Tools + Supplies homemade-laundry-soap-recipe-3

Published on March 4th, 2014 | by Julie Finn

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Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe–It’s a Money-Saver!

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Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe

We ALL have laundry to do (right now, probably…), but conventional store-bought laundry detergent, with its petrochemicals, optical brighteners, and synthetic fragrances, isn’t great for the environment OR your skin. And the super-fancy natural stuff? Well, it’s out of *my* price range, for the most part.

Instead, I rely on my homemade laundry soap. It’s easy to make, the ingredients cost pennies per load (about three, give or take a penny), and it’s much healthier for your body and the environment than most store-bought laundry detergents.

Now that you’ve got homemade wood polish down pat, let’s continue celebrating Spring Cleaning Week with my recipe for homemade laundry soap:

You will need:

Washing soda: If you do any fabric dyeing or other T-shirt crafts, you probably already have washing soda–it’s an excellent dye fixative. If you don’t have it, you’ll find it in the laundry aisle of any bigger grocery store.

Borax: When you’re done with this recipe, use the rest of your borax to make gak with your kids!

Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe

Bar soap: I use Fels Naptha, a laundry bar soap. Although it does have some artificial color and fragrance (it no longer contains the petrochemical Stoddard Solvent–yay!), it’s much friendlier to the environment than conventional laundry detergent, and it’s designed for cleaning clothes, so laundry soap made with it is very effective. If you have extremely sensitive skin, however, or prefer to use a soap with zero synthetic chemicals, then choose a bar soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s, that’s designed for sensitive skin, and simply be aware that you’ll need to take more care with stain treatment and whitening.


1. Grate the bar soap until you have two cups of grated soap.
 This is a great job to outsource to the kids!

2. Put 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax into a mixing bowl. Whisk well, albeit slowly–you don’t want borax in your lungs.

3. Add any of the following extra ingredients:

One cup of baking soda boosts cleaning power, and is a deodorant.

One cup of Oxyclean or other oxygen bleach is a color-safe whitener.

Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe4. Add grated soap, and whisk again. 

5. Pour the laundry soap into a large Mason jar. Cut a piece of fabric larger than the jar’s opening, then screw the ring on the Mason jar down over the fabric piece. Now you’ll be able to smell your lovely soap!

Use one tablespoon of this laundry soap per full load of clothes in your he washer, along with a big glug of white vinegar in the rinse compartment–vinegar is a cleaning agent, disinfectant, deodorizer, and rinse agent, so your clothes will come out softer, fresher smelling, and less likely to become dingy over time.

Sit your lovely laundry soap on a shelf in your laundry room so that everyone can see it; this is one cleaning product that you don’t have to hide! And just so you can remember how safe the ingredients in your homemade laundry soap are, and how you can make more, paste on one of these free printable labels that we’ve made for you to help you celebrate Spring Cleaning Week!

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.



  • http://www.naturallifeenergy.com Aqiyl Aniys

    I use baking soda to clean everything and i haven’t thought of using it to clean my laundry. Thanks.

  • Peg Sullinger

    I have been using liquid home made laundry soap for years, using the same ingredients plus water. It has to be heated for the soaps to melt and stored in a larger container as it makes tons. I like your recipe better as it is less work, doesn’t make my pan nasty, it takes up less space, but I am wondering if all the soap dissolves in the water as you use it. My washer only has a cold water hook up running into it, as I find it unnecessary to use hot water for laundry. I hope I get a reply to this so that I can try it. I am running out of the last batch and need to make more soon.

    • http://www.craftknife.blogspot.com Julie Finn

      Mine does seem to dissolve, as there’s never any residue, nor any smell, on the clothes when they’ve finished washing, and I, too, use only cold water unless I’ve got a reason not to. If you were very concerned about it, however, since our recipes are so similar, you could always make the batch of dry soap, test it with your clothes, and then if you didn’t like it, turn it into your liquid soap.

  • ssewanyana

    I made my my own Borax and it helps me to never see any separation in my recipe

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  • D Downing

    I’ve been using this recipe for quite awhile, and prefer it to any commercial detergent I’ve ever used. Instead of all the grating and mixing, however, I chop the bar soap into maybe a half-dozen chunks and finish the whole thing in the food processor. Once it’s done, I put a good cup or so of hot water in the processor and whiz it around, then rinse thoroughly. Was hesitant about this at first until it occurred to me–after all, I’m making soap, no? I was going to was the thing anyway, no?

    • http://www.craftknife.blogspot.com Julie Finn

      I love this idea! I’ve never been adverse to using a food processor to make this laundry soap (I actually make lye soap in my crock pot, so yeah…), but I just never had a food processor until recently. Now that I own one, I’m totally going to save time with this method!

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