How to Make Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Natural Effective Laundry Soap Recipe How to Make Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent

Making your own  laundry soap is one of the easiest parts of a transition to natural living. It is also a great way to save money on laundry detergent and is incredibly easy to make.

Why switch to natural laundry soap, you ask? Conventional laundry detergent is loaded with chemicals like sulfates, fragrances, phenols and more. Many brands contain things like petroleum distillates, which are linked to cancer and lung disease. Fragrances in these detergents are made of a mix of harmful chemicals.

Luckily, making your own laundry soap is an easy and fast process! You only need three basic ingredients to make either a powdered or liquid laundry soap:

  • Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer Brand available at most stores)borax 300x300 150x150 How to Make Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent
  • Borax (20 Mule Team Borax available at most grocery stores)
  • Bar Soap (Dr. Bronner’s,  Ivory, or other natural, unscented bar soap)

Washing Soda and Borax should be available at your local grocery store on the laundry aisle. Natural bar soaps are in the health, beauty, or organic sections of the store, or online. You can also add a couple tablespoons of baking soda to help freshen clothes.

Wonder what’s in these ingredients? Borax is a naturally occurring mineral made up of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. It is an ingredient in most of the natural soaps available now (Seventh Generation, etc.) but it is much more inexpensive to make yourself.

3320003020 150x150 How to Make Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent Washing Soda, sometimes called sodium carbonate or soda ash, is made from common salt and limestone or found as natural deposits.

Dr. Bronner’s soaps are fair trade and made with vegetable castille soap and pure organic oils.

To Make powdered laundry soap:

  1. Grate the bar soap or mix in food processor until finely ground. Use the soap of your choice. I personally use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Bar Soap because of its exceptional quality, and because it is available in several different natural scents like lavender, tea tree, peppermint, almond and others.
  2. In a large bowl, mix 2 parts washing soda, 2 parts Borax and 1 part grated soap. (Add a few teaspoons of baking soda if desired).
  3. Store in closed container. I keep mine in quart or half gallon mason jars. If you are using a big enough container, you can skip step 2 and just put all ingredients in storage container or jar and shake.
  4. Use 1/8 to 1/4 cup per load of laundry.

To make liquid Laundry Soap:

  1. Grate one bar of soap with cheese grater or food processor.
  2. Put grated soap in pan with 2 quarts water and gradually heat, stirring constantly until soap is completely dissolved.
  3. Put 4.5 gallons of really hot tap water in a 5-gallon bucket (available for free in bakeries at grocery stores, just ask them) and stir in 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda until completely dissolved.
  4. Pour soap mixture from pan into 5-gallon bucket. Stir well.
  5. Cover and leave overnight.
  6. Shake or stir until smooth and pour into gallon jugs or other containers.
  7. Use 1/2 to 1 cup per load.

These recipes are also a great way to save money on laundry. By my calculations, I am saving over half on my laundry bill by switching:

On the powdered recipe, I spent (at the time of writing the post):

With the amount this mixture I use (1/4 cup) per load of laundry, this recipe works out to $0.09 cents per load of laundry. This saves me almost $0.15 per load over using Arm and Hammer or Tide. With the liquid recipe, the saving are even more. A Five-Gallon batch costs $4.30 and washes at least 80 loads, costing about $0.05 per load!

Happy Washing and have a healthy week!!

Reader Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for these recipes! I’ve been meaning to try this – but when you use the dry variation, wouldn’t you have to wash everything with really hot water to make sure the soap dissolves and doesn’t leave soap scum on the clothes?

    • Lyndaslinger6 says

      if you make sure to grate the bar soap in a food processor very fine then there should not be a problem. I use it in cold water with no problem.

    • Amanda says

      I keep a cup and a small whisk an dissolve the detergent in hot water before putting into my loads, especially when I’m washing with cold water.

      • MIchelle says

        I use the immulsion mixer before putting it in milk containers and there is no need to wisk before using.

        • Michelle says

          I did everything that the liquid detergent called for, but when I pour it from the container, it’s really watery, not goopy at all. Is this normal? I feel as though the water settles on bottom. (I’m reusing a liquid detergent container that sits on its side and has a spout.)

  2. Mignon says

    Does this liquid recipe work in HE machines? If so, how much per load? Also, is it safe for washing cloth diapers? Isn’t Borax very toxic?

    • Marie Noybn says

      borax is only toxic if you are a roach. we don’t have the same systems that are affected by borax, you probably wouldn’t wanna eat it, but who eats laundry soap? I have always added it to my laundry as a detergent booster, along with baking soda, so did my grandmother… seems like a good recommendation to me heh.

      • Jabkin says

        Borax is on the EU REACH list as “a substance of very high concern” with some potential health risks but most of which are rashes and general dermatological issues. Still arguably safer then the majority of sulfates and distillates in common laundry products.

        • Sheila says

          Borox is boron which is a mineral our bodies NEED! Myself and lots of others put small amounts in our drinking water and drink it! It’s a great shampoo, body wash, cleaner, ect! I haven’t been to a doctor for an illness in over a decade and I’m 50 and post menopausal!

    • Gail Stephenson says

      I tried borax in our laundry years ago and one of our sons broke out in a rash. It was the only change we had made to our laundry procedure. So many people include it in diy laundry soap recipes, but I have always felt a reservation about it b/c of son’s reaction. Today, I came across a 20 mule team review that pointed me to the Environmental Working Group where this product receives an F. Apparently, the sodium borate and sodium borate, anhydrous are a high concern for developmental and reproductive toxicity in humans. On a recent PBS program, they were talking about a huge decline in frogs around the world. I’m wondering if borax could be among the things in water runoff that could be affecting water life including fish and frogs. I hope everyone will check out even things considered “healthy” or “sustainable” thoroughly before signing on. The person negatively reviewing borax says they just use Arm & Hammer Washing soda for their laundry. The EWG gives it a grade of A.

      • P says

        thank you for all the information on the natural laundry detergent. i just purchased the items to make my own and after reading the reviews, i will stay clear of the borox for now. especially with eczema.

      • Krista says

        I was just going to comment on this and say the same thing about the EWG.org (Environmental Work Group) rating Borax with a grade of F. Everyone should check this site when deciding what products they are going to try in their home next. It has really been a helpful, eye-opening guide for me and my family!

    • Lyndaslinger6 says

      I use it in my HE machine. I only put in one tablespoon of soap. the recipe I use is one bar of soap to one cup or borax and one cup of washing soda.

      • Jennifer says

        I have read through all the comments and am still not sure how much of the liquid detergent I should use in my HE washer. I could not fit even 1/2 cup in my dispenser let alone a full cup. How much does everyone else use?

        • Tammy B says

          I just mixed up my 3rd batch, I love this stuff!! I should mention that that is my 3rd batch since I started making it at the beginning of January 2014!! I do use about 1 1/2 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax and 1 1/2 cups of Washing Soda, about 3 TBSP of baking soda, a bar of Fels Naptha AND 1/3-1/2 bar of ZOTE (finely grated with a cheese grater) AND essential oils, Lemon this time. (someone mentioned essential oils breaking down fabric over time but I haven’t had a problem, but it’s not like I dump a whole bottle of essential oils in there either…I used maybe 20-30 drops in a 5 gallon bucket). Maybe we’re just lucky, we haven’t had any skin reactions, nothing. I love that I don’t have to spend craploads of money on laundry soap anymore. I can still get probably 2 or 3, maybe even 4 more 5 gallon buckets out of it. Thank you so much for posting this, I tell everyone I can about it…

    • Georgi Mortensen...USA says

      I just put mine into the machine with clothes instead of the soap slot. So far no problem with discolor.

