Homemade HE Laundry Detergent Recipe (Laundry Soap)

Homemade Laundry Detergent - HE safe - natural

Laundry detergent is an easy switch from store bought to homemade. DIY alternatives are often just as effective and much less expensive. I’ve shared my Homemade Laundry Soap but this variation is formulated for high-efficiency washers.

I first considered the idea of homemade laundry detergent when a friend’s mom made hers while I was visiting their house 15 years ago (wow, I just felt old!). Once I started doing my own laundry, I experimented with recipes for laundry soap. This HE version is an updated take on my original creation.

Laundry Detergent vs. Laundry Soap

It is important to note that laundry soap and laundry detergent are not the same thing. A soap is by definition a mixture of fats and oils with an alkali or base, like this recipe for crock pot soap that uses a mixture of olive and coconut oils with a lye and water base.

Detergent, on the other hand, is typically synthetic (at least partially) and is typically designed for a specific purpose, such as to dissolve even in hard water or cold water. Most recipes for “natural” laundry detergents are almost always talking about soaps, and recipes for actual detergents are seldom natural.

Since store bought versions are called “laundry detergents,” I’ve opted to call this tutorial a DIY Laundry Detergent recipe, though it uses a soap base.

Natural Detergent (That Works)

Detergents are designed to work in hot or cold water and to clean inside the fibers of clothes effectively. Depending on water quality, some people find that natural laundry soaps don’t work well on their clothes. Others may notice build up or a dingy color over time.

There is one natural cleaner (not technically a soap) that I’ve found is highly effective and that works as well as high-end commercial detergents. Instead of laundry soap, using 2 Tablespoons of Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds per load gets clothes really clean without the added fragrances and harmful chemicals.

High Efficiency Safe?

That is the question I’ve gotten the most in the 100+ comments on my original laundry detergent recipe tutorial. I don’t personally have a high efficiency washing machine but have heard from dozens of readers and friends who do and they’ve used this in an HE washer with no problems.

The main concern with a high efficiency washer is creating too much suds, so a low-suds soap or detergent is suggested. This recipe is low-suds by definition and should be safe for HE, but always check with the instructions that came with your machine to make sure before using.

Safe Laundry Detergent Ingredients

Many readers questioned the safety of Borax in my original recipe. After much research, I (still) feel completely comfortable using Borax in laundry soap and other uses that do not come in direct contact with food. Here’s my take on Borax but do your own research and make sure you are comfortable with it (or any ingredient) before using!

Borax-Free Option

A simple borax-free option (that doesn’t require grating) is:

  1.  2 Tablespoons Sal Suds
  2. 1/4 cup baking soda OR 2 Tablespoons washing soda (optional)

Just add those at the beginning of the wash cycle. For an extra boost, add 1/4-1/2 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle. This step is entirely optional but seems to help keep clothes from pilling and looking worn.

Why Natural Laundry Detergent?

I switched to natural homemade laundry detergent/soap to avoid the harsh chemicals, fragrances, colors, and additives in many regular detergents. It turns out that homemade is also much less expensive and incredibly easy to make!

Even if you’re just starting out with natural living and wouldn’t dream of making your own deodorant, laundry soap is a simple switch you can make without much effort and without expensive speciality ingredients.

Laundry Detergent Ingredients…

This homemade laundry soap recipe uses three basic ingredients:

  • Borax: A naturally occurring mineral- I get mine here.
  • Washing Soda: Also called Soda Ash, this helps remove oils and residue. Available at most local grocers or here.
  • Grated Bar Soap: Like Dr. Bronners or homemade. I now use this coconut oil laundry soap recipe for our homemade detergent. Many recipes call for Fels Naptha which works well but has some questionable ingredients so we avoid it. I personally think the coconut oil laundry soap works better anyway.

Optional Add-Ins: I’ve also experimented with adding Oxi-Clean or oxygen boosters to this recipe. I’ve found that they don’t do much good when mixed into the recipe, but can be great when added to especially dirty loads of laundry along with the homemade soap.

Another optional addition is essential oils for scent. I prefer lemon or lime essential oils added to the powdered recipe, though most of the scent is gone after drying.

Clean Laundry: Two Ways

This recipe can be made two ways: as a powder or a liquid. The powder is much faster to make and requires much less room to store, but the liquid is more effective for stain treating. The liquid also seems more effective for those with hard water.

I currently use the powdered version and use other natural products for treating stains (see below). Both recipes use the same natural ingredients, so just pick the one that is most convenient for you. This recipe is my powdered version, and the liquid version is in this post.

Laundry Soap Ingredients

How to Make Laundry Soap

  1. Grate the soap using a hand grater or food processor. Grate into fine particles so it dissolves easily.
  2. Carefully mix with the washing soda and borax (use gloves or a spoon as these can by drying if used directly on skin)
  3. Add essential oils and stir.
  4. Store in an air-tight glass jar.
  5. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. Add 1 tablespoon of oxygen booster if needed… I use this on white loads.

Natural Stain Treatment

small Wellness Mama Stain Treatment Laundry Guide smallHomemade laundry detergent works well, but it won’t work as well as chemically formulated stain-release and cold water formulas from the store. I keep a variety of natural stain treaters in my laundry room and use them depending on the stain.

This post has the full list of natural stain treaters and a printable chart to keep in your laundry area.

I also keep a small bottle of diluted Sal Suds in my purse for immediate stain treating on the go and it has worked really well. Even on wine. And mustard. Or red clay from the baseball field. And… well, you get the idea.

Bottom Line: Which to Use

Confused by all the options above? Here’s a simple way to figure out which method will work best for you:

Simplest Natural Option

Want the fastest & easiest method with no extra work required? Do this:

  • Use 2 Tablespoons Sal Suds (here’s where I get it)  per load just like you would a regular laundry detergent
  • Add 2 Tablespoons washing soda or 1/4 cup baking soda if you want to for an extra boost (you can actually do this with any laundry soap or detergent)
  • If you’re feeling like an over-achiever, add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • Violà! Clean laundry!

Inexpensive Natural Option

Want to save money and avoid the harmful ingredients lurking in many traditional laundry detergents? Use the Laundry Soap recipe above. Just note that it may not work for all water types and you may need to experiment with soap/washing soda combinations and ratios to find out what works best.

Best for Really Hard or Soft Water

If you have really hard or really soft water, the Sal Suds method above may be the best bet.

Do you make your own laundry detergent yet? Will you consider starting now? Share your experience and recipe if you already do! 

This homemade laundry detergent uses coconut oil soap, borax, washing soda, and optional essential oils to naturally clean laundry effectively. HE safe.

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Reader Comments

  1. Yes! Just the kind of recipe i’m looking for. Goodbye all other laundry detergents.

    • Does the mixture have to be gel-like to be efficient. I use the liquid Castille soap instead of bar soap shavings. Is that ok?

