Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder!

Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder

Pin It Buttons

Following is a Homemade Cleaner Recipe and guest
post by The Real Thing with the Coake Family… enjoy!!

If you’re like me, you have read other posts about making your own laundry detergent. I read them and I read how the people writing them said it was so easy to make. I didn’t believe them. I guess I am skeptical, but it just seemed like it would be hard or time consuming to make your own laundry detergent.Of course for me, a project like this requires a call to my best friend to discuss it before actually completing the project, right?  Do you do that or is that just me?My best friend had made her own detergent a while ago and had told me how easy it was. I still didn’t believe it. However, I chatted with her for a while about the concept. If you search the internet for laundry detergent recipes, you will find that there are two variations. There is a liquid form or a powdered form. Heidi has shared her liquid version here on The Frugal Girls: How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent 

In discussing things with my best friend, she knows me well, we decided the liquid form was not for me. She said it had to be mixed each time you use it and it can get clumpy. She also said it works really well (she doesn’t even need to use a stain stick!). While I love that it works really well, she is right, cooking your own detergent that needs some mixing each time you use it is not for me. I couldn’t see using my All-Clad to cook laundry detergent and then cook in it again and I didn’t want to buy a pan just for cooking laundry detergent.

I decided to make a Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder form of homemade detergent. I had everything I needed on hand (I finally used the Fels-Naptha my mom gave me when I got married, 13 years ago), so I hung up the phone and proceeded to make a small batch of homemade laundry detergent. Literally 10 minutes later, I was done and back on the phone with my best friend, telling her how crazy easy that was! She of course said something along the lines of, “I told you so.” But what are best friends for, right!?

Here’s what you will need to make your own powdered laundry detergent. I have two versions of this ‘recipe’ in clickable/printable form at the bottom of this post. I have a small batch and a large batch. I started with the small batch because I was chicken and wasn’t sure this was going to work for me. I just finished that batch up and made the large batch. The ingredients are the same either way.

Grate your soap (Fels-Naptha in my case). It will look just like cheese, but it won’t taste like it so don’t eat it…hehe! I thought the soap looked too large and wanted it smaller so I made sure I got equal amounts in each load.

Put your soap in your food processor or blender. Blend to a fine or smaller consistency. Yes, it is fine to use a grater and blender that you will use for food again. Just make sure you wash them well. I thought it was weird and a little gross too, but this detergent is natural (except for the fragrance in the soap) so it won’t harm you.

Note: In the pictures above I was making the small batch and you see I have all the ingredients in the food processor. You don’t need to put everything in the food processor, only the soap. I just did everything the first time. For my large batch, we only processed the soap.

Mix all your ingredients together. If you are making the small batch, just put them in your container and shake. We found that for the large batch, putting all the ingredients in a trash bag and using my hands on the outside of the bag to mix things up worked well. Imagine mixing like you would if you were making shake and bake something, only on a larger scale. I think it would also work if you had a large clean bucket or trash can. You could use some type of large spoon to mix things up. I didn’t have any kind of large spoon, so the trash bag worked well.

Put your laundry detergent in whatever container you plan to use. You are done! That was so easy.

Use 2 tablespoons per load.

We have been using this laundry detergent for a little over a month now. It seems to work as well as what I was using in the past. To be honest, I really can’t tell any difference. I was using the Eco-friendly detergent from Costco in the past.

I started with the small batch. I usually do one load of laundry every day. The small batch lasted me 1 month. I just started using the large batch. I don’t know how long it will last yet. My guess is that it will last about 6 months.

This detergent is low to no suds, so it is safe for HE washing machines.

I still use a stain stick with my laundry. I haven’t been brave enough to see if the detergent would work on it’s own with out my Eco friendly stain stick. If you try it, let me know.

The larger batch cost:

  • 1 box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Powder – $3.15
  • 4lb box of Baking Soda – $2.12
  • 1 box Borax – $3.39
  • 3 bars Fels-Naptha – $2.91

Total for large batch $11.57. If it lasts me my projected 6 months or 180 loads, that will be $0.06 per load! Works for me!

Next, I’m going to make my own dishwasher detergent, so you can tune in at my blog The Real Thing with the Coake Family, if you would like to hear about that one.

Below you will find the two versions of the detergent. Just click on them to print them out.

K Coake is a 40 year old stay at home mom to two cuties who are 10 and 5. She loves running, reading, scrapbooking, Starbucks, hiking, cooking, picnics, pretending to be crafty, and having fun with her family.