  3. Cortney says

    Does it have to be pure castille soap?  I make natural bar soaps but none are pure castille, would they work too?

    • says

      They would probably work also. I haven’t tried them personally, but
      know people who have success making this even with dial or other
      store brand soaps, so it should work just fine.

    • Julie Gonsalves says

      I use “Fels Naptha” or “Zote”, both are a large bar soap made for the laundry and they don’t suds up as much as regular bar soaps. The Zote has a very nice scent and you can buy it at WalMart already grated up. You can also add some essential oils to enhance the fragrance. The savings on this home made laundry soap is a shocker. I have 3 friends now making their own. Good luck!!

  4. Lisamichael2004 says

    couldn’t you use Dr. Bonner’s liquid castil soap instead of grating up a bar for the liquid soap?

  5. says

    Help I think I messed up…..I am not sure if I read the instructions right for the powder version of the laundry soap.  I mixed 6 cups of borax, 6 cups of washing soda with 3 cups of grated bar soap.  Would that be correct for a 2 part : 2 part :1 ratio?  If so do I still use 1/4 cup per load?
    Thank you!

    • Amanda says

      I think they’re detergent boosters when using a commercial detergent. The ingredients work together to create a detergent that doesn’t need additional boosters.

  6. Anonymous says

    Help! We made the liquid soap yesterday & today I stirred it, but it is very watery. Is it suppose to be that way?
    Also, when I used a cup of it, I fill the washer a little with water & put soap in before laundry. It did not suds up at all. Should we have used more of something?
    Thanks.

      • Lisa Langford Courson says

        How much liquid laundry should I use in HE washer, recipe says 1-1/2 cup & one of these posts a woman says 2 Tbls, that a big difference, thanks

    • Melanie says

      There is a misconception that more soapy suds means things will get cleaner. The soapy suds are made by sulfates, and in fact, do nothing but make suds, and do not add to the cleaning power of soap at all. The suds in commercial laundry detergent are more for “show” to take advantage of people who think that suds mean powerful cleaning. I have switched to the home made laundry detergent recipe and use white vinegar as my liquid fabric softener, and my clothes have never been cleaner, softer or fresher, even though there are less suds in the washer. Less suds to me means less residue left in my clothing later, as well.

      I’ve switched to sulfate free shampoo as well (haven’t got around to making my own shampoo) and although the suds are not as plentiful, my hair is just as clean.

      I hope this helps anyone who worries about not enough suds, because I was fooled by that for a long time as well until I started looked at healthier ways to care for myself and my home using less toxic and natural products.

      • Layla says

        Speaking of laundry softener, I make a scented softener. It is 4 cups of epsom salt and abput 20-25 drops owhatever essential oil you like best. It make ts the clothes smell great even with my unscented homemade detergent. You just dump a little in the washer with the clothes and don’t need to put dryer sheets or anything like that later.

        • says

          You indicated you put the Epson salt and essential oil in the washer with the cloth. I have an HE machine, can I use the fabric softener dispenser or just put the salt inside when starting the load. Fabric softener is liquid and I am not sure the salt will dissolve if putting it into the dispenser.

  7. Inamu says

    I’m curious if this recipe is safe for cloth diapers.  We use a mix of prefolds, fitteds, and pockets.  Has anybody else tried it with their diapers?

    • Marie Noybn says

      I cant see anything that wouldn’t be good, I used both borax and washing soda as boosters for my cloth diapers without an issue (even with my homemade tie dyes) and the soap is a pretty mild one so…

    • Amanda says

      I use a recipe similar to this without the grated soap with washing soda, baking soda, borax, and an oxygen cleaner. I read (when I was heavily researching the topic) that the soap could leave a residue, which makes your diapers not absorb as well.

    • Courtney says

      Do NOT use castile/bar soap on cloth diapers ! I use exactly the same ingredients as Amanda who posted also (1 part baking soda/1part oxyclean or sun oxy/ 1 part soda wash/ 1part borax). Also, do NOT use vinegar on PUL covers. The best way to remove stains and odors is to dry in the sun. :) I love hearing about people using cloth diapers! <3

  8. says

    I would love to try this! I have heard though, that borax can be linked to infertility. Is that only when digested? I am just worried that washing clothes with the borax would be harmful…thanks!

    • says

      All the information I’ve seen has been only if it is consumed internally or used in large amounts on the skin. I wouldn’t use it in soap or anything in the kitchen, but from what I can tell, it’s fine for laundry, especially since it is rinsed out…

    • Amanda says

      I noticed more color fading when I used the fels naptha soap, but not when I used the zote; I have yet to try castile soap, though :(

  9. Crissyhome says

    I have had a couple of issues with it not getting stains out that normally would come out with my old detergents (Tide or Gain.) I am using the liquid detergent recipe. Any suggestions?

  10. Michelle Partington says

    I’ve had a hard time finding Washing Soda.  Any particular store suggestions?

  11. Michelle Partington says

    So no worries about the water going rancid?  I’m going to use eucalyptus oil so I’m assuming that will keep ickies away.

  12. Michelle Partington says

    Sorry for asking so many questions…I’m making it right now.  I had a bar of unscented Dr. Bonners, and I’d like to add an essential oil.  How much oil do you think I would need to add to the large liquid batch?  Also, could I add a couple tablespoons of baking soda to the liquid sitting mixture as well?  Thank you so much!  I’m so excited about this!

  13. cwilliams says

    I’ve been using Tiny Bubbles (made by Gro-Via which was started in Bozeman, MT where we live) for my cloth diapers but our water was so hard they weren’t getting clean.  We added Borax and have much better results.  I think this sounds like a great alternative to my current laundry routine though.  I’ve made my own soap in the past so I’m a little wary of the washing soda, but really trying to make the switch to all natural products.  Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Elizabethbrack says

    Can anyone tell me if this will be ok to use in a HE front load washer.I called the manufacturers and they said no, only use the he detergent, I really would like to use the homemade but afraid to, Thanks.

    • Georgi...USA says

      Of course the manufacturers r going to say that. They have a vested interest working with the detergent companies. I have been using this detergent for several months and it works great. Mostly, my husbands rash is clearing up. So this is worth a lot.

  15. Bethany says

    Quick question: Do you recommend using only Dr. Bronner’s unscented soap, or could I also use the lavender scented bar? Is the scented okay to use?

  16. Sharon says

    I am planning on using a (cleaned) re-purposed 5 gallon container that held liquid and does not have the wide open top like a regular 5 gallon bucket.  Do you think it would be ok to mix/ dissolve the borax and washing soda and hot water in a large pot (like a canning size pot) then pour into the 5 gallon container with the rest of the hot water and shake to mix?  Then complete the rest of the recipe as stated?

    • says

      absolutely. As long as they dissolve, it will work. You could probably even do it in a smaller container… You’ll just have to shake the bucket rather than stir it to remix the next day…

      • Sharon says

        Worked like a charm – thanks!  I dissolved the Borax and Washing soda in about 2.5 gallons of hot water and then mixed in the soap mixture with the remaining 2 gallons of hot water and now it’s doing it’s overnight thing!  Thanks for your response – and your recipes!  I also made the counter top cleaner so I’m feeling nice and natural today!  Wellness Mama is a fabulous site!

