DIY Laundry Detergent & Fabric Softener

March 18, 2012
High efficiency (HE) and cheap laundry detergent? I'm typically not one to cut corners, but I saw someone post DIY laundry detergent and fabric softener on Pinterest so I said what the heck, and tried it when I moved into my new house. 

I didn't take pictures while making the laundry detergent and fabric softener, but it's super easy. 
HE Laundry Detergent Recipe 
You will need: 
1 bar of ivory soap 
1 cup of Borax 
1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (I searched high and low and the only place I found it was at Walmart) 
Large pot 
Grater or potato peeler 
Long spoon 
2+ gallon container or bucket (empty) 
Essential Oils (optional for scent) 

  1. Grate/shave bar of soap into pot 
  2. Pour 1 gallon of water into pot with soap 
  3. Cook water and soap until soap has melted. (boil and then simmer) 
  4. Add 2 gallons of water to bucket 
  5. Add 1 cup of Borax & 1 cup of washing soda to bucket
  6. Add soap and water from stove to bucket 
  7. Add 5 drops of essential oils.
Detergent will be watery. Let the detergent sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours it will have the thick, slimy consistency of your typical detergent. 

Use 1/2 cup of detergent per load of laundry.

HE Fabric Softener Recipe
You will need: 
6 cups of water 
3 cups of white vinegar
2 cups of hair conditioner (Suave works best) 
1 box of baking soda 

Mix water, vinegar and hair conditioner in a 1 gallon container. Do not shake. SLOWLY add baking soda, it will cause the volcano effect you remember from elementary science class. DO NOT STIR. Wait 20 minutes for ingredients to settle and gently stir. 

Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry. 

Store the detergent in old detergent bottles, milk jugs or beverage dispensers. I chose beverage dispensers because I love the way they look. I keep the other 2 gallons in the bucket and refill my beverage dispensers as necessary. 

I use glass salt and pepper shakers to pour the detergent and softener into. You can use your old detergent measuring cups or anything else you find. 

These are great money savers and if I wasn't so busy, I would make it again. I have used a gallon of laundry detergent in 4 weeks. The batch will last me at least 3 months and cost under $10. 


  1. Is this a big box of baking soda or a small box?

  2. Is this a big box of baking soda or a small box?