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.

4.73 from 48 votes

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 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.
Kristin Marr
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course DIY, Homemade
Cuisine Cleaning
Servings 17 Cups



  • 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.
  • 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
  • -15 drops Essential Oil (optional).
  • Pour the hot Borax mixture from the saucepan into the bucket.
  • Stir the mixture together.
  • Pour your mixture into desired storage container. I use a glass jar, like this, which I found at Target for a few dollars.
  • 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.
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!


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.


  1. 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.

    1. 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.

          1. Mine also looks just like liquid water with bubbles and not a gel is that ok? thanks for the tips 🙂

      1. 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

        1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. I just made the laundry soap today and can’t wait to try it. When you say to use it quickly as water could breed bacteria, how fast do you mean?

          1. What if I add vinegar to the laundry soap? Would that help the bacteria problem? Kinda like pickling, but not. Lol! I know it’s good for your clothes and to maintain a clean washing machine.

    4. 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,

    5. 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.

      1. 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 🙂

        1. Hey Deana, I actually have a DIY laundry softener post going up this month ;). I use two methods for softening my laundry: 1/ vinegar: just 3/4 cup in the final rinse cycle of the washing machine 2/kosher salt: this helps to break down hard water–around 1/2 cup. I live in Florida, too, so I have the same issues, but these methods work well for me.

          1. So far so good. I mixed equal parts of borax and washing soda and use 2 tablespoons for a regular sized load. Then I measure up to 1 tablespoon of castille soap. I had been using lavender, but I just got some unscented that I’m going to use to play around with some different essential oils. Clothes are coming out just as clean, if not cleaner than with the supposed “green” brand I was using.

            When I made the fabric softener, I replaced most of the water in the recipe for vinegar. I also dissolved 1/2 cup of kosher salt; whole recipe was about 5 cups. I measured 3 capfuls of an old softener container I repurposed for my own. It’s probably somewhere around 1/3 cup. Just finished my first load and my clothes are oh so soft! Thank you Kristin and Reenie :)))

          2. I live in the desert in CA and just started using this for fabric softener:
            1 gallon distilled white vinegar
            2 cups baking soda
            20-30 drops Lavender EO
            10 drops Lemon EO
            Put vinegar in a large pot/bucket and SLOWLY (about 1/8 C at time to avoid a major boil over) add the baking soda until all fizzing is gone and it is all dissolved. *I forgot about this reaction initially and had a HUGE mess on my hands and all over my garage floor, whoops*
            Add EO’s and stir well.
            Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup per load of laundry
            I put mine in a glass drink dispenser I found at Walmart (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tabletops-Gallery-5-liter-Glass-Yorkshire-Drink-Dispenser-with-Metal-Lid/28833200) and use my old downy ball for ease. I also use doTERRA brand oils, but I am sure others would work just as well.

        2. I never use fabric softener haven’t for 12+ years. I don’t have staticy clothes either. I separate what I dry by type of fabric then I only dry on low except jeans, sheets and towels. My loads are as follows
          Synthetics athletic ware anything made of synthetic–I wash on cool/warm and dry low for only 30 minutes in my dryer–you have to figure out how long in your own dryer–they come out of mine with a hint of damp but then cool to dry and NO STATIC
          I do the same for all other types inc. T-shirt/cotton jersey, cotton–ironable broad cloth, heavy denim or canvas and so on. Static comes from generating energy by rubbing dry stuff together mostly plastics like synthetic or polyester in clothes. If you take your clothes out the dryer just as they are dry or a minute before completely dry then you have no STATIC! Good Luck–this also is good for getting wrinkle free clothes—I hate ironing too!

          1. Making my first batch of liquid castile laundry soap, no borax. So excited! I have used 3 tinfoil balls in the dryer (when I seldom use it) and NO static 🙂 It works! 🙂

      2. Wow, great idea, I’m trying your per load recipe right now. I love not have to worry about bacteria/expiration dates. I microwaved some water to boiling to dissolve the dry ingredients and also mixed in the castile soap because my washer was already full. It worked like a charm. I had one concern from this other blogger that said homemade detergent can cause problems over time to your clothes, your washing machine and void your washing machine warranty. I’m wondering if anyone has been using this recipe long term and had any issues? Thank you so much Kristin for this recipe and Reenie! Here’s the link to that article I mentioned: https://www.goingzerowaste.com/blog/why-you-should-never-make-laundry-detergent/

          1. Hi Kristin, It’s so fun to hear from you, thanks! I LOVE this laundry soap, my clothes were cleaner than with Biokleen Sport which I’ve loved and used for years. I’m trying to cut out plastic bottles so this helps a lot. Although Dr. Bronner’s products come in plastic bottles, at least they are made from recycled plastic and a little of it goes a long way. I think I’ll experiment with a teaspoon of Sal Suds (per load) as a castile soap replacement to try to steer clear of any issues. I also really love the soft scrub on your site. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing all your hard work (and your team’s hard work) to help us all make better choices. I am so grateful!

    6. You say to use water for this laundry soap. Does it need to be distilled water like most of your other recipes?
      Thanks in advance!

      1. I was wondering if you have determined out if this can be used on front loading HE washing machines. I’d love to use a homemade detergent.

    1. Hi Marj, This soap is liquid and highly concentrated, not a powder or watered down liquid. All three ingredients are effective cleaning agents many people already add to their laundry for extra cleaning power.