      • Hi, have you been using the liquid castile soap in the homemade laundry detergent? If you are, has it been working for you?

    • I felt it was important to let DIY’ers know something I just found out. Apparently, pathogens will STAY on your towels, even if you wash them! It is recommended that compromised towels (kitchen towels that got any chicken juices, bath towels that might have come in contact with some sort of skin infection like an eye stye, etc) should be washed with BLEACH, hot water, and a hot dryer. For a bit more info, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdnS2NO0wm0
      This is NOT my video. I just found it, and I’m trying to let people know.

      • Oh dear Jen, don’t start a panic just because you have learnt something new about your hygiene standards today. Towels are not the only item in the wash likely to harbour germs. Underwear, outerwear and bedding all have the same potential. Common sense dictates that anything likely to have picked up an infection be treated accordingly.

        Chlorine bleach is harmful to the environment – in production, in use and in waste. Bad enough when used on its own, it can prove lethal in combination with many common household products.

        Most DIYers use combinations of vinegar and/or soda to more than adequately combat the majority of situations involving germs. Where these cannot cope then hydrogen peroxide is a far safer (and much kinder all round) control.

  2. Laundry detergent is one thing I don’t bother making myself. I have been so very happy with Molly’s Suds laundry powder. It’s all natural and non-toxic… and it works great! I find it affordable too! I use white vinegar in my rinse cycle. The Molly Suds dryer balls work great too. I like to add a few drops of essential oils to the dryer balls, for a nice smell. Lavender oil smells great!

  3. I have made my own laundry detergent for well over a year now and will not go back to store bought!!! Recently, we got a HE washer, and I have no problem using the homemade detergent!! I got sick of measuring, so I use an empty covered bucket, Into that bucket, I use 1 box of borax, 1 box of washing soda, one small container of off brand oxy clean and 2 grated bars of castile soap. It lasts my family of 4 well over a month. My husband is a chimney sweep and this soap gets out all of the soot off his clothes and the white tarps we use to protect the customer’s furnishings/floors!!

    • How much do you use per load?

      • 1-2 tbsp. per load

        “5.Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. Add 1 tablespoon of Oxygen booster if needed… I use this on white loads.”

        • Isn’t that to small of amount? Does it vary with how much clothes you put in?

          • No, this stuff is concentrated. No fillers. Not 95% water. You can double the amount if the clothes are super dirty.

        • Does it suppose to make bubbles or subs?

    • Thank you so much! I’ve been looking for a recipe that uses the whole box of those items!!!

    • Just had our HE washer serviced due to a scraping sound when it was running. The man told told us it was the oxy clean we were using. It degrades the steel. Just though I would share that.

    • Does it have to be washing baking soda? or can it just be regular baking soda?

      • If you bake the baking soda in your oven it then becomes washing soda

  4. What are your thoughts on soap nuts?

  5. I have been using the borax/washing soda/grated bar soap for over a year now, but my washer is a REALLY old and awesome Maytag. The problem is that the bar soap doesn’t dissolve completely and gets caught in all the plastic mesh of my filter. I have used Ivory and Dr. Bronner’s. Any ideas? I was wondering if making my own soap would help or dissolving the stuff in hot water before adding to the machine. I do grate it finely… Thanks!

    • I also use grated Dr. Bronner’s bar soap and washing soda for my laundry soap which I’ve also found doesn’t work well in cold water. Before adding the clothes, I turn my machine to hot water and once it gets hot, I toss in the laundry soap under the running water which dissolves it almost immediately. After a couple seconds, I turn it back to cold and add the clothes. I haven’t had any issues since doing that.

      • I have tried that, but it still doesn’t fully dissolve. I think I may have to dissolve it separately and dump it in to see if that helps. It isn’t a big deal, but gets clogged eventually and is hard to clean. Thanks!

        • You can try the recipe for “awesome laundry sauce”. It uses the same ingredients, but is a concentrated liquid. I love it!

          • Which laundry sauce recipe do you use? There are many versions when googled? Thanks

      • That’s why I make the liquid soap. I love it.

    • Debbie, I take the wrapper off my Fels Naphtha and let it dry for a couple of day. I then cut it into chunks and put it into my Ninja blender, a few chunks at a time, with a couple spoons of one of my powdered ingredients and it blends it into a fine power and just add it in to the other ingredients. No problem with it dissolving. I use a recipe that I found online. The batch has lasted me 8 months already. I think I paid about $30.00 for the ingredients. I just helped my daughter make her first batch. I have used the liquid and powder and I love the powder. Less storage problems and less mess making it. I am ready for a new batch now.

      • When and where do you put your dry powder in washer? Do you put it in with clothes?

        • Must Barbara! ‘Cus HE is liquid.

      • Please tell what recipe and items you use for soap that lasts 8 months for thirty dollars. Was it this one posted or another? And what is fels naphtha ?

    • I use an old food processor(only for the laundry soap) to mix the washing soda and finely chop the bar soap at the same time. Using the washing soda helps the bar soap grate up very fine and that helps it dissolve faster in cooler water temperatures.

  6. On the link for making coconut oil soap (mommpotamis) she uses lye in her laundry detergent, why don’t you? Does it work as well on smells and stains?? Thanks

    • In this recipe, I’m recommending using her soap in the detergent (not coconut oil by itself!!!) Her post has a recipe for coconut oil soap and coconut oil laundry soap. I use the coconut oil laundry soap.

      • I’ve never seen it mentioned, so I’m mentioning it. There is a brand of soap out called KIRK’S Original Coco Castile. It is manufactured in Kentucky, USA. The ingredients are: Coconut Soap, Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Coconut Oil and Natural Fragrance. It’s sells in three packs at grocery stores, dollar stores, Wal-Mart and some drugstore chains. I’ve never seen it advertised, but it is a very pure castile soap with no chemicals. The price usually ranges from $1.99 to $4.00 for the three bars, so it’s not as expensive as some of the other “pure” or castile soaps. I find it just as good as the more expensive brands and it saves making your own. Pick up a three pack and try it on your skin and you will love it. It works great making the homemade laundry detergent too. I and my family have lots of allergies and lots of sensitivities and we’ve had no allergic or sensitive issues whatsoever with it. I hope you find it, love it, and are able to use it. It’s certainly priced right too. Hope this helped make someone’s life a little easier.

        • bIG Lots has it on clearance for $.75 per bar!

      • In your recipe for the laundry detergent above – you say to use 1 bar of soap…how many ounces should this be? I just made soap for the first time using the link you provided for Mommypotamus and I cut them into bars…but they are all different sizes.

          • Thank you so much!! PS – your site is amazing and is such a life changer for me!

