How to Make Laundry Soap (Liquid or Powder Recipe)

All Natural Laundry Soap Recipes - two ways

Making your own natural, homemade laundry detergent is one of the easiest parts of a transition to natural living. This natural laundry soap recipe a great way to save money on laundry detergent and is incredibly easy to make. This homemade laundry detergent post is an updated version of this recipe that addresses high efficiency washers and borax safety.

Why Switch to Natural Laundry Soap?

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.Homemade Natural Effective Laundry Soap Recipe

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:

DIY Laundry Soap Ingredients

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. There are some concerns about the safety of Borax, but here’s why I feel comfortable using it, especially for laundry.

Washing Soda Washing Soda, sometimes called sodium carbonate or soda ash, is made from common salt and limestone or found as natural deposits. If you can’t find this locally, you can make your own from plain baking soda with this tutorial. Here are some other great household uses for washing soda.

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

Natural Laundry Soap Recipe

  1. Grate the bar soap or mix in food processor until finely ground. Use the soap of your choice. I personally use homemade coconut oil soap if I have it or 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. I use 1 bar of grated soap and 1 cup each of washing soda and borax.
  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 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup per load of laundry.

Homemade liquid laundry soap recipe

How 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 2 cups of borax and 2 cups 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

A Note About Soap vs. Detergent

As mentioned above, there is chemically a difference between soap and detergent. The advantage of conventional laundry detergents is that they are formulated to work specifically in washing machine environments. Many soaps are designed for skin and are not as strong. Some sources suggest that over time, natural soaps can leave buildup in washers.

I’ve found that while this recipe works well for me, it isn’t suitable for all water types and washer types. If you’ve used natural laundry soap and experienced clothes getting dingy, this may be the reason.

I’ve found one natural detergent that works brilliantly and can be used alone or in combination with homemade laundry soaps like this one. I often add 2-3 Tablespoons of Dr. Bronners Sal Suds per load as a natural detergent. Sal Suds gets out tough stains and odors and is still a natural product (though technically a detergent/surfactant and not a soap).

Don’t Want to Make it?

We usually make our own detergent, but for times when we are traveling or I haven’t had time to make it, I’ve found a few good brands of eco friendly laundry detergent that actually work (all received an “A” by the Environmental Working Group):

  • 2 Tablespoon Sal Suds + 1/4 cup Baking Soda or Washing Soda (highly effective and super simple!)
  • Ecover Zero Laundry Detergent– Works well, relatively cost effective and low/no risk of developmental or reproductive toxicity and cancer according to the EWG.
  • Emma Eco Me Detergent – Also rated well by the EWG and cleans up to 64  loads for $12. Good scents.
  • Planet Natural Detergent –  Relatively eco-friendly and cost effective at $9 for 32 loads.

Obviously, the most frugal option is to make your own, but these natural alternatives are a good choice if you aren’t able to make your own or don’t want to.

Have you tried making your own laundry detergent? What ingredients did you use?

This homemade laundry detergent recipe is easy and very inexpensive to make, plus you avoid the chemicals of conventional detergents.

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Reader Comments

  1. Want to try your recipe soon! Thanks so much. Hope to see you soon.



    • Hi, Katie, thank you very much for sharing us your exp. I want to try your recipe which you
      mention like: two parts washing soda, two parts borax and one part graded bar soap .
      I just wondering what means two parts or one part? Is that means 2 grams or two ounce or 2 drops? I will be appreciated for your advice thank you. Best Regards

      • It can be whatever measure you want, just make sure it is the same one: 2 cups to 2 cups, etc

        • I had the same question. So it’s two parts BY VOLUME, not two parts by weight? If by weight, that would produce a very different recipe with approximately 4x the amount of bar soap 😉 Thank you!

          • Even by volume two to one for the bar of soap would require a great deal more soap. Could you please clarify?

          • I use Dr. Bronner’s bar soap when I take a bath. I’ve noticed it makes soap scum very similar to other bar soaps I used many years ago. Wouldn’t that scum be a problem when washing clothes in your homemade laundry detergent, or do the washing soda and borax help to eliminate that problem?

        • Would love to try the liquid laundry detergent but I have an HE washer – can I use it for that and, if so, how much per load?

          • Yes it makes a horrible soap scum about 4 inches wide at the top of your washer I just noticed that that’s what has occurred in mine I tried everything to clean it and it’s not coming off very easily I knocked it down only about halfway need to use something else because this is a problem. Any suggestions?

        • Hi Katie,

          Can I use baking soda instead of Borax? Can I also add the liquid castle from Dr B for extra clean power? if so, How much do you think of each?

          • I would also like to hear the answer to these questions. It seems it would be much easier to use the liquid soap. It seems that I saw a recipe using both.

          • baking soda will turn to washing soda if placed in the oven at 450 for 10-15 min.

          • Borax is a mineral and has been shown to be safe to use. It is NOT the same as boric acid. If that’s what you’re concerned about. (Crunchy Betty has a fantastic write-up about the confusion around Borax, if you want more info.)

            That said, baking soda is not the substitute for the Borax. Borax is the whitening and stain removing agent (think OxiClean, as it’s very similar). Baking soda is the substitute for washing soda, as they’re nearly the same (and can be converted between). However, washing soda is more effective at its job (water softening, removing grime) than baking soda, due to the higher sodium content, though baking soda is easier on delicate cloths, due to dissolving more easily in water and being less abrasive than washing soda.

            Baking soda and washing soda are usually substituted one for one, though you may need to increase the amount of baking soda you use if you have hard water.

            Adding liquid castille soap is rather redundant, as the recipe already contains soap. Additionally, you run the risk of creating too many suds and overflowing your washer, creating a huge mess.

            I’ve been using this recipe for years and have never really had the need for “extra cleaning power,” except when my son was still in (cloth) diapers. During that time, I added 2 parts OxiClean to the batch.

            If you really want more soap in it, then I recommend using a low-sudsing soap, like Fels Naptha. That way you can add as much as you want. Personally, I’d see about softening the water before adding more soap, though. Too much soap and you could get residue deposits. It really doesn’t take much to get clothes clean.

          • I’ve read you can substitute a Dr Bronners solid bar for the FelsNaptha, or Zote. Dr Bronners bars are avail in scented varieties. I wish more of the recipes found online gave ounce or weight of the soap, since bars of soap may weigh differently.
            I am making my first batch right now!! using Zote.
            One website that I’m trying to find again said you can skip both the sodas and borax (she recommended making a batch w/out soda or borax for delicates- not grimy clothes) and that one of the powders was a bit harsh on cottons and increased fading. I think it was borax- but my friend who has made laundry soap for years uses borax and hasnt noticed fading.

          • I use liquid Castile Soap in place of grating the bar soap. I have found my clothes to smell funny. My husband hates it and wants me to buy detergent again. Could it be that I replaced the liquid soap for the grated?

        • Hi!
          So its one cup of grated soap, to one cup borax to one cup washing soda??

          • No, it would be one cup of grated soap, 2 cups of borax and 2 cups of washing soda. However much you use of the grated soap, you’d use double the amount of washing soda and borax (which is what’s meant by one part to two parts).

          • For liquid soap

        • If you use bar Castile soap can this recipe be used in the dishwasher? Just in a smaller amount like a tablespoon? Thanks Kaleigh

        • I want to try this but I hav very bad ezcema will this be good for me be harmful?

          • Debbie,
            I have eczema too. Try dr bronner’s baby mild for the bar. It is unscented.

          • I use it and we all have sensitive skin and eczema. I use zote!

          • eczema is an allergic reation to something you are using. for my son it was laundry soap for my daughter it was something in our old towns water.

        • Hi Katie, I want to make a big batch like you suggested in step 3, using a large bucket. If I mix a full box of Borax and a full box of the washing soda, that will not be equal parts. Since the box of Borax is about 20 more ounces than the washing soda. Hope that makes sense. Should I just use a measuring up and measure out equal parts until I run out of the washing soda and save the left over Borax for the next batch I use?

          • Hi Kaitlin,
            I just did the measuring. 2 bars of Fels-naptha, entire box of Washing Soda and almost the whole box of Borax and it made a 1 gallon ice cream bucket full. This will last my husband and I about 3 or 4 months and we are landscapers so our clothes get REALLY dirty.
            Remember too, you can use the Borax for other cleaning around the house!

        • I was wondering if I could use the liquid castile Dr Bronner’s soap for the grated since you have to melt it anyways. I use it in a spray bottle in the shower as a gel and it works get diluted. Thanks for your recipes Katie and your blog…I just love that we all can have natural stuff without spending so much money.


          • Laurie – I am wondering the exact same thing!!

            Thank you, Katie! I just LOVE your site!!! My friends and family now call me the medicine woman because all of the products I have been making from your site actually work!! Don’t worry – I am sure to give you the credit and then show them your site whether they ask or not 🙂

            Thanks again – Erin

          • Hi, I am also wondering the same thing. I already have a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure Castile Soap. Can I use that for the liquid laundry detergent recipe?

          • Hi there Leslie,

            SO I have been searching and searching for an answer to this question on this blog. I haven’t seen any and got a bit frustrated that no one was addressing it so I did some research and according to Lisa Bronner’s Mom Blog:, she very clearly marks the difference in dilution. You need only adjust the recipe to these ratios to substitute liquid for solid soap, though cost wise, it does appear it would be more cost efficient to use the bar soap if gotten at a decent price. However, if you already have the liquid soap and don’t mind the extra cost here is the answer for all of us Dr. B liquid soap buyers:

            “Volume of actual soap:
            I don’t know how to de-math this, but people who put together their own recipes for cleaners might want to know this. Bar soaps are 5% water; liquids are 61%. The chemistry is a little different for both, but considering that a bar of soap weighs 5 oz, and thus 4.75 oz of it is soap, you would need 12.18 ounces (a little over 1 ½ c.) of liquid soap to equal the soap content of a 5 oz bar. Doing the math the other way, 1 cup of liquid soap equals approximately 2/3 of a bar (or 3.64 oz.) of Dr. B’s bar soap.” – Lisa Bronner (

            AT LAST. Hope this helps!

            Thanks WellnessMAMA Katie for sharing this recipe, been using it for a year and half!

        • NO commercial detergents contain BORAX and WASHING SODA together. It’s an either/or. Powder is washing soda. Liquid detergents have borax, usually with alcohol. End of story. My guess is that washing soda loses its poop over time in water and borax doesn’t. Borax is fine, but if you’re having trouble getting things CLEAN (which is not the same as WHITE), replacing borax with washing soda will make it more powerful. If you want to make liquid detergent, washing soda may not be a good choice, however, I have no idea how that alcohol/borax thing works out.

        • Hi Katie,

          I recently discovered Tide Oxy-Clean and I’m a big fan of it, however, I’m not a fan of the fragrance (my son looks like he has some sort of communicable disease, like chicken pox, when his face comes into contact with clothing that’s been washed in it) I’m wondering if you know of a clothing detergent recipe that uses hydrogen peroxide. It works so well at getting stains out…. Thank for your input and for your amazing website, I LOVE it!

          • Just for the record, we’re Tide Oxi Clean free now and every other store bought laundry product (except soap nuts) My son looks like he’s healthy again. Thanks for the recipes!!!

      • Hello, I just happen to stump on your website. I was looking on how to make soap for wash & dishes. I can remember making soap as a child & teen with my mom.
        You are doing great please keep it up……If more people would make there own supplies the world would be in a better way..
        Thank you

      • parts are equal amounts of whatever measurement you are using. so if you are making 3 cups 2parts is 2 cups and 1 part is 1 cup.

    • Hello! I tried your recipe for liquid laundry soap, and it turned out to ‘watery’. I followed the recipe for 1 Cup or Borax and 1 Cup of washing soda, and grated the bar of soup and dissolved it over the stove. I stirred in both Cups of the powders into 4.5 Gal and dissolved it, but it still did not solidify any more. Any advice.


        • Hello, I have used the powder detergent recipe for several months and love it!!! Trying the liquid for the first time – it’s now ready to be poured into containers, but instead of just being watery as some people have experienced, I’d describe it as slimy-chunky gelatinous with various thicknesses. Haha! Is this common? Did I maybe do a step wrong? Thanks!

          • That is normal since it isn’t commercially made. Just whisk it a little before storing and I usually shake before using.

          • If you use Zote soap in the liquid it does not gel as much. You can’t really grate it since it is soft just cut it into small pieces to melt. Follow all other instructions and it works great. Hope this helps.

          • I just made the powder detergent today and absolutely love it! I bought all my ingredients at Wal-Mart. I searched the internet to find better prices (even bulk), but Wal-Mart was the best by far! Boraz was $3.97/ 76 oz., A & H was $3.24/ 55 oz., and Ivory was $.97/ 3 bars. I made the recipe as posted and it turned out just as described. I chose to use 1/4 cup of detergent and it equals out to 16 loads for $2.10!!!!! I am thrilled! My next endeavor is to find a stainless steel or glass container large enough to make several batches (I’m trying to get rid of plastic dependency in my home). Thanks Wellness Mama!!!!

          • Mine came out with globs and the water separating. I used an immersion blender and it mixed the globs with the water nicely and didn’t make a crazy lather or anything. It was perfect and gel like. I did use a little less water than it called for (something went amiss in my conversion to metric and halving the recipe). The water didn’t separate out again over time after I used the immersion blender. Love this stuff. Since I used less water, I just used less in the washing machine… more concentrated 🙂

          • If you have access to a powered hand drill…affordable purchase of a paint mixer from home depot is a good trick. Just make sure its long enough to reach the bottom if a 5 gal. bucket. It will homogenize the gel in no time

        • I tried this recipe and mine turned out very Gelly, like it’s not stiff stiff, but it is quite consistent. Should I just add hot water?

          Also, my one mistake I made, I mixed up both recipes, so I heated the borax and washing soda with the bar of soap, put that in the pail with water, and then heated the rest of the soap and added to it. Does that make a difference?

          Thank you! Can’t wait to actually try it 😀

          • It should work just fine. I have made a similar mistake before. I have been using this for over two years and it works great.

      • I just made mine and when I was pouring the 4.5 gallons of hot water into the bucket, it started looking a little full so I actually only used about 4 gallons of hot water or a little less because I still had to pour the 2 quarts of soapy water in the 5 gallon bucket. I have been adding washing soda or borax along with the detergent as well. I grated a bar of almond and oatmeal soap but it doesnt really smell that strong so I added fabric softener in with my laundry detergent and it works great!

        • How was the consistency of the soap? I see others on here saying it’s watery – do you think using 4 gallons instead of 4.5 is the key here?


          • I make half the recipe and converted to metrics because the largest bottle I have is a 10 liter. The solutions gels up with NO problem at all!

      • I have a recipe that I use that requires 2 bars of ivory soap or one big bar of Zote soap. The Zote soap will be thicker and tends to be clumpy but will dissolve just fine when placed in the washing machine.

