Homemade Laundry Detergent – Powdered or Liquid Which Do You Prefer?

low-angle photography of hanging clothes outside house during daytime

Here’s a recipe for homemade powdered laundry detergent. Unlike the homemade liquid laundry detergent recipe, this one requires the use of Fels Naptha laundry soap. Fels Naptha laundry soap, which is manufactured by Dial Corporation, is not always available in local grocery stores and you may have to order it online from the likes of Amazon or online retailers. .

If you have to order Fels Naptha laundry soap, the shipping charges will increase the bottom line cost per load of wash. However, if you are going to continually make homemade laundry detergent, ordering more than one bar at a time will help to defray some of the shipping charges.

No matter what the shipping charges are it is still more cost effective to make your own homemade laundry detergent than to purchase it from the store. Additionally, if living green is high on your list of priorities, you will feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that you are using environmentally friendly ingredients. As with its liquid counterpart, this homemade powdered laundry detergent is very low sudsing and works well in high efficiency washing machines.


  • 2/3 bar Fels Naptha Laundry Soap (equivalent of 1 cup grated)
  • ½ Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • ½ Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.
  • Container large enough to hold 2 cups of laundry detergent


  1. Grate the Fels Naptha laundry soap with a grater or use a food processor. Approximately 2/3 of a bar of soap will make 1 cup of grated soap.
  2. Add the ½ cup of Borax and ½ cup of washing soda to the grated soap.
  3. Shake and/or mix well


One tablespoon of detergent is sufficient per load of wash. If you have a high-efficiency machine, you might want to experiment with using a little less detergent for normal loads. If your clothes come out feeling stiff, lower the amount of detergent. For clothes that are heavily soiled, add a teaspoon more of the detergent..


The recipe yields 2 cups of laundry detergent. If you use 1 tablespoon per load, you will be able to wash 32 loads of clothes.


  • 20 Mule Team Borax: $2.50 for 70 oz. – Cost per batch: .14 (4 oz needed for recipe)
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda: $2.50 for 55 oz. Cost per batch .18.(4 oz needed for recipe)
  • Fels Naphtha: $1.24 per bar. Cost per batch: .83 (2/3 bar of soap needed for recipe) *

Total cost to make: $1.15 Yields 2 cups which translates to 3.5 cents per load.

Although it is more expensive than the liquid homemade laundry detergent, it is still cheaper than buying from the store.

You may have personal preferences for using one over the other. With the liquid recipe, you will have to store gallons of laundry detergent. This is not a problem unless you live in a small apartment, where storage space is limited.. The powder on the other hand is neat, compact and takes up less space.

*Shipping and handling costs for the laundry soap will raise the cost per load.

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