  7. About how many loads would u say a recipe of the homade laundry detergent makes? I’ve really been looking into it but would like to compare loads as well with it ! Thank you 🙂

    • I made a batch of laundry detergent on Feb.4, 2015 and I am just getting ready to make a new batch. I used :
      1 box 20 Mule Team borax
      1 box of Super Washing soda
      1 4lb box of baking soda
      2 bars of Zote soap
      3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap
      (I use a lemon zester for the bar soap. It is extremely fine and dissolves easily.)
      * I use 1 to 2 Tablespoons depending on the size of the load and how dirty.
      Love this detergent. Saves a lot of $ and is mild on the skin. My skin is very sensitive and I have had no problems.

  8. Oh wow Katie! So you use Heather’s coconut oil soap for laundry!? I just made her coconut oil soap for bathing and I love it! I want to make her laundry soap soon! Oh and thank you so much for the referral for the oxygen booster! I have been looking for one that is not as harsh as some other name brands, because even though I love my homemade detergent, my whites are not as white as my clorox bleach days. Do you use it on plain whites or whites with a bit of color print on them? I am going to order this now! thank you so much!!

  9. I was making my own for awhile, but then the laundry started conf out smelling funny. We have a front loader, any thoughts? I would love to go back to homemade but can’t have stinky laundry.

    • I just heard about front loading washers and MOLD!! People were commenting that there washers were stinky, and this was the reason. Please check this out as we all know how dangerous mold can be.

    • Sarah, do you think you might have some mildew in the washing machine and/or the rubber seal? We use a front loader too and unless everyone leaves the door open after a wash, mildew begins to build. I have run it empty with white vinegar and used a white vinegar wash to scrub the door and seal, which has worked for me.

      • Please, please don’t use vinegar in your clothes washer. It will destroy it! Vinegar is a corrosive. It will destroy your washer. The previous owner of our home ran them. One day, my washer drum collapsed. When the repair man came he showed me the drum which was completely rusted out. It looked like Swiss cheese. He asked if I had run Vinegar cycles. I said no b/c I knew it was bad. Thanks to the previous owner it cost me over $700 fix. Use bleach to clean your clothes washer or a cleaning product made for clothes washers. You CAN use Vinegar in your dishwasher. Your dishwasher IS designed to take corrosive food. So you can use it to clean it. Please save yourself hundreds and don’t use vinegar.

        • I would recommend checking with the manufacture. It could be the age of your washer that was why vinegar was an issue. We have a 2 yr old washer/dryer pair and when we had warranty service for a sock stuck in the filter (we didn’t know the at the time toddler size socks could get sucked into the machine woops!) and our tech said he recommended vinegar as fabric softener over commercial softeners in our machine. And to clean the machine as well. He also talked about using small amount of laundry soap, smaller than is recommended by the manufacture and soap companies because it’s too much for the machine, even with an HE washer. He tossed a clean towel through the rinse cycle and got suds. We were using the recommended amount of commercial detergent.

        • I’ve been using a cup of vinegar at in the rinse cycle for about a year and a half with no problems. A cup in a big tub of water couldn’t possibly harm metal. I also rinse my hair with it and it’s a stronger solution than that, no problem. If it could destroy a washing machine, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have any hair and probably some holes in my scull.

          • I read vinegar can rust your machine. Well that explains why our machine was all rusty. I was using the vinegar cause it was suggested you run the machine once with vinegar and another time with baking soda. This is supposed to help get rid of that new clothes smell. It did not really help much to get wide of the smell, so why bother. We have a new machine and I am not going to use vinegar it this new one.

            It is entirely possible some vinegar was spilled near the lid because that is were the rust was gathering

            I am using enviro one as a laundry detergent. I read this can also create problems.

            I was using vinegar instead of a dishwasher rinse aid. It did not help much, and again I stopping using it because of possible rust problems.

            I am going to begin to look for a safe rinse aid, or try to find a natural recipe for one. Our dishes come out with dish washer detergent on them, no matter what detergent we use.

    • It most likely isn’t the soap, but the rubber gasket around the door that is the problem. It holds water/moisture after each load and if not cleaned out regularly, will begin to produce mold. Also, check out the ‘drawer’ that you normally put the soap and additives in, it gets mold on it, too ( funny, that something that SOAP goes into gets dirty!) these should be cleaned every few loads or so, to avoid having heavy buildup that is nearly impossible to clean once it gets there.
      Rub the gasket with a dry rag after each load, and I put a few drops of tea tree or lavender essential oils on it between loads of laundry. I never was able to get the mold from the drawer off fully because I didn’t notice until it was pretty ingrained and even with a toothbrush after removing it, was not able to get it all off, or off of the underside and the machine where it came into contact. I stopped using it, and just threw the soap in with the clothes, and since I don’t use bleach, it was fine. I did however use it to put my vinegar in for softening/soap removal in the rinse cycle, since I don’t use dryer sheets or commercial softeners.
      Front loaders are nice, but they do have drawbacks, and the gasket and ‘detergent’ drawer are two of them.

    • You need to add a maintenance wash to your routine. Every month or so you should put the washing machine on a boil wash cycle (90° or 95°) with detergent but no laundry (you may need to do this more than once) – the high temperature will kill any lurking bacteria.

      Alternatively you could run a wash cycle, again without the laundry, with soda crystals. These are excellent for removing any hidden causes of odour, grease and calcium build up. Word of warning though – if you live in a hard water area and have an old machine calcium deposits may have built up in the hoses. These slowly rot the pipes from the inside out so that, when the soda crystals break them up, you might find you have sprung a leak!

      • I have been using the naturally detergent know for couple of months and noticed that I have a 3 to 4 inch ring around the top of my wash machine of what looks like soap scum. I try to clean it off yesterday with a toothbrush and used everything in my house to try to cut through it and knocked it down about half of what it was this is only occurred since I’ve been using the laundry detergent I haven’t Kenmore wash machine. Any ideas about why it’s happening and what I am in the recipe might be doing it?

    • I add about a tablespoon of baking soda to individual loads (or half a cup to the recipe above) and it takes care of odors on my clothes AND in my washer 🙂

  10. I think I’ll try this one! I already have all of the ingredients at home. I like that this recipe is in a smaller quantity, so I can try it out first, without having to commit to a huge quantity. I’ve been on the search for a safe laundry detergent for some time now, we have very sensitive skin at my house. However, my boyfriend is a welder and I haven’t found ANYTHING that gets the stains completely out of his clothes.

  11. Do you think I could get the same results if I use soap berries in the place of the bar soap?

  12. What would you suggest adding instead of a coconut based soap? I’m allergic to coconut 🙁

    • Maybe a natural soap that doesn’t have coconut? I don’t personally have experience with other types of soap…

    • I use bar soap – Zote (Walmart) or Fels-Naptha …

    • You can buy or make olive oil castile soap, it’s 100% olive oil. Google it. I am sorry you are allergic to coconut, I have a lot of allergies but thankfully not to coconut oil.