        You grate your soap and then put it into a large cooking pan with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook until soap is completely melted. Then add 1 and 1/2 Cups of Borax and 1 and 1/2 Cups of washing soda. I then dump them in, stir and cook on med. heat for about 15 minutes. While this is cooking (when there is about 4 minutes left), I dump 1 gal of hot water into my 5 gal. bucket. When cooking this mixture you have to watch it and stir often so it doesn’t burn or cook over. If it starts to boil over, then reduce your heat.

        When the time is finished, dump this mixture into the 5 gal. bucket on top of the 1 gal. hot water. Stir and then add another 3 gallons of cold water. Stir this mixture with a whisk, once an hour for 3 hours. I keep the lid on to avoid pets getting into this. Let this sit 24 hours before using.

        I then stir this mixture and take a plastic bottle and dip it down into the mixture to fill it. (I use the other, old detergent bottles from the competitors and fill them up.) This helps when measuring out the amount to use — 1/2 to 3/4 cup — and I can shake up the bottle before using. I used to have to take a long dowel and stir the mixture before using it that day and I was tired of messing with this mixture this way. The bottles are so much easier.

        The Zote soap is thicker but I like the ivory soap the best.

        Thanks and enjoy!

      • I have the same problem, it keeps coming out like water. how do I get it to gel? I follow the recipe exactly and does not thicken up

      • I thought it was 1 cup soap, 2 cups of borax and 2 cups of washing soda? One cup of the two latter ingredients might be why it was so watery.

      • Let it sit with the lid for 24 hours before using and it should congeal more. It will look similar to egg drop soup.

      • One bar of soap, 2 cups of EACH powder. Might be the reason since you didn’t cut the amount of water.

    • i am excited to try this. can you ad any essential oils for a scent?

      • Yes! Add your favorite essential oil!

      • I recommend putting a drop or two of oil into the mix right before you use it. Unless you store your mix in a glass or stainless steel container, I’d be concerned about the oil interacting with the container and leaching chemicals.

        • HDPE is good for this purpose, buy a 5 gal food grade bucket at Home Depot for mixing, then use glass or HDPE jugs for the liquid. I am repurposing my empty Meyers laundry detergent bottles, nice and sturdy, too.

    • I tried this recipe, and I had to put 3 cups of this liquid detergent to clean the clothes and make them smell better. I was disappointed.

      Any advice?


      • You are not going to get a result that smells like tide or anything that has heavy perfumes with which we are all so familiar…but I have had no problem with how clean my clothes are, but, I do use more than a cup on laundry that is more soiled. Either way, you are still using much less money to wash your clothes!

        • Can vinegar be used in the rinse cycle or added to the wash. This will take care of odor.

    • Thanks so much for this! Last night I changed my bed sheets that had been washes with normal (and toxic) laundry detergent and I just couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t figure out why. I have suffered from insomnia for quite some time now but I only really figured out what was causing it until last night.
      You see, I was lying awake for hours, my skin felt kind of itchy and I could feel weird stuff going on in my brain that was really freaking me out. It was scary. And this has happened before and I only just worked out that it’s because of whatever weird chemicals that I’m breathing in from my so called clean bed sheets.
      It suprises me that these things are even allowed to be on the market.. I don’t know what damage that stuff has been doing to me.

      • I have experienced the same problem when going off of my meds suddenly. Scouring my environment of toxins was the first best were right to wash the poison from your bed!

        • This could be very helpful-I am having terrible skin problems but only where my clothing fits tight to my body! I remember my mom saying she used to rinse the laundry twice because we were allergic to Cheer detergent some 55 years ago! I forgot about that until this came up. Thank you so much- and yes, essential oils will go well with this recipe ?

      • Yes, I just researched Tide ingredients, and this is what the website lists (notice the borax is present as well, so if you’re going to use commercial products, you still get it; may as well make your own and shorten the list
        Tide HE
        Original/Clean Breeze
        Optical Brightener
        Added to help make clothes appear brighter and whiter.
        Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonate
        is an optical brightener that makes
        clothes appear brighter and whiter.
        Help other cleaning agents such as surfactants by
        softening hard water and balancing the pH. Builders
        can help to keep soils from re-depositing on clothes in the wash.
        is a salt of boric acid used in detergent to capture soils.
        Citric Acid
        adjusts the pH of a detergent
        for optimal cleaning results.
        Diethylenetriamine Pentaacetate (Sodium Salt)
        captures soils in the water and helps remove stains t
        hat are rich in color, such as tea, coffee and red
        Added to lend individuality to the product, or dram
        atize a special additive contributing to product
        Liquitint Blue
        is a colorant used to add aesthetic ap
        peal and to differentiate between products.
        Naturally occurring, highly biodegradable proteins us
        ed in detergents to break down complex stains and
        soils, including protein-based stains (grass and bl
        ood) and starch-based stains common to many foods.
        Enzymes can also improve the appearance and feel of
        fabrics by helping to maintain whiteness or keep
        colors bright.
        is an enzyme that breaks down starch-based soils an
        d stains such as sauces, ice-creams and gravy.
        is an enzyme that breaks down guar gums, which are us
        ed as thickeners and for gel texture in foods such
        as ice cream, barbecue sauce and salad dressing.
        is an enzyme that breaks down pectin-based so
        ils and stains such as fruit juice and jelly.
        is an enzyme that breaks down soils and stains cont
        aining proteins such as collar and cuff soil-lines,
        grass and blood.
        Provide pleasant scent to det
        ergents and washed fabrics.
        is used to provide scent to detergent and clothes.
        PH Adjustment
        Added to help vary the pH balance of detergent for optimal cleaning results and performance.
        Sodium Hydroxide
        helps adjust the pH balance of detergent for optimal cleaning results.
        Used in liquid detergents to form a layer over remain
        ing soils and stain particles, lifting them out of the
        fabrics. Other polymers help care fo
        r your clothes and provide softness.
        Diquaternium Ethoxy Sulfate
        is a polymer used in detergent to lift clay soils out of fabrics.
        Polyethyleneimine Ethoxylate
        is a polymer used in detergent to lift
        stains and soils out of fabrics.
        Process Aid
        Additive that helps contribute to the performance
        and efficiency of other ingredients in the product,
        including stabilization and the prev
        ention of sudsing in the wash.
        Calcium Formate
        is the calcium salt of formic acid which
        helps to stabilize enzymes in the detergent.
        Diethylene Glycol
        is a clear, odorless organic liquid used as a solvent
        to ensure that ingredient
        s are evenly distributed.
        is a silicon-based organic polymer used to prevent excess sudsing.
        (pure alcohol) is used as a process aid to help k
        eep other ingredients in the product in solution.
        is an organic liquid that helps the different types of
        surfactants remain evenly di
        stributed in a concentrated
        Propylene Glycol
        is a biodegradable, colorless, odorless liquid used
        in detergents as an enzyme stabilizer and solvent to
        ensure that ingredients ar
        e evenly distributed.
        Sodium Cumene Sulfonate
        is a clear liquid used in detergent to improve emul
        sifying and dispersing functions. It also helps the
        different types of surfactants remain
        evenly distributed in the detergent.
        Sodium Formate
        is the sodium salt of formic acid used to balance the electrolytes in the detergent.
        is a processing aid added to detergent to help dissolve some of the ingredients.
        Wetting agents that help make liquids spread more eas
        ily, and play an important role in extracting stains.
        Surfactants consist of two parts, whic
        h first penetrate and extract stains from fabric. They then suspend
        those stains in water to help prevent the particles fr
        om being re-deposited onto garments in the wash.
        Alcohol Ethoxylate
        is a low-foaming surfactant that helps penetrate stains and extract soils.
        Alcoholethoxy Sulfate
        is a surfactant that helps penetrate stains, extract
        soils and suspend stain particles in water to prevent
        them from being redeposited. It is especially effective in hard water.
        is a low-foaming surfactant that helps
        penetrate stains and extract soils.
        Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate
        is a general-purpose surfactant t
        hat helps penetrate stains, extract
        soils and suspend stain particles in
        water to prevent them from being redeposited.
        Sodium Fatty Acids
        are familiar to everyone as soap, a natural way to clean many kinds of soils.

    • Hi – I’m very tempted to try making my own laundry detergent. One big question: for the bar soap, would Fels-Naptha work?

      • Hi Karen I have read that soap would work as well. Try it, you will not regret it. Just make sure to let it sit for 24 hours, you will see how the liquid thickens overnight. I could not believe the amazing results. I use a 5 gallon water cooler bottle with a handle so I always shake it before use. I thought the clothes would come out rough (as they do with all detergent and you then follow-up with fabric softener) and amazingly the clothes were not hard. They do not come out super soft, but soft enough that you do not need the softener, and so fresh and clean, I was truly amazed. Oh and now that I am using this I have noticed black rings in the washing machine, which means it is thoroughly cleaning the clothes!!


      • I use the fels-naptha with no problems.

      • I’ve used Fels-Naptha for years and it works great. And no soap scum like some of u have complained about.

    • I made laundry detergent but not happy with how it turned out. It is like jello, what did I do wrong

      • I’ve not tried making laundry soap yet, but I didn’t read anywhere about what consistency it should or should not be. So I wonder, what’s wrong with jello. Maybe its supposed to be that way?

        • Mine also turned out like jello. I wouldn’t think this is right since it means I cant really pour it anybody have suggestions as to how I may be able to fix this or what I maybe did wrong?

    • I can find Borax at Family Dollar, Dollar General or in Fry’s Grocer for $4.00. Zote bar soap (14 ounce ) for 99 cents most anywhere and Fels Naptha for $1’49 most everywhere. but washing soda (aka soda ash) is variable in price. Ranges from $3.59 to $4.29 in two places that i have found it.

    • Would the Dr Bronners baby mild bar soap work for this? Thank you!!!

      • Yes, someone mentioned earlier in the comments that the baby mild soap would work as well. I have not personally made this recipe with the baby mild soap, but that commentator has.

    • Hi we make homemade laundry soap but the nappa soap make the mixture clumby after it sits over night .. How can fix it?

      • The best way to get your homemade laundry soap to a more recognizable texture is to get a 5 gallon paint mixing attachment for a power drill and use that. It mixes everything up better and you can reach all the way to the bottom of the bucket. It will separate over time because it doesnt have extra stuff to keep it blended. Even in the “watery”, “jello”, “egg drop soup” form, it cleans great.

      • Just stir or shake well before using. I fill a washed-out empty dish soap bottle full of my liquid laundry detergent so I don’t have to deal with the large bucket every time I do laundry. I just shake the bottle and squirt the appropriate amount into my machine’s dispenser (LG front loading he machine). I didn’t use the softener crystals, so I just put white vinegar in the softener dispenser which, I think, also helps rinse soap residue away and helps with our hard water. BTW, the recipe I used called for a total of 3 gallons water, 1 bar of soap, 1 cup Borax and 1/2 cup washing soda. I used Ivory soap. Next time I will try equal parts Borax and washing soda and Fels-Naptha soap to see if greasy dirt is more easily cleaned. Also, the recipe I tried (from another website) said to use only 2 tbsp/load in high efficiency machines, which wasn’t nearly enough to clean the clothes.

        Tip: use a vegetable peeler to shave the soap into the pot of hot water; much easier than grating! And, don’t boil the water & soap; just keep it very warm/hot until the soap is completely melted. Also, don’t use an aluminum or iron container, pot or stirrer/spoon; use stainless steel, enameled steel or glass for the pot; plastic for the mixing bucket or storage; steel, plastic or wood for stirrer/spoon. This is to avoid any possible reaction between the ingredients and iron or aluminum.

    • This is the second time I am trying to make the liquid soap. Fingers crossed!

      First time there was a mix up. Dad got regular baking soda instead of washing soda. I didn’t realize the mistake till the next day when there was the mass of gelled soap floating on the top of the bucket and underneath that was basically water. Oops. Live and learn. I just peeked at it and it seemed some of the more solid stuff had started to settle towards the bottom so I gave it a quick stir. Hoping I didn’t screw it up again. Lol

    • What do you think about Puracy Natural High Efficiency Liquid Laundry Detergent, 10x Concentrated, Free & Clear, 24 fl. Oz.?

    • IVe been making my own Landry detergent for about 2 years now? and its the best. My daughter is allergic to certain soaps and as soon as I started doing my own it immediately cleared up. its safe for all washers and doesn’t fade my clothes at all. Its saves money to and its fun to make so, Ill never buy laundry soap again.

      • I agree about concerns with regular use of borax (once in a while, no big deal).

        Also, you cannot use laundry soap that contains borax if you use the grey water from the washer in your garden.
        Boron is an element is does not chemically break down into something simpler, so it builds up and is toxic to both plants and animals. It is a necessary element for health, but like many minerals (chromium, manganese, iron for that matter) a tiny amount is essential for life (usually as a component of an enzyme), more is toxic.

        Borax is disodium tetraborate, in other words two sodium atoms with four boron atoms bonded to it with some oxygen atoms, and some water molecules thrown in too. The common chemical formula is:

        I happen to have grown up not far from the town of Boron, CA – where the 20-mule team borax mine is located.
        A good friend of mine lives in Clearake CA, which has a smaller lake nearby called Borax Lake – they also extracted borax from that location. Some people in Clearlake can’t use the water from wells on their property to water gardens because it contains too much boron, but their clothes come out of the wash looking good..

  2. Excited to try this! Thanks.

  3. 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?

    • Good question, I’ve never seen any residue or soap scum, but I do think the liquid stuff gets clothes cleaner, not to mention it goes a lot farther.

      • I have no soap scum on my clothes but have a 4″ band on my washer I can’t get completely off. Need to try something else think it may be the Castile soap.

    • 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.

    • 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.

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

        • 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.)

          • I had the same thing happen till I found out its the water used. I live in the city and with ever thing they put in the water non of our homemade stuff was working right. So I started using distilled water its only $0.68 per gallon and now as it sits over night it thickens up. Now use distilled water in everything made and keep 4-6 gallons on hand. Hope this helps.

      • I run a small amount of hot water in my washer first, add the detergent and agitate it for a minute, then fill the rest of the way with warm or cold water.

    • Any of the consistencies work great, my mom and i have been using this recipe for over a year and the consistancy does change from gel like to liquid and both work great in any water temperature. The clothes get extremely clean!! Also, its well worth the swith!! Love it. The consistancy is not that you did something wrong, but believe me it does not work any different no matter what consistancy.

  4. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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!

          • We don’t need boron – we need the RIGHT AMOUNT of boron. Too little and we have a deficiency, too much and it’s toxic.

            We need salt but too much is bad. We need water but drinking too much can kill you (hyponatraemia). Same with copper, manganese, etc.

            The dose makes the poison.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • My daughter reacts to all sorts of chemical stuff and has eczema and does just fine with this detergent!

        • My son has very sensitive skin and get mild eczema when our weather turns dry and he’s had no reaction to this detergent. We’ve been using it almost 2 months now.

      • I was just going to comment on this and say the same thing about the (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!

        • So are you saying you use Arm and Hammer Washing Soap as called for but then also add an additonal amount of Arm and Hammer to make up for the Borax?