She blogs at The Real Thing with the Coake Family about scrapbooking, making cards, birthday parties for her girls, running, cooking, and all manner of fun things.

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent (Small Batch)

by K Coake @ The Real Thing with the Coake Family
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: laundry detergent


Ingredients (about 30 loads of laundry)
  • 6-8 oz. Fels Naptha or other soap
  • 1 Cup baking soda
  • 1 Cup Borax
  • 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
Grate the soap. Put the soap in the food processor or blender and process to a smaller consistency(optional). Add the additional ingredients. Mix.
Use 2 Tablespoons per load of laundry.
Powered by Recipage
Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent (Large Batch)

by K Coake @ The Real Thing with the Coake Family
Prep Time: 20 mins
Keywords: laundry detergent


Ingredients (? 180 loads ?)
  • 1 box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (3lbs 7 oz)
  • 1 large box Baking Soda (4 lbs)
  • 1 box Borax (4lbs 12 oz)
  • 3 bars Fels Naptha (or other soap you prefer- use same number of oz as Fels Naptha)
Grate the 3 bars of Fels-Naptha. Process them through a food processor or blender to a smaller consistency (optional).
Place all ingredients in a trash bag or large bucket. Mix.
Use 2 Tablespoons per load.
Powered by Recipage


Looking for more fun Homemade Cleaners??  Get inspired below…

Homemade Fabric Softener Recipe

DIY Fabric Softener - Sidebar

DIY Homemade Febreze

DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes

How to Remove Soap Scum from Shower Doors

How to Remove Soap Scum from Shower Doors at TheFrugalGirls.com

How to Prevent Water Spots on Shower Doors

How to Prevent Water Spots on Shower Doors



  1. Janie says

    HI! just wanted to add to your recipe… I used the smaller tub of OxiClean to this and a bottle of the Purex Crystals that were yellow… it works great and gives it a boost! I used a really fine blade on my grater to achive a really small grated soap, but I think your idea of the processer is great too.! I will try that next too!!

      • Trice says

        When I make it I add SEVERAL tubes (like 2-3) but I mke 8 pounds of homemade soap as a base. Laundry detergent day is a BIG DEAL in our house because it only happens TWICE A YEAR! Yippppeeeee! I make a tube that hold folders and fil-er-up batch by batch. As a Country-girl-wannabe I have become quite the creator of things like yourself. I really enjoyed your post. Well gotta go make some soap.(Slip-slidin-out)

    • says

      Thanks for your additions. I have heard of others doing the same thing. I say, if it works for you….yippee! I’m trying to eliminate additional chemicals and such and be as eco-friendly as I can, so I am keeping mine super simple. Thanks again.

  2. Mindi says

    I started making this a couple yrs ago & at that time your recipe was 1 T for an HE washer. Is that still correct?? Also did you do away with the Zote or Ivory soap that you used to add to the mix? Thanks!! I love the stuff!! Will never go back to paying big bucks!! :)

    • says

      I’m not sure which ‘recipe’ you are referring to, however, I do know that 2 TBSP is what is to be used for this one. There are many different recipes out there, so it could be that there are some that call for 1 TBSP. I don’t add any Zote or Ivory. You could use them (I’m not sure what Zote is, but I’m guessing it is like Ivory) in place of the Fels Naptha. HTH

  3. Beatrice Nieves says

    My husband and son have sensitive skin. Currently I use any of the laundry soaps that are fragrance free, so my questions is can I use this recipe for their sensitive skin? If not do you know of a recipe that will work for me?

    • says

      Yes, it would work great for sensitive skin. My recommendation would be to use a different soap, other than the Fels Naptha. You can substitute any soap that works for you or the sensitive skin and replace it for the Fels Naptha. I read about one mom using an organic all natural soap from whole foods that had no fragrance and no dye. Worked great for her. HTH

      • CL says

        I have used Dr. Bronner’s castile soap (the bar version) for this because I love the smell of the peppermint version and figured I’d give it a shot. It’s a bit pricier than Fels Naptha, but still considerably less expensive than store-bought detergents…even the generics.

  4. Ruth Eubanks says

    For your dry laundry soap I see that you also add Baking soda, other recipes I’ve seen do not call for Baking Soda and say “make sure you use Washing soda and Not Baking soda”. Is it o.k. to use both in a batch of powdered soap? Thanks

    • says

      I’m using both and my detergent works fine. I think they are slightly different, though I know the box of super washing soda says it contains sodium bicarbonate(Baking soda). So, I’m not sure how they are different. Anyway, I am using both and it works well for us. I am a runner, so I have some pretty stinky clothes, so I figure the more baking soda the better. 😉

    • says

      I have been told, yes. I don’t have a front load washer, so I don’t personally know. But everything I have heard and read is that it is perfectly fine for a front load and/or HE washer.