  13. can you use the essential oils with the dry form of your laundry detergent as well? If so, do you just put the oils in with the powder mix?

  14. I have been using your original liquid laundry detergent recipe for three months in a top loader. The only thing I have changed is that I used your recipe for cleaning bar soap and made homemade bars. I use that as my grated soap and I use 20 drops of pure orange oil and 15 drops of lemon. The freshness stays even through drying. My family loves the smell and I love the clean.

  15. Is it possible to sub boric acid for the Borax? I recently moved to Argentina and can’t find it here! Thanks.

  16. I use a simpler version of this recipe – just washing soda and borax. It works great! I do try to pretreat stains because I’ve found that, even with soap, stains need more attention.

  17. I add the essential oils during the rinse cycle. That way the smell sticks around a little better.

  18. I am wondering if I could use Dove bar soup because it is the only soap I can use on my skin. I know it must contain something bad, but I buy the type that is for extra sensitive skin. I cannot use anything labeled hypoallergenic…. My dermatologist tells me it is the preservatives that I am allergic to… I know methylparaben is one of them. I’ve had good experience with Free and Clear brand.

    I also use Borax if the load is smelly or extra dirty and I use white vinegar in my rinse water sometimes…. It is a mild disinfectant.

    My neighbor puts the white vinegar in her wash water and not the rinse. Doesn’t that work against the soap or detergent?

    sorry to have so many questions. I’m 69 and have been through a lot because of doctors, etc not knowing about chemical sensitivities.

    God bless.

    • I was told not to use any bar soaps with oils in them but pure soaps. You can use ivory, Fels Napftha or Zote. I prefer Zote for the scent. I use this exclusively for the past year. I am adding more oxyclean as whites were looking dingy. Now have two other teachers using it too. I have a HE top loader and always leave lid open after removing clothes.

      • So with the HE top loader do you just sprinkle the dry soap on the clothes or put it in the specified spot for laundry soap

      • I am not sure what you mean about not using soap with oils in them but only pure soap. Soap IS MADE WITH OIL. Oil and Lye (acid and base) ‘blend together’ to make SOAP.

    • @Carol you totally have my sympathy with your skin sensitivity. Try doing an internet search for skin washing with coconut oil. It may seem an odd thing to try but, after years of going nowhere without a back-scratcher, I can tell you it really does work and coconut is usually really good for sensitive skin. If you cannot tolerate coconut there are other oils that you might find suitable.

      If you can’t find anything elsewhere take a look at coconutsandkettlebells.com

      • I am not sure what you mean about not using soap with oils in them but only pure soap. Soap IS MADE WITH OIL. Oil and Lye (acid and base) ‘blend together’ to make SOAP.

        For the person that can not use coconut oil. Coconut oil is used in soap making because it give quick large lather/bubbles. You might look for an all castile (olive oil) soap. Remember ALL SOAPS are made with fat/oils and about any FAT (lard, tallow, corn oil, olive oil, grape seed oil can be used)

    • I’ve never seen it mentioned, so I’m mentioning it. There is a brand of soap out called KIRK’S Original Coco Castile. It is manufactured in Kentucky, USA. The ingredients are: Coconut Soap, Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Coconut Oil and Natural Fragrance. It’s sells in three packs at grocery stores, dollar stores, Wal-Mart and some drugstore chains. I’ve never seen it advertised, but it is a very pure castile soap with no chemicals. The price usually ranges from $1.99 to $4.00 for the three bars, so it’s not as expensive as some of the other “pure” or castile soaps. I find it just as good as the more expensive brands and it saves making your own. Pick up a three pack and try it on your skin and you will love it. It works great making the homemade laundry detergent too. I and my family have lots of allergies and lots of sensitivities and we’ve had no allergic or sensitive issues whatsoever with it. I hope you find it, love it, and are able to use it. It’s certainly priced right too. Hope this helped make someone’s life a little easier.

      • Yes, it is very good. I make my own just because I like making it, but this it’s a good and inexpensive soap. Kirk’s natural castile soap but it is made with coconut oil and I always thought castile was from olive oil. I just checked online where we all shop and it’s 3 – 4 ounce bars for $8.25. It was less and may be at other places.
        I must say, I have not made washing powders with this so maybe someone else can tell if it works for that.

  19. Thanks for the recipe! I noticed in the recipe you wrote that you use it for whites. Does this mean exclusively for whites or you can use it for both colors and whites?

  20. want to try making my own laundry detergent. unsure what kind of bar soap to use. can only find Fels-Naptha soap.

  21. I have very hard water in the country—I find that the laundry does not come as clean—what can I do

  22. I have used this recipe only the liquid version with liquid Dr. Bronners and I wanted to love it but after a few months my towels smelled weird and so did my cloth diapers. I hated to go back to store bought but nothing I did cleaned them well enough. Any helpful suggestions?

    • Consider trying Branch Basics? I still use this detergent, but BB is the best ever for the diapers (and leaves absolutely no residue)

      • Katie, what do you use for fabric softener with branch basics? I’ve only washed 2 loads so far and the first one I didn’t use any softener, the second I used white vinegar in my rinse cycle. I recently got the starter kit and am just beginning with it, but I have noticed that my hands feel a lot dryer than normal…I wash my hands like crazy and usually I use Dawn with Hand Renewal because it’s the only soap that doesn’t dry my hands out from repeated washing. Have you noticed BB drying your skin? I was wondering if I need to start applying lotion every time I wash my hands. I want to try it as a body wash, but I’m scared that it’s not moisturizing enough for me. I washed my face with it last night and it felt dry as well. I really like it as a cleaner though, just not sure about for my skin.

  23. Hi Katie, can HE soap be used in a regular washing machine? I love all of your emails. Thank you

  24. Fels Naptha does not contain napthalene, as some bloggers have claimed. It might irritate your skin if you are washing your hands with it, but that’s not what it’s for. I use Fels Naptha bar soap as part of my home made laundry soap. I have an HE washer and have experienced no problems whatsoever with its ability to dissolve. If you feel strongly against using it, use Ivory soap in bar form instead. Here’s the recipe I have used for well over one year with excellent results:

    One four lb. box Baking Soda
    One four lb. box Borax
    One four lb. box Washing Soda
    three grated bars Fels Naptha soap (use a cheese grater)

    I store it in an old cat litter bucket with a tight lid. Use two tablespoons per load. Works well in cold water, which I use for jeans, sweaters, and dark items. Works equally well in hot water, which I use for sheets and towels.

