A Fantastic New Recipe for Laundry Detergent

Posted on by Mary Hunt in Home & Family 133 Comments

Loyal readers will recall recipes and instructions in this column for how to make your own laundry detergent. It’s a topic not warmly embraced by many. Some of the strangest looks I get are from people who just don’t get why anyone would waste even five minutes doing such a crazy thing, when laundry detergent is so readily available in just about any store. I’ll tell you why.

1. Cost. You’re not surprised that this would be first on my list. In my own unscientific way, I’ve researched this. When a bottle of Tide or ALL laundry detergent promises “82 Loads” consider the fine print. Check it. Realistically, you can cut the number of loads you can wash in half if you have a high-capacity washer. That means on average, regularly priced laundry detergent costs from $.35 to $.50 per load. That may not sound like much to you until you consider that you can make your own detergent for about $.03 to $.05 per load.

2. Performance. My homemade detergent just works, and that’s saying a lot coming from a laundry stickler like myself. I know exactly what’s in it, too. My whites comes out white, colors come out bright and all my laundry is super clean. The homemade version is non-sudsing, too, which makes it perfect for the high-efficiency (HE) washers.

There is another factor in play with anything homemade and that’s time. Admittedly, the recipes I’ve given you in the past (for both powdered and liquid versions) can be time-consuming. And a little messy. I’ll also admit that on occasion I have just not had time to make it myself, reluctantly resorting to buying it off the shelf.

I was very excited to find a super fast and super easy homemade laundry detergent recipe at a fun blog, One Good Thing by Jillee. The recipe uses one of DPL’s favorite products— original blue Dawn—in place of Fels Naptha bar soap. And, this recipe requires no cooking and is low-sudsing, which makes it perfect in HE machines. I am over the moon about this recipe because it is fast, easy and super effective. Thanks, Jillee.

Quick and Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent

3 tablespoons borax
3 tablespoons washing soda
2 tablespoons Original Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid

Find a one-gallon container with a tight-fitting lid. Pour in the borax, washing soda and liquid Dawn. Add two cups of very hot water. Apply the lid and shake until the soda and borax have dissolved. Now fill the container with cold water. Reapply the lid, label and you’re done. To use: Add 1 to 2 cups to each load of laundry depending on the size and soil levels.

This recipe multiplies so well, I make three gallons at a time!

3 gallons of laundry detergent!

Note: Unlike commercial detergents, this is very thin—like water. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Even though this is not a thick liquid—like most commercial detergents—it works just as well, so don’t let that concern you a bit. Instead, start thinking of how you’ll use the money you’re no longer spending on pricey commercial laundry detergent!

Question: What laundry and cleaning solutions do you make instead of buy? Let’s talk in the comments section below.

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Posted on by Mary Hunt in Home & Family 133 Comments
  • http://www.facebook.com/ellen.allwardtfehr Ellen Allwardt Fehr

    One can actually leave out the detergent, using just borax and washing soda for non-greasy soiled clothing. Dissolve 1/2 cup borax plus 1/2 cup washing soda in a quart of hot water, then add more water to make 2 gallons. Use 1/2 to 1 cup per load of clothes. I have used this in my new HE top-loader for nearly a year with good results. I add bleach as needed–but that is rare. This has been particularly helpful to my grandson who was spending lots of money on detergent which would not irritate his skin. I have several friends who also use this with good results.

    Thanks for the info on adding Dawn liquid–should I ever have greasy laundry to deal with, it is nice to have that option available.

  • Deb

    I make my laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, general cleaning spray, and glass cleaner.

    • sjwnana

      I have used nothing but….Zote Mexican Laundry Soap borax and washing soda for 7 years now.. both in my top loader and my H.E loader.. and I love it… in fact Yesterday.. I made up..16 bars ===986 loads of dry powder ..I had not made any in well over a year now.. as I made a big one then.. I will use nothing else..it is by far the best I have ever found..

      • Patricia

        Can you give use the recipe?

      • disqus_BdbjAYidnx

        Can you send me your recipe?

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      I want to caution people from using borax and washing soda (soda ash) in dishwashers. It can react to permanently etch glassware. You may wonder how I know this. Sad story.