  2. Curious how your water is? I am in central Texas, with some seriously crazy hard water. We use dr bronners Castile soaps for many things, e.g. body wash, hand soap, etc., but it reacts so harshly with the hard water, that it leaves a white/grey residual scum all over every surface it comes into contact with. Small price to pay for something that is so cost effective and non-toxic, plus I can scrub it off the sinks and tubs with vinegar, but I’m not sure I’m willing to risk having dull grey clothes, that I can’t just scrub down. :-/I’m scared to try it! Haha!
    I mostly just use country save (what I buy and use for diapers anyway), and whole foods store brand liquid detergent on some specific things (rated 0 on ewg). Your thoughts would be appreciated. 🙂

    1. Hi Monica, We have hard water. I haven’t had any of those experiences with Dr. Bronner’s, yet. I might try testing a small amount with a couple towels. I’ve also been using this as a cleaner, so if it doesn’t work for the laundry, that might be an option.

    2. Hard water in my area too! I’m about to make my second batch of this awesome laundry detergent this week! One batch lasted 4 months for us and we are VERY happy with the results. Clean clothes for pennies. I use a vinegar+hydrogen peroxide+lemon juice combo in my rinse cycle with every load also. The combination works great!

      1. That’s awesome, Megan! I’m so glad you love the laundry soap. I’ll have to try the vinegar+hydrogen peroxide+juice combo…that sounds great! Do you mix the ingredients together and then add the liquid during the rinse cycle?

        1. I mix 1 cup lemon juice + 3 cups hydrogen peroxide + 1 cup white vinegar. Vóila! Color safe “bleach!” With a small european washer I use two TB per load in the rinse cycle.

  3. hi there! thanks for posting this recipe! i’ve heard conflicting opinions on the safety/toxicity of borax. any thoughts??

    1. Hi Oksana, I’ve read many conflicting reports on Borax too. In the end, I had to realize Borax is much, much safer than 99% of the affordable laundry detergents out there. It’s also a very powerful and effective cleaning agent and my family needs clean clothes. I use it with confidence knowing there are far worse I could be using instead.

  4. Hi, I just made this last night and this morning, there was about 2-3 inches of a very thick, almost glycerine type separation at the top of the container. Down below, it’s still very thin. SHould I be mixing it?

    1. I use my stick blender at this point and like Kristen said – put it in smaller containers. Then give a shake and go. Works wonderfully in a HE machine due to its low sudsing ability. I have used this soap over a year now, and so does my family and friends. Haven’t needed Tide in a LONG time and my clothes smell fresh and are so clean.

      1. Suzanne,

        Since you have used this in an HE machine, curious on your results. Additionally, how much do you use per load?


      2. Thanks… I have an HE machine and that was my question! Didn’t want to risk sudsing out my machine but have been wanting to try homemade.

          1. 4 stars
            So with an HE machine, do you put the liquid soap in the dispenser like normal or do you put it on top of the clothes directly into the washer? Thank you!

          2. Hey Victoria, I put the liquid soup in the dispenser (I have an HE top loader). Some folks have had issues with this (if the soap is really thick), so they choose to put it directly in the washer with the clothes. When using powder, I put it directly in the washer with the clothes.

      3. So glad I stumbled upon your comment! I have a HE washer too and have been reluctant to make this because I wasn’t sure how well it would work in my machine. Question though, how much do you use? I generally have large sized loads, and I always use cold to protect my clothes from fading as well as save a bit on energy 🙂 any tips you could share?

  5. I just make the powdered kind, I use one grated bar or fels Naptha, two cups borax and two cups washing soda, in hard water, and I’ve never had any problems with it leaving chalky stuff anywhere. It does help maybe to dissolve it in a bit of hot water before you put the clothes in the washer, but I don’t even bother doing that and I haven’t had a problem. I find it washes my clothes really well, doesn’t suds up (so I can’t see why it wouldn’t work in an HE machine) and I will never go back to Tide as long as I can still find borax and washing soda in the stores. I love it!

  6. I have made.my own laundry detergent before, but I always thought there was still a smell in my daughter’s laundry (she’s potty training) so I have gone back to tide. I am going to give this one a try and hope for the best.
    I do have a question, what do you use for fabric softener. I use vinegar in the wash, but that’s not enough. I have gone back to using bounce sheets in the dryer.

      1. I just wanted you to know, I just finished my first wash with this recipe. It was bed clothes that had been wet in. The smell is gone! I can’t wait to try this on dirty clothes and see the spots come out. Thank you for sharing this!

      2. Ladies, Try the hair conditioner and vinegar fabric softener. After mixing with water, I tried every thing to get it in the dryer! Wash cloths, balls etc. Finally ended up with cutting a sponge in half, put them in a prepacked meat, or Tupperware with lids and pour the DIY softener to cover. Toss them both in with your clean wet clothes. Act like balls and smells good too. AND my husband hasn’t a clue that I’m using DIY soaps or fabric softener made with vinegar! HAHA! ( got him and saving $$!!!)
        You can find recipe on LizMarie Blog OR use a bottle of your favorite CHEAP hair conditioner, a cup or two of wht. Vinegar, fill up a 5 ? liter with water. Will separate so give it shake before you use!

    1. Hi Jana,
      I do not recommend using fabric softener or dryer sheets because of the toxic chemicals in those- they even damage the air quality when it vents outside, from what I have heard. Wool balls work fantastically in place of dryer sheets and they are all natural and not in the least toxic!

    2. 5 stars
      I am a yarn fanatic (I knit and crochet). I just made the wool balls for my drying to replace dryer sheets and I absolutely LOVE them. So easy to make. I happened to have lots of wool yarn sitting around from my yarn addiction, but you could get some inexpensive wool yarn at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby (Walmart, Joanne’s, etc).

      If you want to add a little scent, just drop a few drops of essential oils on one of the balls before starting the dryer.