    As far as HE washers “smelling bad.” Don’t shut the door when the washer is not in use. Use chlorine bleach occasionally (I use it for white towels and bath mats). This keeps your washer clean and is not corrosive. I have never had a problem with a bad smell emanating from the washer. Now, for heavily-soiled loads and sheets, I will add a small scoop of BIZ. I have no idea if this is natural and don’t want to know, because it works GREAT. For treating stains before washing, I have some WISK in a small squirt bottle that does the trick 99% of the time. For blood stains, I have some hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle, which I will apply two or three times before putting the item in the wash. I have NEVER had a blood stain not come out.

    I did not know vinegar was bad in a washing machine, and will stop my occasional use of it. I do like to put it in the “rinse aid” box on my dishwasher, however.

  25. How diluted is your bottle of Branch Basics for spot treatments? I love this idea – Tide pens always worked so well; I was a little sad that I couldn’t use them anymore once I went natural. 😉

    • Typically 3 parts water to 1 part BB. On really bad stains I’ve used up to a 50:50 mixture if I was washing right away.

      • Do you still dilute 3:1 with the new 2X Concentrate? Or more like 6:1? Then instead of 50:50, wouldn’t it be 75:25?

  26. My daughter (6yrs old) has very sensitive skin. Will this be ok to use for her clothes. We currently have to buy “all clear” detergent.

    • One of mine has sensitive skin also and she has done fine with this one…

  27. I used to make my own laundry detergent with a similar recipe but eventually started buying free and clear stuff again-seemed to get smells out better, but I think I mostly just got lazy. I’ll be a new mom very soon so I’m thinking about giving the homemade idea another try. Do you know if this will work effectively/safely for cloth diapering? The special detergents recommended for cloth diapering tend to be expensive-it’d be nice to cut down on the cost!

  28. I just wanted to comment on this. I made the powdered version and used for about a month in my HE washer then my washing machine started to leak water out the front. A repair main came in and checked my seal and there was a build up of the undissolved soap causing a leak. I recommend trying the liquid version in an HE washing machine.

    • You must have been using my regular dishwasher detergent. This HE recipe has not been up for a month yet 😉

    • My washer just started to leak today. I’ve been using the powder version of the detergent for almost two weeks. I need to switch to the liquid ASAP. It seems like the leakage is coming from a seam that’s on the front of the washer but below the door. I certainly hope I won’t have to incur a repair bill to fix this problem.

      • Under the rubber seal on your door is a hole. This hole can become clogged, we had to take the rubber seal off and clean it out. We have a dog and cat and it gets clogged at least once every couple of months. Also when you open the door take a rag and wipe around the window. Hair gets stuck under there as well and ca cause it to leak. Hope this helps

  29. Is this safe to use with a septic system?

  30. Katie, how many ounces of soap do you use per batch? The recipe says 1 bar. I just made a batch of the coconut laundry soap, and was wondering how to cut my bars the right size to get the amount of ounces needed for a batch. Should I make a 5 ounce bar like the Dr. Bronner’s bars? I just want to make sure I get enough soap in relation to the other ingredients. 🙂 Thanks!!

  31. Just make this up and looking forward to trying it, but unsure how much to use per load? Thanks!

  32. Vitacost has kirks Castile soap bars for $1-$1.30 each and they are a great scent free option and much more reasonable than dr bronners at $4 each (though I love the smell of those!)

    Kirk’s Natural Castile Soap Original — 3 Bars

    – SKU #: 639844100081
    – Shipping Weight: 0.89 lb

    PRICE: 4.59 sale price $3.06


    • I love Kirk’s Castile. It’s inexpensive and no additives or chemicals. My dermatologist gave me a list of soaps I could use, which included Dove. Dove changed it’s formula in the late 90s and began adding several chemicals which I and my family were severely allergic to, without informing the public. We never suspected Dove as the culprit. I was hospitalized several times for the severe rashes and infections. Once we stopped using Dove and switched to Kirk’s, all is okay again.

  33. I just made the dry detergent, then noticed comments that it won’t work in cold water. Will it work to put the whole mixture into the steps for the liquid? That’s assuming the liquid can be used in cold water. I have a front loading machine, so disolving as it fills isn’t an option.

  34. I haven’t made this recipe as of yet, I’m still using my DIY liquid detergent. My question is, when do I add the essential oils into the recipe? It doesn’t mention the oils in the instructions.

  35. Thanks so much for this recipe! I just made my first batch yesterday and was eager to try it to today. I’m very pleased with the results so far. I’ve been buying natural laundry detergent for years and I’m so glad to now have an alternative. In addition to saving lots of money by making my own for pennies per load, I’ll also be saving money on utility bills. Previously, I was using a longer wash cycle as well as an extra rinse cycle, but with this much more effective and very low sudsing formula, I’m able to use a shorter wash cycle and only one rinse cycle. This also saves me a whole lot of time, which is important to me! Like others on here, I also have hard water, a septic system and a high efficiency washer, but after doing some research on the ingredients, I have no worries at all about using it. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes and suggestions!

  36. Has anyone noticed elastic on their clothes deteriorating after using this soap? We suddenly noticed several elastic bands in clothes have been ruined and the only thing we’ve changed is using this soap. But I have no idea how it would affect elastic?

    • Maybe the lemon essential oil? i know if its true lemon it can start eating away at plastic. I remember going to a Do Terra essential oils home party and the lady suggesting using the lemon essential oil in her water but warned about putting it in a plastic bottle because it would eat it. I could be wrong tho. Just a guess

  37. Hello!
    Thank you for this! 🙂
    Is this good for use on wool?

  38. is the essential oil needed for the recipe to work or is it just for smell? I am worried about using the essential oils in it

    • Mostly for the smell… you can leave out if you want.

  39. How does this work for cloth diapers? I’ve been having stink issues and switched from Seventh Generation to using Tide. *gasp* I want to go back to a natural option and want to make my own. I’ve read on some cloth diaper forums that homemade detergent with borax and washing soda won’t clean diapers because those are essentially water softeners and not cleansers. (that info is from a rather snobby group tho that thinks their routine is the only way). Just wondering if you or any of your readers have experience with this on cloth!

    • I used it with cloth for several months and then went back to store bought eco friendly. It wasn’t cleaning my clothes or diapers well at all. They were very stinky. I would try stripping your diapers and sunning them. Since you have been using Tide you may have to strip a couple times. I use seventh generation on my cloth as well and just strip and sun if we have stink issues. ?

  40. I’ve been making laundry detergent using this recipe, and no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to replicate the great results that people are having with their own homemade recipes. The problem seems to be that the clothes themselves appear to be clean, but sometimes certain “heavier duty” clothes retain some smells. I never had a problem with that until I started to make my own laundry soap. I’ve experimented with adding OxiClean just as you have, but the result seems unchanged.

