Make Your Own Laundry Detergent: Powder Detergent Recipe

Homemade laundry detergent is eco-friendly, easy to make and is so much cheaper than conventional detergents. These are just a couple of the reasons I like to make homemade laundry detergent. Here is a great recipe that you can use to make your own laundry detergent. This is the powder detergent recipe, and the liquid laundry detergent recipe is coming up in my next post.

You can scroll down to the bottom for the cost break down.

Ingredients and Supplies

  • 1 Bar of Soap (castile)
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • Measuring Cup
  • Cheese Grater
  • Container (big enough to hold 4 cups of powder)
  • Metal Fork
  • Optional: 10-15 drops of essential oil (tea tree, lavender etc…) I use tea tree oil because of its natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, plus it has a nice scent to it.
Love essential oils? I’m a self-proclaimed oil-junkie! Read up on the brand of essential oils I absolutely love and currently use for everything from warding off strep, to eliminating my daughter’s asthma.

Directions for All Natural Powder Laundry Detergent

Step One: Grate your soap with a cheese grater. The finer the better, because the finer it is the faster it melts and the better it works. I chose to use a pure-castile, unscented soap, but you could experiment and try others if you like. I’m trying to be as natural and eco-friendly as possible with this, so the castile soap seemed like the perfect choice for me.

Step Two: Mix together grated soap, borax and washing soda and blend well with a fork. You might have a few clumps to break up.

Step Three: At this point you can add in your essential oil if you’ve decided to use some. Make sure it blends really well with your fork, and break up any added clumps caused by the oil.

Step Four: Store in an air-tight container out of reach of children, and use 2-3 tablespoons of the powder in your washing machine.


As an added tip, use one cup of vinegar in your rinse cycle (put it in the fabric softener slot) to eliminate any residue on your machine, and naturally soften your clothes. Vinegar is something I use in the rinse cycle, no matter the detergent I am using.

While these ingredients are non-toxic and eco-friendly, you should still handle them with care and keep out of reach of children. They are not meant to be consumed either.

Cost of Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent*

  • 1 bar soap = $3.49
  • 1 box Washing Soda (55oz) $3.19 – Cost Per Cup = .46 cents
  • 1 box Borax (76oz) $4.49 – Cost Per Cup = .47 cents
  • Optional Essential Oil: Tea Tree Oil (1oz) $8.99 – Cost for 15 Drops = .27 cents

Total Cost: $4.69
Cost Per Load: Approximately .14 cents

*Note that prices are common retail. Watch for a sale or deal at an outlet for even cheaper ingredients!

It’s super easy and cheap to make your own laundry detergent when you use this powdered laundry detergent recipe. I use this powder, and find that it gets my clothes clean just fine. I use a front-loading, high efficiency washing machine. If you are concerned about how this powder will affect your clothing, then test a small hidden area with the detergent before washing.  My clothes have always turned out just fine, and I’ve not noticed any added fading or wear and tear on my clothing.

Stay tuned for my liquid laundry detergent recipe that is coming up tomorrow, and on Friday I will be answering all your questions with a video – so let the questions and comments fly!


By |2014-11-18T13:49:35-04:00August 29th, 2012|Frugal Living, Organic and Green Living|8 Comments

About the Author:

I'm a former sweet-tooth turned health-nut. After a difficult loss of a first pregnancy and having a second child with a heart condition, I became obsessed with health and wellness. I revamped our entire family's lifestyle, dropped seven pant sizes, and created a website where I could share our story and help support people wanting to make small changes day by day in order to live well. I also support my family by the work that I do here through advertising content, affiliates, and partnership/consultant links within content. When you click and/or order, it puts food on our table. Thanks for all your support, and may you live well and thrive!


  1. Maura August 30, 2012 at 8:51 am - Reply

    I’ve switched over to making my own and I love it! It’s fun making it, and oh so cheap!!!

  2. Monica August 30, 2012 at 11:23 am - Reply

    I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for a few years now. I use a Tablespoon for an average load in my front-load washer. I used store-bought liquid soap for years; but found that the powder didn’t gum up the washer the way the liquid did. I have had to add 1/2 cup baking soda to my mix due to hard water. Also use vinegar in the softener cup.

  3. Julie J. August 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Where do you buy your Essential Oils?
    And on an HE do you put it directly in the drum? Or the designated liquid/powder slot?
    Thanks In Advance!!!

    • Crystal Collins September 4, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

      You can get essential oil on Amazon, or at health food stores, too. And I put the detergent in the detergent slot. Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

  4. Crystal Collins September 4, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Here’s the post with all the homemade laundry detergent recipes and an FAQ:

  5. SJack September 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    I have an HE washer, I put the detergent in the tub instead of the little drawer. I could not wash clothes at night before going to bed, because they would sour but now I can with this homemade detergent…LOVE IT!!

  6. Nancy February 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Has anyone come up with an easy way to grate the soap,it takes me an hour to do 1 bar because my hand keeps cramping up. I tried my mini food prcessor but that didn’t work at all. I also don’t have kids to pawn that job off on. lol Thanks for any advice. I love this laundry soap

  7. Sarah March 5, 2013 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    I use the same recipe but I use one bar of Ivory soap. It’s a fair compromise and you can get a 12 pack for 4 or 5 bucks.

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