      • borax is a natural form of boron. Look closely at the studies that you read..who performs them…who funds them…boron is actually a trace mineral that we need,,,it is an essential element that the body needs and many swear by its internal uses for things like arthritis…same goes for iodine..they same it is bad for you, but 95% or more of the population is iodine deficient…ALL diseases are caused by a mineral deficiency as minerals are needed as co-factors for EVERY function of our bodies…as for the rash someone mentioned…it may be (and probably is) a detox effect from switching to toxic detergent to nontoxic…same happens when you switch from store bought deodorant (even the natural stuff) to homemade deodorant

        • I found this on Crunchy Betty: Borax, also known (most predominately in the way we’re talking about right now) as sodium tetraborate, is a boron mineral and salt that’s mined directly from the ground.
          Borax is not boric acid.
          That’s where the majority of the online confusion appears. With no surprise; at least half of the studies I’ve found and citations I’ve read have listed their testing matter as “either sodium borate or boric acid.”
          The difference between the two is: Boric acid is produced when borax is reacted with another acid (like sulfuric or hydrochloric acid). The result is an acid structure (pH of 5.0), rather than alkaline, as borax is (9.3 pH). (I’m not going to get into the “is boric acid safe or not” question here, because that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.)
          Borax and boric acid are found together in many places, especially volcanic areas where the borax has naturally reacted with sulfur. You can also find both compounds in seawater.

          • Thanks Carey for reminding everyone of the monumental diff between borax and boric acid – enjoyed the insight.

          • You are right, they are not the same thing.

            That still does not mean Borax is safe or eco-friendly. I encourage everyone to do their own research and seek the advice of trained professionals in the field if you still are unsure. .

            Everyone has to decide for themselves what level of “Unsafe” or “Ungreen” they can live with. Some people have a bigger grey area than others. It is bothersome though, that Borax is always lumped with “Green alternatives”.

        • My daughters and I are very chemical sensitive. We discovered that we are intolerant of boron. Thanks to those new sparklers that produce the smoke, that helped us figure it out. Also reacted to it in an all natural makeup product. Of course, my body attacks itself on a daily basis and I’m allergic to EvErY thing. So in my world, naturaul or not, makes no never mind about whether or not my body defines it as foreign and toxic. So, no borax options would be helpful.

        • I live in California and have toured the area where Twenty mile mule borax is mined, it’s in the SB desert. I have spoken with people who live there and they seem healthy with none dropping dead from being around boron. I have used borax as a booster in my wash for 10 years, my family has done fine with no allergic reactions. I am very skeptical on who funds the studies and what their agenda is so just researching a product study isn’t enough for me. I have also made my own detergents and cleaning products long before the internet 🙂 : ) 🙂

        • I grew up about 50 miles from the town of Boron – yup, the 20-mule team place. Being a math nerd, I competed against kids from Boron High School.
          My best friend lives in Clearlake, CA, near a smaller lake called Borax Lake – yes, borax was mined there too for a while.

          Borax is natural – so is lead, mercury, cadmium… they are all elements.
          But I can tell you, nothing grows where there is a lot of boron, it is toxic when there is a lot of it.
          The quantity you are using in a laundry product is a lot more concentrated than you would find in soil in most places.
          This matters if you are using the “grey” water from your washer to water your garden – you shouldn’t use wash water with borax products for your garden, even it you are using it only on ornamentals because it will build up in the soil.

  5. I am also wondering about HE machines? Any ideas on that?

    • 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.

      • 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?

        • 1-2 tablespoons is sufficient.

        • I usually just fill the little slot up in my HE washer if the clothes are really dirty. If not, I fill about half way.

      • What kind of soap do you use? How can you add scent?

        • Have you tried adding a few drops of essential oils?

          • Essential oils can break down fabrics over time in the wash.

        • 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…

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

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

    • 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.

      •  Thanks!

    • 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!!

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

    • You can, In my opinion, it isn’t quite as good for stains, but it cleans well otherwise.

      • so how much liquid castil soap would you use if you chose to go this route?

        • I would also like to know the answer to this please.

          • hi! did you ever find out the answer as to how much liquid Bronners soap to use for homemade laundry degergent? trying to make it soon. Thank you!

  8. 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!

    • That does work for the ratio, and yep, still use 1/4 cup per load, though you may need to adjust slightly up or down depending on your washer.

      • awesome thank you!!!

      • What size load do you use the 1/4 cup?
        I just made some of this and started my first load. I usually run a large load and am thinking 1/4 c is not enough?
        I grated the Ivory (seems like such big pieces but I didn’t like the idea of using my food processor) and am using cold water.

        • It does NOT stink up the food processor at all. I first use the grate blade. Then, I put the S blade in, with the grated soap still in there, put in the powders and use the S blade to finely mix it all together to the same consistency powder. Never any glumps or clumps and we have well water and front loading, HE.

        • I use about 2-3 tablespoons in my HE washer.

  9. Washing soda and borax say they are detergent boosters.  So is the soap in this recipe the detergent? 

    • 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.

  10. 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?

    • It is normal for it to still be pretty liquid and not to suds much (this makes it also safe for HE washers) but it should still work well!

      • 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

        • 2 tablespoons is about right!

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

        • How much do you use?

        • THIS is what I’ve been looking for for ages! Thanks for posting Layla. Can’t see any point putting essential oils in the wash cycle as they just wash away. They’re needed in the rinse cycle.

      • How much vinegar do you use for a load of clothes when you use it for fabric softener?

        • I have an HE washer and I put the vinegar in the rune agent spot next to the soap dispenser.

          • I meant rinse agent spot!!

  11. 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?

    • 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…

    • 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.

    • 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

      • I am looking for nice inexpensive cloth pads and diapers… where can I find them?

        • Try Ebay. I bought some for my granddaughter a few years ago. They are called nappies.

      • what does PUL mean?

        • PUL is the outer cover fabric of many pocket diapers and diaper covers. Stands for PolyUrethane Laminate.

  12. Would you use this in a washing machine that requires he detergents?

      • My HE washing machine specifically says not to use “natural soaps”. I am on the lookout for a new detergent recipe compatible with this.

  13. 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!

    • 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…

      •  Alright! That’s what I was thinking, but wanted a second opinion! Thank you, I love your blog!  You have definitely inspired me!

      • But Borax is in your Homemade dishwasher detergent and that is in the kitchen. Thoughts?

  14. I’m wondering about it causing the color to fade more (or less) using this method.

    • 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 🙁

      • I didn’t notice any fading but I did notice a differnce in smell. I preferred to use the castile soap or ivory. Personal preference!

  15. 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?

    • Add a vinegar rinse at the end or pre-treat with dishwashing liquid

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

    • My Kroger has it but it’s also available on amazon if you can’t find it locally

    • My Kroger has it but it’s also available on amazon if you can’t find it locally

    • I just found some at walmart today. Target didn’t have it

    • Hi,
      You can make washing soda out of baking soda. Just sprinkle baking soda onto a cookie sheet. Bake on 400 degrees in oven for 30 min. Watch the baking soda change to washing soda, it’s an obvious change. Walah, washing soda.

      • Such great input, making one’s own washing soda. Who knew? Sent me on a search. Turns out it’s actually more expensive to MAKE washing soda from baking soda — and possible hazards involved — than to buy washing soda. Nonetheless, a cool thing to know if one can’t find the w. soda and is supercharged to make laundry detergent TODAY, as so many obviously are, self included!

        The site below pasted really does a terrific job of (mostly) scientifically explaining the making of washing soda, analyzing cost, and includes some surprise discoveries. WELL WORTH READING for the laundry soap maker and a pleasant read by a fun and determined author:

    • Walmart, A&P and Shoprite sell it.

    • I grated my soap with the grater attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I all washes away. I also use cold water. I have not had a problem.

    • I found this on the Nature’s Nurture blog site, How to make your own washing soda: The process is really simple. Just heat your oven to 400 F (or 200 C), sprinkle some baking soda on a shallow pan, and bake it for about half hour, until it changes composition. You should also stir it up occasionally, just so that it bakes more evenly. So how do you know when it changes into washing soda? That part takes a little more work; just a closer, watchful eye. Once you know the differences between the 2 sodas, you’ll be able to tell in no time. Baking soda is powdery, crystallized like salt, and clumps together. Washing soda is grainy, dull and opaque, and is separate grains.

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

    • I’ve never had any trouble with it at all…

  18. 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!

    • To the large liquid batch, basically to your scent preference, but about 40+ drops would be my guess. You could definitely add the baking soda…

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

    • I’ve had readers say they used it in HE and there were no problems. It doesn’t foam, which is the main problem with most detergents.

      • I’ve used this recipe for a couple of years now. For me, since I try to make large batches at a time, the soap separates in the containers, which isn’t much of a problem when you use it just shake it vigorously. I’ve recently started using it in a dry form because the washing soda caked up in my HE front load machine & clogged the water supply when I added it to the soap cup. Even using it dry, it still caked & clogged the water supply when adding it to the soap cup. I’m still using it dry, but adding it into the basket with the clothes to avoid this clogging issue. I will not go back to commercial soaps under ANY circumstances, so we will continue to experiment with texture and consistency until we get it perfected – any suggestions on why it’s caking? We have followed your recipe with the hot water, etc. but there has to be a factor here that is not breaking down the washing powder….

    • 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.

    • I use it in my HE washers with no problems.

  21. Is this safe to use in an he washer? 

    • YES. Just use 1-3 tablespoons!

  22. 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?

  23. 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?

    • 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…

      • 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!

  24. Is this recipe safe for HE front-loading washing machines?

  25. A couple questions: 1) ls this recipe safe for HE front-loading washers? 2) The grasshopper cloth diapers website says not to wash the diapers with “natural soap” – Would this recipe be considered “natural soap?”

    • 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!*

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

      • Can you use Zote laundry soap instead of Dr. Bronners? I have seen other recipes with Fels-Natha laundry soap and the Zote is basically the same.

  27. 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!

  28. 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!!!

    • Mine have lasted up to four months before I’ve used them up

  29. Can you use this on cloth diapers also to get them clean without weekening them?

    • I’ve heard opinions both ways on this, as some people say the soap can clog them. Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds does great by itself though…

  30. Can you not use liquid Dr. Bronners to make liquid detergent? 

    • You can, or you can even use it alone as a detergent.

      • I have the peppermint brand of Dr. bronners liquid. Please advise what would be the amount needed into the mix and how many cups of Borax and washing soda. Is it the same?

  31. 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? 

  32. 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?

  33. 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.

  34. 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?

    • What kind of bar soap did you use? There can be some variation there, but it should still work, even if it didn’t gel.

      • So is it supposed to gel? I made it last night, and mine gelled but I thought its supposed to be smooth?? Also, does it go in the top dispenser or in with the clothes? Thanks!

  35. What do you use in the dryer, if anything, or do you line dry your clothes?

    • Usually dryer balls- get it soft without the chemicals

      • Do dryer balls also take care of the static (my main concern)?

  36. I have a bar soap of Austin’s natural soap called hippie hollow with hemp seed oil… 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!).

  37. 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?

    • 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.

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

    • Eucalyptus and peppermint! There used to be a bath and body works line of soaps, bodywashes, etc..they smell very manly.

    • I just made my first batch of liquid laundry detergent and I’m excited! My house smells so clean and fresh! I used part Zote and part Ivory for my soap and after adding my Borax and washing soda, I added 1 cup of oxy-clean and 1 cup Purex crystals. I can’t wait to try it. Now maybe I won’t dread laundry days so much. Soon as I find a way to grind up my soap, I’m going to try the dry type.

  38. 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.

    • Thanks for catching that typo! I’ll fix it.

    • I’ve seen several different recipes. Some say to use to use 1/3 bar of fels naptha, some say to dilute the five gallons of detergent with five gallons of water. I am getting ready to make my own & don’t know which to follow.

  39. 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!

    • About a cup… you don’t need to add the liquid, but if you don’t, just use a couple tablespoons of the mixture per load.

      • So if I use te liquid Castile soap instead of the bar of soap I should use a 1 cup?

      • What do u mean by parts on the powder mix?

        • In other words, if you are mixing them up, use the measure you want to use as the “part.” For instance, if you were using a cup measure, 1 cup=1 part

  40. Can you use this with high efficiency washing machines?

  41. 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?

    • 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.

    • i put a teaspoon and a half if borax in my magnesium baths to help with absorption of the magnesium.

  42. 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….

    • I was wondering the same thing?!

    • 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).

    • 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.

  43. 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!!!!!!

  44. 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!

    • Depending on the water where you live, you may need a specific soap for diaper washing. I’ve used Rockin Green for diapers and it works great.

      • i’ve tried rockin green.
        it was expensive, but didn’t work.

        • Have you tested your water for hardness. ? And have you stripped your diapers?

  45. What amount would you use for a front loader high efficiency washer?

  46. Is it ok to use on baby clothes?

      • Should I be using Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild bar soap or would any of the bars be safe to use on baby clothes?

  47. 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??

    • I haven’t had a problem with that- how finely is the soap ground?

    • I found that if you microwave Ivory soap, it suds up and hardens. Once its cooled it breaks down very easily and the borax/ laundry soap mixes with it.

    • I made the dry version of the laundry soap, and when the laundry was done, there were left over remenents of the Ivory bar soap on my sheets; I used cold water.

      I then put the dry mixture (1 cup of Borax & Washing Soda, and one bar of Ivory hand soap) in a pot with about 2.5 litres of water, and melted everything together. Any idea how much I should use in the laundry?

      My other concern is if this is going to leave a film or residue on our outdoor clothing, such as merino wool and synthetic clothing.


  48. 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.

  49. Have you used this recipe on your cloth diapers?

    • I have, but I prefer a microfiber specific one for the diapers…

    • I have too and I really disliked it. It coated all my diapers in soap scum, which is no bueno for cloth diapers.

  50. Any unique suggestions on containers for the liquid detergent?

  51. 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

    • Did you use the bar soap? What proportions and size batch did you make?

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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?

          • I’d add some vinegar to the rinse water with anything with urine. Warm/hot water will work better…

  52. Does this detergent work safely in a HE washer?

  53. 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?

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

  55. Do you have a recipe you use for cloth diapers?

  56. 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?

  57. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • Some people are sensitive to the borax, and depending on what soap you used, it could be that as well. Did you use Dr. Bronners? His contains coconut oil…

          • 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?

  58. “FAIR” trade for Doctor Bronner’s castille soap, not “free” trade. Just a friendly FYI.

  59. 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!

    • It will be more liquid-y and it will thicken more over time too…

  60. Thank you for posting this!

  61. 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!

  62. 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!

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

    • I use Michigan Mama she is on Facebook her wool dryer balls are awesome

  64. 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.

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

    • 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.

    • 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?

      • So I’ve been reading all of the comments too. I think if someone is afraid of using their hard water, thinking about going out buying distilled water, or the mixture turns out too runny – just boil your water first in a large pot. I made mine last night per directions plus I boiled my water and it turned out great! I also skipped the 5 gallon bucket and just used a 5 gallon water jug with a spout. Just shake to mix =)
        Have a great weekend everyone!

  65. For the liquid recipe could you halve the amounts and it still turn out ok?

  66. 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?

  67. 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.

    • dry drying them in the sun.

    • 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.

  68. 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.