      • Steph-honey

        I’ve never had a problem with borax in my dishwasher, but we have very, very, hard water (we are on rural water, way out in the country) and it was recommended to us to help counteract the build up of salts on our glassware and dishes. It works like a charm, but it doesn’t take very much to do the job. Is the problem in the reaction of the two rather than just using plain borax alone, I wonder? I have some chemistry background-I’d have to go back and research that, but unfortunately for now, dinner is done. Priorities, folks!

    • pplanet

      I would love to have your recipe for dishwasher detergent.

  • Annie

    I’ve been making my own “Windex” and after shower spray. I’ve been using them both for quite awhile and have been pleased with the results. It takes very little time to make them both–less time than driving to the grocery store to buy it!

    • Andrea B

      Do you have a recipe you can share?

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.s.niemeyer Linda Storlie Niemeyer

    1 to 2 CUPS per load?? I make the recipe using Fels Naptha, borax & washing soda, and use only ½ – ¾ cup per large load in my HE front loading washing machine, with wonderful results. I’ve been using this for nearly 2 years and have never been disappointed.

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      Yes … I use about 1 cup for a regular load and more if I’m going the distance with my ginormous-capacitiy washer.

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      This is mostly water. Much different from the other recipes … which are still fantastic, people! … because it is so easy and quick. I mean I can make that 3-gallon contain full in about 5 minutes. And no stirring, cooking, grating … none of that, and it is so effective. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

  • villarosa

    Can one use this recipe and the amount of one to two cups called for per load and one of the new low suds washer that is not a top loading washer?

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      Absolutely! I have a new HE top loader. Works awesome because there are no suds.

  • SunnieB

    I use white vinegar for fabric softener.

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      By adding it to the last rinse? That’s a great money saver … and I think works better than commercial softeners and it removes all of the detergent, which makes clothes scratchy and rough.

      • Vicki

        A friend who lived in Germany as a young mother said that’s where she learned to use white vinegar as softener. It can also remove smells. Just pour into the softener dispenser

      • Julie Bair

        I’ve been using white vinegar as our fabric softener for a couple of years, works great. I have a front load HE washer and just put the vinegar in the softener dispenser. It works really great to remove any leftover detergent residue, making the clothes smell cleaner and the towels are much more absorbent.

      • hervin02

        I put vinegar in my softener cup and in my bleach cup!

  • Joy

    been making laundry soap for a while since you recommend it so much. I like the liquid stuff the most since it goes much farther – with a big family that is important. Also make bathroom cleaner and recently added windshield wiper fluid. A good friend has a windshield repair company and we found out from him that the best stuff to clean windshields is your favorite blue stuff (dawn) and water. It works great, and I am sure is super cheap.

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      Love blue Dawn. So many ways to use it. I’m learning new ways all the time!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.leaf.7 Tim Leaf

    Where’s the best place to get borax and washing soda?

    • donnaraet

      Walmart

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      Walmart has always been a good source. My supermarket used to carry both, but have discontinued. By the way … super washing soda is another name for “soda ash.” That’s the stuff you put into swimming pools. Check your local pool supply. It’s really cheap as soda ash.

    • pplanet

      I always find “20 Mule Team Borax” right next to the laundry detergent in the grocery store. I haven’t searched for washing soda yet but as soon as I do, I’m going to try this recipe.

    • MrsMarthaStewart

      I have purchased both at Target.

    • Andrea B

      I get borax at Target and Super Washing Soda at Harris Teeter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.garrett Yvonne Stine Garrett

      Wal-Mart in the laundry detergent aisle with the wash aids–like Biz and Fels Naptha and Clorox II powdered bleach. Be sure you get Washing Soda–NOT Baking Soda!

    • Kristine Smith

      Depending what part of the country you live in, it can be hard to locate the washing soda, especially. In Colorado I was able to get it at Giant Eagle. Here in the east it seems to be at most groceries and Walmart.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Coralsurf Carol Edger Germain

    I’m not clear on how you add that much to a front loader HE washer, since the little dispenser on top doesn’t hold that much. Do you pour it inside the machine? Thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      I have a top loading HE so I just pour it onto the clothes and close the lid. Could you do this with a front loader? I don’t know that it is imperative that the detergent be poured into the reservoir. I’d experiment a bit.

