February 5, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap

I came across this today on Apartment Therapy. Homemade laundry soap that is not only earth-friendly, but so cost-saving it costs $.01 per load. A penny! I'm going to make this!

The Recipe

3/4 to 1 full bar of soap (Fels Naptha, Ivory, or Zote)

3/4 C Arm & Hammer Washing Soda/Sodium Carbonate/Soda Ash (this is NOT baking soda - can be found in laundry section or on Amazon)

3/4 C 20 Mule Team Borax/Sodium Borate powder

1/2 oz. Essential Oil, if desired


2 gallon bucket for mixing and storage

Grate the soap and add to a sauce pan with 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. The gel will be the consistency of egg noodle soup. You use ½ cup per load.

This soap is described as low sudsing. It also gels in a very odd way. It is not a smooth gel, but a watery one. If it gels at all, you're fine. If it does not gel at all, you are to increase the amount of bar soap you use. Too much and it's too firm. The bottom line is to play around a bit with the mixture. At $0.1 per load, you can afford to try until you get it right.

I also want to note that as I was reading through the original recipe I made some changes in my post based on recommendations there. For example, I do not have "normal soil" on my laundry. I have children! I need a bit more power in my laundry soap, so I increased the soda and Borax.

Also, I will be HALVING this recipe, because I want to experiment with the first batch and don't need to store 2 gallons at one time.

Originally posted here.


  1. Made some last week, so easy!!

  2. Let me see if I can answer your questions.

    First I need to say that what I put in the jar was the left over that wouldn't fit in the 2 quart bucket.

    I used 1 cup of each borax & washing soda because like you said, we have kids...and a dog which = lots of dirt!!

    I do stir it before I dip in my cup, and its a clumpy gel mixture. I left in an old really long salad spoon to stir it.

    I'm convinced that I'm wearing clean clothes, so I would say yes it works. I also found out that you can make your own dryer sheets....don't fall out of your chair....its even easier than the laundry soap. Take a wash clothes and soak it in fabric softener, let air dry and then put it in a net bag with each load in the dryer and it should last about 10-15 loads. It doesn't work as well but it works in a pinch.

    I highly recommend an essential oil. It was hard to find but I found some at a small organic grocery store. It was $10 for a small bottle, but you only need as many drops as you like to get the smell you want.

    I need a lid for my bucket because I can tell its evaporating, I just keep it in the sink next to the washing machine.

    Seriously it was so easy and cheap that I'm not sure I will ever buy laundry soap again. Even if it didn't work, there are so many recipes out there that I'm sure I would find one that worked for us.

    Just a side note, when I told my Mom she said...I remember my Mom making homemade laundry soap when I was a kid and I was like....awww....I love that.

    Oh and I forgot to say that I use 1 cup per load.