Homemade {Laundry} Cleaners

I’ve been making my own laundry soap for about four years now and I really love the price – about $10 for a year’s supply, and I do a lot of laundry! Recently, I stumbled across another blogger who does it even better than I do, and I’m excited to share her page with you. The Not So Modern Housewife not only has a more economical recipe (assuming you can buy in bulk as I do), but it’s greener and safer for your family too!

Before I share her recipe, I’ll go ahead and share mine for those who might be interested. You can make this as a powder or cook it to make a liquid. The liquid comes out looking a lot like egg flower soup.

Economical (but not as green) Laundy Soap

(makes 5 gallons of liquid, approx 2-1/2 gallons of powder)


  • 1 box Borax for powder, or (1-1/2 Cups for liquid)
  • 1 box washing soda for powder or (1-1/2 Cups for liquid)
  • 2 bars Fels naptha, grated
  • 1/2 box epsom salt for powder. (I do not add this to liquid)
  • 1 – 3lb box OxyClean

Directions for powder soap

  • mix all ingredients together and store in airtight container. Use 2 Tablespoons per full load, regardless of how heavy the dirt is. For half or small loads, use 1 Tablespoon.

Directions for liquid soap

  • In a large stock pot, boil 1 gallon of water, then add in the grated fels naptha. Stir to combine, then turn heat down to medium (about 4). Continue stirring every 2-3 minutes until soap is fully melted, to prevent soap from sticking to bottom of pan.
  • Add in Borax and washing soda in 1/2 Cup increments until fully combined. Stir every 1-2 minutes to keep soap from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Turn off burner and pour soap into a clean, empty 5 gallon bucket.
  • Using stock pot, fill bucket with cold water. Stir with the end of a clean mop, broom or other long handled stick. (I’ve even used a clean vacuum attachment handle!)
  • Let sit for 24 hours with a lid on. (Does not need to be on tightly except for safety reasons. You don’t want kids or pets to get into this. If kids and pets not a problem, just set lid on top to keep dirt, bugs, etc out)
  • Use 1/4 to 1/2 Cup of cleaner per load of laundry. I use about 1/4 Cup or less with regularly soiled laundry and about 1/2 Cup with very heavily soiled laundry.

Other cool “do it yourself” laundry tips

  1. Distilled white vinegar rinse for clothes as a fabric softener. (I’ve been doing this for about 4 years and only on pillows has there ever been a risidual smell) I use about 3 Tablespoons per load in the rinse cycle.
  2. 3 Tablespoons of inexpensive hair conditioner for fabric softener
  3. 2 Tablespoons epsom salt for fabric conditioner
  4. Pure lemon juice in place of bleach
  5. 1/2 Cup hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 Cup washing soda in soak cycle in place of Oxyclean to whiten and brighten clothes
  6. 1 Tablespoon tea tree oil, 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon baking soda in loads containing pet items. (I use this primarily in the heart of flea and tick season, as both fleas and ticks abhor tea tree oil)

All of these laundry recipes and tips and tricks are very economical, costing just a fraction of a penny per use, but there is this one from The Not So Modern Housewife that I recently found that got me all excited!

Out of respect for her blog, I will only list the ingredients, not the recipe here. I encourage you to go check her page out for the full recipe HERE.

She uses

  • baking soda (on amazon for $0.92/lb) (I have found this for $0.65/lb and less at Winco before)
  • washing soda (on amazon for $2.40/lb)
  • epsom salt (on amazon for $1.49/lb)
  • salt (on amazon for $0.49/lb)
  • a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. (price varies depending on oil)

The amount per load you need is less, which is a major money saver for us frugal folks!

What’s more, The Not So Modern Housewife points out that Fels Naptha can cause a build up on clothes, especially cloth diapers, which can lead to leaks. Yuck! I’m glad I found this out before having baby #3!

I have a friend who recently turned me onto Dr. Bronner’s castile soap for all my housecleaning needs as well. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve found some good deals on it on Amazon.com. You can find them HERE.

So what’s your secret to saving money on laundry soap? Do you have any special recipes, tips or tricks? Any favorite scents you use? Feel free to share in the comments section.

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