    • Courtney says

      1 part baking soda/1part oxyclean or sun oxy/ 1 part soda wash/ 1part borax for cloth diapers. No castile/ bar soap due to residue build-up which can affect absorbtion! <3. *I Love your toothpaste Wellness Mama!*

  17. Shea says

    I was wondering if Mrs. Meyers triple presses Castile soap will work? I cannot find dr. Bronners in my town. Thanks :)

  18. says

    Depending on which version you make, it would have natural soap in it. I personally do use it on my diapers, but definitely follow the instructions for your brand!

  19. Swizzle32 says

    I’m making the liquid version today and was wondering since this recipe makes a lot how long it will last in a closed 5 gallon bucket…will it not go bad? Thanks for any help!!!

  20. Raggedyandi1 says

    what about adding Dr. Bronners castile liquid soap? I bought lavender for a nice smell. Would it mix well with the ingredients? Also, I have read that it might fade clothes. Does anyone have any experience with this? 

  21. Guest says

    I have been looking for a natural homemade laundry detergent but all the recipes I have found have borax in them.  Isn’t borax something you should avoid?  Maybe I am wrong but could someone please explain?

  22. Hopefrees says

    Thanks for the recipe! I use Kirks Castille soap (for the grated soap bar component in homemade laundry detergent), it’s in a white package with red & navy writing, it’s pretty cheap per bar, and you can find it at any grocer. I also use vinegar in a laundry ball for fabric softener (no, clothes do not smell like vinegar afterwards). I also put alot of essentail oil in mine, like lavender or eucalyptus.

  23. Becky says

    I tried the liquid laundery soap recipe this weekend and it did not gel and it seemed that 4.5 gallons plus 2 qts of water was too much. What did I do wrong?

  24. laura says

    I have a bar soap of Austin’s natural soap called hippie hollow with hemp seed oil…..do you think I could use this? This is what is in it:
    Austin Natural Soap is handcrafted and handmade in Austin, Texas in small batches using only quality plant-based oils for their moisturizing properties. All of our soaps contain base oils of olive, palm, and coconut with vitamin E added as a natural preservative. In addition, all of our soaps include one or more extra moisturizing super-fatting oils (e.g. cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, castor oil, avocado oil, hemp seed oil, jojoba oil and/or shea butter). Your skin will feel clean, smooth, and soft after using our soap – no lotion needed! No animal fat is used in our handmade, vegan, herbal soaps and natural glycerin is not extracted – unlike commercial soaps. All of our handmade Texas soaps are pH tested and we do not test on animals (only willingly tested by our friends and family!).

  25. Lilly says

    I’m wondering if there is any way that body wash could be substituted for a bar of soap? My hubby wants his detergent to smell “manly” if possible. Any suggestions?

    • says

      The Dr. Bronners comes in a peppermint that I think smells amazing, also in tea tree or almond. Would he like any of those? Using a body wash adds in a lot of the chemcials some of us are hoping to avoid.

    • Courtney says

      I would use tea tree, cedarwood, lemon, cypress, and myrhh essential oils for a man.. my husband smells so good with cedar and patchouli!!

  26. Danielle@Analytical Mom says

    Dr. Bronner’s soaps are FAIR trade. That is the opposite of Free trade (I’m sure you know, just wanted to give you a head’s up that the terms got switched in your post!) Thanks so much for this tutorial. It is almost exactly how I make my laundry soap, too, except that I favor Fels Naptha.

  27. April says

    If I use liquid castille soap instead of a bar for the liquid detergent recipe…do I still need to combine it with the 2 quarts of water? And how much liquid soap equals a bar of soap? Thanks!

  28. Stella says

    I’d love to try this. After some research I found that 1 tsp. of Borax can kill a child and that it is also unsafe to have around pets. I’m sure regular detergent is also somewhat unsafe, but having the box of Borax around worries me. Do you use a face mask and gloves when handling it?

    • Ann says

      Borax is not unsafe. I has about the same lethal dose as table salt. You may be confusing this with boric acid which can be harmful. Borax has been used for skin and health remedies, as well as laundry, for a long time. It’s perfectly safe.

  29. Patty says

    I made this a couple of weeks ago! I love it! thanks….so cheap & easy to make…one of the recipes I found said to fill up the laundry bottle with 1/2 of the detergent & 1/2 with water…but yours says to just fill up the bottle with the detergent…your recipe makes 5 gallons, the other one would make 10. what do you recommend? I havent seen a problem with diluting it to make 10 gallons, but I don’t have kids at home making a lot of stains….

    • says

      I found the same information other places too. Based on other recipes across the web, I used 2 boxes Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, 2 two pound boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, and 3 bars of grated Ivory Soap (because that’s what I already had on hand).

    • EnidinTN says

      I keep it simple and just use more washing soda & a grated bar of castille soap. Washing soda is a stronger water softener than borax. If you want to make your detergent more gentle, you can use baking soda. It has 1/2 the water softening power of washing soda.

  30. melissa rogers says

    I can’t believe I haven’t made this before. I am in love with this!! Thank you so much. I found less expensive soap at Natural Grocers (99 cents per bar) with organic coconut oil. This is so simple I can’t believe anyone would buy their own detergent any more! It’s also so inexpensive. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!

  31. Melanie says

    i’ve tried this with the Fels Naptha soap and it made a terrible thick grey residue around the top of the washer drum. it also made the diapers stop absorbing liquid…. very bad. What do you recommend for diaper washing? Thanks!

  32. Megan says

    I just made the powdered version of this, but it seems like the grated soap separates from the powders. I even shook it up really well and that seems to make it worse. Have you had this problem or found a remedy??

  33. Brandi says

    I also put mine in a glass tea jar one would make sun tea in. It has the push dispenser that makes it easy to dispense without pouring too much too quickly. Works like a charm. then I hang the measuring cup from a banana hanger and have a container under it to catch any drippings.

  34. says

    I made the liquid detergent a few days ago with dr.bronners lavender and it did not gel. Also my clothes are not coming out smelling fresh they still smell dirty….should I add more of something? Thanks

      • says

        I used the bar soap and I did 1 cup of borax 1 cup of washing soda and a whole bar. I also tried doubling everything but the water and its like egg drop soup and its still not cleaning my clothes properly I am very confused.

        • says

          With those proportions, it should work, and I’ve used Dr. Bronner’s before without a problem. It won’t be as strong smelling as a regular detergent, but at those proportions, should get the clothes clean. you can also add more borax and washing soda, which may also help especially if you have hard water.

          • says

            Thanks for the quick response. Should i be strickly using warm or hot water for this or is there something to add for hard water. Thanks again. Also I occasionally use reusable pee pads for my dog is there anything special i would need to do with those?

  35. Lindsey says

    I’m a bit hesitant to try this recipe because I’m worried it might somehow clog the washing machine – how long have you been using this recipe and have you noticed any negative effects?

  36. Thomas Larson says

    I’ll have to try this as soon as possible. I’m always thinking of ways to save some extra money. Thanks.

  37. Maria says

    Would Dr Bronner’s LIQUID castille soap work just as well as the bar soap? And if so, how much would you think necessary for the recipe?

