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DIY Laundry Detergent for High Efficiency Machines

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This article is taken from Five Gallon Ideas, which features over 100 uses for 5 gallon buckets with more being added all the time.

Once you start cleaning with laundry detergent crafted by your own hands, you’ll never buy overpriced detergents from the store again.

This detergent mix works well in high-efficiency machines and the older, less efficient ones. We have been using it for years at the apartment laundromat without any problems.

These instructions are for an undiluted detergent; meaning you only need a scant 1-2 tablespoons to clean an entire load.

Necessary Ingredients

You just need a few ingredients. Two are uncommon, but quite cheap.

The hardest part of the task is grating the bar soap into little flakes. We just use the cheese grater because getting soap all over something hardly counts as making it dirty, right?

Laundry Detergent Ratio

The laundry soap proportions are very easy to remember – it’s 1:1:1

  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 grated bar soap

I mix everything right into the container I’ll be keeping it in which is either a small bucket or pour container like the one pictured here, from this set of three spout containers.

In a securely lidded container you can shake to mix. The detergent smell can be quite strong so it doesn’t hurt to do this step outside.

Use sparingly: 1 tablespoon for a small load, 2 tablespoons for a large.

Cover photo credit: Jackson Boyle

For many more ways to use 5 gallon buckets for self sufficiency, visit Five Gallon Ideas. When citing this article, please link to


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