boil three gallons of water, put them into a five-gallon bucket, and add the soapy water. Stir for a few minutes, and then add a cup of washing soda. Stir for a few more minutes; then add a half a cup of Borax. Stir a while longer; then let the mixture sit overnight. Use one cup per laundry load.

  4. If you can’t find washing soda, buy sodium carbonate from a pool supply store; it’s the same thing.

  5. Step 4

    Make dry detergent

    If you’d prefer dry detergent, mix four cups of soap flakes with two cups of washing soda and two cups of Borax. Store it in a covered glass jar.

  6. Step 5

    Save on fabric softener

    And while you’re at it, save on fabric softener by adding a half a cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle.

  7. The average American family does 400 loads of laundry each year.