After searching the web for recipes for DIY homemade laundry detergent, I came across one that sounded pretty good, but I decided to change some things up a bit in it, and to my surprise, I made something that in my opinion works better than those expensive brands on the market. PLUS you can use this in a HE washer! I know this because I have a HE washer and have now been using it for 10 years =)


  • 5-gallon bucket with lid (to store it, bought at Walmart for a couple of bucks)
  • Cheese grater (handheld kind with the smaller holes)
  • 4lbs of Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda (or 8 cups).
  • 36oz bucket of Dirty Jobs Heavy Duty Stain Remover or something similar such as All Oxi Laundry Booster (found in laundry isle at Wal-Mart, and honestly I buy whatever is cheaper)
  • Purex Crystals or similar. You can also leave this out, its sole purpose is for a scent boost.
  • 55oz box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (found in laundry isle)
  • 76oz box of Borax (found in laundry isle)
  • 2 bars of Fels-Naptha Soap (found in laundry isle)


1) Shred the Fels-Naptha Soap using the cheese grater *see my note about this in the notes section below

shredded soap for DIY laundry detergent

2) Layer all “ingredients” in your 5-gallon bucket and mix VERY well. Next time I plan to layer smaller portions until everything is mixed because it was a pain just dumping it all in and trying to mix it.

3) Mix WELL!

4) Pour your new detergent into the Purex bottle to easily store in the laundry room and add to it from your 5-gallon bucket as needed.


  •  I tried “cheating” and shredding in a food processor. Although it did work, it used the larger holes and I ended up having to crunch them up more. Next time I will use a handheld one. You should get something that looks like fine shredded cheese. Mine was thicker. They still worked fine, but I wasted a lot of the soap.
  • I have started doubling this recipe so I only make it about once a year now. It fits perfectly in the bucket.

Let me tell you, this DIY homemade laundry detergent has made my laundry smell so good and works awesome at getting stains out and cleaning the clothes. I spent about $20 for all the supplies and have enough detergent to last a long time (and there are 5 of us in the home which includes 2 teenage girls and a pre-teen boy)! My husband is also a mechanic in the Army (update: now retired and a civilian ambulance mechanic) and a volunteer firefighter so his clothes are pretty gross and this detergent works amazingly on his clothes.


UPDATE: This DIY homemade laundry detergent lasts my family of 5 about a total of 6 months at a total of roughly 400 loads of laundry! That equals out to about $.04 a load! That’s compared to $.20 a load for name brand and in my opinion, this gets clothes cleaner! That’s a savings of almost $120/year (actually I think the savings is much more because I am sure I probably did more than 400 loads)! I am happy with that!

UPDATE 2: So after some research, I found out that with HE washers you are supposed to only use about a tablespoon or so of detergent. Do you know what that means? It now lasts longer, because I was using WAY too much. Clothes still come out clean and fresh!

UPDATE 2022: I now omit the Purex scent boosters and dirty jobs/oxi clean and this homemade laundry detergent still works just as well.