    • It should be fine if it re-mixed well…

  69. how much castille soap would i need if using liquid dr. bonners?

  70. 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!

  71. 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 🙂

  72. Hey, I made the liquid for the first time yday. When I went to stir it this morning it was all thick and clumpy… Is it suppose to be this way?? :/

    • It can happen…. just stir/whisk until smooth again and it should stay cool…

  73. Hey, I made the liquid for the first time yday and when I went to stir it this morning it is very think and clumpy.. like it gelled… Is it suppose to do this?!? :/

  74. 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!

  75. Is the bar soap necessary or can the other two ingredients alone be used?

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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!

  79. Is this safe to use for cloth diapers?

  80. 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…

  81. Not so sure about the Borax though…have read it is really not that good for you.

  82. 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

  83. I have the liquid bronner’s soap. Can I use that instead of grating the bar?

    • Yet, but I would reduce the water by half and use 2x the liquid…

  84. 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?

    • 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.

  85. 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!

  86. 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?

    • You might, but you could easily add more of the other ingredients to balance it out…

  87. Should you avoid glycerin in the bar soap to make your detergent?

  88. 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.

  89. Is this safe on cloth diapers?

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

    • 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.

  91. 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 _/|_

    • It should be fine, but it will depend some on the type of water you have if there will be build up or not…

  92. 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.

  93. what is the consistency of the soap suppose to be once you are done…mine came out super thick

    • Have you stirred it really well? Sometimes it can gel at the top… It will be somewhat thick though…

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

  95. 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?

    : )

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

  97. 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.

  98. 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…

    • Hi Andrea! I keep my stored in my bucket and just use a measuring spoon to scoop it out each wash. Hope that helps!

  99. 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?


  100. 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!

    • 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!

  101. Can I use the lavender or other scented Dr. Bronners bar soap instead of unscented ?

    • Yes you can..I saw her response in a similar post and I used the lavender scented soap

  102. 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.

  103. 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?

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

  105. Hi there:) I

  106. 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?

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

  108. Does this recipe work for whites? Do you do anything differently for whites?

  109. 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?

  110. I am wanting to try this, but am also starting cloth diapers. Will this recipe work effectively for cloth diapers?

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

  112. Is this recipe safe for cloth diapers?

  113. 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!

  114. Would this soap be safe to wash an infant’s clothing and bedding in?

  115. 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..!!!

  116. If I use Dr Bronner liquid soap, how much do you think I should use?

  117. 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??

  118. 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.

  119. 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!

  120. What is the purpose of the overnight sit for the liquid?

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

  122. I use an he front loader. Do I still need to use 1/2 cup of liquid detergent?

  123. 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

  124. 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?

  125. 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!!

  126. 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?

  127. 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!

  128. 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?

  129. If you’re going to liquefy it, why not start out with liquid Bronners?

  130. Would this stuff (particularly the liquid soap) be safe to use on cloth diapers?

    • 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.

  131. 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!!!

  132. 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.

  133. 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!

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

  135. 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 🙂

    • Hi Jamidayle,
      I came across your post on Citric Acid instead of borax and I love the idea. This is my first time making liquid detergent and I’m thankful I can finally do it. Can the 1c. Washing Soda for every 1/4c. Citric Acid work for the liquid version? For a 5gal. container.; how would I measure the Washing Soda, Citric Acid and a soap bar? I Read that Baking Soda works well too, but I’m not sure on the ratio.
      Thank you,

    • Jamidayle,
      Where can I find Citric Acid? if I use citric acid should I not use Borax? how much water?
      Can you give me your all recipe please

  136. 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.

  137. 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.

  138. 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.

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

  139. My liquid laundry soap turned solid. Can I fix it? What did I do wrong?

  140. I haven’t even tried it and I love it already!!! Thank you Katie.

  141. I was wondering if it was okay to use any type bar of soap or does it have to be something ‘all natural’?

  142. 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

  143. 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 🙂

  144. 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?

    • You may want to try using dryer balls when you dry your clothes in your dryer.

  145. 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?

  146. so my soap has 2 in a thick foam what happened?

  147. 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!

  148. 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.

  149. Is this safe to use on cloth diapers??

  150. 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 🙂

    • 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?)

      • 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!

  151. what is the size of the bar of soap? I made this before with someone else’s recipe and it turned into a solid!

  152. How does this work on preventing clothes from fading? Thanks!

  153. Can I use this detergent in a HE Washer??

  154. 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

  155. 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?

    • About a cup for this batch… you can add this concentrated on the stain to help fight stains and/or sprinkle on some additional baking soda

  156. 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 (:

  157. what is a good amount to use for a load? Ive heard 1/2 cup to 1 cup…

  158. 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! 🙂

  159. 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!

  160. 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!!

    • It does depend on water type some. You can try adding more washing soda and borax

  161. 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.

  162. 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?

  163. 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!

  164. 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!

    • It should be at least 2 cups of shaved soap. With Ivory, I use two bars

  165. 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’ 🙂

    • Yeah, that is natural, but if you are concerned, you can use an immersion blender to get it smooth…

  166. 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?

    • With any natural product, this can happen, especially with temperature changes. I just shake the bottle at each use and eventually all of the separation goes away.

  167. 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!

  168. 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

  169. 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

    • 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!

    • I have hard water and an HE washer. I use 103 tablespoons of dry mixture and have no problem.

      • Sorry for the typo above- 1-3 tablespoons!

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

  171. 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

    • I take small batches from my 5 gallon bucket and throw it in the blender to smooth it all out…I think it’s more eye appealing as well (I sell and gift it).

  172. 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?

    • 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)

  173. 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.

    • I do need to go back and re-calculate. This post was written a couple years ago when ingredients were a lot cheaper… your math is probably right!

  174. My husband and I made this last night and it got a lot thicker than we were expecting. Did we do it right?

    • We made the liquid version.

  175. 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?

    • 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!!!

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

  177. 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!

  178. 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:)

    • Hmm… I haven’t had any trouble with that but I”ll see if I can find a reason why that might happen

  179. 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. 🙂

    • This was likely due to the oxy clean.

  180. Hi. I was curious if you can interchange the Dr. Bronners bar soap for the liquid soap? Thanks!

    • 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.

  181. 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?

  182. 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?

    • That is normal because it is a natural product. It is just soap but dissolves in the wash water

  183. Wow there are a lot of comments
    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?

  184. 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.

  185. 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. 🙂

    • GGirrrllll did it work .I really want to know so I can make your COOL WHIP RECEIPE !!!

  186. 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.

  187. Hi Wellness Mama,

    Laundry aside, what do you use as a dish soap?

    Thanks, Shaunda

    • p.s. you had me with the Placenta Pot Roast, I was close to boycotting your site 🙂

  188. 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!

  189. 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?

  190. 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.

  191. 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?


    • Add more baking soda. Also, if feasible, place some rice in cheesecloth and hem it up. The rice will absorb the moisture before the detergent does. Apply this rice pouch to the lid of your detergent bottle.

  192. 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

  193. 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”.[

    • Straight use of borax can be dangerous. Just as straight alcohol can be dangerous. But by adding other items the danger deminishes. Borax is a caustic chemical, as are most household chemicals.

  194. Has anyone tried the liquid versions of the castile soaps in their laundry detergent mixes?

  195. I want to know what happened to Jamie’s new found experiment with the COOL WHIP detergent ? Did it work ?

  196. I have been making my own laundry soap for about a year. I am having a problem with stinky laundry, especially my husband’s work clothes and linens. I use powder and usually wash clothes on cold but the linens on hot. Any tips?

  197. I used some soap base that I had on hand and grated it. It was a little moist and all my powders clumped together in one big solid clump after a few hours. Does this happen with the Dr. Bronners?

    • I did the same thing . I let it dry out then blend it in my food processor you may have to add a little more dry ingredient of your choice ( arm & hammer) it will come fine.

  198. Hi! I made this today for the first time (a similar version 4lb box Borax/4lb box A&H Baking Soda/3 bars of Ivory soap) and am having some concerns.

    1. There isn’t a lot of sudsy action in the water.
    2. The clothes don’t smell like anything when I take them out of the washer.
    3. I am putting the 2 tbsp of dry detergent in the bottom of the washer, like when the water is filling up and then add clothes on top of that. Is this why my clothes aren’t smelling/getting sudsy?

    • The sudsing could be due to hard water. Your clothes are getting cleaned. If you want a smell/ fragrance add some essential oils.

  199. I’m using a Borax/Baking Soda/Ivory soap version of this detergent. 2 things are happening…

    1. Hardly no suds.
    2. No smell at all on the clothes.
    3. I’m not sure I’m putting the dry detergent in the right spot…

    I normally put liquid store bought directly into the barrel of the washing machine, where the water starts to fill up, I pour it in there to get the suds going. It isn’t having the same effect with this soap and I want to make sure I understand how to do this. I read on another blog that I should be putting it in the center agitator? (where I normally add the softener.)

    Please clarify! 🙁

    Also, I use vinegar now instead of softener.

    • You may have hard water. To resolve this, add mpre baking soda, the sodium bicarbonate will break down the calcium and other minerals that are not allowing the suds to form. And, if you feel that the detergent isnt working, take a pinch of the detergent add it to a bowl of water. And fill another bowl with just water. Disolve the detergent and then rub your fingers together while being immersed in the seperate bowls. The water with the detergent will have less molecular cohesion (it’ll feel wetter). If you want a smell/ fragrance add a drop or two of essential or oil to the wash, separately, I use lavender or lemon.

  200. We use this and have for over a year 5 out of 6 of us have less skin issues and less problems with eczema (the 6th one had no skin issues in the first place).

  201. Just made a batch, so excited… Cost me $7.14 plus $4.99 for oxyclean, I read somewhere you can add it in the same 2part quanity

    • Be careful with adding the oxy clean, if you add too much it will pulp your clothes. I add oxy clean separately to ensure I don’t get too much.

  202. I recently tried to make the liquid version of the recipe, using Ivory bar soap. After I let it sit overnight, I went to pour it into containers, but it had almost completely solidified. I made sure I followed the recipe. Should I melt it down again and add more water or will this dilute it too much to the point of it becoming an ineffective detergent? Any tips I could get would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

    • If the soap is re solidifying, simply add a liquid that breaks down (vinegar or ammonia) until you get the consistency you are looking for.

  203. Hi Katie, I have been introduced to the environmental working group website recently ( and have discovered borax has a rating of “F” based on its ingredients. The arm and hammer has a rating of “A” so there is no health risk in using it. Just because it’s natural it doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful. A lot of the natural brand like seventh generation have items with a rating of “F” as well as everyday items. I have been trying to get the best products for my family after realizing how many harmful ingredients are being used. I wanted to make my own and found your blog I am still going to make some but I am going to omit the borax and just use the arm and hammer and the soap. I am not sure how crucial the borax was to the mix but definitely don’t want to add it. Based on your blog I feel that you want the best and most natural for your family so I urge you to check out this website. It also has personal items rated as well so check out the soap your using too. I opened a can of worms when I found this site but I am now better informed and I hope the same for anyone else you takes a look. Thanks

  204. I made this and I like it a lot when using in warm water. However, I noticed it doesn’t seem to dissolve well in cold water. Do you have a recommendation for cold water usage?

    Also, I have seen other recipes that use a 1:1:1 ratio of washing soda, Borax, and soap flakes. However, your recipe uses a 2:2:1 ratio. Any reason why? Just curious.


  205. Hi there,
    I’m trying your laundry recipe and had a question. Regarding the ratio, for the one part of grated soap do I use the amount of grated soap or the original amount on the bar of soap (i.e. a bar of soap is 5 oz but a bar of grated soap is 16 oz.)? Thanks in advance!

  206. I have a stinky teenage boy who likes to wear his clothes for at least two days straight and I have found my homemade detergent gets his stink out without needing to pre-soak. I am quite amazed and so happy! Not only does this save on money and water, it saves on time.

  207. We live in an apartment building with a shared washer and dryer so I haven’t tried using self-made detergent. I’ve recently been using detergents from The 7th Generation and Roux Maison and they seem fine for our regular clothes from what I can tell. My biggest challenge though is getting the stink out of our workout clothes and I wonder if anyone has recommendations here. I’ve tried the Roux Maison Sports detergent and adding baking soda and distilled white vinegar to laundry to neutralize odor but it seems like a lot of our shirts are still somewhat smelly even after a couple of washes. Maybe it’s just a matter of finding the right quantities or maybe someone has recommendations on adding essential oils that might help with that?

    • If odors are not eliminated by use of vinegar and soda, try using ammonia instead, I use lemon scented, but if you’re trying to get away from more chemicals, straight ammonia works just as good.

  208. Are these detergents HE compatible?

  209. This is an awesome recipe, but is there an option for not using soap bars? Or a soap bar that doesn’t have coconut? I have a coconut allergy, so I have to avoid SLS AND coconut 🙁 I wonder if I could do the Borax, Baking soda, and maybe vinegar? Or would the reaction from the Baking soda and vinegar mess up the fabric?

      • Actually soda and vinegar tend to do the opposite of gunk stuff up. I would recommend adding the vinegar to the wash separately though, so as to really get the potency of the reaction of high pH to low pH.

  210. I’ve been using your natural liquid laundry detergent for almost 2 weeks now and am pretty pleased. I add 2 teaspoons of Bicarbonate of Soda to each load as well and it comes out smelling clean without any overpowering perfume smell (which is bad for my sinus allergies anyway). My kids’ clothing does have some stain spots that are hard to budge (from playing in dirt & oily hands mostly) so advice would be welcome!! Maybe there is some potion I can make up to soak them (clothing, not the kids!) in before washing. I can only wash in cold water because my machine doesn’t heat the water and I don’t have a hot water tap connection.
    Thank you!
    Johannesburg, South Africa

  211. I’m not sure if this has been asked, but is it possible to use liquid Dr. Bronner’s soap instead of the bar? I have the other 2 things I need and there isn’t a store that carries it in my town, but I’m out of laundry detergent.

  212. Very cool! But are you able to use this soap with HE washers?

  213. Hi! I use this recipe but for the bar soap I got Kirk’s Castille Soap at WalMart, 3 bars for $3.28, so it was even cheaper!

  214. hi! I just made your soap for the first time today with my daughter! I washed several loads with it and none of my stains came out. I could only do 4 gallons of water because the 5th wouldn’t fit. Looks like all of the soap floated to the top because the top is extra thick and bubbly. Any advice? I’m so disappointed nothing came out!


    • Did you pre-treat? With natural detergent, you do typically have to treat the stain itself with a little bit of the detergent before washing.

  215. Do you really only need to use 1/4 cup per load?
    (I used that much for the large load setting on my washer)

    • I do… but do what works with your machine.

  216. can you use homemade lye soap? My Mom had a big box of it that I ended up with when we sold her house.

  217. Hi,

    we just got a new front loader washer which states the HE detergent should be used, I want to make your powder detergent, can you advise on this?


