Homemade laundry detergent and why it works so well

10 Minutes

Homemade laundry detergent is all the rage these days but do you ever wonder if it really works? I love the idea of homemade laundry detergent, that costs a fraction of the price but I want to know that my clothes are actually getting clean, before I jump on the bandwagon!
The 4 basic ingredients of homemade laundry detergent are Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and Fels-Naptha bar soap. I also added Oxi Clean and doTERRA Wild Orange essential oil, to give it a little extra cleaning power, and a delicious citrus scent. Check out my full post to see how/why each of the ingredients work to create the best, most effective laundry detergent. Click here: http://askannamoseley.com/2013/05/the-best-homemade-laundry-detergent-and-why/
Edit: This detergent can be used in a front loading washing machine, there are instructions if you click on the link above. It is also safe to use if you have a septic system, I researched all of the individual ingredients and they are all safe to use. My sister has been using this for years on her septic system and she has never had any problems.
Borax is a natural laundry booster because of it's unique ability to clean, by converting some water molecules to hydrogen peroxide.
The high alkalinity of washing soda helps it act as a solvent to remove a range of stains. Also adding Fels-Naphta helps eliminate residual stains. It works as a stain remover, for tough stains
Download this free printable to make your laundry detergent into cute gifts or just look cute in your laundry room!

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Anna M

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

11 questions
  • Mary Ann
    on Nov 10, 2015

    Can you use this in the new washers that call for high efficiency laundry detergent?

    • Marcia Robbins
      on Nov 10, 2015

      Yes. I have high efficiency front loaders and have been using for a few years. I do occasionally use liquid for gentle cold water loads but use the powder with warm and cold water in most general loads.

  • Eyesdebo
    on Nov 29, 2015

    I get cooking oil on my work shirts..Do I still need to pre-treat if I use this homemade detergent?

    • Gina
      on Jul 12, 2016

      Yes, but I use dawn for mypretreat,works great

  • User
    on May 15, 2017

    Is this only for white laundry? I'm concerned that the peroxide will bleach colors from the clothes.. =o/
  • Geneva Milby
    on Sep 19, 2017

  • Norma Vanderveer
    on Nov 2, 2017

    What amount do u use for one regular load of laundry?
  • Tam 15076171
    on Aug 29, 2018

    Where do you get Fels -Naptha from?

  • Fran Williams
    on Sep 12, 2018

    I have clumping of soap when washing my cloths, leaving soapy residu on my laundry. What can I do to stop that? I use cold water . Do I need to change my grated soap?

  • Patricia
    on Sep 18, 2018

    Did I miss how to mix it all together is there a recipe?Thanks

  • Deb
    on Oct 16, 2018

    is this safe to use with HE machines? Thx

    • Cary Evonne Richardson
      on Nov 2, 2018

      Yrs, I've been using it for more tha 5 years. It's sudslezs and is great and safe in all types of washing machines.

    • Terra Gazelle
      on Jun 13, 2020

      I have been making it and using this recipe of Laundry detergent for almost two years and I have no problem with it. It is very low sudsing. In fact the Front Loaders will get a funky smell..this detergent keeps that from happening, and I have clean fresh smelling clothes.

      I make enough detergent to last me several months.

  • Marian Spurling
    on Oct 23, 2018

    My family complains that our clothes don't SMELL clean when using this recipe. Is there any way that a scent can be added (such as a non staining Essential oil-like Lavender) or another fresh smelling idea? I personally love the homemade soap & don't want to switch. TY!!

    • Terry Dixon Taylor
      on Oct 29, 2018

      We use purex laundry sents. They are in the laundry isle in our winco or another dry laundry scent like unstopables. When i make this it saves me $120 to $240 dollars a year on laundry soap and doesnt bother our sensitive skin or our asthma.

    • Charlotte Childers
      on Mar 14, 2019

      I sometimes add lemon essential oil to the mix. Works great.

    • Terra Gazelle
      on Jun 13, 2020

      I us e Arm and Hammer Clean scentsations Odor blasters. It works great.

  • Patricia
    on Jan 26, 2019

    Where IS the recipe? There is no way to download it either. Would love to try this!

Join the conversation

3 of 245 comments
  • Marlene
    on Aug 16, 2019

    We made this and added Downy unstoppables to the mix

  • Fuzz
    on Feb 3, 2020

    Soap makes soap scum if your water is very hard. The soap also needs at least warm water to dissolve. Things to be aware of.

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