Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent! (The 2 Gallon Method)

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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