Homemade Laundry Soap


Laundry Detergent Making Ingredients

I’m pretty thrilled with my homemade laundry soap!  This is an incredibly easy recipe, works like a charm, saves you money and is environmentally and vegan friendly!  (I’m not a vegetarian, but I do appreciate being kind to animals.)

You should be able to find all the ingredients at the grocery store, but I did have to order the Dr. Bronner’s soap.  (My grocery store carries Fels Naptha laundry soap, which will work in this recipe but uses cow and pig tallow.  Seriously, I don’t want that in my clothes. … Please don’t tell me what was in my old laundry detergent, OK?)  Here’s the recipe I used:

1 Bar of Dr. Bronner’s Organic Bar Soap

1 Cup Borax

1 Cup Washing Soda

1 Cup Baking Soda

Grate the bar of soap using the finest side of the grater.  (You can also chop up the bar and drop it into a food processer.)  You’ll want very fine soap flakes especially if you use cold water for laundry, so it’s worth the time it will take.  Then simply add the other ingredients and mix until well combined.  Use one Tablespoon per load, two for a very large or heavily soiled load.  This recipe makes enough laundry soap to fill two pint sized canning jars.

Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap

Dr. Bronner’s soaps come in a variety of scents, even unscented for baby laundry or for those with sensitive skin.  I used peppermint just because it smelled so fresh and clean.  Love it!  I’ve also stopped using fabric softener in favor of vinegar.  Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but my sheets are so soft and comfy!  You may have a faint scent of vinegar when you open the washer, but by the time your clothes dry any hint of vinegar is gone.

This is very low-suds soap, so remind yourself that bubbles are not required to clean.  The low-suds action means that it will work well in HE washers which need low sudsing detergents.  (Be familiar with your warranty — it may require that you use specific detergents.)

A couple friends volunteered to test out my new soap, so I’m sending them little laundry starter sets of soap, a couple lavender dryer sachets and six “bubble” clothespins.

Samples of Laundry Goodies for My Two Volunteer Testers

Wouldn’t these make nice housewarming or hostess gifts?

18 thoughts on “Homemade Laundry Soap

  1. Can’t wait to try these! I’ve been very disappointed with the other ‘green’ cleaning products I’ve tried. Fabric softener gives me asthma attacks, so anxious to try vinegar… Tho my husband hates *that* scent…

  2. Thanks, Boomer! :)

    Hi, Elizabeth! I’ve become “iffy” about homemade dishwasher detergent, but the laundry soap is working BETTER than the expensive brand name stuff I paid so much more for! A friend suggested we should be making extra for the local food pantry, so I feel a need to share what I’m making.

    The vinegar works great, it really surprised me!

  3. I am half through my first batch of homemade detergent and I’m not totally in love so I’m going to try this concoction next. I’ve been adding vinegar to my laundry for several months (even before making my own detergen) and have noticed that my dark colors are much more bold. Especially my blacks, I didn’t realize how muted they had gotten from the ‘ick’ left by commerical detergents.

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  5. This recipe has been a REVELATION in laundry to me! Thank you. I also use the vinegar in the rinse water trick, and there’s absolutely no smell when the clothes come out of the dryer. Just clean smelling clothes, fluffy soft towels and colors so bright & bold I hardly can believe it. Thanks again!

  6. A friend of ours recently had a house fire and lost everything. We bought him laundry basket and filled it with a couple sets of dishes, bath and kitchen towels and laundry soap to help him get started again. It might seem like a weird gift, but I’m sure he’d rather spend his money on so many other things rather than detergent.

  7. Sarah, that’s awesome! I’m a little nervous to try it, because sadly I’m a bubbles = clean kinda girl, but I’m all about saving money… AND I have an HE machine and I think that you get gipped when you buy HE soap because you don’t get as much :o)

    I like that you can pick out your own scents… cause that’s my most fun part of doing laundry, (if you could say there is anything fun about doing laundry at all…)

  8. I love using different scents too and bought two bars each of peppermint, citrus, lavender and eucalyptus soaps. (The cats fight each other for the peppermint soap wrappers. It must smell like catnip or something to them!)

  9. Hey Sarah, What is the difference between laundry soda and baking soda? Also, do you have city sewer or septic… I am pretty fanatical about using liquid soap on my septic system, although really I could just add hot water and make it liquid, eh?

  10. Washing soda is a little more caustic than baking soda, and can’t be used in food. I find the washing soda and borax in the laundry aisle at Krogers, and the baking soda is on the baking aisle. (I order the Dr. Bronner soaps from Vitacost.com, I haven’t found it locally.)

    I have city water, but my friend Kim just moved to a house with a septic tank and she wondered the same thing. She has really hard water and we’re currently doing a little experiment to see how well a tablespoon of detergent dissolves in her water and mine. I’ll let you know if we learn anything. :) There are a lot of liquid homemade recipes out there, just Google and you’ll find a lot if you’d rather try that.

  11. Sarah, Six months ago, I made a five gallon bucket, which cost me a whopping $3.00 of materials. I STILL have some left. This means I will spend less than $10 annually for laundry detergent. Prior to this I was spending $100 annually! A savings of more than $90 a year! That is enough to pay my electric bill for one month! Or fill my tank twice! I have used this same recipe and I am very pleased with it.

  12. That’s awesome, Nannette! :) I was just thinking that what I’m making this weekend should last us over a year, IF I can keep from giving it away. I even gave some as Christmas gifts last year. (It’s so nice skipping the expensive laundry aisle at the grocery store, I love sharing that feeling.)

  13. Just spent a small fortune on a new W/D, and have already been a Dr. Bronner’s fan for too many years to count (Trader Joe’s carries it for cheap)… so I’m going to try this and pray the vinegar smell evaporates and we have soft, sweet sheets:)

    I AM a vegetarian, and we’re both allergic to most additives, so this could be a winner! I already use vinegar to clean glass, the inside of the DW (just a cup to run an empty load once a month) and the same for my washer, as well as our wood floors.

    Peppermint rocks!

  14. This is my absolute favorite for sheets! You will probably smell a hint of vinegar when you take them out of the washer, but by the time they’re done in the dryer they’ll just smell CLEAN. Well, I always use lavender sachets in the dryer with sheets, because the one thing I missed from fabric softeners was the scent. Now I have that soothing lavender scent from the lavender itself.

  15. hi! i have bought the ingredients & cannot wait to try the home-made detergent. thanks in advance for sharing all this! very kind of you… :)

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