  • Erin

    I make toilet bowl cleanser by pouring in 1/2 c baking soda followed by 1/2 c vinegar into the bowl. After it foams around then clean with a brush. Works great and involves no chemicals. I also make citrus-flavored all purpose cleanser. I put the peels of oranges in jars of vinegar and store under my sink. When I need new cleanser I pour about a cup into a spray bottle and then fill the rest of the way up with water. The smell is better than straight vinegar. I wouldn’t use this on windows because there are oils in the peels. I use un-diluted vinegar on windows. And of course, make my own laundry soap. I have lots of kids to grate the soap. I have made my own stain remover, as well.

    • MrsMarthaStewart

      You can use peroxide on windows.

      • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

        Hydrogen peroxide … ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/brenda.nichols.108 Brenda Nichols

    I wondered the same thing as
    Carol Edger Germain.

  • Teri

    I have made my own laundry soap for about 10 years now and I’ll never go back to buying laundry soap, since I make my own soaps I use my soaps grated and make the powder soap, but this looks great to try, next time I find some dawn on sale I’ll try it. The blue kind of course..

    • Christi

      The original blue Dawn sells for $1 a bottle at our local Dollar General store. It’s what I always use for dishes. At just $1 a bottle, no need to wait for a sale…..one bottle will go a LONG way in making laundry detergent. :)

    • BeverlyAngel

      Teri…I too make my own homemade soap..wow small world huh?!

  • lindas

    I also wondered where to put it in my HE top load machine???? Not to be a downer here (as my teen would say) but I do have some concerns with Borax. There are actually countries who won’t sell it because it is considered dangerous. You never mention how careful you should be when handling borax. You assume your readers will read the warnings on the box but my guess is they think since it is safe to use on clothes it is safe to handle. Maybe an added note to the recipe would help guarantee some safety when using this product. Just a thought……….

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      Looking through the ToxNet studies on the NIH website, I see very few that are concerning for any major danger (unless ingested in high quantities). In addition, the Material Safety Data Sheet lists borax as a health hazard of 1, the same as baking soda and salt.

    • Andrea B

      Borax is not boric acid. This misinformation comes up every time on homemade detergent recipes. Check out this article about it: http://www.crunchybetty.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-borax-is-it-safe-or-not.

  • pplanet

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I have long used Borax to get blood and grass stains out of clothes by soaking the clothes in a cold-water/Borax solution in the washing machine for a while before adding the detergent and rest of the laundry. I have always understood that Borax works best in cold water, so I am interested in the science behind using hot water in this homemade detergent. Doesn’t the hot water kill the enzymes in the Borax?

    • MrsMarthaStewart

      I use peroxide on blood stains. I heard that’s what hospitals use.

      • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

        Perhaps you mean hydrogen peroxide? Peroxide is where hairdressers use to bleach our highlights.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.mifflin Lisa Mifflin

    Why not cut out most of the added water, and make a quart instead, so that you use 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup per load, depending on size and soil? That way it is a bit thicker, and goes in the HE dispenser. As long as the powder dissolves, I think I will try it this way. And what a good way to use old canning jars.

    • MrsMarthaStewart

      I was wondering this very same thing about how to get 1 to 2 C into my HE dispenser. I figured I would just throw it into the machine instead of the dispenser, but this is a great idea to cut the water, thus cut the amount needed for the load.

      • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.garrett Yvonne Stine Garrett

        Works! I have an HE and use this method

  • Jenny

    What about a homemade laundry soap for homes with a water softener? Everything seems to be designed for hard water and detergents. I need some recipes for use in my clothes washer and dishwasher, please!

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      I have a water softener in my own. This detergent is perfect-o!!

  • Kathy

    I can’t wait to try it. My daughter has triplet boys & lots of wash. Is there anything you can add to get a nice aroma. She loves the aroma of Gain products. Thanks

    • http://twitter.com/DebtProofLiving Mary Hunt

      You could add a few drops of essential oil like lavender or eucalyptus. Just know that some people, and particularly babies, can have an allergic reaction to fragrances in laundry products. Another idea: Use a scented dryer sheets if no one in the family is sensitive (scent-sitive?) to that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.garrett Yvonne Stine Garrett

      I put a Tbl or two of unstoppables in mine. Gain makes a similar product which will give you a nice scent and with the amount of product to detergent, it makes the unstoppables (or similar) go a lot further too!

