Making your own laundry soap is so easy and inexpensive that I encourage everyone to try it! Even if you aren’t concerned about the health benefits of switching to a more natural detergent, this recipe will save money and time! Once you have the ingredients, it takes about 20 minutes total to make five gallons of laundry soap, enough for months for most families!
This was my cost breakdown: Total Cost for Ingredients was $4.30 and at 1/2 cup per load, one batch would wash 160 loads. That works out to a little less than $0.03 per load! By comparison, the cheapest I have found any semi-natural store bought detergents breaks down to about $0.20 or $0.25 cents per load. A natural substitute at a savings of $0.17 cents or more per load!
- 1 cup Borax (sodium borate) found as 20 Mule Team Borax on laundry aisle of most grocery stores
- 1 cup Washing Soda (sodium carbonate or soda ash) is available on the laundry aisle of most grocery stores
- A bar of natural and organic bar soap like Dr. Bronners, or homemade soap
- Sal Suds (new product from Dr. Bronners- a good grease cutter)
- Liquid Castille soap for extra cleaning power and scent
- Essential Oils for scent
- Ask your local bakery, Sam’s Club/Costco or grocery store for any leftover five gallon buckets with lids. They will give these to you for free.
- Grate the bar soap with a cheese grater or food processor.
- Put 4-4.5 gallons of warm or hot water into a five gallon bucket
- In a medium sized sauce pan, heat 2 quarts of water until simmering.
- Pour grated soap in and slow slowly until dissolved
- Pour hot soap mixture into the five gallon bucket and stir well.
- Add optional ingredients if you plan to and stir well.
- Put lid on tightly and keep in corner overnight.
- The next day, remove lid and stir again.
- Pour into empty gallon jars or bottles and store by washer.
- Use ½ to 1 cup per load, depending on how dirty the clothes are.
I have heard people express some concern with the use of Borax. Borax is an ingredient in most natural and eco-friendly cleaners, including Seventh Generation and Biokleen, so it is difficult to find any product without it. Though it can be toxic in high doses, especially if ingested, in the dilution used in this recipe, it appears to have little or no health risks. If you are concerned with the use of Borax and prefer not to use it, use an extra 1/2 cup of washing soda or 1 cup of baking soda in its place.
Does Natural Laundry Soap Work?
In my experience, this laundry soap works as well as store bought detergents (which aren’t even actually soaps at all but mixtures of chemicals!). This soap does not have a distinct smell like many conventional laundry soaps, though you can scent it with essential oils if you like. I use this as a pre-treatment for stains also, and it works well when pre-treated for up to 1 week.
What is your laundry secret? Tell me about it below!