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How to Make Cheap Liquid Laundry Detergent ($2 for 5 Gallons)


DIY Liquid Laundry Soap
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One thing I have learned about preppers is that they are not afraid to get their hands dirty.  If you’re going to be out growing food, or camping, or building skills your going to get your clothes dirty too.  I know it’s simple to go to the store and buy whatever laundry soap you like to buy, but something else I have learned about preppers is that they like to save money, and don’t mind putting in some extra work to do so.

Each of the three ingredients to make this soap costs less than 2 bucks each, and with the exception of the bar soap (which we I have a super simple technique on how to make your own soap), they all can be used to make several batches of DIY Liquid Laundry Soap.

Here’s the Cost Breakdown:

  • Fels Naptha Soap 5.5 ounces for $1.95 (you use ½ bar each recipe)
  • 20 Mule Team Borox 76 oz for $9.99 (1 cup per recipe with a little more than 9 cups per box)
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda 55 oz for 3.79 (1/2 cup per recipe and 17 ½ per box)

With the recipe below you will spend .98 on Soap, $1.11 Borox, .22 on Washing Soda (even less if you make your own washing soda) for a total of $2.53 per 5 gallons of soap

With 80 cups per 5 gallons, it divides out to .03 cents a load.  Since my time is valuable, and so is the hot water, lets say I spend .10 cents a load.  Its still cheaper than ANY liquid laundry soap on the market.

The best thing is I control the ingredients, so it works great for those with sensitive skin.

The only down side is that it doesn’t quite have the familiar texture your used to, to me it looks a lot like pale green snot.  But you have to trade off somewhere, a lumpy gooey soap for next to nothing, or overly scented expensive soap that has a consistent texture.

If you decide that homemade liquid soap is worth that small negative the instructions are below:



  • 5-gallon container
  • Box or other grater
  • Pot large enough to hold 6 cups of water
  • Long stirring stick or spoon for 5-gallon container


  • ½  of a 5.5 oz. bar of Fels Naptha soap
  • 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • Water


  1. Grate the soap into small slivers, Fels Naptha soap, but it seems to work the best for me, but you could probably use any bar soap.
  2. Heat 5 cups of water in a large pot.
  3. As the water heats, gradually add the soap slivers.  You do not want the water to boil, or the soapy water will bubble over.  As the slivers melt, keep adding until all the soap is melted.
  4. Place 3 gallons of hot water into the 5-gallon container.
  5. Pour the melted soap mixture into the container of hot water. Stir.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of washing soda. Stir until the soda dissolves, and then add 1 cup of Borax. Stir until dissolved.
  7. Add fragrance, if necessary. Add a few drops of essential oils from your favorite scent.
  8. Cover the container and set it aside. Let it sit overnight so it can cool and gel. The detergent will not gel uniformly; it may appear watery and clumpy.
Published inDIY Prepper ProjectsMedical & Sanitation

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