Laundry Soap Recipe

I have sucky super sensitive skin.  Any additives in laundry soap makes my skin break out in hives and eczema type reactions.  After trying all the detergents with no added anything I found started experimenting making my own laundry soap.   What I came up with is what I believe is the best laundry soap recipe.

Ingredients for homemade laundry soap


1 cup washing soda or baking soda   *washing soda is supposedly harsher- I’ve used both and don’t find a difference

1 cup borax   *Trent @ Simple Dollar uses 1/2 c.  We have really hard water and 1 c seems to do the trick.

1 bar soap   *I use Ivory.

Approximately 3 gallons water


A container that can hold at least 4 gallons with a lid   * I use a 5 gallon bucket and then after it’s made I fill an old laundry soap container and store the bucket elsewhere.  Having a 5 gallon bucket taking up space in my tiny little laundry room just didn’t make sense to me.  

A large stirring instrument   *I use a wooden spoon

A pot to boil water and the soap in

A box grater


1.  Put 4 cups of water into the pan and put it on the stove on high until it’s at boiling.

No, Ivory is not paying me to use their soap.

2.  While it’s heating up, take a bar of soap and grate it up. You don’t want big pieces so try and grate it into small flakes.

3.  When the water is boiling, start throwing in the soap. Do it slowly.  If you get chunks stir them against the side of the pot to melt them down.  The water will become the color of the soap.  With Ivory it turns white.

Slowly add the soap shavings to the boiling water and stir

4. After it’s fully melted turn the heat down to a low simmer.

Fill a separate container with 3 gallons of hot/warm water.

5.  Grab your large container and add 3 gallons of hot/warm water.  I find if it’s not warm enough the borax does not dissolve well.

6.  To this bucket add the washing soda (or baking soda) and stir.

Pour in the washing soda or baking soda and the borax.

7.  Stir in the borax.

8.  Add and stir in the soap mixture from the stove top.

After all this stirring, you’ll have a bucket full of vaguely soapy water.  Your batch may be a different color than mine.  Don’t worry!

9.  Let it sit overnight with the lid on it.


This batch has none of the jello-like globs. It's hit or miss!

The next day it may have a jello-like texture on top or it might be watery.  I’ve gotten both and it doesn’t seem to work any different.  Just stir it before you use it.

This container has been reused over and over again


I use 1c for a medium to large load of laundry.


I did the costs a few years ago and I found that I spend about $3 to make 4 gallons which lasts 5- 6 months versus 1 gallon of All Free & Clear which lasted  2-3 months at a cost of $12.  I’m gonna retire on all that soap money I’m saving!


Give yourself 30 minutes the first time.  I can do the entire process in  about 20 minutes now.  Less time than it takes me to drive to the store to buy laundry soap!


One thing I’ve tried to do over the last few years is buy less stuff.  I’d rather buy fewer items even if I’m buying more of them.  All of these ingredients double as cleaning agents in my household cleaners.  If you were to look in my utility closet you would find borax, baking soda, washing soda and distilled vinegar.  In my refrigerator is a large bottle of lemon juice.  I don’t get too fancy.

Does it work?

Yup!  We switched using this laundry soap recipe about 2 years ago and haven’t looked back.  I tried a side by side test with Tide a couple months ago just to be sure and they both performed the same.  We have one of those ‘high efficiency’ washers that you are supposed to only use special soap with.  We don’t and it’s hasn’t been a problem.

Stay tuned as I take you on more household cleaning adventures!  Who knew cleaning could be so fun!

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    Posted September 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    I just bought a jug of Tide for $12, but when it’s gone, I’m going to make this recipe! Sick of paying so much for something so simple!

    • Posted September 5, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

      Nope, never, no-way will you do that again! SO simple…

    • Posted September 12, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Nope, never, no-way will you do that again! SO simple…

  2. Angelaras
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Glad to have found your blog again. I had forgotten to add it to my subscriptions. Neat site. 🙂 I make my own soap too – also from the Simple Dollar! Funny, I saw the photo of the ALL soap dispenser and I said… Why???? Because I was using the exact same one for my soap then when it went empty, my boyfriend threw it out! I’m too cheap to buy a replacement so I’ve been just using a measuring cup and the big bucket. I soon will transition to milk jugs but I still miss that soap dispenser to this day. Sooo useful!

    • Posted October 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Shame the boyfriend! Well, maybe not, but you could always hold it over his head for a future need. 😕
      I want to re-write my post from Molly On Money on the castille soap I make. YOU will LOVE it!!

  3. Posted January 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Just followed this recipe and made just 1 gallon of it. It took me only 20 minutes including prepping and cleaning the mess! Easy!! Thanks for the laundry detergent recipe!

  4. Emily
    Posted April 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    an even easier way to make this recipe is to just mix all the dry ingredients together and use just one tablespoon in your laundry. it saves a ton of time and a ton of money. I keep mine in a plastic container with a tablespoon measure in it to just scoop into the laundry!

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