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Make Your Own Laundry Soap {Saving Money}

laundry soapAt church a few Ladies are making their own laundry soap and it got me wondering if this was something people were doing and saving money.  It turns out there are thousands of people who want to know how to make homemade laundry detergent.  {{who knew?}}

So today, I’m featuring a Leisha who took the time to create a tutorial and help us save money and make our own homemade laundry soap.  It cost her only $13.08 for all the ingredients to make a 5 gallon batch of laundry soap.

Homemade Laundry Soap Ingredients

  • 1 whole bar soap
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 3 gallons/4 cups warm water

Laundry Soap Recipe

  1. Begin by pouring 4 cups of water into a medium sized pot to boil.
  2. While waiting for your water to boil grate as much soap as you plan to use, this can be done by hand or in a food processor.
  3. Add grated soap to pot and stir until dissolved fully.
  4. Add 3 gallons of warm/hot water to a 5 gallon bucket.
  5. Add your pot of soapy brew to the 5 gallon bucket.
  6. Add 1 cup of washing soda and stir for 2 minutes with a large long handled strong spoon.
  7. Once your washing soda is dissolved and well mixed in, add 1/2 cup of borax and stir for 2-3 minutes to dissolve and mix well.
  8. At this point you can add your fragrance if you so desire. We love good smelling things at our house and so I like to add a little extra yummy smell – this time I chose a sandalwood amber fragrance oil.
  9. Pop the lid on tight and let it sit overnight.

This is where the magic happens. In the morning you will open your bucket to 3 gallons of gelled glop – it will smell great, it will clean your clothes but the consistency will be a little watery and a gloppy – that is perfectly ok.

Use 1/2 cup per load.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Tips

I also found these great tips on how to make laundry detergent from Suite 101.  To enhance the clothes washing process, try these tips:

  • If the clothing comes out feeling stiff, lower the amount of detergent used per load, particularly in high-efficiency washing machines. As each washer is different, it may be necessary to adjust the detergent accordingly; start with 1 tablespoon and increase or reduce as needed.
  • A cup of vinegar can also be added to the rinse cycle as a natural, chemical free fabric softener. Once the clothes have thoroughly dried, the smell of vinegar will not remain.
  • Add water to a small amount of detergent and rub directly into a stain to pre-treat heavily solid clothes before placing them into the washing machine.

More Laundry Tips from Tip Junkie:


  1. Kandra

    Can you use this in the high -efficiency washers? We buy the stuff that has “HE” on it in the stores… just wondering if we could use this…

  2. amy

    Does this work in the FRONT LOADIN washers…..the ones you have to use the HE (high efficiency) labels for your washer??????? Would LOVE to use this, but don’t want to mess up my washer:O)

  3. Laurie

    Hmm… Thanks a good question. I don’t know. Maybe someone will have the answer for us. 🙂

  4. Taylor at Stain-Removal-101.com

    You can use homemade laundry detergent in your HE washing machine, but you have to use even less than with a top loader. However, you have to do so at your own risk, because some HE machine warranties say you have to use HE detergent or the warranty is voided. I know the Duggars, the family with 19 kids, have been making their own laundry detergent for years and use it in their front loaders though.

  5. Jessica @ Amaretto Vineyard

    I am too busy (lazy?) to make this up myself, but luckily I have a good friend who cooks up a big batch every few months and sells/gives away the bounty. This is some good stuff! She uses it for just about anything (I asked her the other day for her frugal recipe for homemade carpet steamer solution – she mixes this soap with a bit of bleach and water – AWESOME!).

    I just use it for laundry, but I did take her frugal advice and switch to vinegar for my fabric softener – I’ll never look back! Clothes come out BETTER (IMHO) with vinegar than with fabric softener alone! I use a Downy Ball and fill it half to 3/4 to the line with vinegar. Using the homemade soap and vinegar will give you a scent-less load of laundry (so sad) so to add that fresh-clean scent I top off the ball with a splash of my favorite liquid fabric softener.

