Update On My Favorite Laundry Detergent

Some of the strangest looks I get are from people who just don’t get why I would make my own laundry detergent when it is so readily available in just about any store. I’ve written about this before, but for those of you who aren’t convinced, I’d like another chance to change your mind.


You’re not surprised that this would be first on my list. In my own unscientific way, I have done exhaustive research on this. When a bottle of Tide or ALL laundry detergent promises “82 Loads” consider the fine print. Check it. Realistically, you have to cut that number of loads in half if you have a high-capacity washer. Read the instructions. They are talking about small loads of laundry.

My research has determined that on average, regularly priced laundry detergent costs from $.35 to $.50 per load of laundry. 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.


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 come out white, colors come out bright and all my laundry is super clean. This homemade version is low-sudsing, 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.

As I wrote about on my blog last year, 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 requires no cooking and is low-sudsing. I am still over the moon about this recipe because it is fast, easy and super effective. Thanks, Jillee.

Quick and Easy Laundry Detergent


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 using this conversion which is slightly more concentrated:

  • 3/4 cup borax
  • 3/4 cup washing soda
  • 3/4 cup original Blue Dawn

I have experimented with the amount to use in my high-efficiency, high-capacity, heavy-duty LG Wave Force washer.

I started with 2 cups for a full load (this detergent is not thick, actually it is quite thin and watery). However, I noticed that clothes were ending up slightly stiff and scratchy, a good indication that all of the soap had not been rinsed out. So, I cut back and now find that with my converted 3-gallon recipe, 1 to 1 1/2 cups works perfectly. For smaller loads, I cut back accordingly.

Question: Have you ever made your own home cleaning products? Tell us your favorite homemade solution here

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  1. Janet Westrup
    Janet Westrup says:

    I have made my own laundry detergent with the Fels Naptha and the Ivory bar soaps. However I would like to make a detergent without color and scent since I have reactions to some fragrances.

    Would you have a fragrance-free recipe?

    Thank you, Janet Westrup

  2. kate
    kate says:

    One thing I did not read was that with store bought detergents they put a lot of fillers in them like sand. My mom showed me years ago that if you put a small amount of dry detergent in a jar with water and shake it up you will see it doesn’t all dissolve. I’ve used liquid after that. So will be making this for sure. I love the jar you used. I also like using nice containers for my home made soaps and things.

  3. Barbara Lepley
    Barbara Lepley says:

    I looked at a previous recipe and you used 3/4 cup of Washing Soda, 3/4 cup of Borax and 3/4 cup of Dawn Blue Detergent and filled gallon jug up with water. You were to use 1/4 cup of mixture per wash load. Why has the recipe changed?

      • Candie
        Candie says:

        Yes, the ingredients incresed but the amount to use should still stay the same. If you buy a 1/2 gallon of mik and use 1 cup for a recipe, you don’t increase the 1 cup in a recipe to 2 cups just because you buy a full gallon of milk.

  4. Amber White
    Amber White says:

    Does it have to be the blue dawn? I use the free and gentle. It’s dye free and made with biodegradable ingredients. Do you think it will work? The blue dawn has a few more ingredients in it that affect health. Thanks for your help!!

  5. Laurel Davis
    Laurel Davis says:

    Do you pour the mixture directly into your clothes or in the compartment in the washer? So excited about this and can’t wait to try it. I have 2 daughters and do tons of laundry. Thanks!

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