    3. I tried a number of things for getting rid of unwanted laundry odors (such as wet sheets from a preschooler). I finally found the solution in using a blend of essential oils. I use Purify from Native American Nutritionals, but have also used Purification from Young Living when a friend gave me some for free. Both worked really well. Now I add about 5 drops to each load that contains smelly laundry and the smell is gone before it hits the drying rack. I sometimes also add baking soda on top of the load if there are a few days before it’s going to washed. That helps some, but the Purify works really well for us. Not sure if it’s okay to post the website . . . (http://www.nativeamericannutritionals.com/purify.htm)

      Thanks for the blog post. I’m enjoying your website!

  7. I make and use the powdered detergent as well, in cold water, and have always been very pleased with the results. I have seen comments on other sites that it works very well in HE machines.

  8. I am glad to see you tried and are going to start making your own again! I have not yet made my own detergent but I have switched to a green one that I have used for months now along with using vinegar as a fabric softener and using balls of tinfoil for static cling in the dryer!

    This sounds like a great recipe so I think I am going to have to try it once I am all out of my stuff! Thanks for posting!

  9. 5 stars
    Hello I’m new to the “make your own soap” but plan on making tomorrow/Tuesday. I have read up on Dr. Bronners (btw love dr.bronners) they said if predilute you loose the preservative (vitaminE) bc it gets diluted so you should use in 18 uses. Thank you again for sharing your frugal tips and yummy recipes I have been pinning away for the last week.

  10. Just made this and was wondering what your thoughts are in regard to it being ok for baby clothes? It would be nice to not have to use two different detergents. My husband is in farming so I need heavy duty but gentle enough for baby skin as well.

  11. Just kidding, last one! Other recipes that are liquid detergents, have you let the detergent sit overnight before using. Do you have to do this with this recipe? I used a bar of castile soap instead of the liquid castile soap. I am not sure if that would make a difference. Thanks again!

  12. I use the borax/washing soda/grated ivory or fels naptha mixture all the time.
    Two tablespoons for a load.
    I never have streaking problems – here is why: Start the machine and when a little water has run add the laundry powder. Let the tub fill almost half-way and then add the garments.

  13. What do you use to stir it with and to measure it out? I want to try this, but seems like it would get messy.

    1. Hi K, I usually only stir it once or twice. After about 24 hours of making the soap and then again when it gets toward the bottom of the jar. I either shake it or stir with a wood spoon. I use a small cup, similar to what’s pictured above, just plastic. It scoops out well, without mess.

  14. Hello! I want to try this, but I’ve had a problem in the past with DIY laundry soap making our clothes fade. Have you noticed this at all with this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi E, That’s actually the very reason I created this recipe. I had the same issue with DIY laundry soap recipes in the past. This soap doesn’t fade clothes. 🙂

    1. Hey Lisa, Lol, I love that little scoop. It’s actually part of a measuring cup set I picked up from Home Goods. I’ve also seen the same ones at Pier One Imports. 🙂

  15. I’m going to try it as it sound perfect and very easy to make ! Just a question …I put my liquid detergent directly with the load ( in a small plastic ball) can I do the same with this one or it’s is better to put in the soap dispenser of the washing machine ? Thanks !

    1. Hi Miss Butterfly, I’ve never tried using a plastic ball or the soap dispenser, so I don’t have any experience to speak of. I pour a small amount in the washing machine while the machine fills up with water.

  16. I made the laundry soap about 36 hours ago and it has not turned into a gel-it’s just like water-I used distilled water, could this bb the problem?

    1. Hey Connie, I haven’t tried using distilled water, but I don’t think it will be an issue. I’ve noticed (recently) my laundry soap is taking a few days to set with summer and the warm weather (at least I think that’s the cause)…no worries if it doesn’t. Even if it never gels, it’s still super effective and ready to use in your machine. The gelling is just an added perk.

  17. I’ve been making my own laundry soap for 3 years now (basically same recipe but instead of DrB I disolve a bar of soap) … sometimes it doesn’t gel … I get my stick blender, give it a bit of a buzz then let it sit another day … most of the time it then gels. I also make my own bar soap, and just started making my own liquid soap which is basically the same as DrB … I’m going to use your idea with my new liquid soap – thanks.

  18. I use Tide as well 😉 But only on my cloth diapers, and only because it allows me to use chlorine bleach on them less often because it helps keep away the stink! I’m currently using something made with soap nuts. I’m nervous to try homemade as I’m a stain-freak (as in a HATE stains) and I’m just nervous that homemade won’t work as well! However I think you’ve got me convinced and when we run out of our store-bought laundry detergent, I might have to give this a try! I have an HE washer so we’ll see how this goes 😀

    1. I’m so happy to meet another naturally-minded Tide user ;). It’s freeing to confess, lol. I had some really bad experiences with homemade laundry soap, but this recipe sold me! There’s zero fading and it actually cleans our clothes. Can’t wait to hear what you think.

  19. Hello Kristin,
    Just tried to make the laundry soap and I must be doing something wrong. It’s very watery. I double measured twice. Using six cups boiled water then eleven of room temp. water. How much detergent is it supposed to make? I would need two huge jars to fit the blended mix 🙂 Love your blog:)


    1. Hey Malin, Thank you so much.

      This recipe will produce a little more than a gallon of soap, so you’ll probably need a 1.5 gallon jar or divide the recipe between multiple jars. The soap can either be very watery or gel…both are very effective. I’ve found, for some odd reason, this soap sets (gels) better in the winter and colder months, and during the summer it can take days to gel. Gelling is just an added perk, but doesn’t effect the cleaning-power. Enjoy!!