    I use regular white Zote soap, washing soda, and Borax. The recipe I found on Pinterest uses a 2:1:1 ratio, that is 2 cups of Zote for every 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of Borax. I’m not sure if this is where the problem lies. Also, because of the smell issue I use an entire Tide cup full of detergent as opposed to a teaspoon or tablespoon, but as I said even with that substantial extra amount, it doesn’t seem to be very potent.

    Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!

    • I had the very same issues. My towels, workout clothes and nursing gear all still smelled bad. After awhile the smell in my towels was pretty potent. I didn’t find a solution and had to go back to store bought. I tried adding oxiclean and used a large amount of detergent as well. ?

      • Maybe try Dr. Bronner’s bar soap that has a scent or add more essential oil? I found the scented soap has helped. I always have an extra large load in a Maytag that is an ancient workhorse, so I upped the amount of detergent to 2 Tbsp per load and dissolve it first in hot water. This combo helped me but the towels and “heavier duty” items do start to smell sooner than with store bought stuff…

  41. I’m lazy and use Dr Bronners Liquid Castille soap instead of grating a bar of soap, it seems to work just as well and allows me to be lazy and just combine a cup of everything in hot water and stir.

    • Oh! Great! Thanks for sharing that you use the liquid castile soap instead. So glad to hear it works for you since I was interested in doing the same thing. How exactly do you mix it? Do you add everything to hot water and stir and then store it like liquid laundry detergent?

  42. So, is it liquidy – does the powder dissolve in that much liquid soap? Thanks!

  43. Hi,

    I tried your receipe but my problem was , the powder got very hard after 3 to 4 days. It was very difficult to scrape and use it. Did any one face the same issue ? how do i resolve this ?


  44. how many loads does this last for?

  45. I have heard that the essential oil or oil in the bar soap can cause oil spots on the clothing during laundering, is that true?

    • I have not experienced this, and I do A LOT of laundry 😉

  46. What stain removers are safe for colors?

  47. Hi, wondering if there’s a big difference between Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (the liquid) and the bar soap? I live in Hong Kong so it’s hard enough already finding the other ingredients. I already have 2 big bottles of Dr. B’s that I bought back from the States, so hoping I could use that.

    • Have you found out yet if we can use the liquid castile soap in the homemade laundry detergent? I see nobody ever replied to your question comment. 🙁

  48. Hi there,

    I have a HE front load Washer, how to I add essential oil into my wash load? Do I just add drops of the oil into the liquid detergent dispenser? Pleas advice. Thank you kindly.

  49. Is it safe to use bleach with the above Laundry detergent recipe? I use bleach for my husband’s whites and I want to keep doing that if it won’t react badly to the homemade laundry detergent/soap.

  50. Does this make you itch?? Or irritate the skin? Is safe for babies??

  51. I have not had any luck with keeping my HE laundry machines working. We JUST bought a new one and the guy said that I HAVE to use the soap with the HE symbol on it. He was horrified that I make my own soap and said that it will ruin this machine. Something about “clogging the gasket” or something. Anyone have any advice on this? I saw that you addressed the HE issue in this article, but I am not worried about too sudsy, I am worried about breaking a machine I can not afford to buy again. Also, let me add that I love this soap and have been using it for a long time so I do not want to stop. I was wondering if I should put it directly in the load or continue putting it right into the powdered soap slot?

    • Crystal, I have a friend that makes her own detergent and has convinced me to do so as well. Last summer I bought Persil (German made detergent) from Amazon because of reviews. It does not specify HE but does say to reduce amount of detergent for front-loaders and to apply detergent to the wash basket first, before adding clothes. That has worked very well with Persil, so I figured I would try with my homemade detergent also.

  52. Hi,
    On a previous post for laundry detergent you recommended 2:2:1 ratio and using 1/4 cup per load for the powered detergent. Here it looks like 1 bar of soap, 1 cup Borax, 1 cup washing soda and using only 1-2 tbsp per load. Which do has worked better and do you recommend? Thanks so much!

    • They both work well. This one simply produces fewer suds, which is necessary for an HE washer, but not a concern for regular washers. I recommend using the detergent that is appropriate to your machine.

  53. Hi, I’ve made homemade detergent off and on over the years, but recently was inspired to do so again. While looking up recipes to refresh my brain, I came across your site and saw your mention of Branch Basics. I just got my starter kit in today and I am TOO excited to start cleaning with it! I am overjoyed with the thought of one soap to do it ALL and the fact that it is all natural just thrills my soul! I’m getting ready to do my first load of laundry with BB, and we’ve already cleaned the bathroom, washed our hands with it (of course) and cleaned some spots off of the counter. I hope that it blows me away and we can rid our house of all of our toxic cleaners!

  54. Hi. I am in the midst of making this HE laundry soap for the first time. I have used one cup of Borax and one cup of Washing Soda plus two tablespoons of Baking Soda. I have finely grated a 5 ounce bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap, which measures about 1 and 2/3 cups or so. Just want to be sure that that is not too much soap when combined with the amount of Borax and Washing Soda in the recipe. Appreciate your advice and the recipe!

  55. Hi there- I’ve been using this recipe for a year and a half and it was working great for us! Unfortunately, the bar soap (maybe?) portion was causing some clogging as it was clumping together in the machine on the way to the drum. This then resulted in some leaks! 🙁

    I’m going to have to find a liquid alternative. Just an FYI!

    Thanks for the recipe & the website!

    • The obvious solution to that is to place the detergent directly into the tub with your washing. Alternatively you could water it down before pouring the mix into your soap dispenser. The alternative I personally chose to go with was to turn it into a laundry sauce. The blending creates a very smooth cream that dissolves very easily when added to water. It also becomes much easier to recombine if or when the original blend separates.

      • I have had problems with the creamy soap doesn’t desolve well not comfortable using but will try again. It is on top of water

  56. I have found that grating the bars in the food processor, then switching to the “s” blade and mixing it with the powder that way makes tiny bits of soap that dissolve much better. I also add the detergent at first with HOT water at least for a while and stir it a bit until I can see it dissolving. Then you can change the water temp as needed and let it agitate a bit before adding all the clothes. This has stopped my plastic filter from becoming clogged with bar soap particles!

  57. Thanks for all the great ideas for making laundry detergent. I can’t wait to try a recipe. I have noticed comments regarding a bad smell coming from your washing machine. Clothing coming out of the washer had an odor too. I have a front loader washing machine and had the same problem. The odor occurs because of mold or mildew in your washer around the rubber ring on the door. My repairman suggested the machine be cleaned out. There is a product sold to clean out your machine. It is called Glisten Washer Magic and can be used on any washing machine. I bought the Glisten at a Maytag store. Just follow the directions and use it periodically. Or you could also run a wash cycle (nothing in the washer) with hot water and bleach to help clear out the smell. It is important to clean out the rubber ring around the door. I leave my washing machine door open when not in use so it has a chance to air out. Using energy efficient detergent helps to alleviate the odor problem in the washing machine. Hope this is helpful. Thanks. Jeen

  58. Just wondering if the liquid form will grow harmful bacteria or mold? I made my own laundry soap years ago and read something about mold growing in the detergent that scared me off so I started using commercial detergents again.
    I wanted to try it again however so I made this recipe again last week and am hearing again about mold and bacteria. Is this true and how long will this detergent safely last?