  38. disqus_aCpFDiBuWJ says

    Is it possible to use this in a HE washing machine? Can I substitute a liquid soap instead? Can this be made up in smaller batches instead of a gallon? Will this also dissolve well in cold water or will I have to use warm water?

    • says

      HE is fine, you can sub liquid castille soap but you will need more of it (about double). It can be made in quart jars (1/2 cup of each and the rest water) instead and it will dissolve in cool water.

      • disqus_aCpFDiBuWJ says

        I used the recipe to make the home-made detergent but the pants that I washed in the detergent are itching me.  I changed the quantity of each ingredient but I did it so the ratio of each ingredient to the other stayed the same as it is in the original recipe.  I did not want to use 4.5 gallons of water so I converted the water into cups which = 72 cups, converted the other ingredients into cups and made adjustments in the quantity of all the ingredients  so they are still the same ratio to each other.  Do you know why the detergent is making me itchy?  The soap I used has saponified olive oil, palm kernel oil, and palm oil.  I can’t use soaps containing coconut because I’m allergic to coconut.

          • disqus_aCpFDiBuWJ says

            No, the soap had olive oil and palm oil in it.  I also had the same problem when I tried a different recipe using only Borax, washing soda, and baking soda.  Will your recipe work if I leave out the Borax?

  39. Janice says

    Can you tell me what the consistency of the liquid formula is supposed to be? Mine mixed up nice, but is still of a watery consistency, and I was envisioning a thicker end product like other liquid detergents. I just want to know that it is fine to use as is, or should I be doing something else to “fix” it? Thanks!

  40. Nicole Bliss says

    Does FelsNaptha work as the bar soap? Or does it need to be one of the one’s indicated in the post. I can get Dr. Bronners but I find the FelsNaptha is already a great stain remover and cheaper than the Dr. Bronners. Thanks!

  41. Beth says

    Question, I was doing the math and granted I did add oxyclean because I read it really helps boost the cleaning, but it is still about 40cents a load. I do not want to mess with the 5 gallons of goo….. Any suggestion on cutting the cost? I use dr bronners soap after reading several posts! I love the way the clothes feel after a couple of washes they are super soft! I changed to natural soaps and laundry soaps after itching with all free and clear…which was about 11cents a load. Thanks for your help!

  42. ttocslyelhsa says

    I’m new to all of this. Could this recipe be used for liquid dish soap? Dryer balls were mentioned, any particular brand recommendations?

  43. says

    I’m looking for a substitute for dryer sheets, but my HE washer LOCKS once the cycle begins, so I can’t add anything during a rinse cycle. Do you know of anything that works in the dryer, or if put in the washer along with the detergent? I have to put the detergent in the empty machine and THEN add clothes, according to manufacturer directions. Thanks much.

    • abby says

      Your washer should have fabric softener slot (same area as the one for detergent) that will get added during the rinse.

    • Jenna says

      If you use 1/4 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle, it should take the static out of the clothing so you will not need to use dryer sheets.

    • Kirsten says

      Love this thread…still trying to figure out which recipe to try, lol, but enjoying reading it. For the person asking about laundry smelling, I take lavender and put it into reuseable bags and toss it into the dryer. I have also seen a similar thing for sale at Trader Joes, and you use one bag for quite a few dryer loads before the smell goes away. I have very hard water in my area, and I saw a similar recipe using kosher salt…anyone tried adding salt?

  44. says

    Has anyone tried to make the liquid clothes detergent in a more concentrated formula? I was thinking of using 1/2 the water and using 1/2 as much per load. Will it still gell and work all right?

  45. mountain girl says

    I use this recipe for powdered laundry detergent for all my laundry including cloth diapers. My baby is now 7 months old, and the diapers are really starting to smell as soon as they are wet. I have tried stripping them a few different ways–with vinegar, soaking in the tub, etc. (we have a front loader). Nothing seems to work! I use 1/8 cup detergent for each load. I think we have hard water, do you think that is the problem? I thought washing soda acted as a water softener. Do you have any advice? My poor baby stinks when he barely wets. I would love to hear any advice you might have.

    • EnidinTN says

      Try replacing any borax or baking soda with washing soda. Borax and baking soda are weaker water softeners than the washing soda. I’m not sure which type of bar soap you are using, but you might want to try a heavier duty laundry bar like fels naptha. It’s not as natural as castille, but it really gets the stains out. Also, you can try using warmer water. Borax doesn’t work well at all in cold water.

  46. says

    When I let the detergent sit over night I got this thick disk of gunk… then clean(ish) water on the bottom. Is this normal, or did I mess up somewhere? I used Zote bar soap per another recipe, and I followed the rather vauge instructions as closely as possible. I stired it all together like it says to do here and it seems okay but this is my first time and Im rather nervous.

  47. Beth says

    First of all, a friend just turned me on to your website and I’m IN LOVE. I’ve found so much GREAT information! I have to say though, I’m a little surprised you’re using a recipe with Borax. Although VERY common in homemade laundry detergents, EWG (Environmental Working Group) has some pretty nasty things to say about it. It has received an overall ‘F’ rating for a number of things, especially developmental and reproductive toxicity.
    Just thought I’d share, and I’d love to know if you have any contraindicating info as well. Thanks for all you do!
    http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/2507-20MuleTeamBoraxNaturalLaundryBoosterMultiPurposeHouseholdCleaner
    http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2011/02/borax-not-green-alternative-its-cracked-be

  48. says

    What do you think if I infused the water with something like lemongrass before hand? I would love to add some yummy smells to this w/o having to spend a fortune on essentials. – thanks :)

  49. Lindsay Tincher says

    My mother and sister have made the liquid for years. They have wanted me for years to make it and start using it and I finally did with this recipe. They use the fels-naptha soap, borax and washing soda. Theirs have always jelled. I made this recipe last week with the Dr. Bronner’s lavendar soap (the only thing that is different from their recipe). My is still just like water. It’s not jelled at all. I used 2 quarts of water to melt soap and 4.5 gallons of REALLY hot tap water. When mixed all together would total 5 gallons. Is this correct? This is the only thing that I could think of as to why it’s still water consistency and didn’t jell. I thought maybe I used to much water. Is there anything I can add to it to make it jell? Also do you have a homemade stain treatment recipe on your blog anywhere? I love your blog thanks for sharing all the great recipes!

  50. says

    I was wondering if this laundry soap fades dark or colored clothes? I would love to make some and use it but most of my clothes are dark due to work uniforms.

  51. says

    Hi Katie. Although I plan to try soap nuts eventually, for now I’ve simply stopped using conventional laundry detergents and made my own using Kirk’s Coco Castile bar soap and Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. Sometimes I add Hydrogen Peroxide to the wash water as well, usually in the white or bright loads. I noticed right away that our dark clothing has faded very badly after only one month. Do you have any suggestions? Have you noticed any fading using either homemade detergent or soap nuts? I use 1-3 TBsp of dry mix depending on the size of the load. I’m rather shocked that our clothing faded so quickly, especially since we have hard water.

  52. says

    I just tried making the powdered version of this recipe. I am confused as to how much volume 1 shredded bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap counts for? At first, I put it on the small shredder setting the in the food processor and it came out close to 2 cups. But then I put it through a regular setting to make it finer and it came out to 1 cup. So, I wasn’t sure if I should add 2 cups of washing soda and borax (each) or 4 cups each? Thank you so much for your help!