  20. I just started using epson salt as a softener. It works great. Safe and not harmful to the environment.
    Just add a few tablespoons to the wash.

  21. Hi! I just made you recipe for liquid laundry soap and mine made a little gel on top but when I shake it and go to use it, it is pure liquid. What went wrong and can I use what I made or should I just start over?

    1. Hey Sydney, The recipe takes 24-48 hours to gel. Some people experience gelling issues in the summer heat (if you’re storing the soap outside in the garage or laundry room). Gelling is just an added bonus, but is not required for the soap to be effective. You can start using it ASAP.

  22. I have been using this detergent for a couple of weeks now. At first it separated and was watery but after I stirred it and it sat for another day or two, it thickened up. It’s rather lumpy but that’s no problem. I have an HE front loader and have noticed that it does not produce suds at all. At first I was concerned but others have said that this is an added plus for HE washers. I have used between 2-3 T per load and it seems that my clothes are clean and smelling fresh. I also added about 15 drops of lavender essential oil. Today I used a few tablespoons to clean the shower. It worked great with no toxic fumes!

    1. Hey Carol, I’m so glad you like it and your clothes are clean! I’ve used this soap to clean upholstered chairs and even toilets. I’ll have to try the shower next. Commercial soaps contain added chemicals for added suds to give us the clean feel. This product will produce a few bubbles, but nothing like the commercial soaps.

    2. My question is to the people with HE washing machines… How are you putting the soap in… Mine has a dispenser I usually pour mine into before the laundry even begins… It’s the non agitator type so adding it to water before loading is not an option… So those with this type what do you do?

  23. 5 stars
    Hi! Getting ready to make this fabulous soap!! Can’t wait to try it. This is random but, I love your super cute measuring cup!! You wouldn’t remember where it came from would you!?

    1. Hey Savana, Yay! Enjoy the soap! That little cup is super popular, I’m often asked about it. Lol. It’s part of a measuring cup set I bought at Home Goods. I’ve also seen similar sets at Pier One Imports.

  24. Hi! This is perfect and exactly what I was looking for! After finding out filsnapa soap and borax wasn’t good for us I used Dr. bonners soap with an all natural recipe and I was disappointed. I decided to use borax again and came across your recipe. The only issue I’m having is after it gels and I mix it, it keeps separating. Does it continue to seperate? If so do I have to stir it everytime before use? The bottom is completely clear liquid. TIA

    1. Hey Fiona, Yay! I’m so glad you found this recipe too. I can understand the disappointment. I was in the same place before creating this recipe. I just stir once every few days with a long wood spoon or shake my container. The liquid on the bottom will occur, so just shaking every so often will help.

  25. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but my didn’t gel at all. I can still use it and it’s working great, but it’s a little more difficult to use as a straight liquid. It splashes when I push the dispenser drawer back in on my front loading washing machine. I read the recipe three times and I can’t figure out where I went wrong. Any ideas??

  26. 5 stars
    I came across this website and I am so happy I did!!! I must say all the homemade things I was uncertain of making until I saw them laid out here (Amazon order is coming)! I am trying to get us away from chemicals in our everyday products, starting with the laundry detergent and dish soap; then the body wash and toothpaste. One question – my son is allergic to tree nuts – is there a substitute for the coconut oil that can be used? Thank you and again – LOVE THIS SITE!!!!

    1. Hey Jane,

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you found Live Simply too!!

      Due to coconut oils unique properties there really isn’t much you can substitute for it in something like toothpaste :(. For your son, you may want to consider a good “commercial” (but very, very natural) brand like Earthpaste which doesn’t contain any coconut oil.

  27. Hello! So I made my own laundry soap and have for a couple yrs but my husband is a tide guy for scent reasons. How do I keep my clothes smelling good? I’ve done EO only to have the dryer kill the scent. So now I have to put a tbsp of tide in my husbands loads lol please help I can’t stand tide makes my allergies go crazy!!

    1. Hey Ashly, I totally get the Tide thing and it’s a very hard scent to mimic with a homemade soap due to the number of chemical fragrances added. I think for now adding the small amount of Tide just to give him that scent is probably the best you can do. Another option might be adding EOs to dryer balls or purchasing more “natural” dryer sheets (such as Mrs. Meyers). It’s hard to break the idea that “clean” is supposed to smell a certain a way (of course, no body odor ;)), at least it has been for me.

  28. How long does the laundry detergent keep? Does it need to be used within a few months? I’m so excited to try this!!

    1. Hey Alison, The laundry soap will last around six months. I’d venture to say it would probably last even longer, but my concern when water is involved is the possibility of bacteria growth. Enjoy!

  29. If I were to purchase the ingredients needed to make this laundry soap from Amazon as you suggested, about how many batches of laundry soap can be made from my initial purchase. I just wanted to weight out the approximate cost of a complete gallon of soap. I know I will need to add shipping cost to that total. Thanks

    1. Hey Robin, I’m not sure how many exact batches of laundry soap the ingredients listed will make. I can tell you that I get at least three batches from the borax and washing soda. The Bronners will vary with the size you purchase…I now buy the gallon size. I’d also check your local grocery store for the ingredients. The “where to buy” links offer readers a chance to view the exact products I use, but many times they can be picked up locally.

  30. I have been using this recipe for about 6 months. After about 2 months I started noticing an odor and most of the really smelly clothes and my husbands cologne did not come out. I have adjusted the amount that I use and I totally cleaned out my washer several times. I am wondering if I am doing something wrong? Does anyone else having this problem? I use vinegar for the softner.

