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It’s a new week in our 31 Days of Naturally Frugal series, and that means it is time to move from talking all about Naturally Frugal beauty tips, to helping you be more Naturally Frugal around your home. As always, these tips are very simple things you can do. So many people make moving to a more natural lifestyle such a complicated process, when it really is very simple. It isn’t about spending more money or buying specialty products. I am definitely not down with spending more money or adding more to my to do list! You can actually slow down, go green, simplify and spend less money all at the same time.

Today’s project is for an item we all use: laundry detergent. The laundry aisle at the store can certainly be frustrating. First you have to wade through eight zillion different brands of detergent, not to mention the different formulas, liquid vs powder, scents, stains, bleach, etc. Then you look at the price and have heart failure. This stuff is expensive! Most people are intimidated at the idea of making their own detergent. I know I was! I thought that it surely must take a lot of time to make up, and of course it would never clean as well as my beloved brand of detergent. Wrong, and wrong! My mom had been experimenting for a while with making her own detergent, so she taught me her recipe and I was off and running. Even with two young kids around the house, and myself being very prone to wearing my food as much as eating it, we’ve found this detergent to be very effective at cleaning our messes clothes.

It really is very simple to make–my first time it took me all of five minutes to put together the three ingredients it needs. The hardest part was grating the soap, so I used my cheese grater for that. You mix the ingredients together in a jar, shake well, and you’re done! Here’s the details on how you can make your own. Overall cost was $9.75 for all of the ingredients. But that will make a couple hundred loads worth of detergent! All of the ingredients below should be found in the laundry aisle of your store.


  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha or Ivory soap
  • 1 cup of borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda


1.  Grate the bar of soap either using a cheese grater or a food processor. Rough chop is fine.

2.  Mix the grated soap, borax and washing soda together in a jar.

3. Shake well to mix.  Done!


That’s not hard, is it? I add an old coffee scoop to my jar, to scoop the powder out with. (A standard coffee scoop is about one tablespoon.) Use between one to two tablespoons per load, depending on how large the load is and how dirty it is. That’s it! No need for a big scoop of powder–these cleansers are very efficient. Using too much can actually cause a problem, especially with HE washers, because of the sudsing from the bar soap. This is safe for HE washers. Both my mom and I have HE washers and have used it without any issues.

So let’s review: detergent that cleans well, is all natural, costs less per load than name-brand detergents, and takes less time to make than it takes me to drive to the store. I would call that a winning proposition! Later this week I’ll share with you my tricks for eliminating fabric softener from your laundry too.

Have you made your own detergent before? What recipe do you use?


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