How to Make Cheap & Easy Laundry Detergent




My friend Sara writes a blog, Seeking Sanctuary, where she concocts ways to make her and her readers’ lives better. Earlier this year we talked about discovering new and rediscovering old ways to cut costs for our families and help the environment.

So, I spent the last few months perfecting a cheap, easy laundry system that cuts down our family’s use of plastic and other unnecessary laundry items. Next year, I want to take it a step further and eliminate the dish soap in this recipe by grating and dissolving soap bars instead. But, that’s for next year! This recipe is quick and easy for those of us who, at least for the moment, want to be friendlier to the environment, but don’t have a ton of time or a driving desire to grate soap bars 🙂


Liquid Laundry Soap:

  • 1.5 cups dish detergent – any kind, I use Ajax lemon because I like it
  • ¾ cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • Optional: ¾ cup Borax to help soften the water. If you already have soft water or don’t feel inclined to use it, you can try nixing this and see if it works for you without it
  • Water
  • Empty 122 oz. Container


Pop the pour spout off the old laundry container. Rinse if necessary. Dump the dish detergent into the container and set aside. Place the washing soda and Borax into a stainless steel pot, add 4 cups hot water, and stir over medium heat until the powders are thoroughly dissolved – do not boil or simmer, just gentle heat. Then pour that liquid into the container with the dish detergent and stir with a wood or stainless steel spoon.

Slowly, to avoid excessive bubbles, add enough water to fill the container, stir and – you’re done! So easy!

I don’t add fragrances because I’ve found that they don’t have much staying power unless I use a ton, which defeats the purpose of cheap.

Instead, I add fragrance to the drier cycle.

To stop static cling, I took aluminum foil and wadded it into 3 balls that I could fit in my hand – these are reusable, so you only need to make them once. Toss the balls into the drier with the clothes. Then, if fragrance is desired, I spray a piece of cut-up old towel with whatever blend of essential oils I happen to favor at the moment and toss it in. Run drier as usual. This eliminates the need for fabric softeners – extra savings and less plastic.

You can also use your favorite perfumes, my daughter uses her body spray to scent her clothes and that works just as well. And, of course, you can go scentless.

I’ll be posting more discoveries later. Enjoy!