  5. alicia says

    my question is.. did you put the dry version of the homemade detergent in while the tub was filling up with water? and does the felsnap (when made into little chunks) disolve quickly? so as not to have chunks stuck to the clothes?

  6. Jessica says

    I tried this and it works great even got my husbands gross military coveralls clean, but if I don’t put it on hot I get bits of soap stuck all over the clothes. Am I just not grating it enough or do you have to use hot water to get the soap bits to dissolve? I like that it’s cheap and doesn’t have all the nasty chemicals but I don’t want my electric bill to go up just because I want to make my own laundry detergent. Any suggestions?

    • Amanda says

      Predissolve the 2 tbsp of detergent in about 1 cup of hot water and mix well. We had the same issue with an HE front loader and this method works fine. I still presoak even with this method.

    • Rachel says

      Jessica, it sounds like your soap may not be grated to small enough pieces. The pieces in my detergent are real small. I put the soap in first and run warm water in just enough to soak the soap before I put the clothes in. I never get pieces of soap left on my clothes and it works wonderful!

      • Gwen says

        Jessica, I agree with Rachel that your soap may not be small enough. I chop mine in my blender, so it is very fine. I just use cold water and put my detergent in first with the clothes on top. I never have soap left on my clothes. I love this stuff!

  7. April says


  8. cora says

    hi i have came across great deal on powder laundry det.
    i was wandering if you can put in couple of scoops of det.
    and fill remainder with water in a plastic ccontainer
    shake it well to make your laundery det. last longer.
    and would it work just a good
    of course i know i made liquid verion of it

  9. JAMES R says

    I recently had to stop using ths homemade recipe. :(
    It works like a charm,clothes have never been cleaner than with this recipe, HOWEVER, there is something in the recipe that my wife is allergic to…so because of the itching like crazy, eyes almost swelled shut, & having a hard time breathng, I had to revert back to the commercial stuff….

    I hated to do it, but my wife is more important to me than this recipe.

  10. Maya O'Connell says

    I make this laundry soap as well. I still have 8 children home and the large batch lasts about 3 months. I also add 2 containers of Oxy Clean Powder (store brand) as well. I use 1 – 1 1/2 Tbs per load and add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.

    • Geneva Walker says

      I have been using a similar recipe for 3-4 years. I love the smell it leaves in my clothes.
      I grate the soap about a week before I am going to run a batch, the drying makes it cut finer when I put it thru my food processor.

    • Deby says

      You should use 2 bars of “Zote” soap if you are replacing it for the Fels-Naptha. I prefer the “Zote” soap over the Fels-Naptha, myself. I love the smell. I use this recipe for my front loader HE washer. If you use vinegar in your rinse cycle you will notice that it will keep it much cleaner around your rubber gasket. I cleaned up around my rubber gasket prior to using this laundry detergent and started using vinegar in my rinse and I never get the build up around my rubber gasket anymore that front loaders are famous for. I will never go back to a store bought detergent again.

  11. Fran Brown says

    I made the homemade detergent. When I was looking for the Fels- Naptha soap, I found Zote flakes. Much better than having to grate soap! I love my homemade detergent!

  12. Stephanie says

    I put the dry ingredient detergent directly on my clothes of my front load washer. I also added a generous amount of Epsom salt to the mix as a softener AND I use vinegar (mixed with natural scented oil) into my fabric softener space.
    I will need to add a stain stick to my routine.

  13. Lj says

    Be very very VERY sure if you use the blender/processor for food it is pristine clean. Just because something is natural doesn’t make it safe. Washing soda has a pH of 11 which is harmful if ingested; not too mention Borax can also be used as a pesticide (says it right there on the box)

  14. Hillary says

    I seen several people ask without reply, so I’m asking again. Does anyone know how the powdered detergent works with septic tanks?

  15. Liz Collins says

    I’ve been using homemade laundry soap (liquid) for years and I love it. Yes its safe for septic tanks (that’s what we have) and it’s safe for HE machines. As for my dishwasher, I sprinkle baking soda on the open door and add a couple of drops of Dawn in the detergent cup. I use vinegar as a rinse agent and my dishes come out squeaky clean and grease free!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *