Preschoolers and toddlers (and husbands for that matter!) create a lot of laundry. But store-bought detergent is just too expensive and full of unnecessary additives, so how do you keep up with the seemingly never-ending laundry piles affordably without sacrificing cleaning power?

Make your own! There are a zillion recipes available online, but this one is my very favorite.

The total for all of the needed supplies comes in under $15, and one batch of detergent hardly puts a dent in most of it! (All that’s needed to make future batches is the Fels Naptha soap.)

You’ll Need:

  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha bar soap (usually located in the laundry aisle near the stain removers)
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • 1/4 cup Baking Soda

Do This: 

  1. Finely grate the entire bar of Fels-Naptha soap.  I recommend using a good food processor because it turns the soap into a powder (and takes a fraction of the time), but if you don’t have access to one, use the smallest grates on a hand grater. The soap will end up looking like shredded cheese, but it still works just as effectively as the powder.
  2. Add 1 cup Borax.
  3. Add 1 cup washing soda.
  4. Add 1/4 cup baking soda.
  5. Stir well (or continue mixing in food processor).
  6. Place in an airtight container.  Use 2 tablespoons per regular load of laundry.

It’s so easy! This even works well with high efficiency washers; just use less soap with each load. Powdered detergent takes less space to store and doesn’t drip like its liquid counterpart, but if you prefer the liquid variety, check out this tutorial.

Our family usually makes a double batch and it lasts about three months. We’ve been using this homemade laundry soap recipe for over a year now, and our clothes look and smell so clean! I won’t be going back to the store-bought stuff any time soon.

About the Author: Heather is a high school teacher/coach turned stay-at-home-mom who lives in Texas with her husband and two young children. During naptime she blogs about life and sews fun baby accessories for her Etsy shop, HeatherAileen.