Living The Basics

Simple and Resourceful Living

Have you noticed that laundry detergent has become super expensive?  Here you will find how to make it yourself and save a ton.

This “recipe” makes 5 gallons or more than 80 loads!


What You’ll Need:

1 Box Borax

1 Bar Zote Soap

1 Box Arm and Hammer Washing Soda

1 Five Gallon Bucket

Essential Oil (Optional: We use lemongrass or eucalyptus)


  1. Grate you Zote. I use a dollar store cheese grater for this.
  2. Add it to a pot with 5 cups hot water and heat until melted, stirring as it settles.
  3. Fill 5 gallon bucket halfway with hot water and add melted soap.
  4. Stir in 1 cup each of Washing Soda and Borax.
  5. Add ½ oz essential oil of choice if desired.
  6. Fill the bucket the rest of the way with water and stir.

It may have little globs or thicken up.  This is normal and depends mostly on the weather and tends to be thicker when it is cold.  Use the same amount as you would for any other detergent (less for HE etc.).  We use about 2/3 cup per load.

You will spend a little more the first time, but the boxes of Washing Soda and Borax will last for 6 or 7 batches, the bucket can be used each time and if you are using essential oils, there are quiet a few uses per bottle as well.

The Zote is cheap but actually ends up being the biggest cost per batch.  It costs $1 here though, so that’s saying a lot!

Here is the break down on the cost the first time.  Next to the ingredients, I have divided by cost per batch.

55 oz Washing Soda $4= $0.57 per batch

55 oz Borax $4= $0.57 per batch

1 Bar Zote $1= $1 per batch

5 Gallon Bucket $5
Slightly more expensive, but you can find a bucket here thats still pretty cheap.

If you are using a cup a load, that is 80 loads at a total cost of $2.14!

It works great and leaves clothes smelling fresh on its own.  I add essential oils and they come out smelling amazing!  I hate the smell of store bought detergents.

I am also allergic to tide and have no issues with this!

If you need it in a more portable container, you can always just pour it into a jar or jug and recycle too 😊

Living The Basics