  • cc

    I was using the old recipe without good results and had to resort back to the old Tide. I hate that fact. We are a small mom and pop repair shop and our clothes get very greasy. The old recipe would just not take out the grease leaving my husbands blue jean, brown YUCK! I am going to try the new recipe since I know that the original Dawn does so very well on grease. I will let you know how this works out. I just hate paying so much for laundry soap.

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.garrett Yvonne Stine Garrett

      Try a bit of TSP (about a Tbl) in your load with the greasy pants. You can find it in the paint aisle with the cleaners for brushes.

  • Jo Ann

    I clicked on the link above for the free Downy Unstopables …what a joke!! Horrid..I spent 30 minutes answering question after question after question and did’t get anything! Very surprised and disappointed at finding such a farce on your site!

    • maxhalberg

      Jo Ann, thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, we do not control the content that appears via certain advertisements. Running a website of this size doesn’t come free and so we need support of outside resources to help. If you have any questions I would recommend reading over our privacy policy: http://www.everydaycheapskate.com/privacy-policy/ – specifically the section titled “Third party websites”. Thanks!

  • Nancy H

    Love the idea of cutting most of the water out and using less. I have a front loader, and was wondering about the quantity. I made my own for a couple of years, but family didn’t like the way the clothes smelled. I couldn’t find essential oils, so I gave up. I will now try this new version. I just got a lipstick stain out of a shirt today by making a paste of baking soda, a few drops of hydrogen peroxide, and one drop of blue Dawn. Came out like a charm!

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.garrett Yvonne Stine Garrett

      I add about a Tbl of Unstoppables to this and let them dissolve into the mixture–makes it smell yummy!

  • katidid

    i have used this same recipe for about 2 months now and love it. i have a front load HE washer and i use 1/2 cup per wash load. i add it to the soap cup of my washer. thanks so much for the info.

  • CyberCelt

    Since you choose not to publish my comment, perhaps you might add a word of caution about the Fels-Naptha soap? It is dangerous in a household of children. It can also cause skin irritation. Namaste, CyberCelt

    • maxhalberg

      There are automatic spam filters in place, but we do not manually delete comments unless they use profanity or are insulting. Thank you.

    • Steph-honey

      There is nothing in the ingredient list that is any more or any less of a potential irritant than any other household soap or chemical. As always, any person can have a reaction when exposed to any new substance on the skin. It’s always prudent to be aware of exposure to new substances and to keep soaps and cleaning products out of the reach of children. This soap originally contained a harsh skin irritant called Stoddard solvent, but hasn’t in many years. Any online rumor or urban legend involving it is just that.

  • Another Jenny

    I have used Mary’s original detergent recipe for years and love it. I make that double strength. Maybe that will work with this too. I have tried to make my own granite cleaner but I haven’t ben happy with the results.

  • Susan

    Is it ok for sensitive skin? And since the Dawn label precautions not to mix with bleach, I don’t think I would use it when I wash whites.

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.garrett Yvonne Stine Garrett

      I have had no problems using either Chlorine Bleach or Oxy Clean

    • BeverlyAngel

      woops…I didn’t read that on the label…I’ve mixed it with bleach in the last load…any idea on what it’ll do to my clothes??

  • Ang

    Do you use concentrated or non-concentrated Dawn? I can’t read the wording on the bottle in the picture. Thanks!

    • hervin02

      I want this clarified as well, please. Mary’s always said “regular blue Dawn” but the link in the recipe took me to the ultra-concentraded blue Dawn (on Amazon). There is definitely a difference between the two!

  • quiltingcellist

    Is there any reason why so much water should be added? I think for my HE washer that 1 cup would not fit in the dispenser. If it was more concentrated, that wouldn’t be a problem

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.garrett Yvonne Stine Garrett

      You don’t have to add the additional water–just use much less of the soap in your wash loads.

  • Julie

    I must say that I’m intrigued by this new recipe and it came at the perfect time since I just ran out of my regular detergent. (Mary, how did you know?) My first trial load of clothes are washing as I write this. After making the recipe, however, I have three questions: 1) My detergent doesn’t look as “blue” as featured in the recipe photo – did I do something wrong perhaps?; 2) I had a lot of foam while mixing so I couldn’t determine if I was to fill the gallon container with cold water up to the foaming level or if I need to wait for all the foam to settle, then continue filling with cold water; and, 3) how much detergent should I use for a HE front load machine? I would appreciate any input offered! Thank you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.garrett Yvonne Stine Garrett

      I have an HE and use about 2 Tbl per load. It is a trial and error thing based on how hard your water is.

