How To Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

If you are like me and are always looking for a way to save money without compromising on the quality of items then you have found the right spot to learn how to make your own homemade liquid laundry detergent.

Full disclosure, we first started making our own homemade liquid laundry detergent because we found that some of the members of my family had allergies to our store-bought detergent.

We found that the HUGE savings in our pocketbook were a bonus on top of that.

Another wonderful thing about learning how to make homemade liquid laundry detergent is that you can play around with the scent as much as you want until you get it exactly as you want.

Let’s take a deeper dive and find out what ingredients are in homemade liquid laundry detergent.

What’s You’ll Need To Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

This liquid laundry detergent is made using only three ingredients.

Fels Naptha Bar Soap Or Castille Soap

Your first ingredient will be either a bar of Fels Naptha bar soap or Castille Soap.

These ingredients are interchangeable and will both work perfectly.

It’s important to remember that you don’t need to have both.

Simply use the one you have on hand or is easiest to buy for yourself.

Important Note: Using the Castille soap makes the process much easier because no grating is required.

Castile soap is an oil-based soap that comes in liquid or bar form.

For our purposes, liquid soap is the best.

It’s biodegradable and non-toxic, so it’s perfect for everything from your dish soap dispenser to your washing machine.

I love to use Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, but any brand of pure Castile soap will do the trick for you.


Their is a very common misconception that Borax is toxic.

Most of this misconception comes from the confusion between Borax and Boric Acid.

Simply stated, Boric Acid is very toxic while Borax is not.

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral compound called sodium tetraborate.

It’s made up of sodium, oxygen, and boron.

It’s used in many different types of natural cleaning compounds, insecticides, and cosmetics.

The 20 Mule Team All Natural Borax Laundry Detergent Booster is my choice because of the awesome reviews it’s always gotten on Amazon.

Laundry Booster Washing Soda

Washing soda is a chemical compound known as sodium carbonate.

It works hand in hand with borax to soften hard water so that detergent can be absorbed into clothes; basically, it boosts the cleaning power of the detergent.

Like borax, it’s non-toxic unless you ingest large doses.

I prefer to use Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster & Household Cleaner, which you can order on Amazon or make a quick trip to the grocery store.

Important Note: This is NOT baking soda, this is an actual laundry booster for your machine.

Five Gallon Bucket

This recipe makes five gallons of liquid laundry detergent, therefore you will need a five gallon bucket.

It doesn’t have to be anything special, your local hardware store should have exactly what you need.

And that’s all the ingredients needed to make your own homemade liquid laundry detergent.

Most of these you already have or can order very quickly off of Amazon.

Step By Step Instructions For How To Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

#1. Grate Bar Soap

For the first step it will depend on which type of soap you are using.

If you choose to use the Fels-Naptha, you will either use a food processor(video below) or a trusty cheese grater to grate the bar soap.

If you are using Castile soap, nothing is required as you won’t add the Castile until later in the process.

#2. Add The Washing Soda

Pour 2 cups of the washing soda into your five-gallon bucket.

Mix the liquid until there are no clumps.

#3. Add The Borax

Add 1 cup of Borax.

Stir the detergent until you are sure there are no clumps and all the powders have been completely dissolved.

#4. Add The Soap

Pour the grated soap into a pan of 2-3 cups of warm water and let it melt completely.

Pro Tip: DO NOT boil the water after the soap has been added.

It will create a soap volcano and overflow, creating a very hard-to-clean stain on your stove-top.

After it melts, pour the soap mixture into the five-gallon bucket which already should contain your washing soda and borax.

If you are using the castile soap, pour 1 cup directly into your five-gallon bucket.

Stir the detergent thoroughly one more time to ensure that all the soap that you just added has been completely dissolved.

Fill your five-gallon bucket using warm tap water and stir one last time.

Place the top onto the bucket and let the detergent sit overnight.

After it sits overnight, it will have a jelly-like consistency, don’t worry, this is exactly the type of consistency you are looking for.

Pro Tip: Do not screw the top of the bucket on really tight because the water will still be warm and will create a vacuum on the top, causing it to be challenging to remove the next morning.

If you are a visual learner, watch the how to make homemade liquid laundry detergent video below.

Questions About How To Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

How many loads can I get from making my own homemade liquid laundry detergent?

The main reason people make their own homemade liquid laundry detergent is because of the immense savings they enjoy while doing it.

This particular recipe costs around $20 and will make a total of 10 gallons of liquid detergent.

For a top-loading washing machine, you will use 5/8 of a cup, and that will give you a total of 180 loads per five gallons. (360 total because this recipe makes 10 gallons).

For a front-loading washing machine, you use 1/4 cup per load for a total of 640 loads per five gallons. (1280 for the 10 gallons).

With numbers like this, you can see how and why people can save lots of cash making their own homemade liquid laundry detergent.

Do I Need To Add Essential Oils To My Liquid Detergent?

Only add essential oils if you aren’t satisfied with the smell of your homemade detergent.

This recipe is not going to give you a burst of scent in your wash, therefore, you may want to add some lavender or peppermint essential oils to the recipe.

If you decide to do this, 15-20 drops per five-gallon bucket will get the job done.


We hope you enjoyed learning how to make homemade liquid laundry detergent for yourself.

With the steps and video above, if you find yourself with a load of dirty laundry and have run out of store-bought detergent, you are equipped with the knowledge to make your own, thus saving yourself a lot of time and money.