Are you ready for one of my BIGGEST money saving tips of the YEAR!?!? I make my own laundry detergent! If you can imagine what doing laundry looks like for 7 people then you might be able to grasp the cost that goes into that chore as well. I mean… some of you may be able to afford a small vacation kind of money!! Not to mention that dishes and laundry are my LEAST favorite chores which makes it doubly painful to pay big bucks for tasks I hate doing!

Here is how I make the load just a little lighter on my wallet (see what I did there… “load”? Haha). Several years ago I started making my own laundry detergent. I DO still snag some “real” detergent if it is a screaming good deal, but I always go back to my fav homemade detergent.




  • 1 Box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (Approx. 4lb box)
    • This is your detergent booster and overall smell-getter-outer
  • 1 Box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda – I love this in there because I always add vinegar as a fabric softener to the wash and, well …. science!!
  • 1 Box of 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz box)
    • Don’t freak out… as long as you don’t ingest this stuff it won’t hurt you. It will fight those tough stains in your laundry! It also helps your detergent by removing the minerals and softening your water. If you have any left over, you can also make some slime!
  • Oxi Clean (2 of the 1.3 lb containers – watch for coupons**)
    • You’ve seen the infomercials… “It get’s the stains out!”
  • 4 bars of the Fels Naptha laundry soap.
    • This is where you get the kids involved. You need to grate these all up. I use my food processor and then clean it really good after. But any sort of grater would be fine.
    • I usually put 3 in the detergent and make sure I have one set aside as a stain treatment. Just get your fabric wet and then scrub the stain with the bar and then wash. MAGIC!
  • 1-2 containers of either Downy Unstoppables or the Purex Crystals fabric softeners – basically, whoever has a coupon available when I am preparing my mix will determine which one I will use**.

**You can also get the 3 lb tub, but many times you can get coupons will cover the smaller size. Pro Couponing Tip: Use coupons on the smallest size allowed and use several coupons. You will save more in the long run! Same thing with the Unstoppables or Crystals. Look for a coupon and then get several small containers and use several coupons.

I got a little excited and started mixing, but I wanted to show you what the bars should look like when you are done grating them. Very small chunks or balls are what you are going for.

The hardest part of this whole thing is grating up the Fels Naptha bars! Then you just dump all the ingredients into a 5 gallon bucket, garbage bag, or you can alternate pouring and stirring as you add ingredients to a really pretty jar. I found this big gallon jar at Walmart for around $11. It just looks so nice sitting in my laundry area. It ALMOST makes me want to actually DO the laundry!

Here’s the BEST PART!! You will fill up that gallon jar and only use 2 TABLESPOONS of this detergent for each load! That’s it! For real! It is going to last a REALLY long time!

Isn’t it so pretty! {sigh} I wish you could smell it!

This works for HE machines, top loaders, front loaders, you name it! I love to add vinegar to the wash as well just to make sure all the musty mildewey stuff is out of the clothes. If you have ever accidentally forgotten about a load that was left in the wash… VINEGAR is your best friend for getting that stank out of there. My many years in Vegas and my less than stellar laundry skills can testify of this. Vinegar. Every time.

What about the dryer??

I know you are wondering what goes on there. I have tried dryer balls & tennis balls to save money and to help aerate the clothes while they are in the dryer. I really don’t see a big difference and hubby really likes the smell of dryer sheets. So to save a few bucks… and a few disagreements on the laundry… I buy dryer sheets. BUT I cut/rip them in half and only use half per load. Sneaky and cheap. I have seen some DIY dryer sheets in Pinterest but I’ve never tried them. Have you?? Let me know. Maybe that will be my next experiment.


As an added bonus and because you will now have most of the ingredients already out to make your laundry soap, with just a few more ingredients you can also make… dun dun dun… Dishwasher Detergent!

I used to use 2 cups of borax instead of the 2 cups of baking soda. I’m not so much concerned about whether or not there is Borax residue on my dishes, I just wasn’t completely IN LOVE with that mix. So I am trying this one out instead, and since I already have all the ingredients out… why not??

Feel free to double up this recipe if you end up loving it! It will last quite a while because you will only use ONE TABLESPOON per load!! And if you want a tip on another super cheap but effective rinse agent for your machine… VINEGAR!! Haha. It’s seriously the best thing ever!

Well… that’s about it. I want to say THANK YOU to Heather in St. Louis who asked me about my laundry tips while I was there teaching my class! YOUR questions are what help me to know what kind of content to put on this site and in my newsletters. So, please, please, please… ask away!

Have an amazing day!! I am going to take some left over Epsom Salts, Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, and soak my feet! 🙂 Time to treat myself for a change… get it… “change”… as in… this won’t cost me anything because I have the ingredients out already?? (apparently I need a good night’s sleep as well) 😉

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P.S. I have added links to Walmart in this post so you can see the products that I used. I will say that most of the prices are WAY better in store than they are showing online so be careful. I’m not cool enough to get any sort of kick back from Walmart for these links :). I just want you to have all the info.