    1. Hey Wenonah, Hmmm…I’m not sure. The clothes definitely shouldn’t be smelly. Have you tried using less water when creating the recipe which will result in a much more concentrated soap? Do the clothes smell like body odor (just from being worn) or a different scent?

      1. Both. The clothes that are every day wear smell funky but the heavy BO and cologne do not come out. They still smell. I love making my own everything and have tried quite a few. This one works best. Could it be because I am making it with hard water?

        1. Wenonah, It may be the hard water. Maybe try adding a bit of borax to the water during next load, with the laundry detergent too. Borax should remove the smells. I’m glad it’s taking care of the marker so you know it’s cleaning.

  31. I know that it is working because I mark my boys clothes with their initials in permanent marker and after several washes I have to mark them again.

  32. 5 stars
    I LOVE THIS RECIPE! Quick question, I have a front loading GE washer and the gel, even after shaking sticks around in this semi-gel state so the liquid pulls through the dispenser well but whatever thickness there is is left behind. Wondering if anyone else ran into this

  33. Has anyone tried storing this in a container with a dispenser spout at the bottom? I was thinking that might be easier than scooping it out (at least at the end of a batch) but am not sure about this working with the gel-like consistency…

    1. I love that idea, Eryn! I agree, a dispenser spout container would make using this soap so much easier. I may have to ask around for an extra dispenser container and see how it goes.

  34. I am trying to find a recipe for delicate clothing – silks, wools etc…Can I use this one? Also I have heard Borax is controversial. Would appreciate any tips and alternatives to this recipe if it is too harsh.

  35. Can’t wait to try your detergent recipe! My current fabric softener recipe is: 1 C water, 1 C baking soda, 20 drops essential oil (I use lemon for scent and odor removal), and 2 C white vinegar added last very slowly as it produces a volcano effect! (Add the ingredients in the order listed; I use a 64oz mason jar.) I use 1/4-1/2 C in my rinse cycle. In the dryer I have attached safety pins to a washcloth and it seems to help eliminate static along with my wool dryer balls. You can also put a small amount of the fabric softener on the washcloth and put directly in dryer. As far as scenting the dryer balls, add essential oils near the end of the drying cycle to retain scent!

  36. Hi! Thanks so much for posting this. I have been excited to make this for some time and went for it last night. Sadly I think I did something wrong because it never set up as a gel. It is still extremely liquid. I put it in the fridge hoping that would help but no success. I was wondering if you might know what went wrong or if you think I can still just use the liquid I’ve got. Thanks so much!!

      1. Yay! I’m super excited to try this now. I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for almost 3 years. I switch between a powder version and one that’s almost the consistency of mayonnaise. My husband thinks I’m nuts when I go and make another but he will get over it. 😉

  37. Thank you for this post!
    Just started checking for ingredients. It’s always harder to find things in Germany. While googling Borax, I found many sites saying how dangerous it is. It is even forbidden in ordinary households here. Apparently it can cause infertility or a serious amount of damage to unborn children.
    Have I been misinformed? Have you made any negative experiences with it?

  38. Just found your blog today on pinterest and have been enjoying all your natural recipes! I have been using a similar recipe for laundry soap for a few years and love it, all the same ingredients except bar soap instead of liquid and I make mine in a 5 gallon bucket. It still gels up and I just use a full cup instead if a 1/4 per load. I also have a HE front load and add my soap inside the washer after the clothes are added. Before using this homemade soap my washer always had the dreaded front loader stink which is due to soap residue build up, no longer have this problem and our clothes are clean! Also my Daughter just had a baby 6 months ago and she uses this for her cloth diapers with no problems!

  39. Just making this laundry soap for the first time. Is there any reason not to use less water? For example if I use half the water, wouldn’t I end up with double strength laundry detergent? Or maybe I’d have trouble dissolving the powders? Please advise, thanks.

  40. I have soap….but it’s Dr.Bronner’s Lavender Pure – Castile Soap….
    Do you think I Can just grate it??…and use it instead of liquid?
    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hey Ashley, I think the bar will work great in this recipe. I would add the grated soap to the hot water vs. just stirring it in at the end (as called for with the liquid castile soap). The hot water will help the soap dissolve with the other ingredients.

  41. Thank you! I am excited to make it 🙂
    (Excuse my Mom (with 3 kids) brain)…I meant to clarify is was a BAR soap in my above comment… I’m glad you knew what I meant haha

  42. I just made a batch of this laundry soap tonight. I wasn’t too keen about using lavender scent for laundry so I got some of the Dr. Bronner’s in the Citrus scent. The citrus scent smells heavenly. Just a light orange and lemony smell. I can’t wait to try it out tomorrow! I will come back and let you know how it does 🙂

  43. Good morning
    I made this laundry soap last night and was excited to see this morning but my soap stayed a liquid. There is no gel that formed. Did i miss something?


    1. Hey Shelly, For some reason the gelling doesn’t always occur or takes several days. The gelling is just an added bonus. Even without the gelling the laundry soap can be used and is very effective! Enjoy!!

  44. 5 stars
    I can’t even communicate just how EXCITED I am to try this!! I made it yesterday, and I am washing my first load of laundry with it as I type this. When you said it worked as well as Tide for your family, I instantly got out my items and mixed it up. I love the comments also. I had trouble with the gelling too, so it was awesome to be able to just do some reading and get it figured out. I read through a lot of your cleaning recipes yesterday, and I’m actually looking forward to trying them out. They’re so simple that I feel confidant? to give them a whirl. Thank you, it is wonderful to have this blog as a resource. You’re a pretty amazing lady- I respect the research and work you have done. God Bless, Sheila

    1. Hey Sheila,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed making the laundry soap and found the comments so helpful. I’m so encouraged by the supportive community of readers we have here at Live Simply!!

