Want squeaky clean washing? You've got to try this DIY laundry detergent hack

Laundry basket sat next to a washing machine.
(Image credit: Getty)

The best laundry detergent can get expensive, and for some people with sensitive skin, it can be irritating to use, which is why I love this DIY laundry detergent idea. Most laundry pods or detergents that you buy at the store have a large number of chemicals or biological agents that are good for cleaning your clothes but can make your skin itchy or irritated if used frequently, so we're all about finding affordable and eco-friendly alternatives. 

This DIY laundry detergent hack is simple and effective and has allowed me to use up all the leftover bars of soap I had lying about in my kitchen and bathroom. It only requires a few ingredients, so you can easily replicate it at home if you, too, like to discard soap bars before they're finished. 

You can also choose essential oil-based soap if you want to add fragrance to your DIY laundry detergent, or even get creative and add rose water for a floral scent. 

What you will need

To make your own DIY laundry detergent you will need a few materials and equipment. 

Wooden spoon

Measuring cup/spoons


Cheese shredder or food processor

Storage container 


Bar soap

Washing soda

With these materials, you will have everything that you need to start making your own DIY laundry detergent. Please note that gloves are important as you will need to boil some ingredients, so taking the necessary precautions to avoid burns is essential. 

How to make DIY laundry detergent 

To make your own DIY laundry detergent, simply follow these steps:

1. Grate your soap bar

Start by grating your soap or blitzing it in a food processor. You will need fine granules or flakes so that the soap can melt and evenly distribute in your detergent. The soap will help to trap germs and clean your clothes. We recommend using a gentle soap with minimal ingredients and fragrance if you have sensitive skin, as this will prevent your clothes from becoming irritating.  

2. Measure and mix the materials

You will need to measure out two cups of borax, two cups of washing soda (sodium carbonate), and one cup of your shredded soap. Put them in a large bowl or container and mix until they are evenly distributed and well combined. 

3. Store your detergent 

You can store this detergent in a food storage box or a large glass jar. Be sure to label it so that you don't accidentally bake it into your next loaf of banana bread. 

How to use your DIY laundry detergent

With this detergent, a little goes a long way. For a regular washer, use two to three tablespoons per wash load. If you are washing a smaller load, then use less, and if it is a large load, then add more. If you have one of the best top-load washers then start off with one tablespoon and add more if it's a larger load or the clothes are more soiled. 

Some high-efficiency washers will require less detergent, so we always recommend doing a wash with a small dose to start off with and adding extra to your next load if you think it's needed. 

Why should you make your own DIY laundry detergent?

Laundry detergent can get expensive, and no one likes spending more than they need to. This laundry detergent is not only cheap to make, but it can use up leftover bars of soap, which will most likely get thrown out or left in your bathroom cabinet until they're virtually fossilized. 

Making this laundry detergent can be an important step towards cutting down on waste, using up both bar soap and borax, which can often go unnoticed for months until they are eventually thrown out. This detergent is also much gentler on the skin than a lot of store-bought soaps, and people who are prone to allergies can also control what they put in it by using hypoallergenic soaps or gentle soaps made from olive oil or shea butter. 

Monib Zahdeh
TTR Staff Writer

Monib is a former staff writer for Top Ten Reviews. He has a degree in journalism and over four years of experience in the home and garden industry as a Digital Content Specialist for the made-to-measure marketplace Britannia Rose. When he is not reading or writing, Monib enjoys cooking, going on walks, and visiting different historical sites.