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Store Bought Laundry Soap vs Homemade Powder Laundry Soap

Making homemade powder laundry soap is easy. There are lots of different "recipes" for this but the ingredients are the same for all. 20 Mule Team Borax ($3.38), Arm & Hammer Washing Soda ($3.15) and Fels Napthia bar soap (1.99) for a total of $8.52.

Grate one Fels Napthia bar with a cheese grater. I used my attachment on my small food processor and it went quickly.

When I dumped it in my mixing bowl it measured 6 cups.

I then started adding and mixing the borax and arm & hammer alternately. I added a total of 8 cups of borax and 5 cups of arm & hammer. This was not the full box of either one. I had already used a couple cups of the arm & hammer and there is probably about 1/4 box of borax left.

It made a total of 13 cups. I dumped it in a container big enough that I could shake it and roll it around to keep it mixed.

So to comapre prices. My normal detergent is $5 for 50 loads (certain loads I only use half as much as recommended).

This cost me approximately $2.53 (3/4 box borax), $2.63 (5/6 box of arm & hammer) and $1.99 for the Fels Napthia for a total of $7.15 for 13 cups.

What will determine if this will save me is how much I will have to use per load for my laundry to come clean.

At 1/4 cup per load, I'll get 52 loads at .14 per load. Higher than my .05 to .10 a load for normal deteregent bought.

If I use 1/8 cup per load, I'll get 104 loads at .07 per load. Cheaper than my .10 a load for normal detergent BUT are my clothes going to be clean?

Some report that they only use 2 tablespoons per load. I will have to try it and see for myself with my hard water if it will work.

A couple other thoughts of mine regarding this.
1) I still have the trip to 3 different stores to get the supplies = MORE TIME AND GAS
2) The disposal is two boxes and some wax paper as opposed to one plastic bottle. Cardboard vs plastic has its pro's and con's.
3) The time of grating, measuring and mixing this together.

The whole point of me making anything homemade is to save money and be more sustainable. I'm not convinced this is true with this particular subject and I don't want to loose sight of my mission.

What is your thoughts on homemade laundry soap? Do you think it is cheaper? Does it clean your clothes as well?

Search & Win


  1. With drugstore deals, I got detergent for $.50/bottle. Can't get any cheaper than that!! And in one weekend I got a two year supply. I love just reaching out into the garage for the next bottle when I need it.

    1. As you probably guessed, my stockpile of detergent has ran out and I need to catch another great sale. There is nothing better than going to my stock room and grabbing a SUPER cheap or FREE item.

  2. I am able to find Fels Naptha for $1.25 a bar, and once in a while, I find it for $1. I buy about 6 bars at a time when I find it cheap, and make it all up at once. I am usually able to get all the ingredients at just one store (Hy Vee, sometimes W-M). Also, I use just 1 Tablespoon for most loads, 2 Tablespoons for very dirty clothes, but never more than that, whether it's home made or store bought detergent.

    When I make mine, I can leave both the grating blade and the chopping blade in my food processor at the same time, resulting in a finer powder that stays mixed. If you can't do that, you could probably just run it all back through the food processor with the chopping blade in to make it finer.

    When I don't use the homemade stuff, I use the big buckets of powder from Sam's or Costco.

    I'd rather use the homemade, though, because I know just what is in it. I love the mild scent, and I think it cleans as well as the storebought stuff. I can't compare it to something like Tide, though, because it's been years and years since I bought a name brand detergent.

    I understand about the recycling concerns. Those buckets can be re-used if we need them, but the cardboard boxes will get recycled. I never buy liquid detergent, so I don't have those bottles to worry about.

    1. I'll have to check and see if I can keep both blades on my chopper at the same time.

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  4. Hmmm I like all natural products and you can find good deals on them. I too have thought it may not be as cost efficient to make (considering time etc) so I do use coupons and search for cheaper alternatives :-)

    Have a great week!!


    1. Jill I love all natural products also. I havn't seen many good deals lately, but I've been so busy couponing hasn't been priority. I have to buckle down and start catching more sales! I have even used all my stockpiled dishwasher detergent. I didnt think I would EVER run out of it. I still have bottle after bottle of liquid dish washing soap though. lol

  5. I have made homemade liquid laundry detergent but I have never tried the powder. My liquid recipe makes 5 gallons and it works fairly well. The powdered version looks easier to make & store. I haven't made my homemade laundry soap in a while because I have been able to find good deals on laundry soap but I might try the powdered version. Let me know how much you use for each load and if it gets your clothes clean.


    1. Amy I've washed several loads with it already. It seems to clean really well. I washed the towels that I use for seat covers from my car, they are a light yellow and were filthy. None of our clothes are THAT dirty. All came out spotless except for the hand towel that lays on my arm rest. It had a couple spots on it still but it was the dirtiest of them all. I used 1/4 cup for that load and washed them in hot water. I know we have super hard water here also and that does make a differnce being on rural water.

  6. I make the liquid laundry detergent from the duggar family website. It is less expensive than the powder version and have found it cleans our laundry very well. I live in a small town with very hard water also. I cant actually see myself ever buying laundry soap again. I love my homemade stuff!

  7. I love my Homemade Laundry soap..I use Zete that I can get at the dollar store. This works to get out the dirt and grime my hubs gets into. I fill a cat litter jug up with it and pour some into a small Oxygen container and I use that scoop

  8. I love my Homemade Laundry soap..I use Zete that I can get at the dollar store. This works to get out the dirt and grime my hubs gets into. I fill a cat litter jug up with it and pour some into a small Oxygen container and I use that scoop