diy – laundry detergent, powder

Next on the list of things you should be making yourself: Laundry Detergent.  This is so simple, so cheap and so much better than the harsh chemicals in typical laundry soaps.  This can be used for regular washers, or HE machines.  I have a HE front loader and it works great.  It’s also very low cost when you compare it to any other detergents.   Sensitive skin?  This detergent is for you.  Man, I can’t think of one negative thing to say about it.  It’s basically perfect.  Magical even.

Here’s all you need:

½ bar of Zote or Fels Naptha Laundry Soap

1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda

½ cup baking soda (optional)

I use Zote soap.  It’s cheaper than Fels Naptha and I’ve read that Fels Naptha is also toxic to the environment.  Plus, Zote’s pink and fun to say.  So that’s rad.  I found the Zote and the Borax in the Laundry isle of my grocery store.  I had to go to Ace Hardware for the Washing Soda, but it might also be at your local grocery store. 

Now let the Magic begin:

Grate half of a bar of Zote soap with the cheese grater blade on your food processer.  I cut my half, in half so it would fit through the shute on the processor.

Transfer it to a bowl so you can change the blade on the processor to the choppy one, the chopper, the one that chops. 

Put the grated soap back in the food processor along with all of the other ingredients.

Pulse everything until the soap is broken up into itty bitty pieces. 

Transfer to a glass jar with a lid.

 My friend Aurora’s jar is perfect for hanging a measuring cup. 

You can also use a regular cheese grater and then a blender if you don’t have a food processor. 

The best part?  You only need one tablespoon for a regular size load of laundry.  For extra-large loads use two tablespoons.  Easy.  Inexpensive.  Effective.  Awesome.




  1. I make mine too, using peppermint Dr bronners soap-it smells really good.

    1. Hmmm, maybe I need to branch out on the soap, mine smells like nothing. Well, in the dryer we use a damp washcloth with a few drops of lavender essential oil, so that smells good, but the detergent alone doesn’t leave and scent.

  2. I use that exact recipe although i use Yardley’s Lavender. However, we always dissolved the ingredients into a 5 gallon bucket of water. I think i like your recipe leaving it dry better. I will be making soap this weekend:) And like you I am starting to make regular soap as well. great blog!

  3. I’ve seen the liquid recipe, but I’m really happy with the powder. We’ll have to compare notes on the soap. Knowing me it will be quite an adventure. Good Luck!

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