  53. Sarah says

    I’ve been using the liquid recipe for a couple of months, and I was wondering if there was anyway to make the clothes smell “clean.” They don’t smell like anything (which is good!) but I would just like for them to have a good smell. I have tried using Fels Naptha, Dr. Bronners, Tom’s, and Dial. I also tried putting vinegar and lavender oil in a Downy Ball but that didn’t work either…

  54. Lottie Chaney says

    I did try the powder a long time ago and found that the clothes were nowhere near as clean than with conventional. but i really want to start using homemade again as my 8 month old daughter has terrible eczema and is very very sensitive to pretty much everything including washing powder/liquids.

    Any ideas for adding extra stain remover to this recipe?? xxx

  55. Christie says

    I have a question… I’ve been making the detergent and adding loads of essential oils for the smell but it never stays after the wash. Help! I love making the detergent but husband wants the clothes to smell smell… Amy ideas?

    • Tiffany Terry says

      Hi. I don’t add the oils to the detergent mixture, but adding 5-10 drops of whatever oil directly to the washer when a load is in leaves my clothes smelling great.

  56. Andrea Meyer says

    Hi! Do you have a recipe for the stain solution we see in the picture above? I did a search but didn’t see. Also, do you not use fabric softener (liquid or sheets)? I’m guessing no but not sure if you have a replacement. Thanks!

  57. Brenda De Los Santos says

    Hi, I LOVE your blog and all of your DIY body and cleaning recipes! Question, I made this today at my sisters request (the powder), and now I’m looking through all of the comments and am sort of worried about the amount of soap I used…. I did everything by weight, which I’ve gotten accustomed to doing for lip balms, lotion bars, etc…. I used ivory soap since that’s what my sister wanted… Does this mean I have WAY too much soap?

  58. Korsen Roxy says

    I was wondering if you have tried adding oxi clean and baking soda to the liquid detergent? I’ve been making my own already. But was wondering if its been tried before thanks.

  59. Anne Liebroder says

    Why would you tell us your costs for products, that Amazon is more expensive and leave links to Amazon…like the information however, thanks!

    • Mandie Jean Wright says

      I took away that pricing is listed to explain how cost effective it is, Amazon links are for convenience if you don’t want to search for it in the store or can’t find something in your local store (and/or so you know exactly what you’re looking for in the store), but a warning that Amazon is more expensive to suggest hunting in the store first.

  60. EarthGoddess says

    I’ve seen a couple people ask if it is safe for cloth diapers,, I don’t see why if wouldn’t be, however I’d like to confirm it is alright, thanks! Bless _/|_

  61. Tom Horn says

    Now we’re getting somewhere . Looks like an easy mix. I mighty add if will probable help to have a water filtration system to get all the contaminates out of the water or you’re just adding them to the mix when you wash.

  62. Jessica Irene Tieman says

    Wellness Mama – you are a stellar human being for having the patience to answer each person who asked about the HE washers…

  63. Ralph says

    Hi Katie, I have made CP soap in the past but it does not lather enough to be likable, rather feels a bit oily. I have never used borax or washing soda before, would any of the two help with achieving a better lather from my soap? and if yes, do I add it to the lye water before the lye or after, or do I add it to the mix when almost tracing, in it’s powder form or mixed with water?

    : )

  64. Renee Braddick says

    Why do you use so much less washing powder and borax in the liquid recipe than in the powder recipe?

  65. Lesia says

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I just made my detergent, but haven’t tried yet. It looks like Seventh Generation detergent, except it doesn’t have a thickness of it. I hope it will work well too! I made a liquid detergent, but since I didn’t have any big buckets, I recalculated everything for a gallon and a half of liquid and filled up my empty Seventh Generation detergent container.

  66. Andrea McCready says

    Can the liquid det. be left in the bucket for storage or does it have to be transferred? I’m undecided whether to attempt the powdered or liquid…

  67. Sarah Lott says

    I’ve read that natural soaps containing saponified soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s) react with hard water and leave soap scum. I’ve previously had issues with soap scum with homemade dishwasher detergent with Dr. Bronner’s (although that may have been from the vinegar that the recipe called for). Has anyone had any experience using this detergent with hard water?

    Thanks,
    Sarah

  68. Nancy Wilhelm says

    Katie, your powdered laundry detergent recipe calls for 1 box each of borax and washing soda to 1 bar of soap. I’ve noticed many other recipes call for 1 CUP each of borax and washing soda to 1 bar of soap. Do you mind sharing how you decided on your lower soap content recipe? Thanks!

    • Jenna says

      If you look again you’ll see farther down where she states to use 2 parts borax and 2 parts washing soda to 1 part bar soap. I end up with 1 cup when soap is grated and therefore use 2 cups each of the borax and washing soda. Hope that helps!

  69. Liz says

    I have been making my own laundry soap for over a year now, same ingredients as yours minus the soap. I am currently using 2 bars of sunlight soap and I would like to switch over to the Castille soap but don’t want to change my recipe worrying it might not wash as well?? And also wondering if the Castille laundry soap will leave oil like stains on my clothes because it is made of oils? Hope you can help thanks.

  70. Kayla says

    So I made the liquid five gallon bucket, but it didn’t seem to get my clothes very clean at all. I followed the directions precisely. Any advice?

  71. Yaya says

    Hello.. I mixed 6 cups of borax.. 6 cups of washing soda and 1 bar soap.. And then mixed it up.. Is this okay?

  72. Evie says

    I made the liquid laundry detergent using dove soap it has a really great scent however my clothes does not have a scent. Why is that?

  73. Jenny McDaniel-Gonzales says

    For the powder laundry soap what do you mean by 2 parts washing soda 2 parts borax? How many cups of each?

  74. Andrea Cerf says

    I just made the powder version using the Dr. Bronners soap. I love the smell. I have a water softener in my house. Always been told that it’s not necessary to use alot of soap. I have noticed though that there is no suds in the washer. Is there suspose to be suds?

  75. Kathy Wolf says

    Is this gentle enough for infants and toddlers? I currently have to use Dreft because everything else irritates their skin but its really expensive.

  76. Jan says

    I am on my second batch of this recipe (the first I made months ago and we have a family of 7 so it lasts a loooooong time) we live rurally and have hard water – I also have an HE machine. my clothes are cleaner and much softer. and they smell so nice – clean actually without that strong perfume smell. I should note that one of my children is an almost 16 year old – track running boy – he stinks! and it even gets that smell out!

  77. Thomas Pinard says

    I have been using this recipe for several years now with a couple of variations: I use Fels Naptha soap and add 1 part Oxyclean to the batch and get great results. I use 2 Tablespoons per load..!!!

  78. Shayna Wesselink says

    I have made this recipe for over a year now using the Fels-naphta soap and just made it last night using one bar of the Castile soap and it is like water this morning??? The Fels used to gel nicely. Any thoughts??

  79. Laura Lowder says

    You can also use this recipe for heavy-duty cleaning jobs. Both the washing soda and the Borax have instructions for using as household cleaners on the box, and with the addition of the soap, you get an even bigger boost. And they work really well, and the house smells good and fresh, not chemical-laden, when you’re done.

  80. Rebekah Slider says

    I made the liquid kind and dissolved it well and left it overnight, covered. Today I am mixing it but it’s got a gel like texture going on and isn’t mixing very well. Is this normal? And do you have any tips on how to get it smooth? Thanks!