      One of my main goals when creating a recipe for my home and the blog is simplicity! If a recipe is simple (and effective!!) I know the chances of me continuing to make it are very high. Thank you for your sweet words and encouragement. I can’t wait to hear about everything you make!!

  45. 5 stars
    Hi Kristin,
    I came across your blog and boy, do I just not love it! Thank you for sharing all this great information.
    I have a question concerning this recipe.We live in Japan and here the washing machines cannot use warm/hot water. Would I still have the same great results of clean laundry using cold water and this very recipe for laundry soap. I really would love to try it out!
    Thank you!

    1. Hey Diliana,

      Thank you so much. Welcome to Live Simply!

      To reduce our costs, I also use cold water when washing clothes. I have good success with this laundry soap and cold water :). Enjoy!

  46. I made your homemade laundry soap over the weekend. When I went to use it last night it had separated (liquid on the bottom little shards on top that almost look like candle wax). I tried stirring it up but it would not mix back together. What did I do wrong? My washer and dryer are in my basement which is cool I dont know if that has anything to do with it. Help! 🙂

    1. Hey Allison,

      The laundry soap may have little white “globs” or strands in it. I’ve had this happen on numerous occasions. It may also separate with some liquid on the bottom and gel on the top. If this happens, you can stir the soap with a long wooden spoon to help combine the gel and liquid. The laundry soap should be good to use even with the strands and separation.

  47. Hello, it’s my first time making homemade laundry soap.
    Could i replace washing soda for baking soda?
    Would this soap be good even with my frontal washing machine?
    Thank you for your help

  48. I switched to this concentrated DIY laundry soap because I have an HE washer. The traditional DIY recipes seemed to watery and not very effective. A few tricks we have learned over the last 5 years.
    Cloth diapers & toddler clothes build up ammonia if you already have this issue look up how to “strip cloth diapers”. This works to remove odors from towels & smelly BO from other clothing as well. To prevent this from occuring you need to rinse & pretreat before it dries the urine into the cloth. This recipe has made a great pre-treat option for extra stains & smelly clothes like my son’s gym clothes. We also use baking soda & peroxide in a paste form to help get tough stains out especially softball uniforms!

  49. Hi Kristin,
    I live in Australia and have been using your homemade laundry soap for all laundering needs. I made the switch from supermarket brands to homemade due to my son’s constant battle with eczema. I have to say it works a treat, clothes are clean and my son’s eczema on his legs has cleared up beautifully. I did have some trouble tracking down Dr Bronner’s here in Brisbane however did find it at a local health food store. I bought the baby ‘unscented’ version. I would recommend the fragrant free option for anybody with skin allergies. Thanks again for sharing this very effective recipe.
    Kind regards, Julie

    1. Hey Julie, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the laundry soap! Thank you for sharing the unscented tip. I know that will be really helpful for readers with skin allergies.

  50. 5 stars
    I recently came across your blog and have already made some of your beauty recipes and love every one! I mixed up this laundry soap last night and it seems to be forming a gel. My question is, after reading all the comments, I am still a little confused about how much everyone is using for HE washers. If someone who has tried this recipe could help me out with the amount they are using per wash I would greatly appreciate it! And Kristin, thank you so much for all of your hard work!

  51. Thanks so much for publishing this recipe – looks great.
    One question please.
    It is not all that easy to buy Dr Bronner’s here in Australia. I am impatient to try this recipe, and I have just purchased a bottle of Dr Bronners Shikakai Soap (Lavender)
    Now I am thinking perhaps I should not use this for the laundry, but maybe just use it to make up your body wash recipe. Any thoughts on this please.

  52. 5 stars
    Hi Kristin
    Thanks for your prompt reply. Today I managed to purchase 2 smaller bottles of locally made liquid Castile soap, and also found an Australian importer of Dr Bronners on the web.
    I have used the Ozzie made one before, (not for laundry purposes), so am excited about trying out your recipe this weekend.
    I was so pleased to find your recipe, as I have tried others and they were always gluggy. No thanks!
    Heaps of luck with your lovely website.

  53. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I’m vegan, an essential oil lover, and a crunchy doggie mommy. I have done dog rescue my whole life and have struggled with washing dog bedding multiple times to get the dog smell out. This detergent works great in my HE washer. I use a 1/2 cup. When I make more is it ok to mix the new ingredients in with the old batch? Or do I have to wait for the new batch to set up and then add the old batch?

    1. Hey Kristin, I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve added new soap to my old soap many times, and it always seems to nicely blend together.

  54. Hi Kristin, thanks for the recipe. Have done a batch last night but i might have put too much water as it’s very runny (no gel-like consistency). Will try to add some borax/washing soda to the mix in the hope it will help.
    One other thing, i poored the mixture in a 2L glass container and it makes the manipulation quite risky with slippery hands. I see an accident in the near future 🙂

    1. Hey Aurelie, The laundry soap will be very watery in the beginning. If the laundry soap gels (it doesn’t have to gel to work), it usually takes about 24 hours. Enjoy!!

  55. 5 stars

    I love this but I made a few mistakes. I poured it into my old container and it saturated and clogged the spout. So I dumped it out and put it in the kitchen aid. Still was clumpy so I put it in my vitamix. I also don’t have a large bucket do I used a stock pot. Now I’m worried I might have poisoned my mixer, my pot, and my vitamix with borax being in it. Do you think it’s ok?

    Also…this is awesome on soap scum on tile!

