Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

It seems like these days a lot of people have their own version of homemade laundry soap. And I think it's great! Many people are beginning to realize just how frugal it is to make your own. We're talking pennies per load!

Throughout my laundry soap making journey, I have been through several different powder, and liquid, detergent recipes. I've tried so many different combinations of things. Some I liked...some not so much.

It wasn't until I decided a few months ago to really simplify, that I settled on this recipe. I listed in a previous post the five items I use for all of our household cleaning products. I'll go ahead and list them again (smile):

1. Borax
2. Baking Soda
3. Super Washing Soda
4. White Vinegar (The super cheap stuff.)
5. Castile Soap

*Most of these items should be found on the laundry aisle in your grocery store.
*I also like to get creative with essential oils, if I have them on hand.

Having to remember to buy and stock only these items helps me tremendously! This way, I know I will have what I need, when I need it, in order to make any cleaning product I run out of.

So this weekend we ran out of laundry soap. And here's the recipe I used:

My Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

-1 bar of grated castile soap (1 1/2 cup liquid castile soap)
-1 1/2 cup baking soda
-1 cup super washing soda
-1 cup borax
-Optional: lavender, sweet orange, or your favorite essential oils.

On medium-high heat, in a large pot, simmer 1 quart of pure water along with the grated castile soap, stirring continuously, until melted. Do not allow to boil. Remove pot from heat and add remaining ingredients stirring vigorously until dissolved. Pour contents of pot into a 5 gallon bucket and begin to slowly add 2 gallons of pure water while continuing to stir. Let laundry soap sit for 24 hours prior to use (this allows it to thicken).

Use 1/2 cup of laundry soap per load.


-After the 24 hour thickening period, you may use a funnel to transfer soap into alternative storage bottles, i.e. old milk jugs, old laundry detergent bottles. I keep mine in the bucket, it's just easier for me.

-I like to use Dr. Bronner's lavender castile bar soap (saves on having to use essential oils for this recipe).

-I prefer liquid to powder for one main reason. With the liquid soap everything is already dissolved so I can run the washing cycle with cold water. Whereas with the powder, I had to use warm or hot water to be sure that the powder soap dissolved and did it's job.

-This is a low suds recipe. Therefore, it works just as well as your high-efficiency laundry detergents found in the store.

-You may find, after the soap has cooled, that it is to thick for your liking. Go ahead and add water slowly until your desired consistency is reached. Not to much though; it's supposed to be gel-like.

-For the brightest laundry, pour white vinegar in fabric softener compartment with each load (I promise your clothes will not smell like vinegar and you'll love the results).

Pin It

Don't forget to share this recipe with others; and please leave us a comment about your laundry soap making endeavors so we can all learn from each other.

See this post and a host of others like it here: Monday Mania, Homestead Barn Hop, Homemaker Mondays, From Pinterest to Real Life, Fat Tuesday, New Nostalgia, Teach Me Tuesdays, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Health 2Day Wednesdays, Homemaking Wednesdays, Patchwork Living Blogging Bee, It's a Keeper Thursday, Your Green Resource


At October 4, 2011 at 8:18 AM , Blogger Ashley said...

i found you on tip junkie...i also make my own detergent...can you tell me where you get your essential oils?

ashley @ creating love & joy

At October 4, 2011 at 8:50 AM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

Hi Ashley!

I usually get my essential oils from a local health food store but I really like to order online from Mountain Rose Herbs. They have a really good selection and their prices are good too.

At October 4, 2011 at 9:24 AM , Blogger Angela said...

I have been wanting to do this for a REALLY long time. We have an h.e. washer and I'm so afraid of messing it up. There is warnings all over it saying that you MUST use special "h.e" detergent. Thoughts? Do you know of others that have made their own with h.e. washers?


At October 4, 2011 at 10:19 AM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Angela This is a great question and genuine concern a lot of people have.

I have been using this recipe for a while now in my HE washer. I have never had a problem. HE detergents sold in the stores are simply low-suds formulas. And this, I assure you, is a very low-suds soap. None of the ingredients produce a lot of what some consider "soapy action" (suds).

I know several people who use my recipe and they all have HE washers. No one has ever mentioned having a problem. If you follow the recipe as given here, I can promise you will love the results.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask:)

At October 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM , Blogger chris said...


The recipe I use does not include baking soda, just the washing soda. Is the baking soda necessary?

Thanks so much!

At October 4, 2011 at 1:15 PM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Chris Good question! It is not necessary. However, adding baking soda to laundry detergent can help lift stains from fabric, as baking soda is a natural stain remover. I have little children and I need all the help I can get removing stains:)

At October 4, 2011 at 1:16 PM , Blogger Ashley said...

i have a HE washer... no problems...on the borax box it says that its safe for HE won't mess it up

At October 4, 2011 at 4:16 PM , Anonymous Jill said...

Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Hope to see you next week! Be sure to visit on Sunday for
Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

If you have grain-free recipes please visit Wednesday night for a grain-free linky carnival in support of my 28 day grain-free challenge starting Wednesday!

At October 9, 2011 at 1:44 PM , Blogger RH said...

I use a similar recipe and I have an HE washer that does fine with it. I've been using it for 2 years now. This saves me a lot of money and my family has sensitive skin so it's gentler than store bought detergent. I'll have to try the baking soda version as I have lots of stains to deal with. I order my bars of soap buckets and washing soda through Ace hardware because my grocery stores don't carry it. I use the funnel idea and store my soap in empty vinegar bottles undiluted and then dilute when I transfer it to the empty detergent bottle that I use. I don't add any scents to it since my family is sensitive to them. Thanks for your post!

At October 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM , Blogger GrammaD said...

This was just what I needed.I am out of laundry detergent. I have all the ingredients except a bar of castile soap. I do have a bottle of the liquid castile. I now know how much liquid castile to use.

At October 17, 2011 at 10:57 AM , Anonymous AmyMom6 said...

If you are using the liquid castile soap, do you still need to heat it or can you just add everything in the bucket?

At October 17, 2011 at 6:54 PM , Blogger Andrea said...

@AmyMom6 Great question! I still heat it simply to dissolve the baking soda and borax.

At October 24, 2011 at 12:02 PM , Anonymous Alannah said...

Has anyone come up with a homemade liquid softener? Sometimes I use dryer balls, but since I use unscented detergent (until I use it up and try your laundry soap) I would still like to have a light scent so I use a commercial softener. I've heard hair conditioner works, but that's not cheaper and is still full of chemicals.

At October 25, 2011 at 3:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone know if this is ok to use on cloth diapers? I had heard the borax leaves a residue that causes burns on baby skin when they pee. I would love to use this for my diapers if it will not hurt my baby. Thanks.

At October 26, 2011 at 1:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To eliminate the problem with borax in the diapers, simply rinse them a second time with white vinegar in the water (a 1/2 cup should do it). The vinegar helps cut any residue and the second rinsing helps to eliminate even more stains.

At October 27, 2011 at 12:56 PM , Blogger djones said...

Made this laundry soap and I can't wait to try it. I also made the hand soap since I had all the ingredients. Love it. Perfect timing too. I just ran out of both soaps when I came across your blog. I saved tons of money and now I know what's in my soaps. What a blessing you are.

At October 30, 2011 at 9:03 PM , Anonymous Chris said...

Hi Andrea, thanks for sharing this excellent idea. I have wanted to try this for a long time and now I have no excuse. I recently found your blog and am now following. Please pop on over and visit my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. I would really like that. Hugs, Chris

At November 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM , Anonymous Laura T. said...

Hi Andrea!
I tried this recipe, and I think something (i.e., me, haha) messed up somewhere. I followed the instructions to the letter. I let it sit, covered with a towel, in my laundry room. After about 12 hrs, I went to go check on it. There was about a 2 inch layer of soap (like a really thick gel) sitting on top of about 2 gallons of semi-soapy water. It didn't look right, so I stirred it up. 24 hours later, I checked on it again. Now it's a 5 inch layer of really thick gel-ish soap sitting on top of a little less semi-soapy water. Do you know what might have happened? And (especially) if & how it can be fixed?
Thanks so much!
P.S. - Love your blog!

At November 6, 2011 at 3:39 PM , Anonymous Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable said...

@Laura T. Sometimes this happens:( I don't know why it happens but it does. But don't worry...its not your fault:) And, best part is you can still use it! It's perfectly good laundry soap even if it never gels. Just be sure to give it a good stir before using.

Here are a few tips though:

-Try adding 1/2 cup more super washing soda. Be sure to dissolve it in a very small amount hot water prior to adding it to the rest of the soap. Or get some of the "semi-soapy water" heat it up again and then dissolve the additional washing soda. (Super washing soda acts as a thickener.)

-I'll give you one of my tricks for mixing the soap...I use a stick blender. It works wonders! And really gets everything dissolved and mixed together!

I really hope this helps! But as I's still good even if it never thickens:)

At November 14, 2011 at 6:52 PM , Blogger Kathryn said...

I too have been using this basic recipe for a year or so (without the added baking soda), but my whites are very gray. Can you make any comments to that as to why or how to prevent this?

At December 17, 2011 at 12:06 PM , Blogger The Fredricksons: Brian, Britney, Salty, and Benji said...

I did not read all the above comments, so forgive me if someone else asked the same question, but I am assuming vinegar does not bleach/whiten colored clothes, is that right? So it's a color safe additive?

At December 22, 2011 at 5:12 PM , Anonymous Candace @ Sacred Mommyhood said...

I've been making my own detergent for years. Love it. I've always done powder, but think I will give liquid a try!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home