Homemade Laundry Detergent in a jar on some freshly-cleaned t-shirts

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Since I’ve become more diligent with budgeting and saving money, I’ve been much more creative with how I spend my hard-earned cash. Where I used to spend money going out to eat, I now make it a goal and a date night with my wife to recreate the dish we’re craving at home. I’ve recently been trying out new ways to save more money each month, including making my own laundry detergent.

I’ll tell you this—I never thought I’d be the kind of person to make my own laundry detergent. For the longest time, I’ve been the kind of person to just buy anything and everything I need at the store, especially when it comes to household items. The more convenient a product was, the more likely I was to buy it.

Once I started looking at how much I was spending on those products, I quickly realized that convenience comes at a price. I looked at our household budget and saw that we were buying laundry detergent once or twice a month. That $20 might not sound like much, but that takes away a good bit of money that can be used elsewhere when you’re on a budget.

Besides saving money, another reason I started looking into making my own laundry detergent was because my wife and I wanted to use products with less additives. This made it important to tweak different recipes and try to create the cheapest and most additive-free laundry detergent we could. This brought us to this great, easy-to-make homemade laundry detergent that we’ve been using for months now!

Making Homemade Laundry Detergent

To start off, you’ll need a couple of ingredients, each around the following prices:

Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients

All of this costs about $24 but lasts for MONTHS.

I used the fragrance-free Kirk’s Castile Soap for the lower price and personal preference, but you can use other brands like Dr. Bronner’s if you’d prefer. I also used the OxiClean FREE version, but you can use regular OxiClean if you’d like to save more money and aren’t worried about additives. The total for everything I listed above comes to $23.63 + tax, which isn’t much more than one container of laundry detergent.

Tip: Save more by checking for coupons!
Oxiclean regularly has coupons on their website for $1.00 off. Make sure you check for ads in your local papers for even more discounts.

It’s really easy to make too! It’s just a simple three-step process until you’ve got your own laundry detergent:

  1. Grate the soap into small pieces using a grater. If you don’t have a grater, cut the bars into very small blocks.
  2. Use a food processor to grind up the pieces of soap until they’re relatively fine. The mix might be a little coarse.
  3. Mix the soap, baking soda, washing soda and OxiClean in a large container. MAKE SURE NOT TO BREATHE IT IN! While these are additive free, they’re not okay to breathe in.
Finished Batch of Homemade Laundry Detergent

Your finished product should look very similar to this.

Saving Money with Homemade Laundry Detergent

Like I said, my wife and I have been using this recipe for months and haven’t had to make another batch—this recipe gives you about 320 loads. We use about one tablespoon or less for each load of laundry, depending on how much we’re washing. That means that this costs us less than $0.07/load! We haven’t found any issues with this detergent, and we’re happy to be saving that extra $20-$40 each month.

Tip: Wash your clothes in cold water with this homemade detergent to save more money!
Read more tips like this in our free eBook 40 Ways to Save When You’re Terrible at Saving!

A family of four generates 8 – 10 loads of laundry per week on average, which is 500 or more loads per year! The major brands will set you back up to $32 (depending on the store you shop at) and will give you anywhere from 50-80 loads each, depending on how much your family needs to use for each load.

If you buy the largest size and use the store-bought detergent regularly, you’ll be spending up to $384 in detergent each year. With this homemade detergent, you’ll be able to use less and save more, and you could easily be looking at over $200 in savings throughout the year!

But wait, there’s more! We decided to take this blog to the next level. Check out if it’s worth it to make your own laundry detergent as Pelican team member Julian Escobar hosts Episode 2 of our “Is It Worth It?” video series.

Have you ever thought about making your own laundry detergent or do you make any other household products for your family? Let us know in the comments below!

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