  81. Jeannine Burns Unser says

    Where would I find the recipe for the homemade stain treatment you show in your picture
    Thanks Jeannine

  82. Katie McGee says

    Made this today, so far have washed my 2 month old son & 3 yr old daughter’s clothes & LOVE IT!! & my Daughter loved helping me!! thanks so much :) Love being able to wash clothed with out harsh chemicals

  83. David Tex Willis says

    Mine came out like jello. It won’t come out. Do I just cut the top off of the jug and scoop it out with a spoon to use it?

  84. Leslie Myers says

    Hi, thank you for this! I’m going to make the liquid version. I see that you say I can use liquid Dr. Bronners. Do I use the same amount? A bar is 5 oz, does that mean I use 5 oz of liquid?

    Thank you!!

  85. Jennifer says

    Hi, I have a quick question. I REALLY want to make this but I don’t have a 5 gallon plastic bucket. All I have is a really big metal pot that would hold about the same amount. Could I leave the liquid soap overnight in this pot instead of the bucket?
    Thanks.

  86. Larissa Williams says

    Thinking about making this. I’ve made it before but it was different than yours. After I let it sit overnight. And come time to stir, I filled my gallon jugs half way with warm water than I filled it the rest of the way up with the gel mixture. So it made 10 gallons. Yours it doesn’t say how many gallons and to add water. Please let me know. thank you!

  87. Britney Hamm says

    You mention elsewhere on the site that you use soap nuts for laundry. Do you have a preference between this detergent and soap nuts? Have you found one to be more effective and/or cheaper than the other?

    Do you know if this recipe is cloth diaper safe?

    • Amanda says

      They don’t recommend using the bar soap recipe on cloth diapers because the soap can coat the diapers making them less absorbent. Also Borax is questionable to use on cloth diapers. I use 1 cup Baby Oxyclean (or the dollar store oxyclean), 1 Cup Baking Soda, and 1 Cup Washing Soda (1 cup of Epsom salts is optional). Then you store that as a powder in a container & use 1 TBSP for the average load of cloth diapers. You can see my blog for more information on baby DIY recipes. http://allablessingindisguise.blogspot.com/2014/01/neubys-go-natural.html

  88. Jill Anne Smith says

    Wow, I made the liquid detergent 2 months ago and I LOVE it! I have a nice HE machine and it works perfectly. I made my 2nd batch today because I’m almost out. All my laundry has done fine with this detergent: clothes, towels, blankets, etc. It’s so easy to make and I can’t believe how cheap it is…so much better than paying $18.00 bucks for a jug of Tide! Best of all, no chemicals and no sickening cheap perfume smells. I’ve also been using it in a spray bottle at the kitchen sink to wash dishes. So far so good. Thanks!!!

  89. Joann says

    Help! I did the liquid laundry detergent and it looks like a tub of watery fat. What did I do wrong? I can’t even stir it to make it more liquidy.

  90. AimezR says

    We are loving the liquid!! I probably could have halved the recipe since we have an HE washer and only use about a tablespoon every load! At least I know it will last! Gets the clothes clean and has saved me sooo much money! Not to mention my clothes don’t irritate my skin and I won’t have to spend huge amounts of money on “free and clear” detergents when a baby comes along!

  91. Byron says

    i have been asked if this is safe for an expectant mother. I think they have borax and boric acid (mild neurotoxin) mixed up…

  92. Jamidayle says

    Try adding Citric Acid to your recipe. It whitens, brightens and softens your water. It is amazing!!! It does neutralize the Washing soda, so you have to add enough washing soda to your recipe to work well. The recommended ratio is 4WS:1CA; so, that is 1cup of Washing soda for every 1/4 cup of Citric Acid…it also has a citrus scent.

    *Also…just a note on the Borax for anyone who wants NON-TOXIC….Borax is very toxic if inhaled…this means if you are using in a food processor you have a HIGH chance of inhaling…basically, if you are not using a mask when pour, mixing/ so forth you are taking a HIGH chance of breathing it in…Not to mention…it really doesn’t work unless you are using the liquid version and HOT water. CITRIC ACID can do the job of the borax…but better!!
    *I have also been told that Zote is a good bar of soap to go with if you would like a great scent…and it is a larger bar as well. Hope this helps :)

  93. Krystal says

    If I mix a whole box of washing soda (55 oz) and a whole box of borax (76 oz), how many bars of ivory am I supposed to grate? I’m trying to make the powder detergent.

  94. LyndaS. says

    Hello,
    I’ve just discovered this most amazing website. I can’t wait to try making a ton of things.
    I just have a question. There are so many questions that other readers have, but there is very little in the way of answers, which I would like to see. Am I missing something?
    Thanks very much.

  95. Hug says

    Hi, I made this laundry detergent in liquid form and I tried it today using 1/4 of a cup, but it does not foam at all. Is this how it is suppose to be? I’m in doubt that if it doesn’t make foam it won’t wash the clothes well.

    • oldwoman says

      It’s not supposed to foam. Foaming comes from chemicals called surfactants. They don’t make clean–they make suds.

  96. Faith Ann Triplett says

    we have he washer so the liquid was almost working but would block or not let the soap thru like it was clogged so next step is trying powder and then putting it in the drum with teh clothes

  97. awkwardjenny says

    I’ve been using your liquid recipe for over a year and am still on my first boxes of borax and suds. Can’t imagine how much money I’ve saved! I add a scent with Gain scent boosters that makes it smell awesome too. Thanks for your website :)

  98. Fjóla Björk Eggertsdóttir says

    Hi :) I live in Iceland were we have a lot of weather changes sometimes in the same day. Also no or little sun for ca. 4 months ( I really wanted to use your hairdye idea ) Any way… because of these constant weather changes and the heat/cold constantly changing as well, I have to use a lot more fabric softener than I care to admit :( otherwise I cant tough anything because og static electricity (hope I am writing that correctly). Do you know of something more natural that would work as well as the fabric softener?

  99. Jose Montiel says

    Hi I tried this and I think I may have done something wrong cause after a few days its still pretty watery. How can I save the batch I made and make it thicker. Or is it suppose to be watery?

  100. Tattooedmommma says

    Hey thanks for posting! I was curios though…you had said to use unscented bar soap as the 3rd ingredient. Would it not be a good idea to use natural scented bar soap? thank you!

  101. Karen says

    If you use Ivory Bar soap, if you put it in the microwave it will expand and grow into a giant blob (seriously, it will fill your microwave). It turns to instant powder when you mash it. Much easier than grating a bar of soap.

  102. Tierney Johnson says

    I’m sorry if this is a repeat but did you use this on your cloth diapers and did you ever have any issues with them not getting clean enough? I was using something similar but my diapers were just not getting clean… they smelled like ammonia and I knew I needed to change it up. I am using what I fondly/not so fondly refer to as “Toxic Tide” (aka Tide) at this point but at least my diapers are clean and don’t reek of ammonia as soon as my son pees in them! I still use something similar to this recipe for our clothes since I am not washing poop and pee out of them. It was hard to cave and use Tide but I try really hard to keep the rest of our lives non-toxic so I figure it’s ok :)

    • Jacklyn Siegrist says

      Have you tried Meyer’s? It’s all natural and cleans as well as tide. It is about the same price per load than tide (slightly cheaper where I live). Walmart does not carry it, but TOPS stores do. (who wants to shop at walmart anyways?)

