***UPDATE***  NEW LAUNDRY ROUTINE: As of date, I no longer use this detergent due to my sons sensitivities.  To wash our clothes,  I now use Soap Nuts or Seventh Generation Pods. I use Seventh Generation Lavender Dryer Sheets or wool dryer balls  sprinkled with Juniper Berry oil when I want fragrance. For bleaching, I use Ecover .  I’d still like to learn how to create my own laundry packs though so if you have a recipe to share I’d love to try it!

Homemade laundry detergent recipe safe for HE washers and smells fresh and clean! Simple ingredients and easy to make!”


Yesterday I posted on Instagram and Facebook that I was almost out of the homemade laundry detergent I made back in January (below photo).  I had quite a few people that wanted the recipe so I thought I’d post it here for now. I’ll eventually have another section on this blog dedicated to all things DIY, like this! I’ve tweaked this recipe a little by adding in a scent booster.

homemade laundry detergent

I’ve been playing around with different homemade laundry detergents for a while now.  Mainly because I wanted to find something that wouldn’t irritate my newly sensitive skin (what’s that about?) and I’m just simply intrigued by DIY recipes. Homemade products have always proven to be superior in my book. Although I’m still searching for a good recipe for homemade dish pods.

If you’re interested in homemade laundry detergent because you are looking for something greener then you may need to adjust this recipe a bit. While it’s definitely greener than your average commercial detergent, I do opt to put in some things that folks wouldn’t consider “green”, like Downy Scent Boosters!


I didn’t add any scent booster to my last batch I used this year and I soooo missed pulling hot clothes from the dryer that smell fresh and clean! You can totally leave it out though if you could care less about scent. Scents just motivate me to fold clothes lol.

I made my own dryer scent booster once with baking soda and essential oils and it smelled HEAVENLY! However, essential oils are so pricey and I just couldn’t bring myself to keep using so much of it just to scent clothes.

I LOVE the downy scent boosters because they smell great and for some reason don’t irritate my skin. There are also other brands of scent boosters which are much greener like Myers scent boosters and Purex.



Here’s what each ingredient does in this homemade laundry detergent recipe:

Zote Laundry Bar Soap: Cleans, brightens, fresh scent.

Fels Naphtha Laundry Bar Soap:  Cleans, powerful stain remover.

20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster: Water conditioner, boosts power of cleaners, removes odors and stains

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda: laundry detergent booster.

Baking Soda: Odor eliminator & deodorizer

Downy Unstopables: Scent

Here’s all the ingredients on Amazon (You can also find them at Walmart):

Here are a few tips to think about when creating your own homemade laundry detergent

  1. Don’t make the FULL batch just yet! (yes this recipe is a full batch. I’d highly suggests you make half or even 1/4 of this)  You may need to spend some time playing around with the formula and scents to find which works best for you. This recipe right here is one of the most popular homemade laundry detergent recipes online, however it just doesn’t seem to want to work for me. After playing around, this is the formula that works best for my family and I.
  2. Test out where to put it. For some reason putting this detergent right into the drum works best for me, instead of in the detergent compartment.
  3. Use only 1-2 Tablespoons. I’m the kinda girl who thinks if a little bit is good, then a lot must be great. Don’t do it. This homemade laundry detergent doesn’t contain all the fillers that store-bought detergent has. You really only need 1-2 tablespoons. Using too much could create a film.

homemade laundry detergent

F.A.Q’s about this homemade laundry detergent recipe

  1. Can I use this homemade laundry detergent in my HE washer?  I have an HE washer and I’ve had no problems at all! I do run vinegar through my machine every 3 months though no matter what kind of detergent I use.
  2. I feel like I need more stain fighting power, what can I use? Mix in a container of Oxiclean. I’ve never used it before since I usually spray  heavily stained clothes with a homemade stain remover (hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil and Castile soap) but I’ve heard great things about adding it to homemade laundry detergents.
  3. I want to keep my homemade laundry detergent as pure as possible, how can I replace the soaps & scents? As far as the soap you can use Castile bar soap and fragrance-free ZOTE laundry soap. For scents, you can use essentials oils but it does take quite a bit to get the scent to stick. If you want a great scent out of the dryer you’re probably better off using baking soda mixed with your favorite essential oil.
  4. I have sensitive skin, will this irritate me? My boys and I have seasonal eczema as well as sensitive skin. This detergent has never affected us, but everyone is different so it’s best to make up a small batch and do a test run.
  5. Where can I buy the ingredients? I can usually find everything at Walmart and Amazon. Target usually only have the Washing Soda, Borax, & Unstopables. Occasionally I will get lucky and find the washing soda, laundry soap and borax at Family Dollar for $1!! I always rack up when I do!
  6. What blender do you use to get it your soap so powdery? I use the blendtec but any quality blender should work.
  7. Do I need a fabric soften with this homemade laundry detergent?  That’s up to you! You can replace the Unstopables with a scented fabric softener like Purex crystals or add in a bottle of purex crystals as well. I don’t use this though. I use plain distilled vinegar as a fabric softner. I just pour it in the fabric softner compartment. It keeps my clothes super fluffy and there is no vinegar smell at all. It is however an extra step though.
  8. How much do I use? 1-2 tablespoons is all you need. It’s highly concentrated.
  9. How much does this make/how long will it last? This makes about 20 cups which is about 320 loads (if you use 1 tablespoon per load). I still have some left of the batch I made in January.
  10. Why would I want to make my own detergent? It’s cheaper, lasts all year, you can control the ingredients, it’s easy, oddly satisfying, customize the scent and scent strength, makes a great addition to a natural home gift basket!

Get the Recipe: Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe- REQUESTED!

4.72 from 35 ratings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 320 loads


  • 1 bar Zote Laundry Bar Soap, 14.1 oz Pink or White
  • 2 bars Fels Naptha Laundry Bar Soap, 5 oz each
  • 1 box, 65 oz Borax detergent booster
  • 1 box, 55 oz Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 4 cups baking soda
  • 1 bottle, 13.2 oz Downy Unstopables (Fresh Scent) (can add more if desired)


  • Cut the bars of soap into pieces and place on a large plate.
  • Microwave in 1 minute intervals until soap is poofy. (The soap really puffs up and spreads out so you'll probably want to do this is parts and not all at the same time.)
  • Remove from microwave and let the soap cool off completely.
  • Place the cooled soap into a blender and blend until powdery. (Do this is parts and not at the same time. Soap MUST be cooled completely before blending or it will be gummy)
  • Pour blended soap into a large container.
  • Add in borax, washing soda, baking soda and Unstopables.
  • Mix until all ingredients are well combined. (I just use my hands for this to get it really mixed up)
  • Store in a cool, dry place.
  • To use, add 1-2 tablespoons per load into your washer drum or detergent tray.


* You can also grate the soap as opposed to microwaving it. When microwaving it, the fragrance is pretty strong. It smells great but it can be a bit much for some.
Cuisine: American
Course: DIY
Author: Divas Can Cook
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.

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