    1. Hey Christy, I think your mixer, pot, and Vitamix will be just fine :). I actually use borax in my homemade dish soap recipe since it’s great for cutting grease and removing food particles. Borax (while highly debated) is just as safe as salt, in my opinion. You can read more about borax safety in this great article from Wellness Mama: http://wellnessmama.com/26407/borax-safe/. Enjoy the super clean mixer, pot, Vitamix, and clothes ;).

  56. I’ve been making the laundry soap for a while now and I’ve noticed that grease and oil spots are not coming out with the regular formula. I wanted to try boosting the cleaning power a bit by using Sal Suds instead of the regular Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. Do you think this will be a problem? Would I need to alter the amount I used?

  57. I’m wondering if you know of anyone who has ever experienced dermatitis using this mix? We’ve got sensitive skin in our family but I’d love to get away from commercial brands with all the extra junk. Thanks!

  58. Mine hasn’t gelled, but it seems to work great anyway. I used lemon essential oil and it smells very nice with the lavender. Thank you for the recipe!

  59. Price per load comes out to about $0.07 per load
    I broke down the price of the ingredients to price/ounce to figure out just how much this mixture would cost per load. I used Wal-Mart prices on the borax and wash powder however. I did not include price for essential oils as that is optional and only uses a little anyway.

    On another note, my wife and I are stereotypically opposite you could say. I’m a kinda guy that bargain shops and tries to find the best bang for the buck. Also I’m always trying to find healthy and green altinatives with this functionality cheap mindset too. Soo thanks for the tips and website helping me to become more of a “crunchy dad” if that’s the term… I’m gonna have to look up the origin of that term, “crunchy…” Ha 🙂

    1. Lol, I’m glad Live Simply is helping with the “crunchy” dad transformation :). Thank you so much for breaking down the cost of this laundry soap. I’ve never actually calculated the amount per load, so your comment is incredibly helpful! Enjoy!!

      1. Yup.
        I have managed to convince my wife to move from the red tide bottle to the cheaper no frills yellow tide bottle (10 cents per load). looking forward to moving away from tide all together and saving those 3 cents AND saving from loads of chemicals too. will be buying wool balls too. the ones I am buying come with soap nuts… I’m interested in trying those too.

        1. Hey Jeremy, That’ great! I’ve used soap nuts before, but didn’t really care for them…maybe I was using them all wrong. Let me know how it goes.

  60. Hi Kristin! Thanks so much for this recipe! I just made it today and while transferring to a smaller container I spilled a bit on my kitchen floor. A little context here, my kitchen floor is very old white linoleum. It never looks clean. Even when just mopped, it still looks dirty…..Not now! That bit where I spilled is the whitest I have ever seen this floor! I decided to mop with it and it looks fabulous! I can hardly wait to see how the load of laundry comes out! Thanks again for all you do. Your efforts are truely helpful!

  61. 5 stars
    I just had to come back to say how much I love this laundry soap! It doesn’t create residue or make me itch like the DIY dry mixes do, it smells so good, and its more concentrated than other DIY liquids. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  62. Hi,

    I made the dry version a few years ago when I was cloth diapering. I tried using it on our everyday laundry but after a few months the clothes began to look very faded and worn looking. I also sub’ed baking soda for washing soda as I read it would be more gentle. Has anyone who has used this liquid version noticed the faded, worn looking clothes? Thx.

  63. Hi. Maybe you can help me. I was using this recipe for about 4 months, and I loved it. Then all of a sudden, it started leaving these orange-yellow stains on my clothes. I have a friend who said it did the same thing to her. Do you have any idea why?

    1. Hey Shanay, I’m not sure of an exact cause for the yellow, but I have a couple of ideas…Do you have hard water? Are you using cold water?

      The yellow may be caused by the minerals in the hard water reacting to an ingredient. Try adding kosher salt to a few loads to see if that works to help soften the water. If you’re using cold water, switching to hot for a few loads may also help. Another option is to clean the washer with vinegar and let it run for a wash cycle–this may also work with the clothes in the washer. You could also add powdered borax during the wash cycle (with the clothes inside) to help brighten the clothes again.

      Let me know how it goes!

  64. Thanks so much for the post! I’m making my own laundry detergent for the first time as we speak! I’m going to try out 1 part washing soda to 1 part grated Dr. Bronners. I read an article on Little House in the Suburbs by a woman who appeared to do very thorough research on laundry detergents, and that’s how she makes hers. I didn’t want to use Borax, and her article says that Borax is only used in liquid detergents anyway.

    Thanks for posting the pictures btw!

  65. So thrilled to stumble upon your blog and I do appreciate all your efforts to educate and share!! I’ve made a few of your recipes as I’m trying to live not only a more simple life, but a “greener” one! I have a question specifically regarding the laundry detergent. I made it exactly as your recipe states and found it quite easy. My question is on “sudsing” or lack of suds…I actually see no suds at all when the washer is going…is this normal? Thank you so much again!

    1. Hey Cindy, You’re very welcome. I’m glad you found Live Simply! A lack of suds (or no suds at all) is completely normal. Commercial detergents add ingredients specifically designed to create the suds.

    1. Hey Sierra, I don’t have any personal experience with an HE washer, but I believe a reader commented about her success with this soap and her HE washer…maybe in the comments above?

  66. I made this and after a few days it formed a chunky layer of soap on the top and I have to super stir it every time. Is there a way to prevent that?

    1. Hey Sydney, Stirring/shaking is usually the only option from my experience. Sometimes the laundry soap doesn’t fully gel (in the heat of summer) and then stirring isn’t needed.