      • Tierney Johnson says

        I have not tried Mrs. Meyer’s… though I would consider it. I’d just have to check the ingredients! I think the reason Tide works well is because it has a LOT of water softeners and detergents in it. I was using Charlie’s Soap which if I understand correctly is (like most “cloth diaper safe” detergents) more like a bunch of boosters, similar to homemade. I kept reading that smelly diapers are not normal and means that they aren’t getting clean… they were also giving my son a rash. I was having to bleach them very frequently, but since switching to Tide so far they have not had any ammonia smell and I’m so happy about that :) Also no more bleach, which I avoid whenever possible!

  103. Lucy Carter says

    So I noticed that nobody really answered the question about how much dr. Bronners liquid soap to add if using the liquid instead of bar. I went on dr.bronners website and found out the volume of actual soap ratio and you need (12.18oz) 1 1/2 cup of liquid soap to equal 1 bar of soap. The ingredients are pretty much the same for liquid and bar except the water content. Hope this helps

  104. Sydne says

    I saw that you said ita okay to use liquid castile soap, how much is equivalent to what is in a bar? Also, that it may not treat stains as well, would baking soda, vinegar, or something else up the stain fighting power? If so, what, how much, and whem do I ad it?

  105. Sydne says

    I got cut off haha, just wanted to add, thank you! I just found your blog and have downloaded the app it seems like it will be super helpful. Rock on, wellness mama (:

  106. Amanda says

    Hi there. I’d like to try this recipe, but I was wondering if it would be safe for my clothes. I wear t-shirts with screen printing on them, and I don’t want to find out the hard way that this would destroy them all. :O Does anyone here have expirience with this detergent and screen printed clothing? Anything you could let me know would be appreciated! :)

  107. Elise Hokman says

    This sounds good and perhaps I will try. I recently started using natural soap nuts and found them to be natural, easy to use, no fuss – no muss. I was able to eliminate laundry soap and fabric softener and the clothes come out smelling great!

  108. Helena says

    Hi there, I just tried this recipe for laundry soap for the first time the otherday and I have a few questions. It seems quite jelly but separates easily (not just a tub of solid jell) but I’ve washed 2 separate loads and the clothes don’t really seem clean. I followed the recipe exactly, even used Dr. Bonners bar soap, except I added 20 drops of peppermint oil extract at the end. It smells good but the clothes don’t.. lol I used 1/2cup in the first load that I washed and 3/4cup in the second.

    Is there something I can do? Could I reheat it and add more of something maybe? I really want this to work.. I’m trying to be more self sufficient and get away from the chemicals! Thanks!!

  109. collegekid says

    Thanks for posting your recipes! I made the liquid recipe the way you instructed plus an extra step. After I let it sit overnight I stirred in another half cup of borax and then blended it with an electric hand blender for about 5 minutes. I let the new mixture sit overnight and it is smooth and has not separated. It is also thicker now.

  110. Nancy Walkenford says

    A friend gave me a similar recipe for making detergent-however, she added 2 Tbl. of Glycerin. Some of the liquid became a very elastic like material and was very hard to reduce. I sieved the “goo,” which made the soap okay-and mixed the liquid a lot.
    Do you recommend using Glycerin with the soap? Could I do something
    else so the Glycerin does not become rubbery?

  111. Mjdekro says

    Hi Katie

    Do you think I’ll have the same effect If I halve all of the ingredients? as I’m only washing for 2 people!

  112. madelaine says

    I am going to try the recipe for liquid laundry detergent this week. I understand from your instructions, that the dry powder formula follows a 2 parts borax, 2 parts soda, 1 part shaved soap ratio. However, the ratio is unclear for the liquid formula and becomes important when there is a difference in soap brands used and soap sizes available for purchase. For example, Dr. Bronner’s bar soap is 5 oz. The ivory soap bars I bought are 3 oz. each. I would prefer to know the exact portion of soap to be used in the liquid laundry formula either by specific ounces required, or shaved soap cupfuls. That way no matter what kind of soap I buy, I can add the proper amount to the liquid version without guessing (and possibly wasting a lot of time and ingredients “experimenting.”) Thank you for your help. I have enjoyed your blog and look forward to trying more of your recipes!

  113. Jill says

    I just made a batch of the liquid version. Quick question: I followed the recipe noted above and let it sit overnight. When I mixed it up the next day its pretty watery and it seems as though which ever ingredients make it thicker are floating around??? I used it, it seems to be working fine, but doesn’t look great with the ‘floaters’ :)

  114. Greg says

    Hi Katie,

    Thanks for sharing for what looks like several years. I am having a separation issue and was hoping you might be able to suggest ways to keep the mixture together.

    I made the liquid detergent the other night and used 5.5oz of the Zote flakes from WalMart which I melted over the stovetop in about 2qts of water until it was a complete liquid. After mixing with the hot soda/Borax solution and letting the batch cool for 24 hrs, I used a 5 gallon paint mixer I got at Home Depot mounted to a drill. I mixed very thoroughly and had great consistency. I poured it in a large container. After a couple of days I noticed it began to separate. Any suggestions on how to prevent the separation?

  115. Lory says

    I made 1 gallon of the liquid laundry detergent. It is wonderful! I have a light colored jacket that had a very dirty collar that didn’t come clean a month ago with pre-treating with common store bought detergent & commercial spot treatment. The dirt is almost completely gone with one wash today! I used a little of the home made detergent on the collar and rubbed it in & tossed it in the washer.
    I appreciate all that you have published on this site. Thank you!

  116. Virginia Chapleau says

    I have already made the liquid laundry detergent and used it. The clothes smell fresh and clean but I would prefer them to smell more like the bar of soap(Dial) I used. Dissolve another bar of soap and add it to the mixture or …. ? Suggestions Plz
    =)

  117. Mdurkin says

    Hi Katie,
    Loving your website! My family has extremly sensitive skin, I would like to make the liquid detergent, I have very hard water and a he washer. Will the recipe be safe to use for my family?

    Thank you

    • Caitlyn says

      Mdurkin, my family has sensitive skin as well… We love Katie’s liquid soap recipe. We use Dr Bronners baby mild castile soap as it’s unscented. FYI, even essential oils can upset sensitive skin! We were using Eco’s previously as it’s plant based and cheap at Costco, but we were all getting rashes here and there. No rashes with this soap. SO HAPPY!

  118. J says

    Oh fantastic! THankyou for sharing this! Trying to trim the budget adn was wanting a a gentle detergent for my grandkids.

  119. Lucy says

    Question. Is the liquid detergent suppose to be very watery? I made mine and its not thick at all like store detergent. I just want to make sure mine came out like its suppose too. Thanks

  120. Annie Sporer says

    Hi Katie, I noticed in the picture of your laundry products there is a container of stain remover. Is the recipe for that listed on your site? Also, do you cloth diaper? Do you use this laundry soap for diapers or something different?