  218. I whipped up a batch of the liquid detergent last night with some Ivory soap I had laying around. I couldn’t think why I’d have to leave it overnight, and was considering pouring it straight into my laundry bottles, but I’m so glad I followed the instructions! When I went to fill the bottles, the detergent had all gelled up! I tell you, it was neat reaching my arm into a five gallon bucket of jello to mix it up. I wanted to save some for my husband to play with when he got home. Anyway, I filled two big bottles and the bucket is still half full. I used two capfuls in a load of clothes and it worked very well. I tried adding essential oils, but I didn’t put enough so it only smells like Ivory.
    I was right about to use this with a load of diapers, thanks to the commenter who warned against that.

  219. Hi,

    a tip to really powderize the ivory soap, first with use the food processor shredder for two bars, then freeze it, then put around two tablespoons or so of the washing soda powder and the frozen soap shreddings in the food processor, then pulse. Comes out real nice.


  220. I made up my 2nd batch of liquid detergent this past weekend. We’ve been using this now for over a month and I’m pretty happy with it! My son tends to have sensitive skin and there’s been no reaction whatsoever. I would like to know if there is a liquid one can make up to soak stained clothing in. The kids play in dirt, mud and with greasy fingers their clothing needs some special care. My machine can only wash cold so I might soak them in this “special stain-liquid” in a hot bath.
    Any ideas / suggestions?
    Thanks for a wonderful website – my dishwasher is testing out your natural dishwasher powder right now!
    (Johannesburg, South Africa)

  221. My recipe is a little different. I mentioned on a post that I use Ivory soap because when it gets microwaved it suds up and hardens in the suds form. And its really easy to break down and add to the borax and laundry soap. And while I make this, I also make huge messes and added an oxygen cleaner as well (like OxyClean) to the tougher stains. I don’t know if its safe for baby yet, so that stays seperate as well. I use an old 1 gallon pickle jar to store my detergent. I really like this blog BTW. Much love to you and your family, and good luck!

  222. I have used this liquid laundry soap recipe for several months now. I love it! I put some in a spray bottle and use it as a pre-soak/stain remover—works really well on hubby’s work clothes.
    I have emptied one container and had to refill it. When I opened my 5 gallon bucket, I could see where the soap had separated so I stirred it and refilled my container. It smelled really good when I opened the bucket up! I give the container a little shake each time before pouring it into a measuring cup and then add it to the washer. Even my husband says how great it is at getting the stains and smell out of his work clothes. If he notices something, it HAS to be good!

  223. Could liquid Castile soap be used instead of a bar? If so, how much should I use? 2 cups, 2 cups and 1 cup of the liquid soap, or would that be too much?

  224. What if I castile soap is unavailable to me? Can I replace it with something else?

  225. EWG’s database gave Borax an F grade. You should definitely look to reformulate this and any other recipes without it.

  226. Is this detergent safe in septic systems?

  227. Is the laundry soap ( in liquid form ) okay for HE front loaders ? If so, can I put it in the dispense tray?

      • Yes, it does work great! I used the Surf detergent bucket. I follow Wellness Mama’s recipe but instead of using the whole bar of soap, I used only half of Zote bar soap! For my hot water in my bucket, I filled my bucket up to the top level with only about a 1/4 to the rim just enough rooms for the boiling hot soap solution and it turned out great! The next day, it all foam and gel up and I just used my hands to break it up so no more clumps. I used about 1 to 2 cups per loads depending on how soiled the clothes and temperature that I set my washer. It smells nice but its the clean clothes that I am more concern with instead of the output smell. It is definitely a money saver ideas and it works great!

  228. I read on another site that if you use Ivory bar soap for the dry detergent you can put it in the microwave for a few minutes, it blows up like a marshmallow and then turns to powder, thus doing away with the need for a blender or food processor (I don’t have either). Anybody know if this is true?

  229. I plan to try this recipe tomorrow! Thanks for all the great tips and recipes… it will make my switch to all natural very easy, and I’m so excited! (I’ve delayed it because I assumed it would be difficult and expensive.)

    Question – I want to add baking soda so it will freshen clothes. (Making powder recipe.) Do I add the baking soda to the overall mixture – if so, how much? – or do I just add it as-needed to the load? Thanks!


    • This sounds great!!! I will definitely try this next time!!! I boiled my water on the stove then add the shredded soap to the water. I stirred it until it completely dissolves then I add the borax. I stirred until that i dissolves then the super washing soda which dissolves easy too since the water is boiling hot! But I like your ideas a lot better!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  231. If you use bar soap to wash your hands or shower with, save the little slivers of soap that are too small to use anymore. Instead of throwing them away, put them in a plastic quart jar with some water and then use this to make homemade laundry soap! Keeping the slivers of soap submerged in water until ready to use makes them soft and easy to work with. When I make my homemade laundry soap, I also add a bar of Zote as well since soap slivers can take a while to get enough to use for the whole amount needed.

  232. I’m also wondering how much liquid castile soap to use in place of the bar?

  233. I have made the soap twicw, melted the soap completly. kixed with dry and all looks good, howver it starts to get soap pieces floating on the top, I have melted longer than the first time thinking maybe to would help, did the sae thing with in a few days. What am I doing wrong? Is there anyway to make the soap thicker?

  234. For a complete laundry room clean – Try pet clothing, baby blankie/cloth diaper, basic laundry detergent, auto dish and bedding detergent by Rockin Green Soap, you can
    get out all sorts of smells and stains so pet beds and clothes can last longer. It works
    wonderfully on synthetics and microfiber. The soap is free from phosphates,
    bleach, optical brighteners, or fabric softeners which is the most awesome for sensitive skin. Most regular detergents can cause a breakout or two. I recommend
    the Rockin Green Soap for all things pet, baby, mommy, sports for kids and laundry that must be cleaned!

    • Thanks for the good info on Rockin Green. Sounds like a great product, but costly! $17.95 for a 3.2 pound bagful (or $20 for 2.8 lbs via Amazon). And I searched but could not find an ingredients list. Could you let us know from the product you have? (Arm & Hammer doesn’t say so either on their site, but my boxes do.)

      Mama Wellness’ recipe also has no phosphates (Arm & Hammer made the first no-phosphates soaps in 1970, my box of washing soda says). The comments here show quite a number of satisfied mothers with babies or with kids with eczema that find relief, and the batch I just made up that weighs 4.67 pounds cost me $6.71 to make for about 80 regular (1/8 cup soap) loads. True story!

      I made it with a 97 cent bar of Zote soap because I had it and other comments here claim big success with it; also it has a lovely fragrance, so I didn’t even use (added expense) essential oils.

      I used the recipe’s ratio:
      1 grated bar = 2 cups of Zote (14.5 oz regular sized bar)
      4 cups Borax
      4 cups washing soda
      2 Tablespoons baking soda (in a blender to finer grind the Zote)

      Next batch I’ll try the original recipe using Castille soap, although zero complaints with the Zote batch.

      HELPFUL TIP? I had a plastic container from the Tide Pods laundry soap, the 57 capsules size (3.17 lbs) and $15+ ! The above recipe ($6.71, 80 loads) fit in it with room for another cup.

  235. This detergent works great for me so far. Do any of you know if it would be okay to use on machine-washable wool? Please let me know. Thanks!

  236. I am looking forward to trying this out! I was wondering, does it affect the mix at all if I add an essential oil to the recipe? I like having something scented, but I don’t want to wreck it. Thanks!

  237. I’m curious if this recipe can be made with the liquid (Dr Bronners) soap instead of a bar. If so, how much or how many drops? And how much soap to use for a front loading washer? Any recommendations on what to use for fabric softener?

  238. I used to love this soap! My youngest son had persistent rashes/eczema and we tried all sorts of interventions, to no avail. I knew it couldn’t be chemicals in my laundry soap ’cause I made my own. Then I thought to stop using that soap just for a bit, to see. Sure enough, his eczema cleared up with in a week (once we’d washed everything with the new detergent). I don’t know if it was the Borax or the washing soda that was too harsh for him, but something was. Maybe someday I’ll try to go back to it, but he’s still got sensitive skin, so I don’t want to make my usual 5-galloon batch 😉

  239. Just made my first batch, but cut it down to a gallons worth. Can’t wait to use it!!!

  240. Hi!

    I very interested in this recipe as I have autoimmune condition however i am from singapore and it’s impossible to get borax. What can I sub it with?

    Thank you so much!

  241. Hi Katie – I LOVE this recipe for natural laundry soap! I’ve been using it for over a year and it works great.

    I find my blacks (which I have a lot of!) lighten considerably with the natural laundry soap compared to using the Woolite “dark” laundry detergent. Do you have any recommendations for a “dark laundry” version of this laundry soap, to keep blacks, well, black?

    Thanks 🙂

  242. I’ve been making my own for years using basically this recipe and a similar one but without soap for my cloth diapers. Recently, a friend shared a few articles about how homemade laundry detergent is not good for cloth diapers because nothing in them actually cleans the diapers. I know our water is hot enough to kill bacteria but I do notice that my diapers don’t smell great and have stains despite leaving them in the sun from time to time. Can you point me to any resources that may be helpful. I don’t want to switch to store bought detergent but I do want my diapers to be clean!

    • Hi
      Did you manage to find a solution to your cloth nappy cleaning issues?
      We use cloth nappies and want the best natural (homemade) cleaning option we can find.

      Would appreciate hearing from you

      Thanks 🙂

  243. I make my own Detergent using
    3 Tbsp. Arm & Hammer washing soda
    3 Tbsp. Borax
    3 Tbsp. Dawn dishwashing liquid
    (per gallon of water)
    Mix washing soda and Borax in hot water to dissolve.
    Add water to make 1 gallon, add Dawn.
    Use 1-2 cups per load. Low suds safe for HE washers! (IT IS THIN!)
    I love this! Saves so much money and time. I keep it
    in a 2 gallon dispenser over my washer:)

  244. Two questions, and I apologize for not reading all 500 comments to see if this was already addressed…
    1) could you use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap instead of grating and melting the bar?
    2) could you use less water for a more concentrated detergent?

    • Hi,
      Havebyou ade if wil the liquid and less water yet? I’m thinking to do the same.

  245. This is the best detergent I have ever used! The clothes come out so fresh and clean, you do not even need the essential oil unless you want the clothes to smell a certain way. I will never ever use regular detergent again. I have told everyone about this and your site, you have been a blessing to me, my daughter’s severe eczema lead me to your site and she is doing much better. I have used so many of your recipes and natural cleaning products, thank you for taking the time to provide such great information. I am a true fan of your site thanks a million!!

  246. Hey!! I am about to make this recipe, but i have 2 Questions!
    I live in Greece and i don’t know if we have these brands u mentioned (ivory, zone, etc)
    but my grandmother has white natural soap (some days ago i grated it and formed it in liquid to use it as a hand washing or body washer, and she told me that in her age they used this soap for washing clothes) but I’m wondering,is it gonna work? is there a case it will damage my washing machine (top load, not really new) ? And my second question is,what is the deference between the Liquid and the Natural Laundry Soap ? Does it have to do with the w.machine or is one more effective from another??
    Thaaanks !!

  247. C an you use liquid castille soap?

  248. This being a natural recipe, I am still curious as to whether this would be safe for infants. I looked into Dreft, and it has the same chemicals as Tide. Any thoughts on if I could/should use this recipe for washing my baby’s clothes???????

  249. I am wondering with this detergent, does is get sudsy in the washer like store bought? I tried some yesterday and it did not soap? Do I need to add more grated soap? I used the fels-naptha soap.
    Thank you

  250. I noticed in the recipe you did not add essential oils to the detergent. For either the liquid or the powder recipe is it pretty simple to add? I wanted to add a scent, and I have read that some essential oils add to cleaning.

  251. Is the liquid laundry soap septic safe? Due to our septic system, I have to use liquid, but I’m finding it difficult to track down a natural liquid laundry detergent that the EWG doesn’t rate a D or F.

    • I’ve used it with a septic tank before, but you should always do your own research if you’re worried about it.

  252. Hi!

    I made the liquid soap last night following your recipe. I used a little less water since some people said it was very watery, and I still feel like it is watery for detergent. On some other sites people use the same amount of product with half the water, is there a reason why your recipe calls for 5 gallons? Also, should I start over, or can I add extra to what I had already made?

    I do not want to waste what I already made, but I do not want to have to rewash my laundry.

    Thank you.

    • It could be a water hardness thing. I use as much as I use because that’s how much is required for it to make suds and clean my clothes at home. You could try adding to the stuff you made. Did you actually use it to wash a load yet, or are you just judging the wateriness based on looks at this point? I ask because it may surprise you if you are just eyeballing it, so you may want to test it first. If you have already done so, ignore the foregoing and maybe try adding to what you have made.

  253. My daughter has had a reaction to Borax recently. I used the spray cleaner with Borax in the tub rinsed really well and she had a rash. Now I’m afraid to use Borax in the wash. Is there a substitute for the Borax in this recipe? Can’t wait to try this! LOVE your site!

  254. I have an HE top load washer. I just made the powder detergent and, I guess, should have checked which detergent is best for this type of machine. However, can you tell me if this will work in my machine and if so, do I just put the detergent directly on the clothes, or dilute it and put it in the dispenser? Thank you for your help.

    • It should work just like a normal soap.

  255. Your homemade laundry soap works great! I have been using it for two weeks now. I have found that adding vinegar to the bleach dispenser in my HE washer helps tremendously and all the clothes come out smelling clean and fresh every time. I’m so glad to be using natural soap for my family’s clothes.

  256. I love the way this detergent works. I love it! I think it works better than store bought commercial detergents. I sometimes add white distilled vinegar to loads that are extra dirty. I have a concern though. My sister will be moving to an apartment complex that has extremely hard water. It is not filtered or softened in any way. Will this detergent work? Should she add anything to it? I have read that non-iodized salt is good to add but have not tried this myself. Liquid or powder better? Any help would be appreciated!

  257. I am sorry if this has already been asked, but can I use the liquid bronner castle soap? I would just take the step about boiling bar soap in water to make liquid soap out of my mixture right?


  258. Thanks for sharing the recipe! May I know whether the soap bar needs to be a laundry soap bar, or any soap bar like the ones we used for our bodies will work too?

  259. Question–I have an HE washer so I’ll use the liquid detergent. I am wondering 2 things:

    1) Will this change how soft my clothes end up? I am worried that the change in detergent will irritate my baby’s skin. I’ve only ever used Dreft for her, which doesn’t bother her. But I don’t want to make up a whole batch only to find that I can’t use it. Has anyone experienced skin irritation in their babies using homemade liquid soap?

    2) I wash my husband’s dry-clean-only clothes in the washer on gentle with regular detergent. Would it be ok to use this homemade detergent on dry clean only? Isn’t the homemade soap much harsher? I don’t want to ruin his clothes. Has anyone used this stuff on dry clean only?

    Thank you!

  260. How do the appliances hold up to the homemade detergent? I like the idea of homemade, but I’ve heard reports of soap build up, particularly in the dryer, and I really don’t want to wreck my appliances in attempt to save money. This is an old post, so maybe you can share your experience with using it long term? Thanks!

