DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe – NO Borax

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DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent - NO Borax

Our DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent recipe without Borax has been insanely popular! We started using it several years ago in our continual effort to save money and reduce chemicals in our household. It’s SO easy to do, is sensitive on my daughter’s skin, and I only have to make it about once a year! You can see our recipe for DIY Dish Detergent (no Borax!) too which works great!

DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent

I usually make a double batch but you can cut it in half if you want – here is the recipe that I have used for years through several very messy kids:

Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients:

2 bars of Zote OR 3 bars of Fels-Naptha
2 boxes Baking Soda (4 lbs each)
2 boxes Washing Soda (4 lbs each)
2 Oxi-Clean tubs (3.5 lbs each) (optional)
Fabric Softener Crystals (
optional – I didn’t use

To start with I also purchased this Anchor Hocking Glass Gallon Jar to hold my detergent which I love but you can see a variety of 1 gallon jars here to use!  You can also use an old popcorn tin, paint bucket, etc. as long as it’s clean of course – I just like ones where I can easily just lift the lid without any extra time! I also like using penny jars for detergent too.

make your own laundry detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent Directions:

  1. I start by shredding my soap bars. You can find both the Zote and Fels-Naptha bars in the laundry detergent aisle and they typically run under $1 a bar. If you can’t find it check Home Depot as I’ve heard they carry Zote. (You can also purchase them on Amazon but they are considerably more expensive.) You can either use a cheese grater or food processor to grate your soap. Personally now I use this KitchenAid attachment which saves my a TON of time and is multi-purpose for use throughout the year but I started by hand grating it! Both are easy to clean since after all, it’s just soap!
  2. Dump your shredded soap into your storage container, and add all of the baking soda and  washing soda. If you are using Oxi-clean & fabric softener crystals stir this in now and mix well. The Oxi-Clean and fabric softener crystals are optional as you are just adding in some extra chemicals (and stronger cleaners).

homemade laundry soap

Above you can see just 1 batch in my storage jar which holds almost 4 gallons (my jar is too big!) so a double batch would almost fill it up! You only need 1 Tbsp. per wash so it will last a better part of the year! (I use the small scoop that comes in the OxiClean tub) Not bad for under $20 for a double batch!

This recipe works great for HE washers too – just add it directly into the wash with the load (not into the fill tray). If you’re wanting to go chemical free you can use a Wash Ball which is pricey to buy up front but lasts for 1000 loads so it’s more cost effective in the long run. I loved the one I tried but you’re supposed to let it dry out in between loads and since I do a lot of loads back to back I couldn’t get it dry enough.


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  1. Thanks for the recipe! I bought the stuff yesterday for a single batch – but it was still just barely under $20! How did you find stuff so cheap?? I was at Walmart and Oxiclean was $8! It’s still worth it though. You look really familiar – you don’t live in Utah, do you?

    1. Hi Michelle! At my Walmart the HUGE bonus sized Oxiclean is $8! My little containers were only a few dollars each. I would recommend seeing if you can purchase the biggest Oxiclean size you can get (or even look at Sam’s/Costco if you can) to lessen the price further. You may be storing it a while since you won’t need it all but the price per ounce will end up being quite a bit cheaper! Also, many times you can find the baking soda in a bag in the pool supply aisle for a much cheaper price than in the baking aisle – don’t worry, it’s the same stuff! My husband loves this recipe so much he actually asked me to stop using the store bought stuff so it’s definitely worth it and goes a long way! And you don’t need much in each wash either since there are no “fillers”. (No, I’m not from Utah – but everyone tells me I look familiar! I must have a very active twin out there!)

    2. I buy LA’s Totally Awesome Pure Oxygen Base Cleaner at Dollar Tree to replace the Oxy Clean. The Oxy Clean has a F rating on the EWG site. The LA’s is $1 for a 16 oz container. It is also available on Dollar Tree’s website.

  2. Hi !
    I am so excited to use this recipe. I love saving money and it looks super easy. My only question is….do you really only have to use 1 tablespoon per load? It seems so little for a large load of laundry. Is so, that is awesome!
    Thanks so much!

    1. Believe it or not yes – I haven’t had any stains stay yet! There’s no floofy “fillers” like a lot of commerical detergent so you don’t really need that much. I use a little laundry scooper that was in my Oxiclean tub for my detergent.

      1. Thanks so much!! I really appreciate you sharing your ideas to help other save money too!!

  3. I will be buying the items to make this today. I cloth diaper and use cloth wipes so I’ve been looking for a laundry soap hat doesn’t contain Borax and I have finally found one. I am so excited to make this and stay using it! Thank you!!!

  4. Why did you leave out the Borax?

  5. Christine says:

    How is this for people who are sensitive to detergents?

    1. If you’re worried about sensitivities I would recommend leaving out the OxiClean, fabric crystals and Borax. Since it’s just base ingredients with no fragrance you shouldn’t have any issues!

