DIY Laundry Soap. No, I’m not a crunchy-granola kind of mom!

I started making my own laundry soap.

Now, if you start to think that I am a hippy-tree hugging- crunchy granola kind of mom, I’m not. We use disposable diapers at our house, and paper towels.  I’m all about filling up the land fills. (Okay, not really, but if you’re ever in Virginia Beach, you have to visit Mount Trashmore! It’s for reals people!) I do recycle… some.  Not as much as I should… But seriously, I’m about as far away from crunchy granola as you can get. (Believe me, I know some.)  ;)

We have a HE (high efficiency) washer, and the cost of laundry soap is just outrageous for HE laundry soap.  The reason you have to use special soap for a HE washer is because it uses less water, and so you need less suds.

Okay, just a thought here… If you need less suds, wouldn’t that mean less ingredients to make less suds, and therefore costing less to make??  You would think.

Anywho… so I started making my own soap and I don’t think I will ever go back.  it is just too stinking cheap to make. And did I mention easy? (I’m all about easy these days!)

You only need three ingredients:

1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda (this is different from baking soda)
1 bar of soap. (most laundry-soap-maker connoisseurs recommend Fels-Naptha or Zote for the bar of soap, but I do know that some people like to use dove, or ivory because they are a softer soap.)

Here is a picture of what to look for in the store. (’cause I had no idea.)

(If you look close, you can see on the box of Borax that it is safe for HE washers.)

You may have to go to a couple of stores to find what you need. I found all three ingredients at our Meijer.  *Wal-Mart did have the Fels-Naptha (which was cheaper than Meijer) but, it did not have the Borax or the washing soda. (Go figure, since I hardly ever shop at Meijer! I’m a Wal-Mart kind of girl, but I hope to never be on the website, People of Wal-Mart dot-com!  Just sayn’…)

*Update* Our Wal-Mart now carries all three ingredients!  One stop shopping, it’s what I’m all about! Woo-Hoo!

Here is what you do:

You need to grate your bar of soap.

I wanted to be sure that I could wash my stuff on cold, if I wanted, so I also ran the soap in the food processor until it was really fine.

Then you mix 1 cup Borax and 1 cup washing soda with the grated bar of soap and put it in a container.

Mix it all up…

and Voila! You have laundry soap!

I did 3 batches at once and put it in this 11 cup container, and only filled it half full.  The best part is you only use 1 Tbsp per load, so this will last me for a while.  Each batch does 40 plus loads.  I did the math, and that is about $.05 a load, waaaaay cheaper than store-bought soap.  Yay!

My friend Trudy is the one who got me started on making my own laundry soap, but she does the liquid kind.  Here is a liquid version of my powdered version.  I chose to do the dry, because it is waaaay easier.  Anything that calls for the use of a five gallon bucket sounds too complicated to me, but you can check it out for yourself and make your own decision.  Love ya, Trudy! ;)

Anyway, back to the landfills, got to go change a dirty diaper!

PS. Disclaimer: I have not personally visited the website, People of Wal-Mart, but I’ve been told it has pictures of the crazy people who shop there.  Um… no comments please!  ;)


DIY Laundry Soap. No, I’m not a crunchy-granola kind of mom! — 39 Comments

  1. What a cute container!!! The powder does look easier… I wonder if I can use powder in my machine? It has a side dispenser for the liquid…hmmmm… now I have to go dig out the book on my washer. Ummmm are you gonna blend food in that after the soap??? I LOVE the smell of that soap.. so clean.. but strong.. I have special bowls that I keep just for the grated soap.

    • My washer has a side dispenser also. There is a lever that I push if I want to use powder. I love it the smell of this soap too! Yes, I will use the processor again. I put water in the processor and turned it on to dissolve any soap that was left behind and then I put it in the dishwasher. I figured, it was just soap, and I use soap to clean it with, right? :)

      • I don’t have a lever… I don’t think.. I will have to check!
        Yes, it is just soap… but we keep ours in tupperware bowls and it seemed to really keep the smell…. so I just use them for soap now! :)

          • this recipe is safe of HE washers , the ones with a drawer you pull out , and put the soap in there … if you have ever started your washer and then opened that drawer you would see the water runs right threw it I love homemade laundry soap super cheap and safe

          • this recipe is safe of HE washers , the ones with a drawer you pull out , and put the soap in there … if you have ever started your washer and then opened that drawer you would see the water runs right threw it I love homemade laundry soap super cheap and safe. and my walmart has all ingredients next to each other, dove or any other soaps are not a safe alternative they are a body soap which makes suds, really bad for any washer….. fels and zote soaps are “laundry” soaps little to no suds and awesome on keeping your washer working at its best

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  3. I need to try the dry recipe…I make the liquid like Trudy, but the dry does look easier. Oh, BYW, our Walmart now carries all 3 ingredients needed, so you might want to try your Walmart again….I love the one-stop-shop.

