DIY Detergent :: From the Kitchen of Thrift Kitchen!


Earlier this week I posted a tutorial for the Coupon Catcher and posted it on Thrift Kitchen as from the studio of Craft Leftovers. Well now I’ve posted a tutorial on Thrift Kitchen about making laundry detergent and I’m sharing it here with you. In a way it actually is a Craft Leftovers project: The soda ash is from dyeing, the soap from experiments from Jason and the Borax just because, well, what diy home is complete without it? So without further ado, from the Kitchen of Thrift Kitchen I give you:

DIY Detergent :: Saving Money while Keeping Your Clothes Clean!

I’ve been doing a lot of laundry this week and ran out of detergent today. Thankfully I was able to dig around in our apartment and found some more detergent from my move here (we had a lot of doubled up supplies) so I’m good for the rest of this laundry labor session, but there won’t be much left after that. Should I shop around for some laundry detergent deals and coupons – thinking in advance before I actually run out – or should I give making my own a shot?

I read over on the Simple Dollar about how he made his own laundry detergent [a nice visual guide to making it and a ton of comments] and it sounds pretty easy and even better I have all the supplies! I saved my huge Era container and will pour it in there once it’s all mixed up.

After searching around (using and scoring a sb) I found this recipe for making the laundry detergent. It’s pretty much the same with I think slightly less water? So I’m hoping I can fit it all in my jug. You use a 1/2 cup per load instead of a full cup.

DIY Detergent :: How To



1 bar Ivory soap grated with a cheese grater

1/2 cup soda ash

1/2 cup borax

32 cups water

1 sauce pan

1 bucket with lid- I had a 5 gallon one, but I bet a 2 or 3 gallon one would be just fine

1 long spoon for stirring

A few drops essential oils – I am going to add tea tree oil (once I find it, I know I have some, but where?)


Grate the bar of soap into your sauce pan. Add 6 cups hot water and bring to a simmer on the stove over a medium high heat. Stir occasionally until the soap is completely melted.


Add borax and soda ash to soap mixture and stir until dissolved – remove from heat.

Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket, add the soap mixture, and stir well.

Add 22 cups hot water to the mixture (1 gallon + 6 cups is what the recipe says officially)

Stir well, cover, and let sit for about 24 hours. If you are adding essential oils to you, you mix those in once it’s cooled down.

I used a hand blender (like the old fashion crank kind) to blend up the lot of it. It seems to be staying separated well enough to put into the old era jug. I might just leave it in the bucket under the counter and continue to just dish out how much I need. We will see. Either way will work well.


Use 1/2 cup per load.

I actually made and wrote up this post last night and just used the detergent in my first load and it went pretty well. All clean! I dished out how much I needed into a zip loc container and just took that up to the laundry room.

Here are a few more sites that talk about making your own laundry detergent:

Tipnut posts about 10 different homemade laundry detergent recipes.

An Instructable about making powdered laundry detergent.

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent on the Stretchy Dollar.

Oh and then on the Simple Dollar there is an article on saving money by not using the drier – a huge consideration considering it’s 1.25 a load for us and I just did 5 drier loads! And then on is saving a dime really worth the time – for me yes because I have time, I don’t have a lot of cash in hand and that .18 a load adds up over a year as he points out.

Another note on the time thing. So it took me less than a minute to grate all the soap and I did so while watching a YouTube video of what happens when you microwave a bar of Ivory Soap (I guess why Jason had a pack in the bathroom anyway, him and his friend threw a bar in the microwave).

And I’m typing up this post while waiting for the water to boil. So while maybe all time added up it will take me 15 minutes to make, it’s only going to take about 5 minutes of hands on time. Excellent. I know on average it comes out to about .01 per a load or .71 cents for the whole batch according to the woman whose recipe I used. But since everything I used were just in the back of cabinets not being used any time soon I really feel like I got 64 loads worth of detergent for free. Hooray!

3 thoughts on “DIY Detergent :: From the Kitchen of Thrift Kitchen!

  1. Just started making my own detergent, but a powdered version. One bar of soap grated up (I used Ivory), 2 cups of baking soda, and 1 cup of borax. Mixed it all up and used 1-2 tablespoons per load. I’ve used it twice so far and my husband can’t tell a difference and I love it! :)

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