    • hervin02

      I think Mary’s dispenser is probably light green in color, thus the mixture looking more blue.

  • Ginny

    Has anyone tried Dr. Bronners Magic soap for their homemade laundry soap? It has such good reviews for cleaning.

  • Ann T

    I add the Dawn after all the water is in the container. Then it does not bubble out the top.

  • Kathy

    Where we were living, the original owners “plumbed” the washing machine to drain directly to the field behind our house. I used homemade laundry detergent for years (a bar of soap, 1/2 c. washing soda, 1/2 c. borax and water to make 3 gallons), and not only did it not kill the area of the field where the water drained, but because it was regularly “watered”, that section of the field grew extremely well. Not sure if it would be any different in your situation, but I doubt that 3 Tbsp. of borax dissolved in a gallon of water, dispensed a cup or two at a time and drained into a septic tank along with several more gallons of water would hurt a field.

  • Evelyn Morgan

    Can this mixtue be used in the high efficienty machines? The detergent dispenser only holds about 1/2 a cup or less. my instructions say not to pour detergent in the machine itself.

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.garrett Yvonne Stine Garrett

      I have an HE machine and use 2 Tbl per load. This does not create suds, so it is perfect!

      • hervin02

        You use 2 Tblsp of the full recipe, yes? (With all the water?) I’m comparing people’s notes as to use in HE front loaders. Thanks.

    • Andi

      I’m going to try this with half the water for that very reason. Don’t see why that wouldn’t work.

  • Christi

    We have a septic system as well. I’ve been using a different homemade laundry detergent for over two years that contains Borax. There has not been any ill effects to the grass, oak tree, and plants that get water from the leach field. I think because it is so diluted by the time it goes into the drainage pipes, there is no harm caused.

  • Katy

    I used to make your first laundry soap recipe, but then I started using cloth diapers, and the harshness of Fels Naptha was a concern. Since then, I have been using Charlie’s Soap, which I can get for $12-$13 per 80 loads on Amazon (about $.16 per load). This works amazingly well, and you truly only use 1 Tablespoon per load. I have 5 small children, so I am constantly doing laundry, and I have found this works even better than the homemade recipe, and no fabric softener is required. I just use tennis balls in the dryer instead. I may have to try your new recipe sometime, though, just to see if it’s any better than the old one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dutchess.horton Dutchess Horton

      What can be done about static cling when you use a tennis ball instead of fabric softner? This is all new to me so forgive me if it’s basic knowledge.

      • BeverlyAngel

        use 1/2 cup vinegar in your rinse cycle

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.garrett Yvonne Stine Garrett

      If you are worried about the Fels Naptha, you can use Zote or Dr. Bonner’s Castile Soap

  • lyonflying

    I have been using the Fels Naptha recipe for laundry soap for about five years and do not find it hard or messy to make. I use a hand grater and grate two bars of Fels Naptha soap right on my counter, measure the washing soda and Borax into a container with the soap and am done in less than ten minutes. Clean up takes another minute to wipe down the counter, the grater goes in the dishwasher. I do not find it messy or time consuming and it lasts over a month, well worth the mild effort. But I will try the new recipe with the Dawn, as I have all the ingredients on hand, but in a more consentrated version for my front loader. We are on a septic system and have not had trouble with any of our yard plantings around the weep bed.

  • Michelle

    what are unstoppables?

  • Tracy

    I was doing laundry and ran out of my other soap. The dawn dish soap had already been purchased just not the other ingredients so…I thought about it for a min and…just put a squirt of the dawn in the machine. It worked like a charm. That is all I am using these days. I like the smell of the clothes and I don’t even use a softener..doesn’t need it.

  • Cath

    Can clear Dawn be used? We always buy the “free and clear” detergents. Is there a reason the Original Blue Dawn has to be used?

    • hervin02

      Good question! Please answer, Mary!

