Spend Less On Laundry Supplies With Home-Made Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent is expensive. Especially when you have as much laundry as we do at our house. (Click to read more about getting the laundry under control.)

For years, I used the gallon size “Sun” liquid detergent that you can get for $5. But then, one day, someone mentioned that our clothes smelled funny.

Most things I can take with a grain of salt, but I don’t want to smell funny!

I started  wondering if our clothes really did smell funny, and I began to search for other options.

One that I found that I truly love is the liquid Tide with a touch of Downy. This is what I use for our clothes.

The trouble is, Tide with Downy costs a whole lot.  At least for my budget.

So I thought about ways to cut the laundry expenses and still have great-smelling laundry.

As you may have gathered, this is really important to me. I love sniffing the warm towels as they come out of the dryer, and when they smell nice, it just makes me feel good.

Maybe because when I had a front-loading washer, it had some issues, and the laundry smelled really bad for awhile…even when I had tried every suggestion I could find.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I appreciate good smells.

I had seen some recipes for homemade detergent on Pinterest, and had thought about trying them, but in the back of my mind, I said “Who has time for that?”

To answer my own question, I do!

Or at least, I will make time since I discovered that I only have to make a batch about every 6 months. Not to mention the fact that I save a whole lot on detergent in exchange for that 20 minutes or so that I spend making my homemade detergent.

I made my first batch back in November, and I am still using it!

I took a couple of recipes that I found online and tweaked them a little to put my own spin on it.  And to my amazement, I have been really pleased with the results.

Home-Made Laundry Detergent

6 Ingredient Long-lasting detergent. Safe for HE machines.


  • 2 17.6 oz boxes Zote Laundry Soap Flakes You can grate your own soap if you want to. Zote comes in bars. Just use 4 bars instead of the 2 boxes.
  • 1 container Downy Infusions
  • 1 60 oz. box Biz stain and odor eliminator powder
  • 1 4 lb. box Arm and Hammer Baking Soda You can find this in both the laundry and baking aisles at Walmart.
  • 1 box 20 Mule Team Borax Detergent Booster
  • 1 box Super washing soda


  1. Mix Bix, Baking Soda, Borax and Washing Soda Thoroughly. I use the drill with a mixer blade attached. (Great idea, but the hubs came up with it, so I can't take credit.)

  2. Mix in downy crystals and laundry flakes. (May use the drill for this too.)

I use the homemade detergent to wash towels, washcloths, socks, underwear, kitchen towels and dishcloths, but I am pretty sure it would do fine for jeans and t-shirt and just about anything except for really dressy clothes. (It might fade black and could be a bit harsh for delicate fabrics.)

That said,  it cleans really well and smells wonderful. AND it’s really fun to make!

I had gotten used to using liquid laundry detergent, but I have found that I love this powdered option. It only takes 1/4 of a cup to do a load.

I just dump it straight into then barrel of the washing machine with the things I’m washing instead of using the dispenser.

Here’s a break-down of the cost of the ingredients:

  • Zote Laundry Soap Flakes    $2.64 (x2)
  • Biz Powder $5.97
  • Baking Soda $2.24
  • Borax $3.97
  • Super Washing Soda $3.97
  • Downy Infusions $9.74

For a grand total of $31.17.

Keep in  mind, this stuff lasts for 6 months or more at our house,  and we do a ton of laundry. So basically, it costs around $5 per month.

For the first batch, I used Dreft crystals. This time, I decided to change it up a little with the Downy Infusions.

This was the most expensive ingredient, and it is totally optional. You will get a nice clean smell without it. (W just love that little extra bit of scent.)

You can also make it for even  less by grating your own soap. I hear it’s pretty easy, I’m just too lazy to find out! I might have to grate my own at some point though, since I LOVE the smell of Fels Naptha, and it can be substituted for the Zote flakes.

I would have to say that why experience with homemade laundry detergent has been a good one. We still buy some liquid laundry detergent as well, but the homemade is a good supplement.

It’s perfect for towel and linens, and a big thing of Tide costs around $18, so supplementing with some homemade laundry  detergent is definitely good for my budget!



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