Mother Earth News Blogs > Homesteading and Livestock

Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Happiness Is Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

Friends, the day I learned of theis recipe, was the day my life was changed forever.  I've always heard of making your own laundry detergent, but was born a skeptic and needed proof.  Some friends of mine found this recipe and tried it.  They told me about it and one of them, being an even bigger skeptic than me sang its praises.  So I tried it, and was very pleased with the results.  So pleased in fact, that I've been using it now for three years and wouldn't have it any other way.  Now, I know what some of you may be thinking. You're brand loyal, and that's fine.  Some of you might also be thinking that you buy "green" or "eco" detergent, and that's fine too.  But here's my pitch:  What if I told you that you could make a totally biodegradable soap for pennies, and it works great!  Any takers? How about I give you the recipe to try for yourself, and you can thank me later.


The Best Laundry Detergent In The World 

1 bar of soap grated (2 cups at least)

1 Cup Borax

1 Cup Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda)

Warm Water

Now, when I say 1 bar of soap, essentially it can be any soap.  A popular one to use that is biodegradable is Dr. Bronner's Castile soap.  You could use Dial if you wanted to.  I use Fels Naptha, it's a laundry soap with a whole host of other uses.  You melt the soap in one quart of water on the stove.  When melted, add it to a 2 gallon container, that's right this makes two gallons of soap!  Add one cup of borax and washing soda (which is found in the laundry isle of the grocery store), mix, then fill with more water to make two gallons.  You only use 1/4 cup per load of laundry!  So the two gallons lasts forever!  One thing I should mention, it separates, so shake it each time before you use it.  Let me know what you think!  You can check out more fun homestead-y things on my blog


elaine mashburn
1/28/2013 12:26:16 PM

I have used this recipe..which is the Duggar recipe..for almost a yr. & I absolutley LOVE it! I have shared this with many friends who have now converted. Saves TONS of money & my whites have never been cleaner!

lee seese
3/20/2012 1:08:21 AM

I've tried this formula before, as well as a couple different variations without success. After just a few washes, my clothes looked dingy and dull and just never really seemed clean. I've even tried using a followup vinegar rinse, but it didn't help improve the performance. I've heard others who loved it and it worked well for them, but unfortunately, it just didn't work for me. I was wondering if I could attribute the failure to my well water, but a friend with public water tried it too and it didn't work for her either. But don't let that stop you from giving it a try, it may work wonders for you!

amanda king
3/20/2012 12:09:21 AM

I used the Arm and Hammer kind, so I guess that is what is wrong. So it should be a liquid then?

lyn board
3/19/2012 5:35:02 AM

I too have successfully used this recipe for many years in California but be warned.........last time I tried to purchase regular "Washing Soda" in the laundry aisle of a local supermarket, I couldn't find the familiar box. Staff assured me Arm and Hammer had improved the product and the new Washing Soda was much better. It doesn't work. Ruined my batch. Be sure you buy a product that's ONLY Washing Soda, no additives, improvements or whatever. What brand do you use, Amanda?

amanda king
3/19/2012 2:41:08 AM

I just tryed this laundry soap and it harden on me. Is it suppose to harden and not be a liquid, and you just scoop out 1/4cup?

rebecca brunk pierce
2/10/2012 4:46:53 AM

A friend just used this recipe, which she found on a website claiming it was the Duggar family recipe (which was also probably borrowed from elsewhere). Sure wish people would give credit where it's due. But she said it worked fabulously.