    • Jeri says

      I’d like that stain remover recipe myself :)

      Annie, as for cloth diapers. I use them and wash my clothes with my own homemade soap (I use zote soap…and I also add a 1/2 cup of oxi clean as well)

  121. says

    Hi there. Love your site and the laundry recipe. I have been making my own for over a year now and I love it. I am writing an article for my blog about DIY products to reduce our harmful chemical exposure and I am trying to add in the calculations per load for the laundry detergent I use. I am just wondering how you got to the calculations you show here? Maybe my math is just off but if you add up all the ounces and then convert to cups and divide by the price I am getting more like .17 cents per load. And I know you state it is much less. That is about the amount I am getting for my detergent as well but I feel like that is too high. Can you help me with that calculation! I want to show the readers that it is much cheaper (and healthier) to use these detergents. Any readers could help out this math challenged blogger! Thanks.

  122. Kassie says

    Doesn’t look like my last comment worked right… My husband and I made the liquid version of soap last night… It came out chunky (looks like egg drop soup, but maybe even chunkier). Did we make it incorrectly?

    • Steven says

      You did it right…I just put it in an old detergent bottle…give it a little shake when you use. The good stuff is in the chunks….Have fun!!!

  123. Steven says

    Thank you for this recipe…I was looking for some ways to save money. And this one is great!! And very easy.

  124. Chanda says

    I started making my own laundry soap about a year ago or so and have also made it for others to bless them. I am always looking for different homemade stain removal solution. On this page there is a picture of a bottle that is homemade stain removal and it has the ingredients written on the bottom of it. I was really wanting that recipe if possible. I look forward to your reply. Thank you very much for your time and have a blessed day!

  125. Dee says

    I made the liquid version about four months ago using Kirks Origianl Coco Castille bar soap, and all of our clothes began to get holes, jeans especially..any suggestions? Terriably frustered:)

  126. Natalie says

    Hi Katie! I just made a batch of the powdered detergent, modified slightly. I used 2 c borax, 2 c washing soda, 1 c OxiClean, 1 c grated bath soap and 1 c Purex Crystals (for scent). I just did my first load using 1/4 c detergent, and nearly all the elastic clothing items are damaged.

    Do you have a suggestion for how I could alter the proportions in my recipe (add to what I already have) to prevent this from happening again? I’m fairly clueless on pH issues! Thanks. :)

    • Caitlyn says

      Denise, I use 1 cup of Dr Bronners liquid castile soap in place of the bar soap. Rogughly replace 1 bar of soap with 1 cup liquid.

  127. Christine says

    Hi! I made your laundry detergent recipe last weekend (my first time ever making my own laundry detergent!) I used the same ingredients you listed. After I let it cool overnight, I found that the detergent was very liquid-y. Is that what the consistency is supposed to be? I know store bought detergents are quite thicker, but this was not like that. I stirred and stirred it but it looked to be more like cloudy water. I used it on a load of laundry and it left soap residue—I had to re-rinse several times to try to get the residue out. Do you know what I could have done wrong?

  128. Rachel says

    I’ve been using the liquid detergent for a little over a week, and I love it!! I have two sons and a hard-working husband, so we tend to have lots of dirty clothes and they’ve all come out sparkling clean! I just have a quick question… there are small particles mixed in the detergent (maybe soap). I was sure that I had dissolved the soap fully before mixing, but they do seem to dissolve as soon as I touch them. I’ve just made sure to give the gallon jug a good shake before pouring into the washer. Is this normal?

  129. James c says

    Wow there are a lot of comments
    But
    You say to use a quarter cup to half a cup in your recipe. But every other recipe calls to only use a teaspoon to two teaspoons of powder depending on load size.
    Why the significant increase in amount if powder per load?

  130. Gloria B says

    Thanks for the soap recipe
    I found that the ivory soap does not truly make flakes and does not mix with the borax and washing soda to an even consistency.
    Is this normal?
    I will be trying this recipe tomorrow.

  131. Jamie says

    So, in an attempt to find a short cut to making a liquid detergent with what I had on hand I made an interesting discovery I thought I would share. I only had about 1 cup of Dr Bronners left from making my previous batches of powdered soap, so I didn’t have enough to follow the recipe without going to the store and I needed to wash clothes asap. So I dissolved my 1 cupish of grated soap in a 2 qt pot on the stove, poured it into the food processor and added 1 cup each of the Borax and Washing Powder then turned it on. I left it running for just a minute or two, thinking it would mix everything up better than I was doing with the spoon. I loaded my laundry into the washer and came back to a very surprisingly whipped batch of detergent! It is about the same consistency of cool whip. I thought hey that works for me! In theory it should dissolve better and be more effective. This made about 2/3 of a gallon and I added 1 scoop to the wash. I will let you know how it works out! Just may be the perfect inbetween for making smaller batches in less time. :-)

  132. Cris says

    I have made this recipe and it works great. I would even argue that I got way more than 80 loads as well! Also, as an eczema sufferer, I have absolutely no problem with this recipe, Borax, or the washing soda.

  133. Tristan says

    Hi Katie,

    I have really sensitive skin and I am allegeric to a lot of chemicals that are in regular laundry detergent, I’m also allergic to formaldehyde. I plan on trying your recipe for laundry detergent. Do you think it would be ok if I also added a quarter or half cup of white distilled vinegar to my laundry during the rinse portion of the cycle? I’ve read that vinegar can actually help remove some formaldehyde that is in clothing. Thanks in advance for your help!
    Best,
    Tristan

  134. Deborah F says

    REGARDING MAKING LIQUID LAUNDRY SOAP: Say, has anyone had problems with the soap re-hardening and rising to the top of the liquid mixture after melting and blending on top of the stove? I used ZOTE originally, thinking I would make this into a dry laundry soap. However, I do not have a food processor and using my blender did not granularize the grated soap with some of the soda but make a gunky mess in the bottom. So I thought, okay, I’ll make liquid laundry soap instead, so I put the soap mixed with some soda into a stock pot on the stove with water, brought to boil, turned down and simmer until the soap melted. Then I mixed hot tap water into bucket, added borax and soda and melted soap/water/some soda mixture and stirred it up. Later, I went to check on it and the soap had risen to the top and formed a “crust” on top of the mixture, even though the liquid still was hot and condensing water on the pail lid. What did I do wrong?

  135. Shaunda says

    I’ve commented a few times but my posts never seem to make the board, I hope this one does because I’d really like your and others opinion on this one…
    I’ve heard Borax is not good to launder cloth diapers with, apparently it will make the diapers less absorbent and can build up. I’ve been cloth diapering my 2yo since birth and have been using Nellie’s laundry soda which seems to be great but I would like to pinch some more pennies and keep a few chemicals off my baby’s bottom in the process. Any thoughts? A tip I’ve found with CD is to put a cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle if you plan to use baking soda.

  136. Sica Bishop says

    Love the effectiveness of this recipe!
    Living in Florida, I have had a problem with caking though… I have to chisel it to use it. Do you have any handy suggestions?

    Thanks!

  137. En says

    I refrain from using Fels-Naphtha soap because it still has colorants in it as well as petrochemicals. The smell gets to me as well,….funny, it never did when my grandma used the stuff ages ago. Methinks the FN recipe has been altered since then

  138. Susan says

    I found this on wikipedia and I must say I would think twice before using borax “Borax was added to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on 16 December 2010. The SVHC candidate list is part of the EU Regulations on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals 2006 (REACH), and the addition was based on the revised classification of Borax as toxic for reproduction category 1B under the CLP Regulations. Substances and mixtures imported into the EU which contain Borax are now required to be labelled with the warnings “May damage fertility” and “May damage the unborn child”.[

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