  261. Has anyone tried this as automatic dishwasher liquid? Or know a homemade dishwasher recipe?

  262. I had gotten this same recipe from a family member. I wanted to try it because I really wanted to get away from the chemicals. So I tried this laundry detergent for my family. It didn’t work too well for us. I have a lot of boys and their clothes get really dirty and a husband who always has sweat stains. Needless to say we didn’t save any money because I had to use more to help get rid of stains, which didn’t happen and it left our clothes dingy and not clean looking. Since we don’t use the expensive name brand detergents anyway we didn’t save any money using the home made detergent. I would like to find a different recipe for laundry detergent because I would try it.

    • I’ve read among these comments just a few others voice effectiveness concerns, and it was suggested that it might be due to hard water. The Farmer’s Almanac ( ) has a similar recipe to this one, but also offers the option of adding Oxyiclean Stain Remover and a bottle of Purex Fabric Softener Crystals. Those two ingredients could address both heavy duty cleaning and hard water. One last thing, I bought Sun Oxi Cleaner at a Dollar mart, and it contains the same TWO ingredients that Oxiclean does, at a bit less than half Oxiclean’s price and you even get a half pound more Sun Oxi at that nearly half-price price. Hope any of this helps. 🙂

  263. I have a septic system and was wondering since this is a bit “slimy” if it will clog up the septic. I would love to use it as I am trying to go chemical free in my home. I would appreciate your comments and help. Thank.

  264. Hi There, I”ve been using this detergent with the pure castile soap as recommended in unscented. Recently, I bought the lavender version of Dr. Bronner’s soap, is that okay to use? Or is the lavender going to mess it up? Thanks for your continued help, wellness mama! 🙂

    • I use the lavender bar soap and it works fine for me.

  265. I was wondering if I could use this recipe on an infant’s clothing?

  266. I’d like to find out more about the claims that ‘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.’
    Are you actually claiming that using conventional laundry detergent is harmful to your health? If you are, could you please provide citations for that? If conventional laundry detergents are in fact dangerous at the levels normally used, in the way that people normally use them, then please provide some sort of evidence for your claim.
    And if they’re not, then why make these sorts of horrible sounding claims?

    Water is linked to drowning, but that doesn’t mean we should stop drinking water. Similar logic applies here. I worry that you are spreading misinformation by saying that there is a link between petroleum distillates and cancer and lung disease. What has that got to do with using laundry detergent?

    • The fact that those cleaners have all those chemicals is enough to make me not want to use them if I don’t have to. If you don’t care about what’s in the products you use, then you should feel free to keep buying whatever is on the shelves. I don’t think anyone really knows the damage all the chemicals we come in contact does to our health. It would be hard to measure since there are chemicals in everything but it seems the more chemically dependent we are, the more terrible diseases like cancer is more rampant than ever. If chemicals do not concern you, why are you even reading this blog?

  267. Thanks so much! Does the powder work for cloth diapers?

  268. I just made liquid detergent using your recipe. We are using a front loading HE washer and the detergent dispenser only holds less than a half cup of liquid. Is it ok if I just pour the liquid detergent directly into the washing drum instead of the dispenser before I put the clothes in? Thanks!

  269. Kate,
    I as a individual always been about being down to earth, natural made items, made in the USA type person. Anyway, I began working at the best job ever and started to “go green, back to nature”. Well, I came up with this idea why not wash the Company laundry in the same stuff that I use for my own personal wash. Which is a lot of laundry everyday I might add, we go thru 5 gallon drum about every three months, it is way cheaper than the hospitality brands and made at home. Some of our extended stay guest request to use our laundry soap. They can’t say enough about it. We have had nothing but compliments on how white, clean, and great smelling the sheets, towels are and shiny everything in the rooms are. We have switched over to you liquid recipe and use lavender scented everything. WoW what a difference, our European guests have even complimented us on the freshness. We here at our establishment “home” enjoy your articles, tip saving tidbits and your podcasts. In short, thank you so much for all that you’ve contributed to our “home” going back to nature, homemade, and going green.

  270. So close to trying this! Only thing is where I live, Borax and Washing Soda are around $8 each. Wonder if it’s worth the expensive. Hm.

  271. Can someone please confirm…I thought I read on a previous post that I can substitute Borax for Baking Soda. If so, what’s the equivalent measurement?

  272. I don’t know if its the change to this laundry soap or just a change in weather. My dog has started having major skin allergies since I switched. I was wondering if anyone else with dogs have experienced this. I was excited to use this because of the cost vs regular detergents but the vet bills have not been cheap. Any suggestions for an alternative natural laundry soap? For now I’ll be going back to traditional detergent to see if his hives clear up.

  273. I made the liquid laundry soap and I love it!! Thank you so much for your blog, I make the suncream, lotion bars, wipes and now laundry liquid. We live all the way in downunder, Australia, how lucky are we to have to internet to connect us accross the globe? I love you wellness Mama!!! xoxox

    • Agreed that is so cool! Thanks for reading!

  274. Hi Katie
    I love your website! I made this laundry soap yesterday and I love it but the smell is a bit powerful for me I feel like an itch on my face and like I can almost taste in my mouth! Do you think that it can be the borax? Could I used something else to replace it? Thanks eva

  275. Hi Katie, I live in India and I haven’t see washing soda here, do you think I could substitute by baking soda?
    Also, on one of the other websites I read this comment: Borax is known as an endocrine disrupter. You can substitute a mixture of baking soda, oxy-clean, epsom salts, or omit it entirely (I dropped borox from my old mixture of washing soda and grated castille soap, and didn’t notice any difference). Maybe I could omit this entirely since I’m not going to get it in India anyways… I am very keen on making my own washing mixture, pls help me with the ingredients and proportions. Many thanks!

      • Katie, thank you for your reply, I found soap nuts very close to where I live and they are also very inexpensive in India and you can toss them just like that in the washing machine. Perfect! Also, I found this link about how to know if your soapnuts are still good or not, maybe somebody can find it useful:
        Found washing soda too online, but it’s not readily available in grocery shops here. Somebody posted a comment that I can keep baking soda in the oven at 450 for 15 min and it will turn to washing soda. I think the cheapest and easiest solution is soapnuts. Thanks a lot for your posts, I enjoy reading your blog and implementing your ideas into our family life!

  276. Hi Katie! Just wanted to let you know that searching for a recipe for home made laundry detergent directed me to your page and I am enjoying reading everything! I am STILL working on the batch of powder detergent I made and have been very happy. I used the plastic measuring scoop from my last store-bought box of detergent and just marked with a sharpie where the right amount to use is. I am looking forward to using other soaps to get great scents. And I’m looking forward to reading more!

  277. I made the “liquid” detergent, mixed as instructed, it turned into something akin to jello. It is completely solidified. I still scoop it up in a cup to put in the wash and it does a good job on the laundry. I was just curious why it gelled, I was under the impression it would stay liquid. I think the next time I will just leave it powdered and try that.

  278. Mine was somewhat jelled too. I think I may have used slightly less water than called for. I also added the store brand of oxi-clean. I think I used just a little more of the bar soap than it called for too.

  279. Katie and readers,
    Just wanted to say that I bought a packet of soapnuts online, put about 10 in an old sock and put it in the washing machine with our clothes (toddler + 2 adults) and washed full cycle at 40 degrees Celsius cotton cycle. All came out clean!
    I also made a liquid – boiled 500ml of water with 15 soapnuts for 20 min., cooled and then put it in the blender and strained. The next day I washed my hair with it and it’s just like any other shampoo (minus the foam and fragrance), i.e. it does the job! I had an egg-honey-lemon mask on my hair and it washed it all off without any problem.
    It is chemical-free so it’s good for the earth, good for us and it’s also very cheap. I won’t be buying washing powder or shampoo ever again. Think how much plastic will not go to the landfill if we all tried go a little bit that way, if not with the shampoo, at least with the laundry. Katie, thank you for the information and inspiration!

    • I saw that on the EWG website too and am also concerned.

  280. I have used a recipe for dry laundry soap: 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, 1 bar of soap and use 1-2 Tablespoons per load. Should I be using more than one bar of soap to get my ratio correct of 2:1? (Ivory soap is a rather small bar).

  281. Hi there, I would like to know:
    How much powder soap do I used per load in an HE machine and how much of the liquid soap would I use per load in an HE machine? I want to make both types! Thanks so much! I love what you do Wellness Mama! Keep it up! Your knowlage, research, dedication, passion and care for “the whole” body set you appart from the many that try to duplicate! Happy Holidays!

    • I use 1-3 tablespoons of dry soap per HE load. I haven’t ever made the liquid. I figured it was too messy for me and I’d spill it!

  282. I wondered if anyone else has microwaved their grated bar soap before adding to the mix. I have been doing this and it puffs up. When it has cooled down I crumble it into powder with my hands and mix it in with the washing soda and borax. This seems to get everything mixed up very nicely with no chunks.

  283. Hi, I made the powder laundry soap for the first time. I have a few questions though: Should I still add bleach to the wash for white clothes? Should I still add liquid laundry softener to the wash also? I don’t know if the powder soap would be just like using bleach or softener; so if I don’t need to use those anymore, that would be great. Thanks for the information! Merry Christmas!

  284. I cut the Zote in half then in half again and used attachment for my Kitchen-Aid Mixer and shredded it. Then I laid it on plastic so that it would dry some. Then I put it in a blender and powdered it up and mixed in with the other Items then you can add water for the liquid soap OR if wanted leave it dry for the powder soap

  285. Hello, is this powder detergent recipe safe for a high efficiency washer machine? Thanks!

    • It should be, but check your user manual to make sure the ingredients are allowed…

  286. you can also make a simple laundry detergent by mixing 40 grams of marseille soap with 2,5 liters of water. to add scent you can use etheric oils, and for the white laundry you can add 20 grams of baking soda (baking soda bleaches a little so it isn’t good for coloured laundry)

    also vinegar is usable as a fabric softener

  287. I am curious about wool. I’ve made this recipe but I actually use Kirk’s Castile soap (it has a great smell and has no citric acid). But, what do you think about using this recipe for wool? The box of super washing soda says it is not to be used for wool. Is there another recommendation you can make for washing our wool products?

  288. Is the non-liquid recipe safe to use for baby clothes as well?

  289. Hi I have just tried making this, and although it did turn out I have a few questions.

    Other liquid recipes shows 2 cups borax and washing soda i followed your and it does look runny while other site show it more gel like. is mine suppose to be semi clear looking or did i do it wrong.

    Second question is how many drops of essential oils, should i add to the mix for a sent?

  290. Is it really necessary to ask the same questions over and over and over again?

    • That’s what I was wondering. WHY ask the same questions over and over? That must be real tedious for the blog owner. Why not read the questions and answers first? People tend to be so lazy and inconsiderate these days. I noticed this on a news site today too. The questions and answers are are miles long compared to the blog! It seems like it’s pretty self-explanatory. GEEZ

  291. which do you prefer to use? Does one work better then the other? Also is there a cost difference between the two? I obviously want to get the most bang for my buck and i don’t mind working a little harder to make it liquid as oppose to the easier counter part powder.

  292. Hi, Katie! I absolutely enjoy your site and have received lots of wonderful tips and creative ideas. I haven’t made my own laundry detergent before and am getting ready to give it a go. My only concern is that 20 Mule Team borax is owned by Dial, who does animal testing, as does Arm & Hammer. I have found a replacement for the baking soda through Bob’s Red Mill and plan to make my own washing soda from that. My question is whether you or one of your other readers can possibly suggest a cruelty-free and economical alternative brand of borax.

    Many thanks and keep on doin’ what you do! 🙂

  293. Katie,

    Can I just ask, why does every natural recipe for laundry detergent contain Borax, which is neither natural nor safe as an ingredient. If you look it up on EWG, they rate that ingredient and products containing it in the red zone (I.e. Highly toxic- namely developmentally and reproductively), yet people continue to say it is safe and natural. The point of making your own laundry soap is to use something LESS toxic, not more. I am sincerely just confused. This recipe is on every natural living site I’ve checked, yet it is not safe. So Iamwondering am I the only one,besides EWG, that has serious concerns about this ingredient (we don’t even have it in the house, like bleach, just not worth it). Is there an actual SAFE and natural and 100% NON-toxic laundry recipe? For now, we use one of the commercial detergents thatis rated 0 on As it stands, your home-made recipe would probably rate at a 7-8 b/c of the Borax.

  294. Allie, I was very concerned with Borax as well but I did a little more research besides just EWG and feel safe using it as a detergent. Katie does a wonderful job explaining why she believes Borax is safe and just to hear another persons similar opinion you can check out this website too:

    EWG does give it a high rating but if you will notice they also say there is limited data in some regards and in other testing it requires large doses – “chronic exposure to high doses of borax or boric acid causes testicular atrophy in male mice, rats and dogs.”

    Due diligence is always key and you have to do what you feel is best for your family. I just wanted to share my opinion.

  295. I applaud Allie for pointing out what everyone else glosses over.

    On every site like this I have heard “But, why take the chance when there is a better alternative”, yet Borax is mentioned over and over (apparently the exception to the “Why take the chance” rule). Why someone “believes” something is safe is different than “knowing” it is safe. It is the main function of EWG to report findings, not mere opinions. Lack of data is no reason to say it is OK and ignore the data that has been published. We are not talking about a B or C rating, either, but an F!! Not only that but the fact that Borax is owned by Dial, which regularly tests on animals, should be enough to avoid the product for ethical reasons, even if you are OK with the questionable safety.

  296. I made the liquid laundry based on the recipe on this post and will never ever go back to commercial detergent. Our whites are whiter and everything is much cleaner. One batch has lasted about 5 months for our family of 5 and that includes 1 and 3 year old boys! We have an HE washer so we use about 1/4-1/2 cup depending on size and how dirty the load is. My best friend makes her own based on this recipe too and loves it.

  297. Do you know approximately how many loads for this recipe?

  298. Hello,

    I followed your recipe and tried using my first batch this morning. Like many of the posted results, my batch resembled egg drop soup, kind of slimmy, with chunks gel.

    I also had to use 3 cups just to wash one load of towels, but what concerns me is that at no point in the washing processes did I see any suds. Is this typical?

  299. Hi!

    I have been using the powdered version of this recipe since November, and I have loved the results and money savings. However, today my washer is clogged and not draining. Has anyone using homemade laundry soap experienced this? I do 1-2 loads of laundry a day and tend to mostly wash on cold. I also used Ivory soap instead of the other options because of convenience. I wash large to extra large loads and use 1.5-2 tablespoons of soap for each load. I am thinking that once I get my washer fixed I should switch over to the liquid version….

  300. Hi, I was reading you article on how to make homemade laundry detergent and was wondering where you purchased the ingredients at such a low cost (compared to Amazon). I have found that Amazon usually has lower prices than what I find at the stores but not according to your listing. Thank you.

    • I found it at my local grocery store… the prices to vary, but those were the prices when I wrote the post.

  301. Can I use liquid castile soap? I have Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap in liquid form and was wondering if I could use that instead and how much?

  302. Having a problem with the liquid detergent , in this cold weather I have chunks of soap or something in the bottom of the detergent try shaking it but is still there any suggestions why this happen? The cold weather?