    • If you made the dry laundry soap, then you don’t have to worry about mold. It sounds like you made this recipe but in liquid form. I used to use the liquid, but then you have to melt it and store all of that liquid….now I make the powder recipe and you can just melt it in hot water in the machine if you REALLY want the liquid. I use it with cold and warm water and it works just as well in both temps. I LOVE this powder recipe!!! I was never totally satisfied with my homemade detergent in the past (made 3 different batches, liquid and powder) because I never felt like it took all the smells and stains away. Now I use this HE recipe which is a 2:1 ratio (meaning I have twice as much soap as my other powders) and now it works soooo well at removing smells and stains and I don’t even have to use bleach! Try the powder if you haven’t, it’s much faster to make and takes up much less space!!!

      • Jennifer, would you please include your exact recipe for the detergent you make? Thanks!

  59. I’ve noticed that if you grate the soap and then leave it in a bowl overnight (or a few hours, or days lol) the soap shreds get dry and then you can put those in the food processor and grind them. Then the soap is a powder, and I bet dissolves much easier.

  60. What would you recommend as a complimentary natural fabric softener? I’ve noticed that my clothes feel kind of rough when just using this kind of laundry soap.

    • Vinegar in the final rinse works just fine and leaves no smell once dry.

  61. Im using a cup of the liquid at a time and not seeing any suds in the wash. My socks still come out a little smelly also. Any ideas?? I’m sitting on gallons of this stuff now and would like to utilize it somehow, just not finding it very effective! Thank you!

  62. I’m afraid this statement is not true “The main concern with an HE washer is creating too much suds, so a low-suds soap or detergent is suggested.” If it were only that easy! If an HE machine needs maintenance one of the first things they do is check for soap residue from oils in regular detergents. If any is found the warranty is considered void. As much as I love homemade laundry soap (I make my own bars with only 1% superfat) I can guarantee they create as much or more (even with 1% superfat) residue than regular detergent.

    Furthermore, the smell that a few people are complaining about IS caused by their detergent. It is caused by the residue build up in the drainage pipes mentioned in the previous paragraph.

    So far I can find no safe alternative to HE laundry detergent other than soap nuts – which I have never used and know little about. So… no new machine for me for awhile…

  63. I have made and used my own laundry detergent before and it has lasted me and my husband for almost a year and a half. One of my frustrations is that it does not get out smells and most of the time stains. Is there something I can add to the mix that will help with this?

  64. Canyou use liquid soap instead of bar soap in the laundry detergent

  65. Trying this tonight. My first load is in the washer 🙂 couple of questions…

    1. Cloth diaper safe/effective?

    2. There was no sudsing when I dissolved the detergent. Just flat, milky looking water. No bubbles. Is that normal?

    3. Lots of back and forth on the HE issue. Is your washer HE? Have you had issues?

  66. This may have been asked and answered already, but I just haven’t found it yet. I am wondering about the Natural bar soap. I was looking at your recipe for making my own, and saw that you have instructions for making it specific for laundry detergent. I am unclear on if that would work for liquid soap, or if those instructions are specifically for the powered soap?

  67. Ive been making my own powder for about 3 years. I grate 1 bar of the pink zote. It smells so good. I let it set in a paper plate for 2 or 3 days to dry out good. I then add 1 1/2 cups each borax and washing soda. I take about 1 cup of the mix at a time and blend in my magic bullet. It pulverizes it to a fine powder. Its so fine I have to take it outside to open the bullet because its powdery fine and you dont want to inhale it. I keep it in a glass container, and use 2 tab per load, 4 tab for large or extra dirty. I also use 1 or 2 downy balls with vinegar. I haven’t had any trouble with this recipe. I also make it for family and friends. They love it. It makes a very good christmas gift to give away. I also add a coffee scoop which is 2 tab measure. Put in a glass or plastic container with a ribbon and bow. Very nice gifts.

  68. Does the container need to be air tight? Mine is not. Will the soap go bad?

    • Moisture is more important than air, in this situation. Air tight is better, though not necessary, but do make sure the powder remains moisture free if you are going to store it for any length of time.

  69. Hello there WellnessMama,
    I’m wondering about scenting the soap. Do you think using Dendritic Salt with the essential oils would work out?
    I’m so so grateful I found your site! You are contributing to the wellness of our whole wide world. Thank you WellnessMama 🙂

    • I haven’t tried, but it definitely might work…

  70. I make it liquid. 1 cup of each soap plus 1 bar grated, boiled in 1 gal of water and 3 gals of water into a 5 gal bucket. This lasts for over a year. 1/2 cup per load.

  71. I use your laundry powder recipe and love it!! I am pregnant and recently received clothing from someone.. I am having a terrible time removing the synthetic frangences out of the clothing… I have already soaked and washed in vinegar with baking soda and tried washing at least 4 times… I had the clothes out of the clothes line for 2.5 hrs and still no success!! Any suggestions??

    • 2½ hours out in the sun probably isn’t long enough. I would think they’d need at least all day, if not a week, if they smell that badly.

      Since you have an outside line, you could try hanging them out in the rain. Rain is a wonderful refresher (and softener). Not to be advised in hurricane season though 😉

      If you have access to one, you could try rubbing the clothing with steel soap – that removes strong odours from hands. Not sure if I’d go out and buy one for the purpose though.

      You could try wrapping all the clothes in a bin bag with some charcoal briquettes for a week (or more). As the charcoal absorbs the odour change them for fresh (and the bag too if that becomes smelly)

      You could try soaking the items overnight, or longer, in a diluted solution of fabric softener (with a fragrance you can live with) in the hope that this relaxes the fibres enough to give up their smell.

      There is a chance that, if these clothes have been tumble dried, the scent is ‘baked’ in for life and nothing will work.

  72. Which laundry sauce recipe do you use? There are many versions when googled? Thanks

    • I use the one described on this page 🙂

  73. Hi, I am interested in makeing the laundry dertergent, I do have a few questions thou
    1. Can I use palmolive bar soap instead?? I have like 10 bars and want to use them up.
    2. What can i use to clean out a washer thet was bought used 4 years ago?? I have used several liquid detergents (gain, Doller store bargins, amway and a smell is still there. Not sure if I have hard water either.
    Thank you for any advice, in advance.