      • http://www.facebook.com/jennyanpaul Jenny Feeney

        original dawn has more grease cutters in it and less hand soap softening properties. I use dissolved zote soap in mine though. I pre dissolve it into a thick gel. I measure it out like the dawn and heat the water and zote together to dissolve and add the other ingredients to the hot pan stirring to combine. works just as good as the dawn soap version and no suds. he friendly.

  • Diane

    Help, I can’t find washing soda. Tried several stores and zip code locator. Any suggestions?

    • Jackie

      Diane I get it at King Soopers here in Colorado. But there is always http://www.soapsgonebuy.com/category_s/40.htm

    • Terri

      Arm & Hammer is the brand I found in a grocery store

    • Crystal

      Walmart in the laundry section…

    • pitstop

      Walmart has it in the laundry section near the fabric softener at the end of the isle.By Biz and those kind of things

    • Mimi Linda

      Wal-Mart detergent aisle next to the 20 Mule Team Borax. It was on the opposite side of the aisle from the detergents. Ask a store stock person if you can’t find it.

  • Nayda Cruz

    Can you come up with a recipe for baby clothes? We try to go organic and earth-friendly for my grandson, but it is expensive. Thank you.

  • hervin02

    Please clarify as to whether we should use regular original non-concentrated blue Dawn, or the ultra-concentrated blue Dawn so readily available to which the link in your recipe takes us to.

  • hervin02

    My 2nd attempt at this question: please clarify whether the detergent used is original blue non-concentrated Dawn, or the ultra-concentrated blue Dawn.

    • hervin02

      Oops sorry. NOW I see my prior post.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mary.miller.67 Mary Miller

      ORIGINAL DAWN

  • Micky

    Is it really 1-2 cups per load?

  • Barker

    I mixed the same ingredients and the liquid came out clear, not blue as in your above picture. Do I need to add more Dawn?

  • FrazzledMom

    I’ve used the ultra-concentrated blue Dawn in this recipe with great success. This recipe also works very well on grease stained grout. I poured some directly onto the grout, scrubbed a bit with a bristle scrubber and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinsed with clean water and a rag. When nothing else even budged the grease, this recipe took the stubborn grease right out! Thanks!

  • Soda Pop

    Just could NOT find “Washing Soda” in the stores. FINALLY found “Sodium carbonate” at the pool supply store (also sold as “soda ash”).

    • meredith47

      You can make washing soda by baking a layer of baking soda on cookie sheet at 400 for 30 min stir every 10 min. :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/dicktastic420 Victoria Armentor

    can you use a differnt type of dish soap??

  • P.B.

    I’ve been using this recipe for a month now. It’s easy to make and certainly is cheap. My towels, bed linens and clothes now all have a “musty” odor. I’m switching back to the “good stuff”.

    • DJ

      what does that mean? the “good stuff”??????

  • Sandy

    I just made homemade laundry detergent last week using the fels naphtha stuff, so wish I’d had this recipe sooner. I now have 10 gals of the stuff to use up.

  • Indispus

    After spending way too much on washing detergents, I looked online for an alternative. With the two kids and myself, I needed something that would work for everything. I was later told about this recipe from a friend and have been using it for the past 3 months. Perfect. Cleans well. INEXPENSIVE! …so long Gain.

    • BeverlyAngel

      yes..I was using Gain for the last 10 yrs or so…and now it’s so outrageously expensive…I finally QUIT using it today! i made my own laundry detergent in a snap…and used some..and the first load I washed is in the dryer as we speak…and they came REALLY clean! I’ve started another load in the washer and I let it agitate some of the clothes for just a little bit…opened the washer and it was REALLY dirty! So I guess this is the one for me…I’m sick and tired of having to spend so much on cleaning stuff. NOW I’m headed to the kitchen to made me some dishwashing stuff for my dishwasher. Anyone have a recipe that you can use with washing dishes by hand and it suds???

  • scalivero

    I have tried the original version and like it. However I now double-concentrate it, so I have to use less — not a difference in price, just how long a batch lasts. :)

  • TammyKat

    What exactly is the one ingredient called “washing soda.” I’ve never seen it, let alone heard of it. Where would I find it, and if I can’t, could I substitute regular baking soda? Thanks!

    • pitstop

      i found it at Walmart in the laundry section usually down the isle from the fabric softener.Near the end of the isle.Do not substitute with baking soda ,they are two different things.