  6. Jessica @ Amaretto Vineyard

    p.s. don’t be off-put by the consistency. It comes out pretty much like snot. Really gloppy, thick and gooey snot. But works like magic! My amazing soap-making friend has adjusted her recipe over the batches to make it less snotty… shh – don’t tell her – but I secretly feel like it worked best in its full, snotty glory! The thinner stuff is still good, but the first thick-n-goopy batch was definitely the best! Just give the bottle a good shake each time you use it and you’re good to go!

  7. jen

    this is very close to what i make. LOVE it 🙂

  8. Sephia

    Yes, you can use it in HE washers.

  9. Sephia

    Yes you can.

  10. Sephia

    I use the vinegar but I also make my own “Dryer Sheets”.

    The Duggar’s profiled it on their show and I haven’t turned back either.

    Basically, buy your favorite fabric softener (I love Gain’s scent), use another 5gal bucket and dump the whole bottle in, and then fill the bottle up twice and add to the fab softener mix. So basically it is a 1 part Fab Softener and 2 parts water.

    Now get some sponges and you can store them in the buckets. When you go to dry a load wring out the sponge lightly and add to the dryer full of clothes.

    My last batch of laundry detergent I made in the middle of July. It’s almost the middle of October and I’ve got 1/4 of a bucket left. I have 8 kids so a family of 10! A bucket of laundry detergent costs me less than $4 to make and lasts 3 months. Compared to $8-$12 a bottle of commercial detergent that lasts maybe 1-2 weeks IF that!

    My “dryer sheets” lasts the same amount of time.

    My one friend has been experimenting with her laundry soap and has added oxy clean to her recipe. She mixes it in during the cooking stage and hasn’t had problems with it. I’m going to do this with my next batch.


  11. Mama Lusco

    I’ve been making this soap for over a year and it works great for normal loads. Use some Oxy-Clean pwd with heavily soiled loads or pretreat stains if things are really dirty. I’ve found that Fels-Naptha soap ( usually found with the Borax & Washing Soda) gets clothes the cleanest. I’ve tried Ivory & Zote soap before the Fels-Naptha and it’s the best 🙂

  12. Jen @ Lita's World

    Excellent post…glad you shared this recipe! It’s wonderful and works so well. I read recently that the biggest joke played on consumers is with laundry products. What you can spend on laundry soap, etc. is ridiculous compared to what you can make it for -and make it healthier and more environmentally conscious too. Thanks for sharing this!

  13. Brandi

    I made this laundry soap, 2 days ago. Why isn’t it clumpy or gooey? Did I do something wrong to it? It’s as runny as the day I made it 🙁 I’m super excited to try this, but want to check and see what I did wrong before I use it. Thank you!!

  14. kjaristy

    We have been making this for the last year and love it! And my husband loves it for his hunting clothes because it has no scent.

  15. Connie

    I’ve been making my own homemade laundry soap for the past 6 months. Instead of Ivory soap I use Zote, and with that and Borax and Washing Soda. I make about 10 gallons. it works great and I don’t even haft to use fabric softener because the clothes come out soft.

  16. Amanda

    My friend and I started a laundry service from our homes a few years ago. We found a little tip that we use on every load now. White vinegar. Add 3/4 cup into the rinse cycle and it acts as a natural fabric softner, saves money, is eco-friendly and helps keep your washing machine clean.
    Boston Laundry Care

  17. Northern Ontario Mom

    Hi. I will be publishing a post this Sunday on your homemade laundry detergent. I have gone through my first batch and loved it enough to want to share the recipe. I have it linked, but I would also like to include the recipe on my post. Is that okay? Thanks.

  18. Michelle

    Is this safer on septic tanks than the store bought. I am trying to be more green this year and I would love to save money and the environment.
    please advise.

  19. Dolores

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