DIY Detergent: The Inside Scoop on Laundry’s Newest Trend

The average American household does 400 loads of laundry per year. And all of that clothes-washing doesn’t come cheap: An average family of four will spend about $185.12 per year on laundry detergent. If you’re looking for a way to save money and go a natural route, you might want to try making your own laundry detergent.

On top of saving money, you’ll also rest easy knowing you aren’t adding chemicals, fragrances or dyes to your laundry. It’s easy to make a powdered detergent that’s good for basics like whites and towels (it’s still best to use a store-bought detergent for delicates). Ready to give it a shot? Try this recipe adapted from


  • Bar soap (any natural, unscented bar soap of your choosing)
  • Washing soda (Arm & Hammer makes some)
  • Borax (20 Mule Team is a brand you can find pretty easily)
  • Baking soda (this is optional but it can help freshen clothes up even more)

What to do:

  1. Use a food processor or grater to grind up the bar of soap.
  2. Measure out how much soap you have and mix it with twice as much washing soda and twice as much Borax along with a few teaspoons of baking soda if you’re using.
  3. Once everything is combined, store it in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
  4. Use two to four tablespoons per load of laundry.

If you prefer liquid detergent, make one with these tweaks. Love saving money and going the DIY route? Try these other recipes to make lip balms, body butter and sunscreen:

Photo credit: K.B.R.

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