    • I’ve never tried using palmolive bar soap. I’ll probably write up a post about cleaning a washer soon.

  74. I’ve just made a batch of the powdered laundry detergent and was wondering how much do I use in each wash?

  75. Is there another alternative to coconut soap, or soap made without coconut oil at all?

  76. Hi,
    I have used homemade laundry soap for years and I have found out in the past 2 years that it is NOT good for a septic tank. Without a huge story-the dry powders are not good as they do not dissolve, and the fats in the premixed gel stuff; clump together and cause the contents of the tank to be manually chunked off. We do have a large family, and we home school so many of us are home all day. But we had it pumped 2 times in the last 3 years and the results have been the same. It is cheaper to buy the soap then to repair the leach field. Trust me.
    My septic guy knew right away what the hard stuff was. And when I saw the fat in Zote and Fels naptha, it all made sense. Fat doesn’t dissolve. Causing build up and then the tank overflows into the next tank into the leach field.

  77. Sorry I should have read the comment policy before- thought I would try again, by changing some of this.
    I have used homemade laundry soap for years and I have found out in the past 2 years that it is NOT good for a septic tank. Without a huge story-the dry powders are not good as they do not dissolve, and the fats in the premixed gel stuff; clump together and cause the contents of the tank to be manually chunked off. We do have a large family, and we home school so many of us are home all day. But we had it pumped 2 times in the last 3 years and the results have been the same. It is cheaper to buy the soap then to repair the leach field. Trust me.
    My septic guy knew right away what the hard stuff was. And when I saw the fat in Zote and Fels naptha, it all made sense. Fat doesn’t dissolve. Causing build up and then the tank overflows into the next tank into the leach field. If I lived in town, I would be using my homemade again!

    • Have you tried using Castile soap? It’s made from coconut oil.

  78. I have just tried making this recipe. Admittedly I changed it a bit… I used the Borax, Washing Soda, and as I had a bit of powdered oxygen cleaner left, I added that. The one thing I added that is not mentioned in this recipe, but is mentioned in other detergent recipes I have seen, is Citric Acid. I mixed the powders together – and when I wanted to use them 2 days later, they were clumped together almost as hard as a rock! I managed to separate most of it, putting it into a ziplock for easy dropping on the floor to separate! The rest I left in the container, and added water. Instead of the grated soap, I added a small amount of Mrs Meyers liquid detergent, and used my hand blender to mix it all together well. I went to use it today, most of it has formed into a thick liquid, but there is a hard layer on the bottom, the granules look fairly large. I broke the layer up and added more water, but the clumps are not dissolving. Do you have any idea what is causing it to clump like this? The only thing that normally gets hard in its box is the Borax.

    • Wow, so much is wrong with you did. First of all, citric acid. Citric acid will cause all of your powders to clump. Normally citric acid is used to make dishwasher tabs or whatever you decide to put them in. Most people put them into molds to form them, because once you add the citric acid it makes the mixture so hard that you can’t scoop it. For this reason some people don’t even add the citric acid to the mix until the day they are ready to wash dishes and they put the citric acid in there separately. So I never use citric acid in my laundry detergent. Second, you can’t add liquid soap to a powdered soap and it still remain a powder. If you want to use liquid soap, you need to make the liquid recipe for soap. If you want to make powdered detergent, you have to grate the soap. There is no way around that, other than to buy Zote flakes. Zote flakes work very well, I have used them more than once. Third, once you make liquid laundry detergent, which you basically have now, it gels. Once you start mixing the powders with liquid it will be a smooth liquid, but in 24 hours you go back and look at it and it looks like egg drop soup. It will be liquidy, but it will have clumps of gelled soap in it. This is normal. You have to stir it very well every time you use it. What you have now, I would not use. It sounds like you need to start all over and decide if you want powdered detergent or liquid detergent and follow the recipe EXACTLY. You have a mixture of the two recipes with added citric acid….that’s why it doesn’t look right and has that bottom layer with grit in it. I used to use the liquid detergent and I got so tired of having to stir it all the time, it takes a lot more space to store, and it’s messy. Now that I only use the powder, it’s awesome!!! I make the big recipe which calls for almost the whole box of borax, washing soda and baking soda, oxyclean and grated soap. It fits in a 3 gallon plastic container and lasts me almost a year. It works great and dissolves completely with minimal storage. I put a smaller amount in a cute glass storage jar with a bow and coffee scoop (2 tablespoons) on my laundry shelf!

  79. Thanks so much for your response. I’m new to this, and it’s now sorted out in my mind! I only added Mrs Meyers once it was a liquid. I will redo my mixture. I will have to do a bit more research on the effects of this on septic tanks, as that is what we have.

  80. Hi there!
    I purchased Dr. Bronner’s peppermint bar soap for making detergent. Do you think this is safe for washing baby clothes?

  81. I made the Liquid laundry soap today , I read it wrong and ended up putting 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups of washing soda with 1 bar of soap.. Will it still be ok to use?

    • I went and melted more soap and added to my bucket , I just hope it will be ok. We will see. 🙂

  82. Is there a reason why you specify a glass container for storage?

  83. Can this be used on cloth diapers cover, cotton prefolds, bamboo and microfiber inserts?

  84. Hi, I’m here looking for some advice, or any suggestions on where to go in my situation.
    I’m having a lot of problems finding something to wash laundry with that my skin won’t react to.
    I can’t use any commercial laundry detergents as I am allergic to most surfactants (‘sensitive’, ‘natural’, etc tend to be the worst for me)
    I get mild skin reactions when I have used soapnuts and soap based products (castille soap, soap bars etc).
    Most recently I have been using a 50:50 mix of washing soda and borax substitute (borax isn’t available in the EU, it’s chemical name is sodium sesquicarbonate) and this has given me a reaction worse than some of the commercial laundry detergents.
    Do you have any suggestions what else I could try to wash my laundry with, I really feel like I have run out of options!

    • What do you use for personal hygiene, could you use that? Have you tried doing a pre-wash stain removal and then washing in plain water. Have you tried distilled vinegar, bicarb or bicarb and vinegar? Have you tried giving everything a double or triple rinse?

  85. Can someone please recommend the least toxic laundry detergent in the market (that actually works). I used to buy ‘All’ free and clear but I’m sure it isn’t! I don’t have the time, energy, etc to make it myself.

  86. I have been making my own laundry detergent/soap for several years and have been pleased with it. I have added essential oils from time to time or left it plain or unscented. Recently I read an article that was posted on fb that says that making your own does not really clean your laundry and that there is a residue left behind and that it can ruin your washing machine. I would think that the laundry detergent companies use the same type of ingredients. I would like to know your thoughts on this please. Thank you so much. Cynthia