Two-Step Laundry Detergent Recipe

Ahhh, I love the smell of clean laundry.  And with my new homemade laundry recipe, I am seriously obsessed with how good it smells.  When I’m washing a load of laundry, the smell fills up the entire house. When the dryer is running, the smell fills up the outside air, too!  The scent of this DIY laundry detergent is a pure, clean scent that comes from the Fels Naptha soap – one of the main ingredients.

After much debate over which laundry detergent receipt to use, I settled on this one from How Does She: Cheaper (and better) DIY Laundry Detergent.  There are some great step-by-step photos in this post.

What appealed most to me about this recipe was that it is dry, so I can store it in a bucket for a long, long time (and I intend too!).  According to the original post, this recipe makes enough for 6 loads per week for an entire year!  You only need to use 1 or 2 tablespoons per load, so it’s uber concentrated.  So far, I can verify that 2 tablespoons per load is indeed all you need.   Some of the other recipes I have pinned on my DIY bucket list use the exact same ingredients, but you end up with a liquid concoction that may or may not separate over time, and that, my friends, is not something I want to worry about.

The basic ingredients for making laundry detergent are:

  • Borax
  • Washing soda
  • Laundry soap (such as Fels Naptha)

Added ingredients:

  • OxyClean
  • Baking Soda
  • Fabric softener (I opted out on the fabric softener since you cannot buy it in a powder form anymore)

I followed the How Does She recipe almost to the tee.  Here’s exactly what I did:


  • 1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean- Found in the detergent aisle.
  • 3 (5 oz) Bars of Fels Naptha soap- Found in the detergent aisle
  • 4 (1 lb) Boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda- Found in the cooking aisle


STEP 1: Grate the Fels Naptha soap to a super fine grain.  You can use the finest cheese grater you have, or a food processor.

I am lucky enough to have a food processor.  First, pop a bar of soap in the microwave for about 1.5 minutes to soften it.  Use a butter knife to break the bar into chunks and dump half of the soap into the processor at a time.  Process on high for about 20 seconds, until it’s super fine and soft.  If the soap is clumping, microwave it a bit more and process it again.  The trick is to put the soap in the processor while it’s still warm.  Do one bar at a time until you have all 3 done.  This is the most time consuming process of it all, but if you have a food processor, it’ll go pretty quick.

STEP 2:  Use gloves and a respirator mask and combine all the ingredients in a large bucket (a 3 gallon bucket is probably the perfect size; 5 gallon was too big).  I added half of everything, mixed it up with a large wooden spoon, then added the other half and mixed again.  Use 2 tablespoons per load.

That’s it!  Portion out some of the detergent into a smaller container to keep in your laundry room, and store the rest in the bucket wherever you please.

The total cost was about $25…for a year worth of detergent!!!!  Plus, it smells fantastic, works wonderfully, and couldn’t be easier to make.

If you have any questions about this, I’m here for you!  Just drop a line below.


3 thoughts on “Two-Step Laundry Detergent Recipe

  1. I love this stuff. I’ve used it for about two years. I have also used pink Zote soap instead of the Fels-Naphtha and liked it just as well. It only takes one bar so that makes it a little cheaper. I also add Purex Fabric Softening crystals and its fabulous. And it stores just fine indefinitely.

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