Homemade Laundry Detergent

We live on the second floor of a big old farmhouse.  The washing machine is located in the cellar…2 flights of stairs below….exactly 29 stairs if I take the front way or 28 stairs if I take the back way.  That being said, there are days that I do not do laundry because I don’t even think of it.  I guess having that washing machine out of sight, sort of puts it all out of my mind.   Be forewarned, if you ever come to my house, there’s typically 2 overflowing hampers in my bathroom.  Actually, they are laundry mountains.  The kids get a charge of seeing just how high the laundry can be piled without toppling over….the wall and a medicine cabinet really aide in the construction.

However, with the stomach bug catching my daughter last week and my son last night, I have been doing a bit more laundry out of absolute necessity.  It’s somehow difficult to ignore throw-up covered blankets.   As I was down cellar this morning, I noted that it’s just about time to make more laundry detergent.  The coolest part about that realization is just how long it has been since I made any:  last February!!! That’s right – my first batch has lasted almost a year and actually, probably will make it through a whole year with what I have left.   I figure I do about 4 to 6 loads of laundry per week.  That’s between 208 and 312 loads of laundry in 52 weeks on one batch of detergent.  The absolute best part:  that batch of detergent cost me $19.06 to make.  It’s another way we save money around here.

Here’s how I make a batch…..



The Ingredients:   (everything can be found at Wal-Mart)

2 bars (14,1 oz.) of Zote Laundry Soap (white or pink) (note 3 in the picture, but I did not use all 3)

Note:  I just saw that the Zote is available in flakes which would totally eliminate the grating process!!! The cost is higher, but to some it might be worth it.

1 box (60 oz.) Biz Stain & Odor Eliminator Powder

1 box (4 lbs. 12 oz) 20 Mule Team Borax

1 box (4 lb.) Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (I had a big bag from Sam’s Club, but this box from Wal-Mart would be easier as you will not have to measure out like I did)

1 box (55 oz.) Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 


The Tools: 

Grater for the Zote if using bars (I just used our one from the kitchen)

A large tub or tote for mixing 

A smaller tote with lid for storing

An old tablespoon measuring spoon for scooping out the detergent for each load


The Process: 

1.)  Grate the Zote (unless you bought the flakes as I mentioned above) and dump into your big tub.

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2.) Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing as you go.  I used my hands, but you may find a tool that works better.  Please be careful not to inhale the dust.


3.)  Transfer to a smaller tote with lid for storage.  Using a scoop or cup is helpful for this.

My completed tote of detergent.
My completed tote of detergent.

4.)  Find a home for your tote of detergent next to your washing machine.

5.) Enjoy a year of not having to buy detergent.


I use one heaping tablespoonful for each load of laundry.  If the clothes are extra dirty, I use two heaping tablespoonfuls.  You can adjust according to your needs.

I found that for certain spots and stains, it is still best to use a pre-treat spray.  You can make that at home, too!!!




About the author


I am a child of God -- seeking daily to walk in the Way. I am the daughter of a farmer. I am married to an awesome man who makes it possible for me to live out my dream of keeping the farm that has been in my family for 110 years. I am the mother of two. We have laying hens for eggs, raise our own chicken, pork and beef as well as have a large garden. We sell the excess produce at our roadside stand along with my crafts and photography. Thanks for reading about our adventures. God bless!

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