• Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent! (The 2 Gallon Method)

    frugal living

    Earlier this year I decided to try to make Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent, and I must say, I was very impressed.  At the time, powder seemed to be easier to make and store, and I had no interest in keeping around a 5 gallon bucket of liquid soap.

    Well, after a while of using the powder, I noticed there were fine particles that came airborne everytime I scooped it into the wash.  Not really excited about inhaling Borax, I went on a mission to find a liquid detergent that I could make in a smaller quantity.

    You start with the exact same ingredients and measurements:

    • 1 Cup Borax
    • 1 Cup Washing Soda (Found mine at Winco)
    • 1 Bar of Ivory Soap OR 1/2 bar Fels-Naptha

    Fels-Naptha is stronger for tough stain removal.  I use Ivory because it has fewer chemicals and is easier on my kiddo’s eczema.  Plus I have a ton of Ivory soap from couponing!



    If you choose to use Fels, you will need to grate it like you would cheese with a stainless grater.  If you use Ivory, save your hands and microwave your bar. Seriously.  Just stick it on a glass pie plate or whatever is microwave safe and zap it for about 90 seconds…



    TA DAH!  You end up with an ice cream blob like substance that once sits for about a half hour, is easily broken up with your hands!  Nice huh?  Plus it’s great entertainment for the kiddos.

    (Note:  Your kitchen will smell of ivory – if you are at all sensitive, open up those windows!)


    Gently mash the bar, blob… into tiny pieces and place into the bottom of a large pot.  I use my 16 qt. stock pot for this.  Then cover with about 1/4 of a gallon of water – doesn’t have to be exact.  I just use an old vinegar bottle or milk jug and eyeball it out that way.  You’re going to use 2 gallons total.


    Then slowly heat it on low until it all becomes incorporated into the mixture, stirring constantly to help it dissolve.  Be sure it ALL disolves completely.  You can use a wooden spoon.  I chose this cool paddle I have.


    Pull it off the stove and add the Borax and Washing Soda with another 1/2 gal or so of hot water.  Stir it until it’s well incorporated.  Now, if you did this in a stock pot, you can continue right on to the next step.  If not, you’ll need to find a good sized CLEAN bucket with a lid and pour all of the mixture into the bucket.

    The add the remaining hot tap water to your mixture and stir very well.  You should have about 1 1/4 gallons left.  Cover well and let sit for 24 hours.  (Please tightly cover – buckets with liquid are very dangerous to children.)


    Once your 24 hours is up, you’ll find it will be really thick up towards the top.  Most commercial detergents have stabilizers in them to keep this from happening.  Break it up with a spoon and give it a really good stir.  It will start to resemble egg drop soup (kinda thick and lumpy).  If that really bothers you, some people have success blending it in their cuisinart.  It just takes a bit of time because you can’t put too much in at once.

    If you wish to add some essential oils, you can do so now that it is cooled.


    Then just pour into whatever containers you have to store them in and you’re done!  (Hint:  You can use those old milk jugs you were using for the water the day before.  Old well rinsed laundry bottles work well too.)  Make sure you give a good shake just before each load.

    You’ll use about 1/3 cup per wash – more or less depending on soil and size of load.  Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your final rinse for healthy, cheap softness too!  (Remember, don’t mix vinegar with bleach!)

    There you have it!  Depending on where you source your ingredients, you can make this for around $0.03 – $0.04 per load!  And it works great!



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    20 Responses to “Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent! (The 2 Gallon Method)”

    1. I don't shop @ Walmart says:

      That is a great idea! Home made detergent. At the same time, Rite Aide has Arm and Hammer laundry soap this week for $.05 cents per load, no coupons needed. And with $.75/2 coupon the price is $.038 per load.

      Now I need to find stain remover that works on grease stains. I tried pretty much everything over the counter and nothing works. I have been throwing stained T-Shirts away, but with coupons from Target I have a stash to go through.

      Anyway, any ideas or suggestions for removing greasy food stains?

      • Jade says:

        @ I dont shop @ walmart- What insert were the coupon for the $.75/2 from?

        • I don't shop @ Walmart says:

          I am not sure from what insert were they, but I had 4 coupons nicely clipped and used them in few transactions when purchased 6 (buy3 get 3 free, reg. $6.99) (limit 4. Spend$ 20 get $10 UP); I clip all my coupons and purchase Herald or Seattle Prevue, so one of those.

      • Jaimi Hallman says:

        Here are 2 options for you to use on grease stains. You can also use both options. The first is corn starch – cover the FRESH stain with corn starch and rub it in. The starch absorbs the oil and pulls it out of the fabric. I have used cornstarch on a leather wallet and it worked really well as well as working well on cotton and other fabrics. You can follow the corn starch with this next step, or try it first on its own. It works well for more set in stains and that is dish soap, particularly Dawn. Just apply some to the stain and work it in then wash. If you want to make sure the stain came out, do NOT dry your item after washing, let it air dry and then recheck the stain. Another nifty tip is that milk works awesome at getting out ink stains! SomeIthing in the milk enzyme will break down the ink. Our dog chewed a pen on our carpet (in a rental house…the horror and fear!!!!) and by rubbing the stain with milk we were able to remove it fully. I hope these frugal tips help!

      • Cathy says:

        Dawn dish washing liquid works wonders in the wash for removing greese

      • Helena says:

        Best and easiest trick for grease stains: Rub some plain old hair shampoo into them before washing. You can even do this and let it sit for a couple days before washing and it will still work. I have actually taken out YEARS-old grease stains with this. No need to buy anything special, and I am pretty sure everybody has shampoo in their house all the time.

      • The liquid detergent ..ERA is good for stains with grease…just pour on & rub in a little. It works.

    2. Patrice says:

      Have you tried the Tide Stain Booster (used to be called Stain Release I think?) tabs? They have worked for about 95% of the stuff I’ve tried them with so far. I do have to add 2 to my larger loads of laundry though. I only add them when Im washing stuff with potentials stains on them because they are expensive now that don’t have as many coupons and sales for them.

      • I don't shop @ Walmart says:

        I have not tried tabs, but tried liquid booster directly on stain and rubbed it in and it did nothing. And, if you leave it on for too long, it will change color of the clothes. Just FYI

    3. Carrie says:

      I put cornstarch on grease stains and rub it in really well. Put it on both sides of the garment and launder as usual. Works like a charm on the oil.

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    5. Audrey says:

      You can add a 1/2 cup oxi clean to the mix for deep cleaning and brightness!!

    6. Dianne says:

      Is this okay to use in HE machines? I’ve been wanting to make my own for a while now but wonder about this.

    7. Pat says:

      I have made this homemade laundry detergent and mine turned out real thin. Does anyone have any idea how to thicken it up.

      Thanks Pat

    8. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was totally right.
      This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time
      I had spent for this info! Thanks!

    9. tito dalla says:

      thank you great formula, can you email me (please) witch Stabilizers i have to add to have a product like stores?
      Thank you again

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