Here’s How To Make a Large Batch of Homemade Laundry Detergent

Looking for a recipe for homemade laundry detergent?

Good news!

I have a tried-and-true recipe for the best laundry soap.

Just for the record, I no longer make my own laundry detergent.

In fact, I haven’t done it in years. (Read the pro’s and con’s of making your own laundry soap here)

I’m sharing this recipe because it was such a HUGE MONEY SAVER for our family.

Back in the day when we were budgeting $50 a week for groceries and household goods, pinching every penny was absolutely necessary.

The cost per-batch of this laundry soap is just a few cents, so it is definitely easy on the wallet!

These days, I have to factor in as many time-saving techniques as I do money-saving short cuts, so I buy my eco-friendly laundry soap from Melaleuca.

This works beautifully for us in this busy season of life, but I sure have fond memories of stirring up batches of homemade laundry detergent with my little girls!

I always made this soap in double batches, stored it in a 5 gallon container, and it lasted our family (of five, back then) several months.

Most years, I only had to whip up four or five double batches all year long. There’s no telling how much money this recipe saved our family!

I used this homemade laundry recipe for about five or six years, until I finally switched to Melaleuca’s eco-friendly laundry detergent.

Over all, I was very pleased with the results, laundry-wise and money-wise.

Like I said, there are some pro’s and con’s of using this homemade laundry soap. (It wasn’t perfect, but it was good!)

For now, here’s the recipe!

The following yields a double batch of liquid laundry detergent (several gallons!):

Homemade Laundry Soap

-2/3 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated (we tried Zotes soap, but it irritated our skin!)

ALSO READ:  Pros and Cons of Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

-1 C washing soda

-1 C Borax powder

-large pot or sauce pan

-large bucket (I used a 5-gallon bucket)


essential oils (optional, but nice)

How to make the laundry detergent:

1. Place the grated Fels Naptha soap into a large pot or sauce pan and add about 12 cups of water.  Turn a burner onto medium heat and set the pot on the stove top; stir and heat until the soap melts.

2. Add the washing soda and Borax and stir until it all dissolves. Carefully remove the pot from the stove.

3. Pour about 8 cups of HOT water into your bucket (this will help the soap mixture dissolve easily). Now carefully add your soap mixture and stir it all together.

4. Using essential oils are completely optional, but if you want to add them now is the time to do that.

I found that it took a lot of drops (like half a bottle of essential oil) to make the soap smell nice, so I usually skipped this and just left my soap plain.

However, if you have your heart set on a nice-smelling soap, lavender and sweet orange are both great options. For an extra purifier, add a little tea tree oil in, as well.

I’m a fan of Eden’s Garden essential oils; they are high quality without being over-priced. Check them out here.

5. Last of all, add about 2 gallons of water and STIR!


Using the soap:

Let the soap sit for about 24 hours; it will thicken and gel a bit.

Use about 1/2 cup of detergent for each load of laundry.

This soap goes a long way and works nicely.

Any time you wash whites or heavy duty laundry, consider adding a little something to boost the washing power (Oxi Clean was my favorite choice).

ALSO READ:  DIY Citrus Essential Oil Kitchen Spray

Back in the day when I was first sticking my feet into the waters of natural living, my biggest issue was finding the ingredients for this recipe.

Our tiny local Wal-mart didn’t carry things like Fels Naptha laundry soap, Borax, or washing soda, and the only essential oils I could find were super expensive!

If you’re a small town girl with limited access to shopping, or if you just prefer to shop online, I found this combo of Fels Naptha soap, Borax, and washing soda on Amazon.

Considering the small amounts of product you have to use per batch of homemade laundry soap, this bundle will last quite a while!

The cheapest place I’ve found quality essential oils (therapeutic grade) is Eden’s Garden.

I use and love this brand, and highly recommend them over the popular MLM essential oil companies (since we’re talking frugal homemaking here).

Have you ever made your own laundry soap?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions, so don’t be shy about dropping a comment below. 

Here’s to living & loving well- 



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  1. Your recipe is the first one that I’ve seen using 2/3 cup Fels Naptha soap. Most use the whole bar. I actually decided to only use 2/3 bar as at the time I too had difficulty finding the soap and wanted to get as much out of it as I could. Now several stores in my area carry all the ingredients all the time so it isn’t hard to find any longer. But I figure why change a good thing–it’s been working beautifully all this time so I’m not going to new and improve what isn’t broke! I’ve been making my own laundry detergent since we moved cross country (Dec 2008) and I no longer could get the detergent used previously. I tried several brands and types but one or more or us would react and I would end up giving away the detergent. I had toyed with the idea of making my own for several years, but was satisfied with what I had used until getting that was no longer an option. In our family of four, I make a batch of detergent about every 7 months or so. I can’t even begin to imagine how much money we have saved through the years because of making our own. I know this particular recipe is one that people either love or hate with little middle ground. Well–I love it. Don’t think I’ll ever go back to store bought stuff.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Rhoda! It’s exciting to hear about what works for other natural mamas. 🙂

      The original recipe I found called for 1/3 bar of soap, and since I doubled the recipe I went with 2/3 bar of soap. It worked well for us too!

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