Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

Making your own homemade powdered laundry detergent may take a few extra minutes of your time, but it’s a lot cheaper than store-bought. Plus you’re keeping your home chemical-free. Keep reading for full instructions and cost break-down.

homemade powdered laundry detergent

I’ve been trying to keep my home chemical-free as much as possible. I make my own cleaning supplies, air fresheners, and sachets to keep my closets and drawers smelling nice.

Another thing I’ve been making is my own powdered laundry detergent. This is so easy to make and only requires 3 ingredients – borax, washing soda, and Ivory soap.

This recipe does take a little bit of time, but the end result is so nice. It works really well at getting your clothes super clean, plus it lasts forever! (Okay, maybe not forever, but months!)

How to make homemade powdered laundry detergent

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What you need:

materials needed for homemade powdered laundry detergent
  • (1) 4-pound box of Borax (8 cups)
  • (1) 3-pound box of Super Washing Soda (6 cups)
  • 3 bars Ivory soap or Castille soap
  • Airtight container (I use a plastic shoebox)
  • Large spoon for stirring
  • Grater
  • Tablespoon

What you do:

Pour both the Borax and Super Washing Soda in your container, or a large bowl if there’s not enough room for stirring in your container. (I used a small bucket so I had plenty of room to stir with no mess.) Stir them together really well.

Grate the 3 bars of Ivory soap with a cheese grater, or however you wish to grate them. Keep in mind that the pieces need to be really fine.

Grating soap makes a huge mess! It leaves a thick film on the grater during the grating process. I used a plastic pan scraper which worked wonderfully at getting down in between those small grooves.

After the Ivory soap is completely grated, pour it into the Borax and Washing Soda mixture and stir until well combined.

To use: I use 2 tablespoons per load. If it’s a very large load or the clothes are extremely dirty, then I use 3 tablespoons.

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

How much does homemade powdered laundry detergent cost?

Let’s break down the cost of this homemade powdered laundry detergent to see if it’s actually cheaper per load than store-bought.

A 4-lb. box of Borax costs $4.47 at Walmart and a 3-lb box of Washing Soda costs $4.12. At Target you can get 10 bars of Ivory soap for $3.99, making them $.40 a bar.

  • Borax = $4.47
  • Super Washing Soda = $4.12
  • 3 bars Ivory soap = $1.20
    • Total = $9.79

This recipe gives you 7 pounds with 112 loads, breaking the cost of each load down to $.09 a load.

Now let’s compare that to Tide, Gain, and Arm & Hammer powdered laundry detergents from Target.

  • Tide: 5.93 ounces at $13.69 with 68 loads = $.43 per load
  • Gain: 5.68 pounds at $10.99 with 80 loads = $.52 per load
  • Arm & Hammer: 10 pounds at 13.49 with 130 loads = $.75 per load

From the math, it seems that homemade powdered laundry detergent is the cheaper choice. Not to mention it’s a lot healthier for your family because it’s not full of harsh cleaning chemicals.

Sensitive Skin & Eczema

Borax may irritate sensitive skin, especially if you have eczema. In that case, try this Borax-free recipe instead:

Have you ever made homemade powdered laundry detergent? Or liquid? If so, what were your thoughts?


Looking for more natural living recipes? I recommend these:
Pink Grapefruit Room Spray
Gel Air Freshener
Closet Sachet
Drawer Sachet
Psoriasis Balm (My most pinned post!)


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58 thoughts on “Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent”

  1. I am going chemical free too, cleaning detergents are challenging though. Checked the list, some of those things might be hard to find in my country. I wont give up anyway.

  2. What a good idea. I bought some environmentally-friendly laundry liquid which was pretty good and pretty expensive. I’ll give your recipe a try. I might add a few drops of essential oil to the container too.

  3. I’ve never tried this but I want to now. I love how you broken down the cost as well!…..I’d probably have to have the husband do the soap grating because it sounds like work…I dread even grating cheese!!!πŸ˜…

    1. I hope you get to try it! Yes – the soap grating is hard work! I don’t like grating anything or cleaning the grater. Luckily cleaning soap off a grater is much easier than cheese. πŸ˜€

  4. Thanks for providing the Borax alternative recipe. I started reading it, and I was thinking to myself “I wonder if there’s something else I can use other than Borax” for that very reason! Another awesomely helpful blog post!

    1. You’re welcome! I know there are so many people that can’t handle borax because of sensitive skin or eczema. (My mom included.) I’m glad you found it helpful! πŸ™‚

  5. I have been making my own liquid detergent for several year. It’s basically the same ingredients except I use my own homemade bar soap. I like the liquid option because I don’t have to grate the soap. (somehow I always end up with bloody knuckles when I do that). I can just cut the soap up small and dissolve it in hot water then mix in the other ingredients. I do have sensitive skin and have had reactions to various detergents and fabric softeners but borax has never bothered me.

    1. That’s a great idea to use your own homemade soap. And the liquid option is much better, too because you don’t have to worry about all that grating. Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you for sharing this simple recipe as laundry detergent are expensive and that would definitely save money. Plus it’s chemical free so that’s big win right there. I love the little comparison you did there as well.

  7. Wow, I’d say that’s a savings! Laundry detergent here was hard to come by during the Covid rush too. That’s something to consider for the future. If we are self-sustaining, it might make our lives a whole lot better in a multitude of ways!

    I really do love this. You’ve got me thinking it might be worth a try! πŸ˜€

    1. Yes! I had a really hard time finding super washing soda for a long time during the pandemic. I wonder what people were hoarding that for? Thank you so much! I hope you give it a try. Let me know what you think if you get to make some. πŸ˜€

  8. What a great idea! I have made some homemade cleaning products before, but not a washing powder. I love it! Will definitely be giving this one a go. Also love that it saves you money as well.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

  9. I will definitely try this! I have been using grated Ivory Soap around my plant pots to discourage squirrels and chipmunks from digging out the dirt and plants. I love the way it grates, the smell, the feel of it, and especially the lack of chemical pollutants. Thanks for the idea.

    1. I didn’t realize you could use Ivory soap shavings to keep squirrels and chipmunks away. That’s a great idea! Thank you for sharing that and I’ll be keeping it in mind. I love the way Ivory soap grates, too. It smells amazing! πŸ™‚

      1. The one problem I am having is that concrete developed white speckles from the soap. I thought it would just wash away, but it takes a bit of scrubbing. That Ivory Soap is tough stuff. I love it.

    1. I noticed that, too! I started using regular detergent with 1/2 cup of baking soda and that seemed to help. It’s weird that it does that to whites.

      1. I was telling my mom about this recipe again last night and let her know that we will be making this in South America. I love this recipe. Thank you for sharing.

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