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DIY Laundry Soap

May 29th, 2013 | Posted by Emily in DIY | Goal Setting | Green Bungie | Making things | Thrifty Finds

Making DIY laundry soap has been on my to-do list for awhile, especially after reading about Yellow Brick Home and Wayward Dog‘s forays into the sudsy practice. It is seriously so easy, I’m not sure why I waited so long to give it a try.

First I tried to recruit an assistant. He didn’t seem to be interested in helping though.

DIY Laundry Soap? Girrrrrl, you must be crazy!

Next, I assembled my ingredients: Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, Borax, and a bar of Dr. Bronner’s Lavender soap.

 First, I grated the soap…


Then I mixed together 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of Super Washing Soda, and the soap shavings. Once everything was mixed up, I put it in a cute cannister I got at Target. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.



Get this… it only takes 1 Tablespoon of this detergent to wash a regular load of laundry! I’m not kidding you. One batch can do 40+ loads of laundry… and the Washing Soda and Borax can make 5 batches (all you have to re-buy is the pure castille soap). So this is way cheaper than the Method laundry soap I used to buy, and still all natural! I love how the laundry smells so good going from the washer to the dryer and then comes out of the dryer magically scent-free and fluffy as all get out. I don’t even have to use a dryer sheet! Oh, happy day!

Do you make your own laundry detergent?  Share the recipe you use (or particular scents you prefer) in the comments below!

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30 Responses

  • So glad you jumped on this bandwagon with me!!! I’m glad to hear the Dr. Bronner’s soap is working for you. We mix our detergent into a gel (better for our HE machine, I think???) and we noticed that soap wasn’t dissolving as much as we wanted. Our most recent batch involved actual laundry soap – Fels Naptha. We have also had good luck with shredded soap from Nutressant, a local company. As for the scents, Zach likes to add some essential oil to the mix, like eucalyptus or citrus. We also add a little vinegar to every wash.

    • avatar Emily says:

      From the research I’ve done, it seems that it really doesn’t make a difference whether you use powder or liquid in an HE washer, because both are low suds! :) I think I would like to try the Fels Naptha next time because the orange flakes would look so pretty against the white powder in my laundry cannister! :) I hadn’t thought of adding essential oils though – I’ll have to try that next time!

  • We use this same recipe! I did lavender in my last batch — love!! I made my mom one with eucalyptus (amazing). I want to try the next with almond.

    I agree – the one reason I love using Fels is because it’s pretty (is that wrong? lol)

  • avatar Jenna Krabacher says:

    I have been using this same exact recipe for months and i love it! The Dr. Bronners lavender smells soooooooo good – I just love doing laundry now :) The only suggestion I have is pour it all in a food processor and grind it all up real good if you have a front load washer. I have found that if I do not it kind of gunks up and I fear it may clog up my washer one day :(

    My other favorite recipe is half Whole Foods 365 brand lavender conditioner and half vinegar. Most recipes say to add water, but when I did that the mixture got all clumpy. So I did half and half with the conditioner and vinegar and it works like a champ. It amazes me how soft my clothes and the doggie beds come out and no, they never smell like vinegar :)

    We are a chemical free household and these are two of my absolute favorite recipes ever!

    • avatar Leslie Lucas says:

      Hi Jenna! Could you tell me exactly what you have been using in your detergent? Your’s sounds the most appealing to me but I need a step by step or I will totally mess it up! HAHA! Thanks so much!

  • avatar MayzieMom says:

    One tablespoon? Wow! Is that for non-HE machines as well? (Ours is your regular old, use-lots-of-water machine.) I’m going to have to give this a shot.

    • avatar Emily says:

      Mayzie’s Mom – Yep! We have a regular old non-HE machine and it works like a charm! The only thing I do as an extra step (which may not be necessary but I am anal retentive so I do it anyways) is to dissolve the detergent in a glass of hot water before I put it in the washer to start the melting process for the soap flakes. But I am not sure that is completely necessary. :)

  • Yay, DIY laundry soap bandwagon!

    That was by far our most popular post EVER, and it has a billion comments (okay, 300+) that’s practically a full on discussion forum. If your readers have any questions, I can guarantee they’ve all been answered in the comments on our post, from every single side.

    http://www.yellowbrickhome.com/2011/03/16/diy-suds/

    We actually JUST bought our second box of Borax and Washing Soda – over 2 years after we first started using this!

    • avatar Emily says:

      Thanks, Kim! I actually linked to you in my post also – since your post was one of my inspirations to take on this project! :)

  • avatar OhMelvin says:

    Your assistant is SO HANDSOME!!!

  • Oh, I soooo want to do this. I’m going to get the ingredients asap so I can make some as well. But as far as dryer sheets go, I wholeheartedly hate them. I use dryer balls which tumble around and fluff everything naturally.

    • avatar Emily says:

      I completely agree on the dryer sheet! We used to use the dryer balls but since we switched to this soap, we don’t even need those! Score!

  • avatar Corbin says:

    I’ve read about this – but I fear a powder like that might clog up my HE front loader? So tempted… the more money I save on groceries… the more gets spent on Corbin.
    -Corbin’s momma, Jenn

    • avatar Emily says:

      There is also a liquid version that Wayward Dogs wrote about, or if you really grind up the soap flakes (using a food processor or a fine grater), then from what I understand you can use them in a front loader just fine! :)

  • avatar Sickel says:

    This is interesting. I’ve thought about this because laundry soap is so stinking expensive here. (Sometimes the best deal we can do is $40 for a box. FORTY DOLLARS. We could go broke just trying not to be stinky!) I wonder if they would let a couple of boxes of white powder through customs? I am fairly certain I can’t buy any of this here. Hmmmmmmm . . . I had kind of given up the idea, but now I’m considering it again.

    • avatar Emily says:

      Could someone MAIL you the stuff? Like, if it came from Amazon would it get to you? I would hate to see you stopped at the security line at the airport for carrying multiple boxes of white powder! Poor Micah needs his mommy to stay outta jail! 😉

  • avatar pitlandiapooch says:

    OMG I want to make this!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing! Where did you get the soap?? Just wondering if it’s local to you or if I’d be able to find it somewhere here. Actually, now that I look back at your picture, I feel like I’ve seen that packaging. Maybe Target?

    • avatar Emily says:

      You can get the Dr Bronners soap at Target, yes, but I am sure you could also get some local soap that would work just fine too! :)

  • I’m allergic to just about every soap under the sun and have been using Tide (Sensitive)… I’m wondering if it would be a good idea to give this a try!

  • avatar Emily says:

    What’s up, crafty lady? My mom has made her own soap for years and I think it’s just Borax and Fels Naptha but I’m not sure…
    Moby is all about DIY I see…
    Next up– DIY dog food!

  • avatar Toni says:

    I primarily only use cold water. Do you need to wash in ONLY hot water? Will the soap still work in cold water?