    • Tina

      You can’t substitute because it won’t work as well. Look in the laundry isle for it at your store.

  • Cheryl

    Does this work well with very hard water?

    • Tina

      I have well water and it works good. Now to find out how to get rid of that toilet ring….

  • nate

    Peroxide works well for lightening hair. I just spray and comb though, making hair saturated but not dripping wet. Leave in all day, actually makes hair feel softer! I then put conditioner in dry hair and comb though, let dry a couple hours, then rinse out. I have light brown hair and this makes it light, but not bleached, beautiful blonde.

  • dena

    I make this a natural cleaner by using Seventh Generation Lavender Dish Liquid – works SO good! I love this recipe as I don’t have to take the time to grate soap. I love it so much, thank you!!

  • Mama E

    I love the recipe for laundry detergent but my daughter is very athletic and she says it doesn’t get the odor out. Anyone have a solution?

    • Sherry Harrell

      up the amount of the borax, washing soda, and dish soap.. thats what i do i have 3 teenage boys.. you know the smells that come from them..lol i use a cup of each of the detergents to 1 gallon of water.. try it it works a lot better .. takes stains out better also .. good luck

    • Val

      My kids both run a lot, and those nylon/tech clothes really get sweaty and stinky. Same goes for the cotton sports bras.

      MY solution is to take her stuff and presoak/swish it around in some sudsy water (use any of the following: dish soap, detergent, shampoo). I have a front loader and even with good store bought detergents, those smells do not come out of all of their clothes unless I soak them first. Even after doing that, some things STILL stink (older, cotton sports bras especially).

      Pick up some OdoBan–add some to your soak water and/or to your laundry for those loads. You could try vinegar instead in your presoak, wash and/or rinse.

      I made detergent w/the Fels Naptha soap before–both the liquid and the powder. Neither eliminated odors or stains. In fact, my entire load of laundry would smell like perspiration when I took it out of the dryer. So..I stopped with that. I must say however that the dish soap version of homemade detergent is working very well and powering through odors. I noticed ONE tech shirt that slightly smelled a bit in the armpit areas, but I tossed it in without soaking it first. A few days ago, my son had a horrible smelling tech shirt, and all I did was swish it around in some soapy water for a minute or less, tossed it into the wash, and it did NOT stink after it was washed.

      Hope this helps. :)

  • Amanda L Wolf

    Hold on!!!! I am confused. In the Everyday Cheapskate daily emails, I got one about this, and the recipe ratios are totally different. In the email version said 3/4 cup (each) of washing soda, borax and Dawn dishwashing soap in one gallon container. And I came across this, 3 tablespoons, 3 Tablespoons, 2 tablespoons…. Which is correct? I’m confused…. :-(

    • Sherry Harrell

      i use the one you just posted about amanda.. it works better with a gallon of water.. still cuts the cost of the laundry budget down a great deal.. and the one you spoke about the 3/4 cups of each cleans a lot better than the 3 tbsp

    • Tina

      1:1:1 ratio The more water you add the less concentrated it will be.

  • Val

    I like this detergent a lot. I started with Dawn, but now I am using Gain dish detergent. I found a recipe online that adds one extra tbsp of every ingredient, and it also uses a gallon of water. That’s what I have been making, and then I am using 1/2 cup for a standard load of laundry.

    Some recipes are calling for boiling water. That’s an unnecessary step in my opinion. Use hot tap water. Shake the borax and washing soda in a 3 or 4 cups hot water first to mix it up. Fill your gallon container most of the way, and add the dish soap and shake/swish it around—you won’t have as many bubbles coming out the top this way. Top it off with more water and swish it around.

    This version works much better for me than than the detergents with grated soap ever did. Plus..it’s way easier to make.

    After the Fels Naptha experience where my whites all got dingy, I am probably going to continue washing most white loads with store bought detergent. I suppose a scoop of an oxygen cleaner (OxiClean or a generic) could help w/this problem though so maybe I will just try that.

  • Nancy C

    can I use clorax 2 with my homemade laundry detergent?

  • Heather

    Can I use Pamolive dish soap instead of dawn?

    • Tina

      no

  • Josey Wales

    Can you use just vinegar in your dishwasher and no detergent?