Save money with this DIY laundry detergent recipe


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Laundry detergent is expensive and a pain for anyone with sensitive skin or skin issues, such as psoriasis or eczema. Guest blogger Elizabeth Flanders Pitts has shared her recipe for powder detergent. It’s inexpensive and easy to make — and since it produces few suds, you can use it on high-efficiency machines. Plus it works, which is nice.


What you need

  • 1 76-ounce box 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1 55-ounce box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • 2 4-ounce bars Castille Soap (Flanders Pitts uses Kirk’s)
  • 2 4-quart containers that seal well (the kind you would store a 5-pound bag of flour in)



  1. Pour half of each box of Borax and Washing Soda into each container. Don’t use baking soda! You can find washing soda in the detergent aisle of your grocery store.
  2. Use a metal cheese grater or food processor fitted with the grater blade to shred the two bars of soap, and put one shredded bar into each container.
  3. Now put the lids on, and shake the containers until the components are thoroughly mixed.



This recipe makes a double batch, but it can be halved or shared.


How to use

Add 1 tablespoon of detergent per load of wash in a high-efficiency front-loader. For older machines, use 1/8 to 1/4 cup per load, depending on stain level. Of course, you can play with the amount a little to see what works best for you — especially if you’re stuck using not-so-great machines at a laundromat. Simply use the maximum suggested measurement (1/4 cup here), gauge the results and then cut it in half. Keep halving the amount until it works for you.


Do the math

The required ingredients at a grocery store or online store, such as Drugstore.com, run for roughly the following amounts:

  • Borax: $8.99 per 76 ounces
  • Washing soda: $6.75 per 55 ounces
  • Castille soap: $1.99 per 4 ounces


That’s $19.72 for a double batch that lasts a family of three at least four or five months. Not bad, eh?


But wait, there's more!

In addition to saving money, you may find that you experience less itching and irritation. You may also notice that you won’t get that annoying detergent residue on towels that makes them less absorbent, not to mention on black or dark clothing.


Elizabeth Flanders Pitts works at Distinctive-Decor.com, an online retailer with a storefront on Main Street in Duncan, Okla. When she’s not handling visuals, customers, cooking classes and local marketing, you can usually track her down in the kitchen. You look hungry. Sit down. Let her make you something to eat.


If you're interested in another interesting DIY topic, check our listerine foot soak test article.  Very interesting stuff.