Stretch Your Budget: DIY Laundry Detergent

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In my mission to save money, I have always been open minded. I think that as a frugal person–you really need to be. I’ve tried a couple of DIY Laundry Detergent recipes and I’ve found that this works the best for me. It is also HE compatible.

One misconception that people think about Laundry Detergent is that you should see bubbles to ensure that it is cleaning. This recipe will not bubble–so if you like that, you will be dissatisfied– but this stuff really works! My husband often comes home in his chef coats and they have tons of grease stains or smells (sometimes fishy because he works with fresh fish) and I have found that the Homemade recipe works much better for his coats– it eliminates the smell completely (compared to Tide, this stuff does a much better job. Sorry Tide lovers! :) )

This recipe takes about 10 minutes and I pay a total of $5 for everything you see. I make my detergent in small batches:

  • 2 cups Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda ( Winco or Walmart)
  • 2 Cups Borax (Find this at Winco, food4Less or Walmart)
  • 1 Cup grated Fels-Naptha (you can find this in Food4Less, winco and Vons)
  • –grate the Fels-Naptha and combine all ingredients.
Other alternatives to the ingredients above:
Ivory bar soap, dove bar soap, Zote (if you can not find Fels-Naptha)

I use about 2 tablespoons per load. You can also add Oyx Clean to your mix if you have extra messy kids in the house.


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  1. Julie M. says

    When I was a child and got in trouble my grandma would make us scrub the bottom of the socks with Zote…that stuff works great

  2. SLNy says

    Thanks for reposting this Josie!!! I tried this last time and could not find the printed copy for this. This stuff works great on deodorant stains too. I had subbed the Fels-Naptha for Ivory Bar Soap. But, I think I’ll try it with Zote this time.

  3. Amy says

    Does anybody know if the ingredients are fragrance free? My daughter has severe eczema, so I have to use free and clear detergents.

  4. Stephanie says

    does anybody know do you use the 2 tablespoons per load plus your regular laundry detergent or just this? sounds to me like just this, but just checking? TIA

  5. Tennille says

    I am having the worst time trying to find A&H Super Washing Soda, I’ve tried Walmart and Vons. Im heading out to F4L tomorrow. I wanted to see is there any substitute for it if I’m unable to find it?

    • Tennille says

      After two weeks of looking I finally found it.. It was in a different Isle the whole time. I was looking in the isle that had the laundry detergent , but it was in the isle that has the oxy and fabric softener.. Womp Womp :(

  6. hazzy says

    How much does this end up being per ounce? I can get Tide for 4 cents an ounce when I combine a coupon with sale. Seems like too much work.

  7. Allison says

    Exited to try this!! I was reading that washing soda and soda ash are the same thing (sodium carbonate), but soda ash is sold in bulk at pool supply stores (and online) for cheaper.

    • Brie says

      Monique my husband and I have been using this recipe since August and love it. I haven’t noticed any color fading. What really fades and wears out clothes is drying them in a commercial dryer, ever since we started air drying our clothes they keep their color much longer and the jeans don’t wear out as fast.

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