  303. I’ve read through all the comments to see if there’s already an answer to this question and I don’t think there is! I’m planning on making the laundry soap, without borax, for a front-loading HE washing machine. I can see that 1-3 tbsp is the recommended dosage for each wash, but my question is: can I put it directly into the drum instead of the dispenser drawer? We have had problems in the past with scum gathering in the drawer so I switched to buying gel or liquid detergents that you measure out into a plastic pot that goes into the drum. I’d like to do this with the homemade soap (measure the 1-3 tbsp into the pot and place it in the drum) – will this be effective? Thank you ????

  304. My boys and I have extremely sensitive skin and can only use one type of laundry soap, same with bath soap. Has anyone had any problems with these ingredients? I would love to try making my own but am scared my boys and I will have a reaction to some or all of the ingredients. Also is this safe to use with a spray stain remover sprayed onto the clothing before going into the wash?

  305. I have an HE washing machine. It is really sensitive to the type of soaps I use. I have actually had to replace it once because I used laundry soap I used wasn’t HE enough. Any tips?

  306. Could you just use the liquid Dr. Bronners for the liquid version instead of grating up a bar? I wonder how much you would use of that?

    • Hi Katie, You can use 1 1/2 cups of liquid Dr. Bronners soap in place of 1 bar of soap you would need to grate.

      • I have seen this question come up repeatedly throughout the comments but there does not seem to be a response. I am also curious if liquid bronners can be used.

        Also, my husband is a mechanic and his clothes get very greasy. Any thoughts on what to add to cut that?

  307. I have been using this soap recipe with the fels-naptha for a couple of years. I want to let you know that you are using way too much in your loads. I use 1 tsp per load of regular clothes (kids school clothes or gym clothes). We live on a farm and my family comes in covered in mud, grease, manure etc… on those clothes I use about 2 tsp per load and everything comes out perfectly clean. 1/4 to 1/2 cup is basically just wasting it. I chop the bar of soap using the grater on my food processor and then blend in the rest in that so that it I mixed well and then as it is still mixing I will add in essential oils just to cut the strong soapy smell as my kids don’t like that smell.

  308. I’m going on a long overseas trip and I’d like to be able to make a bar of laundry soap to take with us for easier and cheaper than what the hotels will offer. Any recommendations on what that recipe would look like?

  309. I just wanted to say that I made my first batch of the liquid laundry soap last August, and am just now making another. I am very happy with how far this stretched for for our 2 adult household.

    I’m trying Kirk’s Castille (fragrance free) bar this time just because it’s cheaper than the Dr. Bronner’s. This should last us until December 🙂

  310. I can’t wait to use the dry laundry soap in my HE washing machine. I saw that some one posted asking if you can use any of the ingredients above, in a dish washer and the answer is yes. I use Arm & Hammer Washing Soap in my dish washing dispenser and White Vinegar as my rinse aid. I have a small spray bottle with a teaspoon of dish Dawn soap and fill up with water. I spray on dishes that are caked with food. When I notice that my dish washer is staining (since we have hard water) I run an empty cycle with bleach. Works great and haven’t had to by dish washing tabs or soap for over a year.

  311. When “grating” the soap in a food processor, make sure you add a little baking soda or washing soda (1/2 cup or so). I did this yesterday and it made it the consistency of sugar! Very fine and I live it! I also add eucalyptus, lemon and lavender essential oils to the batch, about twenty drops of each.

  312. Have you ever just used the Dr. Bronners liquid soap by itself?

  313. I am trying to figure out why when making the laundry soap we have to put the bar soap in? I thought the washing soda and borax should be enough. Could you help me?

    Thank you

  314. I have tried both and love them my only problem is the dont sud up and I love to see my suds I just feel that means its actually cleaning and suggestions to help me get my suds?

  315. Is this considered biodegradable or safe for gray water? I have been using this recipe for two years and now want to run the used wash water to my lawn and trees. I use dr bronners baby milk but are the sodas safe for plants?

  316. Hi, I have been using this recipe for quite a while but I am finding my whites not looking really clean, in fact they appear dingy. I use liquid bleach occasionally. Any suggestions, maybe powdered bleach? Thanks

  317. I love your page! I use a recipe similar to this, but with the fels-naptha. We are trying to rid our home of all harmful substances and was wondering what is in fels-naptha that is questionable.

  318. I was originally planning on doing the dry detergent b/c it seemed more convenient. Dr. Bronner’s soap yielded 1 cup after chopped up ($4.69, ouch!). I also measured six cups in the 55 ounce box Washing Soda (at $3.97 is $0.66/cup) and nine cups in the 76 ounce box of Borax (at $3.97 is $0.44/cup).

    Making a 5 cup batch would bring my total for the batch to $6.89 (.66*2 +.44*2+4.69). Five cups would make 40- 1/8 cup loads or 20-1/4 cup loads. Each load would cost $0.17-$0.34 per load while my usual detergent (All Free and Clear) is about $0.10 per load. Tear.

    The cost for the liquid detergent is different because it only uses one cup of borax and one cup washing soda and also yields many more loads (5 gallons = 80 cups, so 80 one cup loads or 160 half cup loads). This is the only $5.79 (.66 +.44 + 4.69) for one batch making each load $0.036- $0.07 (not to mention a little more time).

    So my question is why does the powdered detergent need more borax and washing soda than the liquid?

    My Conclusion: I think it’s worth the time, money, and space on my shelf to make the liquid detergent. This homemade detergent is greatly cheaper than buying all natural detergents in the store. The 3 listed above are $0.28, $0.21, and $0.41 per load. I need to find a cheaper place to buy Dr. Bronner’s soap, and I recommend reading previous comments before posting a question. I read a few questions more than 3 times.

    Sorry for the long mathematical post (I’m a math teacher) and thanks for the recipe! I really enjoyed your blog and can’t wait to try my homemade detergent! Next up, I’m making dryer balls from wool yarn and mixing up some essential oils with water to spray on the balls before putting them into the dryer!

  319. According to Crunchy betty’s site, borax can be a skin irritant, and caused infertility in men (they tried it on mice). So I thought this would be a natural, healthy, recipe but I’m trying to find one without borax and would be good on the skin since it matters what we wash our clothes with since it goes on our body.

  320. Just made this!! All ingredients together cost me roughly $9 ( I bought a 3pk of Ivory soap) To make a triple batch took me less than 15 minutes!! And that is actually including some clean up because I forgot I was timing myself! Super easy. I was initially going to add some lavender essential oil but I think the Ivory has a pleasant clean smell to it!! I definitely recommend this for busy moms! I work full time and am in school and this wasn’t very timely. Thanks Katie!

  321. Is the liquid laundry soap suitable to use on Modern Cloth Nappies/diapers?


  322. I live in South America and can’t get washing soda here. I added more baking soda to my batch. Does regular baking soda work in place of the washing soda?

  323. Hi I would love to make the liquid soap. My sister made the powder soap and I found it cleaned better than the tide pods we had at the time. I would like to do the liquid soap but would like to concentrate it so I can reuse the bottle of purex powershot to make sure everyone is measuring correctly. The bottle fills up 1 oz. I know normally, you use a 1/2 cup or a full cup of the liquid. If I triple the recipe but use the same amount of water, would that work so I just have to use 2 oz per load? Or would that cause something bad to happen or for it not to work?

  324. This appears to be the same recipe as the HE recipe. I assume the ingredients are all the same?

    Can’t wait to try it! 🙂

    • The ingredients are the same, but the proportions are totally different! This creates a lot more suds than the HE detergent because of the proportions, so please use the detergent appropriate to your machine!

  325. You can answer me privately if you want on this question but I tried the following recipe for about 4 months (it’s a dry soap solution) and it slowly turned all my white clothes gray. I’m back to using Tide again and now my whites are staying that way.
    I’d rather use a natural soap but the solution that I used should have worked. Did I do something wrong?

    • 1 Box of Super Washing Soda 3 lb. 7 oz.
    • 1 Box of Borax 4 lbs 12 oz. size
    • 1 Box of Pure Baking Soda 4 lb.
    • 3 bars of Fels-Naptha 5.5 oz. or you could also use Ivory soap (I used Zote)
    • 1 container of Oxy-Clean 1.3 lb ($3.86) or use 3 lb size for about
    • *optional: Purex Crystals 28 oz. for scent (or you could use Downy unstoppables (3 tbls)


  326. WM, following your laundry detergent recipe, you note that

    “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.

    Washing Soda Washing Soda, sometimes called sodium carbonate or soda ash, is made from common salt and limestone or found as natural deposits.”

    As these two cleaning/polishing agents are derived from Earth-based mineral deposits, their commercial-scale extraction, transport, processing, packaging and retail must require expenditures of enormous amounts of fossil fuel-derived energy (the mining/extraction, transport and refining of which are a witches’ brew of environmental insults to the biosphere), not to mention the devastation caused by related mineral mining operations.

    In light of these insights, have you come across any laundry detergent recipes developed from sustainably sourced materials?

  327. I made this laundry detergent (liquid) according to recipe, and I have noticed that it’s developed a weird smell. I have stored it in a 5 gallon bucket on my back porch, out of sunlight, in southern Alabama heat.

    The container is not airtight, but I put a piece of wood over the top to keep anything out of it. I used Seventh Generation bar soap instead of Ivory.

    It has been doing a pretty good job, but today I noticed it kind of has a chemical smell almost like ammonia. It stays clumped at the top and the rest is liquid, like water. I have no idea what I did wrong and would love your insight.

    Thank you so much, and I look forward to hearing back from you!

    • When I made this, it would always separate over time. After it sat in the 5 gallon bucket overnight, I used a mixing attachment on a power drill to mix it up (every time I made it, it had a thick layer of gel with watery stuff underneath after resting overnight). Then, I would put it into gallon or half gallon jugs making sure to leave plenty of space to shake it up. It does tend to separate but I found that if I combined it really well, a few shakes when I did laundry was enough to combine it for use. I used a big wooden spoon the first couple of times but the power drill worked great!

      I don’t know what to tell you about the ammonia smell. I never had that happen but I live in the midwest and kept mine in the basement, which never really gets hot. Maybe Katie will have some insight.

  328. Hello. I have been using the recipe 1 part grated soap + 2 parts Borax + 2 parts Washing soda for over a year now . Seems to work great. However, I am seeing other recipes online with VERY different ratio. One I just found says this:
    1 cup grated soap
    1/2 cup borax
    1/2 cup washing soda

    This means that the there is MUCH less borax and washing soda than the recipe I’ve been using…Any thoughts on this????

  329. What about the washers that require HE soaps? Will the brands you recommended and the recipes work for these?

  330. Love that your laundry soap is an easy one! I am planning on trying it ASAP, especially since I found out on the EWG website that All Free and Clear is not rated well at all. Thanks for the info!

  331. I have been using this recipe for quite some time. It is SO much cheaper this way.

  332. Can scented bar soaps, like Irish Spring or something, in place of Ivory or the others? Or is just better to stick with what’s recommeded?

  333. I am interested in trying the powder detergent, is this safe to use for my baby’s clothes too?

    • I was wondering the same thing as well. Anyone know??

  334. I have been using this recipe for as long as I can remember. I use all natural products since I had my daughter. I currently use Kirks Coconut Castle Soap because my husband is allergic to Olive Oil so Dr Bronners is out of the question. I like using Zote because it is a natural brightener and in my experience works better alone than washing soda and baking soda. I was wondering if anyone has tried using 2 bar soaps instead just 1? I was thinking 1/2 part one soap and 1/2 part the other soap?

    • Kirks Coconut Castle Soap comes out cheaper. Do you like it better?
      Also does Zote work well on dark clothes?

      • Yes, I love the Kirks feel like our clothes are more soft and comfortable. I find the Zote works very well and I noticed none of my husbands dark work clothes are faded. The Zote seems to keeps clothes color brigthnes

  335. Hi Katie!

    Have you tried Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder? Seems the most natural and I think it is working for me but would like to know what you think of it. EWG rated A

  336. I am very keen to try this as we live in an area particularly sensitive to detergent contamination. We don’t have a washing machine, I was hoping to use this as a hand wash detergent. Do you have any suggestions regarding dosage, or any other thoughts other than wear gloves? BTW, I just found your site and it ties in beautifully with the life we live here, many thanks for your work.

  337. I have a question about the quantity of bar soap to use. I hand grated the bar, then I put it in a coffee grinder. It’s very fine now, so the measurements will be off, as a tablespoon of fine contains more than a tablespoon of soap prior to grinding. So…how much Borax and how much Washing Soda should I use to go with an entire bar of soap? Thanks!

  338. Hi Katie,

    How are you ? I’m trying to go “all-natural” but I have some questions. How do you know your recipes are good from a scientific point of view ? Is it proven ?

    Thanks for your answer !

    P.S. : Sorry I have to ask 🙂

  339. I have used the the liquid soap recipe (borax, washing soda, Zote or Fels Naptha) for 2 years now in a household of 3. It works and, more importantly, the results pass the mom test. =) The costs so far have been about $12 in the supplies and $10 in equipment – I went to the thrift store and bought a deep saucepan to melt the soap in and a grater.
    I ran the recipe past a few chemistry professors and asked if if there were any issues and if I could use bleach with it. All of them said (independently) that the only problem might be if you have hard water.


  340. Hi wellness mama, is this recipe safe for baby clothes? And will it get out there Poo stains from clothes? Or do you use a different detergent for there clothes or cloth diapers? I am also cloth diapering.. Thanks for any help!

  341. Hi,
    Sorry one more question. Is this detergent safe to use for baby clothes?

  342. Hi,
    I was wondering if the Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap will work the same?

    • Hi Natalie,
      Yes, Dr. Bronner’s Liquid soap will work. That’s what I use now. I use the citrus scent and we love it. I use

      1.5 cups of Borax
      1.5 cup of Washing Soda
      2 cups of Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap
      4-5 gallons of hot water
      I keep it in the 5 gallon pale and just open it as I need it. I use about 3/4 cup of detergent for a load of laundry. I turn on my washer then add my detergent and then add our clothes. I have not had any issues and out clothes are clean and smell great.
      Also, as the homemade detergent sets it will resemble more of a gel, that’s fine. Just stir it up and use it. It will break down in the wash and not stick to your clothes.

  343. Just curious, what bar soap could I safely use with the borax and washing soda to make the powdered soap for cloth pocket diapers (ALVA & Sunbaby) without it building up and having to be stripped frequently?

  344. Just washed my 1st load and I am very excited about it! Clothes were clean and SO soft! No fabric softener needed. However, what do you recommend for stubborn stains? As this wash load did not remove heavy dirt stains from my sons pants. Thanks!

  345. I used this for just over a year and reluctantly went back to detergent. I have very hard water with high amounts of calcium and iron. Soap reacts in hard water to create a sticky film. Even with a water softener system, there is still a lot of iron in our water. I used the liquid recipe as written and then upped the borax and washing soda to help out with the hard water. I also used vinegar in the rinse cycle. It did nothing as a softener for my laundry but it is supposed to help remover odors and soap residue so I always used it with the homemade laundry soap.

