Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

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Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap that actually works! With pics of the amazing results.

A few years ago, just as I was jumping on the “crunchy” real food wagon, I started hearing about homemade laundry soap. The idea of making my own soap was intriguing and something all the cool crunchy moms did. There was no way I was going to fess up to using chemical-ridden Tide, so I joined the cool play-date moms and made my own.

The majority of recipes I found called for a bar of soap, Washing Soda, and Borax. Simple, cost-effective, and much safer than most store-bought detergents. I’ll never forget the look on my family’s face when I proudly announced my new venture, homemade laundry soap. You made what?

Of course, I was eager to test out my new creation. I poured in the powder soap, turned on the machine, and loaded the clothes. The sense of accomplishment I felt while my washing machine swished and swirled was like none other. Forget graduating college or landing my first real job, I just made homemade laundry soap!

The moment of truth came. I eagerly opened the machine and pulled out the first few clothes. Disappointment set in. Chalk-like stains decorated every piece of clothing I pulled out. Darn. I washed, rewashed, re-rewashed, kept washing. Nothing worked.

So, here I am, the creator and author of a simple living, all-natural blog and I use Tide. It’s real around here. No judging. Just the plain ol’ truth. I know it’s not good for our clothes, skin, or the environment, but my family has a legitimate need–clean clothes. I can’t send my husband to work stained and smelling like BO. The word is already out we keep chickens and drink raw milk, we don’t need BO.

I’ve been conflicted. Wanting to make my own homemade laundry detergent, but stuck in the comfort and certainty of the store-bought detergent. I’ve spent many nap times, quietly sipping my coffee with toys scattered across the floor, the laundry pile starring me down, formulating the perfect homemade soap in my tired mommy-brain. A soap that’s effective at fighting stains, odors, and doesn’t ruin our clothes.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap that actually works! With pics of the amazing results.

Finally, last week, I took the plunge, again. I ventured down the road of homemade laundry soap. With four simple ingredients and ten minutes, I whipped up the soap I’ve been formulating. Nothing fancy, just simple ingredients. After multiple tests, including a chocolate chip stain, I’ve decided homemade laundry soap is here to stay. Sorry, Tide, it’s time to break-up.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap that actually works! With pics of the amazing results.

Meet my new go-to homemade laundry soap.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap that actually works! With pics of the amazing results.

This simple laundry soap makes a little bit over one-gallon. The total cost of the ingredients is approximately $15. The ingredients can all be used multiple times, bringing the cost much, much lower. This homemade liquid laundry soap is highly concentrated which means you need only a small amount to get the dirty job done.

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4.8 from 34 votes
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Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

I ventured down the road of homemade laundry soap. With four simple ingredients and ten minutes, I whipped up the soap Iโ€™ve been formulating. Nothing fancy, just simple ingredients. After multiple tests, including a chocolate chip stain, Iโ€™ve decided homemade laundry soap is here to stay. Sorry, Tide, itโ€™s time to break-up.

Course DIY, Homemade
Cuisine Cleaning
Keyword Laundry Soap
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 17 Cups
Author Kristin Marr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a slight boil. Once the water begins to boil, turn off the burner and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir to dissolve.
  2. In a large bucket (I use a 2 gallon bucket from the hardware store), combine the remaining 11 cups of room-temperature water and 1 cup Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap
  3. -15 drops Essential Oil (optional).
  4. Pour the hot Borax mixture from the saucepan into the bucket.
  5. Stir the mixture together.
  6. Pour your mixture into desired storage container. I use a glass jar, like this, which I found at Target for a few dollars.
  7. As the soap sits, the mixture may form into a gel. There may also be liquid and gel separation, simply stir or shake. This is normal. I use 1/8-1/4 a cup of soap per load of laundry. For stains, I use a small amount of soap directly on the stain. The gel will dissolve in the water of the washing machine.

 

When you introduce water into a product without a preservative you always run the risk of introducing bacteria, so I recommend using this soap quickly. If you don’t think you’ll be able to use the soap quickly, then I recommend reducing the recipe in half. Or, if you’d like to make a non-water-based powder recipe, you can find my recipe here.