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    • Yes, you can use this soap in any kind of washing machine. The HE requires less suds to wash clothes so you have to use a soap that makes less suds, and this DIY soap makes less suds. It will still wash the same, regardless of what type a machine you have. Hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by! :D

  6. i have been making this recipe for a year or more. I love it. we have switched completely to this from store bought detergent and it saves a lot of money. the link to the liquid detergent recipe isn’t working. I have been looking for a liquid recipe I like and would love it if you could give the link. :) thanks!

  7. Thanks for the recipe!!! I just finished making my first batch, and I’ve got the first load of laundry in the machine!! I used Zote (because it was on sale…wow that makes me sound even cheaper than I really am!!) and noticed that when I ran it through the food processor it made little beads instead of getting powdery. Next time, I may grate it and freeze it before grinding it… I wonder what effect that would have? hmm….

    • Erin, if you process it with some of the washing soda, and Borax the soap will grind down a little more, but you will still see little bits of the soap in your detergent. At least I’ve found it true for me. Hope this helps! :D

  8. I’m trying this now! We are super excited .. We have never tried a powder kind.. We also do not have an He washer — I tried just a Tbsp now.. but wondering if I have to use more? Going to put it to the test with my fiance’s work jackets next ! The only downside was I had to travel to the Super Walmart because our little Walmart does not have ANY of the items!!

    • Hey, Stephanie! If you can smell the detergent when you take the clothes out of the wash, then a Tbsp is enough. If not then you could add a little more the next time. Keep checking at your Walmart, ’cause ours eventually started carrying all the ingredients. They do not put them on the same side of the isle as the regular laundry soap, however, they are stocked next to the OxyClean. Thanks for stopping by! :D

  9. I just had to comment on this, because we have a trash mountain near where I live in Tennessee. It looks bigger than the one you posted, though. But they built a playground at the base and hold events in the summer, which I think is crazy, because our trash mountain actually stinks sometimes!
    Ha, sorry to be so random, I just don’t know of other places with trash mountains like that.

  10. I just made my first batch. I can’t wait to try it :) Instead of grating the bar by hand my food processor has another blade to shred so I did it all in my food processor. :)

  11. I understand it’s Wiki but they tend to be pretty good with the science articles. Do you know of anyone who addresses this issue of respiratory, fertility, and pregnancy/fetal problems with long-term usage of Borax? When you read on that page the other things it’s used for – it’s definitely cringe-worthy!

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  13. love the idea about laundry soap have had trouble with different soaps though it makes my skin break out is this a mild soap? and i’m not sure if i got what to do if you have a reg machine thank you love your site

    • Phyllis, I don’t know if I would consider felsnaptha a mild, soap or not. I use it on everyone’s clothes, even the baby’s, and I’ve never had a problem. I know that some people use Ivory soap if they were concerned about the gentleness of the soap. If you do use Ivory, I think I would use 2 bars instead of 1 for this recipe.

      If you have a regular washing machine, you may need to use a little more soap than 1 tablespoon per load. Start out with the 1 tablespoon first, though. If you can smell the soap on the clothes, you know you’ve used enough. If not, just add a little more. Hope this helps, and thanks for stopping by! :D

  14. My daughter has eczema and very sensitive skin. Any experience with the homemade soap and sensitive skin issues?

    • Debbie, I use this soap on everyone’s laundry, even the baby and have never had any issues. You can also use Ivory bar soap to make the soap more mild. I would use 2 bars of Ivory, instead of 1 bar of the Felsnaptha. Hope this helps, and thanks for stopping by! :D

    • I make the liquid version but only use sunlight soap, water & (lectric) washing soda. My daughter has extremely sensitive skin and suffers from eczema. This has been really great for her. She hasn’t had any reactions what-so-ever from it.
      I can’t wait to try the powdered version though :)

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