    After about a year, I noticed that my “brights” load (I have teenage girls and have enough pink purple orange and red to run them separately) didn’t smell like it had been washed. This is the load washed in the coolest water for the shortest amount of time. Also, I was having to use a pre-wash setting for dirtier loads. I think that the soap was building up on the laundry slowly over time. In short, I was having to run the washing machine longer (using more water and electricity) or even rewash the clothes. Because I do about 15 large loads a week, I felt that this was starting to cancel out the benefits of using the homemade laundry soap. I could see a residue on my washing machine’s door so it makes sense that some was on the clothes. I don’t think I would have noticed this when my kids were younger since they were outgrowing things constantly. Also, I noticed that my daughter’s white fitted sheet was becoming discolored where you lay on it. I wash sheets weekly without fail and she alternates between a couple of sets. She is a clean freak but I think the body oils and lotions were not washing out. The sides of the fitted sheet were noticeably whiter. I had to soak the sheets in hot water and run them with bleach (which I do not normally use in laundry) more than once to get them white again.

    I did look for an old brand of soap that I used in college called “Vel” that was made for use in hard water. It was great in hard water and really kept the skin from getting irritated. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued so I was unable to try it out with the recipe. I believe that Vel was a detergent bar, not soap but I am not sure. I have been unable to find a good substitute. I think that Zest may also be a detergent bar, but I am allergic to something in it however it may work for someone else.

    The homemade laundry soap did not not harm my HE washer but I did have to run the maintenance cycle more often. More importantly, it caused NO problems with our septic system. I still think it is worth a try and if I find a detergent bar, I will try it again. It is an inexpensive, environmentally friendly laundry solution if it works for you.

  346. I ran a search on your site for fabric softener, but it didn’t come up with anything. Do you have a safe recipe that you use? Thank you!

  347. Don’t do it !!!!!!

    Unless you plan on buying a new machine and clothes don’t waste your time and money.

    Homemade soap is the leading cause for washing machine repair. And for many companies use of such product now voids your warrenty.

    Secondly do your own research your not washing anything here. The bar soap doesn’t matter the brand it not Ment to be used in a machine. Wether liquefied or graded it doesn’t matter it is unable to be completely broken down which is why after a while you have a build up in your machine.

    Thirdly there’s a science to laundry soap and for good reason. Every laundry soap has a type in of
    Sufficant in it. This mixture does not, and it’s a main ingredient for a huge reason. It helps the soap break down the dirt and cling to it so it’s all able to rinse away. These homemade concoctions don’t have this which is why your clothes don’t get completely clean and after time have a different feel to them because of the build up. There’s nothing to help rinse the soap and dirt off the fibers.

    Go on Facebook and find the group Laundry Love and Science. They have it scientifically broken down why not to do this. With fact based information and sources cited for all their evidence and statements.

    It’s not because I said to its because there are safety and health risks to doing this. Any anyone that says that this is cheaper and healthier is lying. Yes it’s cheaper in price but is the price worth the health risk and damage to you clothes and machine.

    You be the judge but please do your own research.

    • Used recipe for three years with no problems. Hardly any lint in dryer either. Clothes don’t breakdown as fast – stay new looking much longer. At least, that is my personal experience. I use Fels Naptha bar soap.

      • It all depends on your water. I used Fels Naptha or Zote and made this for just over a year. It did build up on my clothes over time and they were not soft at all, even using the vinegar as a rinse agent. I have water with a high calcium and iron content which react with the soap to form a film. I rarely ran the self clean cycle with detergent but it was a necessary monthly with the home made laundry soap. Also, I never had film on the door with detergent but I did with the homemade laundry soap.

        In the end, I stopped using it because it took longer cycles and more rinsing to get things clean and the film on my washer door wasn’t coming off as easily as it initially did. Also, odors were not coming out that well from the laundry although they did for the first few months.

        I still think it is worth trying for many reasons but for me, I stopped using it. The extra time, water, and electricity needed to make this work in my case was canceling out the benefits. I know it didn’t damage my septic system at all (checked with the septic guy at the bi-annual service call) but I don’t feel confident that it wasn’t building up in my HE washer. I was concerned about damaging it over time.

        I think that anyone who wants to try this out should go ahead and try it but if you have hard water, it may not work. I would definitely give it another try if I moved to somewhere with soft water (I have a water softener but our calcium and iron content is really, really high) or found a solid detergent bar to use in the recipe.

  348. I can completely understand why you chose dr. bronners castile soap but since it doesn’t say specifically it’s for laundry, it means it contains a “super fat” meaning a percentage of the oils used do not turn into soap (usually 5%)…this unsaponified oil can deposit on your clothes and may never be completely rinsed out, also building up in your washing machine. That’s why it’s better to use a bar soap that specially says it’s made for laundry use. Those soaps are more aggressive, meaning they contain more sodium hydroxide (turns oil into soap) ad therefore gets your clothes cleaner. It’s not a major thing but just thought I might mention it 🙂

    • What are some different brands you can use?

  349. From my calculations the savings really kick in when using 1/8th to 1/6th of a cup, and if I used 1/4th of a cup my costs are roughly equivalent to store bought 7th generation liquid laundry detergent.

    I am washing my 1st load with this “powdered” detergent recipe now, and I would note that the castile soap looks kind of like grated white cheese (awe!).

    If I continue to use this detergent regularly, I will blend the finished mixture (with a food processor) in order to break up the grated soap even more.

    FYI: In my wash water I definitely saw bits of undissolved soap before adding the laundry! Waiting to see if this affects the clothes in any way. My hunch is it will dissolve with agitation during washing.

  350. Thanks Wellness Mama……my conversion of our home continues as I have time to research each layer of the ‘onion’ that we peel away. I have been researching laundry options and wonder if you have ever looked into the eco laundry discs commonly used in Japan and have an opinion. Thanks!

  351. Do you have a good degreaser that you recommend? My husband does construction and his clothes get very greasy and I have not found anything that takes out the grease or cleans them well. Thanks for any help!

  352. Hello,

    Love your site. Have you (or anyone) tried putting castile soap in the food processor if you live in a tropical climate? It just turns into a clump, wondering if it’s because the soap is too warm. I put it in the freezer, but wondered if you had any ideas…thanks!

  353. Couple of questions.

    1) Where did you find Bronner’s soap for $2.99? I paid $4.50 for 5 Oz. at the Vitamin Shoppe

    2) Can you simply use Bronner’s liquid soap instead of the bar for the liquid detergent?

  354. Katie,
    I wondered if you wash cloth diapers in this soap? I used to make this but found that it made my diapers repel water (not good for cloth diapers) and also made my kitchen towels repel water. When I switched back to Country Save for my diapers they started absorbing again…. I just wondered if anyone else had experienced this.

  355. I forgot why I stopped using the diy recipe after just one batch a couple years ago: the darks were being spotted with residue.

    So I finally ran out of my eco store brand I hoarded from a clearance sale, and made another batch of the recipe. Well, it only took one wash for the memories to come rolling in. I figured maybe I was using too much and have kept reducing the amount the past few washes. Luckily I have enough backed-up laundry to test on, but there are two things that suffered from the first try, and I’ve been trying to wash out the residue. They get lighter each time, but I would like a method that I don’t have to re-rinse in the first place. These couple things I’ve resorted to rinse by hand, but I could use some advice moving forward if you’ve had success with darks. I have an old maytag top load washer, I wash with hot water, and because of this situation, I’m having it rinse twice with the second rinse containing a cup of vinegar. I’d like to go back to just one rise if I can to not waste water. Any advice?

  356. Hi Katie,
    I made your homemade laundry detergent and love it – I think! I had a bar of Fels-Naptha soap, which is a laundry bar. . . .so I used it for the soap part of the recipe. Do you know anything about this soap and if it is ok to use? I am asking because I have started to have an itching problem :-/ I know it would be easy to just start over with another type of soap, but I made a pretty big batch and just thought I would ask what you thought first. I think if it is not a good ingredient, I could sift it and catch most of the soap and save the soda and borax. Let me know what you think – thank you!!

  357. What is the shelf life?

  358. Hi I recently made your DIY laundry powered and I believe I got burned from it. I thought it was a bug bite but I have blisters and it’s extremely sensitive if not painful. So far out of the tens of loads it’s only happened once but now my son is showing sign of irritation and redness. He has little tiny random bumps on his chest which I had assumed where just from switching detergent as they were barely noticeable and didn’t seem to bother him. I added a little more baking soda to the recipe as we have one of the hardest water around. Did I do something wrong? I’m going to rewash all my son’s clothes with deft just incase.

  359. Bar soap broke my food processor and grating nearly broke my arm! Any help/suggestions?

  360. I wondered why all the recipes I see ask for you to grate a bar of soap (ether in a food processor or by hand). I figured I would just buy soap flakes. Are they not the same thing?

    Thanks for your help and advice – looking forward to trying this.

    • You definitely could. I make our soap, so I always have bars on hand, but you could definitely buy soap flakes.

  361. Came upon this recipe and thought I’d share what I use! Its a system that hooks up to your washing machine. It uses activated oxygen to clean your clothes. No hot water or laundry detergent! I love it so much! Definitely worth the investment 🙂

  362. Hi Katie! Thanks so much for the recipe. I was wondering if it is gentle enough/safe to use on baby clothes.

    • I’ve used it on mine without a problem…

  363. Hello- I tried making the liquid soap and it solidified overnight. 🙁 I did opt to add the additional liquid castile soap and wondering if this is the problem. PLEASE help me fix it as I do NOT want this to be a lost cause!! Thanks!!

    • Hmm. I’ve never had that happen before either. I might try adding a little more tap water and stirring it in and seeing if it remains liquid for you then. Hope it helps!

  364. I was just wondering why if you use commercial laundry detergent, the Borax and washing soda boxes say to use 1/2 cup with your detergent, but when you make your own powdered detergent you only use 1-3 Tbls of the 3 ingredient mix?

  365. Hello, I was wondering do I have to use warm/ hot water to wash my clothes if I use the powdered version? On the first wash I used cold water and it came out with small bits of the soap still in tact which makes sense but I like washing our clothes in cold water. Should I use the liquid recipe instead next time so I can wash in cold water? What do you all do?

  366. Ok so I have baking soda which I want to bake to make washing soda. I’m in the uk and washing soda is not sold here. The article says bake at 400 but my oven only goes up to 225? Do I need to convert this over? Please help!

    • Yes, you would need to convert it over 🙂

  367. Just done some more research and washing soda is the same as soda crystals which are readily available and very cheap at just 69pence!

  368. I have two questions regarding the laundry soap.
    1) Unfortunately I didn’t have my desirable container ready to put finished product in, so I used a glass jar and lid that I normally use for kitchen. Now I can’t get Fels smell out of the lid. Ideas?
    2 ) The Filmore recipe which they said came from you said to use 1-3 T per load. But I think I read on your site to use 1/3 – 1/4 cup per load (I don’t have it in front of me but I think I read this). So is the little 1 T too small of amount?

      • Thanks. I see on the site though this sentence under the formula:
        “Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. Add 1 tablespoon of Oxygen booster if needed… I use this on white loads.”
        So maybe it needs changed?
        Any words of,wisdom in getting the Fels Naptha smell out of my canning jar lid?
        I hope it doesn’t stink up my food processor too when I grate it.
        I have two more bars of Fels to go,through. Then I’ll switch to something else. I know a lady with goats who makes goat milk soap would that work in the recipe?
        I looked,into making my own coconut soap with the lye but know I’ll never do it.

  369. Hello! I am making this tonight and a little confused as to why the POWDER recipe calls for 2 washing soda : 2 borax : 1 bar of soap and the LIQUID calls for 1 cup washing soda : 1 cup borax : 1 bar of soap. Am I missing something? When I looked through the comments, it seems that the liquid recipe calls for 2 cups of washing soda: 2 cups borax : 1 bar of soap. Sorry if this is redundant, but would like to know. Thank you for all that you do Wellness Mama! You are such an inspiration.

    • It really depends on how concentrated you want the soap to be. Either amount will work, and you can definitely use 2 cups of each for a stronger soap you can use less of.

  370. I just (finally) finished making the liquid laundry soap. Yay! The last step makes it sound like the mixture should be thicker and more gooey–mine is definitely very watery. It looks like cloudy water. Is this right? Also, I have a new baby and everyone keeps saying to use special baby laundry detergent. This recipe would be even better than regular baby laundry detergent, right? Just want to confirm it is baby safe 🙂

    Thank you!

  371. Hey there! Sorry if this has already been asked/answered, but is anyone using the liquid version for cloth diapers and/or cloth diaper PUL-style covers? Hows it doing? Does it damage the diapers at all? Does it get them clean enough? I really want to avoid commercial soaps. Thanks!

  372. Is it safe to just store it in the bucket? If this recipe yields bout 5 gallons.

  373. Thank you. I appreciate all contributions. I make bar soap with the following: PKO 14 litres, lye 7 litres and my product comes up good especially in HP. For further improvement, can I use borax to improve on the cleansen capability and what will be the meassurement based on the above recipe? Can borax be used in CP?

  374. Is Borax applicable to liquid detergent?

  375. Can you use the liquid castle soap instead of the bar soap?

  376. Would this still get the clothes clean without the bar soap?

  377. Just read and appreciated this entry about making your own detergent. I’m a mama to an 8 month old, am living in Hawai’i and appreciate how you broke down the cost just by making your own detergent. Since most things are shipped here most household items are more expensive. Here is a healthy and frugal alternative. Mahalo!

  378. Is there any replacement for washing soda?

  379. is this soap safe for septic systems?

  380. I would like to know if you have a tip for getting candle wax off of carpets. The usual trick that I know of is to put brown paper over it and use the iron. If you have a synthetic carpet what then? Do I risk burning a hole in it or singeing it?

  381. Can someone please recommend the least toxic laundry detergent in the market. I don’t have the time /energy to make detergent

  382. Thanks, Wellness Mama!

    First, I wanted to mention that I used the cheese grater blade of my food processor on the Dr. Bronners soap. This gave me a large, fluffy quantity of soap strips, but they were too large and fluffy. So, I took the soap strips and put them through again, but used the regular blade this time. This two-step process gave me great soap flakes of just the right size for the laundry detergent.

    I found your recipe when I went searching for a way to make laundry soap myself. I was on the website where a family discovered that their son’s eczema was due to detergents, which are different chemically than soap. Your recipe is soap-based. Apparently laundry detergent (not laundry soap) puts a film on your clothes that is hard to get off. I’ve been reacting to all laundry detergents, even seventh generation and some other very natural brands. I made your soap, and finally have a load of clothes I don’t react to.

  383. I just wanted to say, I made this laundry soap and it is wonderful! My first load of laundry I used it on were my musty smelling kitchen towels. I knew if it got throse clean then I could trust it with the rest of my family’s clothes. It left them spotless and smelling super fresh. Not to mention, very absorbent! I love this! Never thought making my own could be this easy! Thank You, for sharing! ?

  384. I’m sure this is a very ignorant question, but I’m going to ask anyway 🙂 Can detergent-free (or regular) melt & pour soap be used in place of the bar soap in the recipe above? Thanks!

  385. I was wondering if I could use the liquid Dr. Bronner’s soap instead of a soap bar for this recipe?