HE Washers Note

This soap should work in an HE washer. You’ll only need 1-2 tablespoons per load in an HE washer.

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419 Comments

  • Thank you for this post! I’m a closet tide using crunchy mom too and I’m so excited to try something with similar results as my favorite detergent! Just a few questions though… Do you wash in hot, cold, or warm water? Does the use of different temperatures affect the outcome with the homemade detergent? Thanks again for this recipe.

    • So glad to meet another closet Tide user ;). I usually wash our clothes in warm water, with kids and lots of stains, I find it works best. But, when testing this soap I tried using cold water and it worked wonderfully. If you use cold water, I’d recommend swishing the detergent in the water with your hand, just to be sure it dissolves fully.

      • 4 stars
        I have another question in regards to temperature settings. I’m using the powder formula with essential oils. I’ve heard that if I were to wash in cold the essential oils would “linger” on clothes and once placed in the dryer at a high temp could cause a flash fire. Is this true, or is the amount of essential oils in detergent small enough that water and dryer temperature shouldn’t cause this. Thanks

        • Hey Melissa, Any natural scent won’t last, from my experience. That’s why synthetic fragrances are used in so many products–the scents last. The temp may help, but I don’t think it will make a big difference.

    • 5 stars
      Hi Kristin, I am so excited to have found your blog. I am a new mom, and apparently having a baby brought out the “crunchy” side I never knew I had. Now, here I am cloth diapering! Have you or anyone you know used this on cloth diapers? Is there any reason why this detergent wouldn’t be cloth friendly? We currently use Charlie’s soap but I would love a make-at-home option.

      • That made me chuckle. Having kids brought out my “crunchy” side too ;). I’m not sure about the soap on cloth diapers. I asked around to other crunchy bloggers, who use cloth diapers, and all said once you use Charlie’s Soap, it can be hard to switch to other detergents. So, I’m not really sure, sorry.

    • I been using my homemade laundry bar both powder and liquid with pure castile, Bastile or 100% coconut soap. I have no problem in my laundry, no residue whatsoever.

    • I just made this for the second time. I use 3 of my old commercial detergent containers to store and pour from. The measuring cap is handy and the jugs have the ‘no drip’ spout. Also, I had 2 cups left over so I used it to damp mop my hard wood floors. This worked great and no tacky floors either. BONUS.
      Thank You,
      Lisa

    • I use the same recipe, but only mix the 2 powdered ingredients together. When starting a load of laundry, add the dry ingredients to the washer with the water temp set on “hot”. Squirt the liquid Dr. Bonner’s into the water. You only have to have use hot water for a minute or 2-just long enough to dissolve the powder. You only need 2-3 tablespoons of powder and one squirt or (1 tablespoon) of liquid. I use peppermint or eucalyptus Dr. Bonner’s. It is very simple to use and never leaves a residue. The powder combination also works well as a pan scrub.

      • Thank you Reenie for posting this. I stumbled on this recipe looking for laundry soap that uses liquid Castile vs shaved bar soap. I wanted to try it, but was concerned about making such a large amount with not knowing if it would work for me. I was going to make a smaller batch, but then I found your comment. If it works, I will probably just do it this way each time and not even mix it up in advance. My kids (teens) do their own laundry so it will depend on the ease of use for them. I really hope this works. I still can’t believe the “green” detergent I’ve been using has SLS in it. I also can’t believe I never noticed it on the ingredients list! (Duh to me!)

        I have a question for you and/or Kristin and/or anyone else who reads this: I have been making my own fabric softener with vinegar and hair conditioner. It’s not great, but not horrible (I mean it’s better than no softener). It took me a lot of perusing the aisle to find a cheap conditioner that doesn’t have dimethicone in it! Anyway, what do you diy’ers use for softener? I live in Florida where I believe our water is hard with limestone deposits. Don’t quote me on that though! Thanks for any and all of your help ๐Ÿ™‚