  6. Is it SAFE for all washers? I couldnt possibly afford to replace a washer because a DIY product messed it up. But what a great money saver. I spend 20.00 on detergent at least every 2 months.

  7. Is this ok for sensitive skin?

  8. I have made this recipe before and I save tons of money, plus i can keep whites white. Love this recipe! I will NEVER buy store bought detergent.

  9. I’m allergic to oxi clean, is there an alternative?

    1. You can certainly skip the OxiClean!! It’s just an “extra” stain remover boost but can be left out if you don’t want the chemicals or are allergic to it!

  10. Has anyone actually used this in their He washer?

  11. Do you ever try to make this in liquid form?

  12. Will it work for HE Washers? I have a front loader and requires HE soap.

    1. Yes….I have been using it in my HE washer for over a year now. It’s great!

  13. Thank you for sharing!! I am definitely going to make this before the hectic school year starts! I have two questions, that may sound ridiculous. However, first, how do you add it to your washer? I have a top loader and I have only ever used liquid dye free environmentally friendly detergents, therefore, I’m not sure if I would sprinkle it on top of the load, or add it another way. Secondly, if I add the fabric softener crystals, would that eliminate me having to use liquid Downey? Thanks for your help!!

    1. The only time I might add liquid Downy (although rarely) would be maybe if I’m doing towels. I usually add the detergent in first and then put my clothes in because our current top loader only uses a small amount of water.

  14. Amanda Williams says:

    I use w Borox. Why do u have w out it?

    1. Some people choose to take the Borax out if it’s too harsh for skin reactions. Also my kids usually help me make our detergent and it can be very irritating if accidentally inhaled.

  15. What about washing machines that required he detergent? Can you use this?

    1. Molly Ellis says:

      This works just fine! I have a front-load HE washer, and I just slide the little dispenser thingy over to powder. No mess, no clogs.

  16. Is it HE washer safe?

  17. Does this clump up on the wash?

  18. Karen Hemmersbach says:

    I stopped having to shred my fels naphtha after reading that you can break it apart and put it in the microwave! I’ve been doing this now for a few months! I break it into 4ths or 8ths and put it on a plate. I nuke it for around 2 minutes until it has all expanded. I take it out and wait about 40 minutes and it just crumbles into little pieces in your hands! Make sure you wait until it’s cooled though because it gets hot!

    1. haha I saw this several months ago (like last year) an thought great. I hate shredding. Got impatient to make cause I ran out and just threw both bars in the microwave. Yeah my bad next time I wll look up my info first….Micro smells good tho 😀 Just had to share…..

  19. Does it smell good?

  20. My front loader washer has the detergent and fabric softener dispenser in the top of the washer, so it’s not actually added to the laundry until the cycle begins. Can I just dump the homemade stuff in the dispenser like I do liquid detergent? Or would it have to be added to the actual load of clothing?

  21. Elizabeth says:

    I am really looking forward to trying this. It looks very simple and safe to use. I have a smoker in my house and I do not like my clothes smelling like smoke. I was wondering will this help take the smell out of my clothes and leave them smelling fresh or will I need to buy something to help the smell?
    Thanks for sharing

  22. Does is smell good?

    1. It tends to smell clean. Not much fragrance. i use vinegar with an essential oil that I like for a rinse.

  23. Molly Ellis says:

    I make this, too, except I do add Borax. What is the reason for leaving it out of your recipe? Is there something I don’t know about Borax? Lol…

    1. Molly Ellis says:

      NVM…saw the above comment!

  24. Amy Willis says:

    I luv this idea. Mom of 3 boys involved in too many sports. Can’t wait to try this on their uniforms. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Does it work for all water temps? Delicates? Thanks for posting.

  26. Andrea Dixon says:

    For those of you with a HE front load washer, do you add the soap to the dispenser or directly on the load of clothes?

  27. Stefanie Wilkinson says:

    I made my first batch last night and wow does it make a lot for a little bit of money! I still can’t believe that you only need 1tbsp in the wash! I have 3 children so I am really excited to save money on laundry detergent. I did notice that the Oxyclean I bought at Walmart was concentrated so I bought half of what the recipe called for. Has anyone else noticed or done that? Thank you so much for posting this!

    1. I’m not sure that I’ve noticed if my OxiClean was concentrated or not! To be honest since I’ve been using this recipe so long I have been just throwing in whatever ingredients I have on hand and haven’t had any issues with my laundry yet!

  28. Fyi, the Zote bar now comes in flakes. It smells awesome. Wal-Mart is the only place I find that carry it.

  29. Jan C Kidd-Dahn says:

    Hello Crystal from Yooper Land USA (Upper Michigan)!
    Love your site! Thank you for having it available to everyone!
    –What type of container is best to store this mix in, is plastic ok?
    I like your clear glass container. Looks pretty!
    Thank you!
    -Jan 🙂



  32. Can you use this recipe in a HE washer?

  33. Joyce I Gunsever says:

    What size box is the baking soda?

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