  67. Hello Kristin!
    So excited to start making your DIY cleaner recipes! Been having a hard time finding Washing Soda. What is the difference between Washing Soda & Baking Soda? Could I substitute with Baking Soda??

    1. Hey Renee, I’m so excited for you :)! Washing soda has a much higher PH- (something like 11) than baking soda (more neutral, around 8). You could use baking soda in a pinch, but washing soda has more cleaning power thanks to the higher PH level. You can also make washing soda with baking soda. Place the baking soda on a cookie sheet and bake at 400F for 30 minutes, until you notice a change in composition (washing soda looks like salt–very grainy). Hope that helps :).

      1. Awesome! Thank you for the speedy reply! I will check Walmart out and if I still am having a hard time finding it, I’ll try your suggestion on “making” my Washing Soda! Love your site! 🙂

        1. Thank you so much, Renee! I’m so glad you’re enjoying Live Simply. Walmart should definitely sell washing soda–check the laundry aisle :). I also make a homemade bleach alternative using the washing soda. I’ll be sharing that recipe soon.

  68. I have been using this laundry soap for 4 months now and it is great! However, i have noticed our towels used in the bath and kitchen are not absorbing anymore. I don’t use fabric softener except for vinegar. I do have hard water. Has anyone else had this issue? I figure I could always use a store bought detergent just for my towels if it comes down to it.

    1. Hey Sarah, I’m so glad you like it! I use a laundry booster when I wash a load of towels with this laundry soap–we also have very hard water! The recipe is going up on the blog this week, but here it is :): 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 cup washing soda. You may be able to sub 1/2 cup hydrogen for vinegar. Just add the two ingredients to the washer along with the soap. The solution works like OxiClean.

      1. Do you have to use hydrogen peroxide with towels not to keep them from not absorbing? I have colored towels and do not want to bleach them.

        1. Hey Sharon, You don’t need to use hydrogen peroxide. I just add it from time to time with washing soda for a homemade oxi-clean when the clothes or towels are really dirty or stinky. The 1/2 cup of hydrogen, when mixed in a full washer, shouldn’t be strong enough to bleach the towels. For everyday use, I usually add 1/3 cup sea salt (the cheap kind from Costco) to soften our water and clothes. It works very well, but neither are necessary.

  69. Hi there,
    I just made this recipe, and the detergent hasn’t turned to gel yet… Did I do something wrong?

    1. Hey Kelsey, In the hot weather it may never fully gel (it happens). If it does gel it can take around 24 hours. But it’s ready to use even when it’s watery! The gel is just an added consistency benefit :).

  70. I can’t wait to try it. I have a question that may have been answered but I checked the comments above but couldn’t find it. I have a front load washer so can the liquid go into the dispenser? There is no water in the tub at the onset of the cycle so placing it directly on the clothes is not an option. Any advice?

    1. Hey MG, I’m not really sure about a front loader. I still have an older machine. Can you use a liquid laundry detergent/soap in the machine or just dry powder? If you can use liquid, I would add this soap in the same place/time as a liquid detergent.

    2. Hi MG I have a front loader too – did this work out okay for you? Putting the detergent right in the basin and then clothes?

  71. Hello,

    I’m looking for some help. I made your recipe and its been great but one problem, I have a bunch of hard crystals at the bottom of my bucket???? WHY?? What did I do wrong??

  72. can you tell me if the recipe will work with replacing the washing soda with plain baking soda instead? or adding baking soda to recipe how much to add? I’m thinking about making this tomorrow. Thanks.

    1. Hey Lisa, Washing soda has a much higher PH level than baking soda. For this reason, washing soda does a better job at cleaning. You can turn baking soda into washing soda. Spread the baking soda on a sheet pan and cook it for 30 minutes in a 400F oven.

  73. Hello! I have used a few of your recipes, thank you for sharing! I recently made the liquid laundry detergent and for the first few days, the consistency was fine and it seemed to work well in the wash but within the first week, it has separated into a thick, chunky, white layer at the top that almost looks curdled with a layer of just liquid at the bottom. If you have an email address I can send you the photo, I’m not sure what happened? I’ve tried stirring it to mix it back together but it doesn’t seem to help. Any advice would be much appreciated, I would hate to have to pour out the whole jar. Thanks! ~Lauren

  74. I have been using your laundry detergent recipe for a few months now and loved it!! However, I recently noticed some greyish spots on whites. Any idea what can be causing this?? We do have well water but the detergent was working great initially…not sure what went wrong. Also, is there any way to make it where it doesn’t separate and need to be shaken before each use?? Thanks

    1. Hey Shauna, I haven’t found a solution to the shaking or stirring, yet. The spots may be caused by washing soda not fully dissolving in the soap. You may be able to avoid this issue by filling up the washer and adding the soap so it fully dissolves before adding the clothes. Another issue may just be extra soap build up in the washing machine. Sometimes this can happen, so I clean my washing machine out with vinegar once a month. Just run 1 cup of vinegar through full wash cycle without clothes. You could also add vinegar to the water and soap with a load of clothes, about 1/2 cup.

  75. Thanks so much!! I can’t fill the washer first because I have a front loader but maybe I’ll shake harder to break it up or try adding less washing soda to the next load. I’ll also try running a vinegar cycle too. Thanks 🙂

  76. 5 stars
    Hi, I just wanted you to know that I have been using your recipe for about 6 months. Love it!!! Thankful for the sharing this with us….

    I just wish I had that scoop, never been one to go gaga over items (well, except anything ORANGE! Yeah!!) , but I knew it was love at first site for me. Sad, to say we haven’t connected in the 6 time since I first lad eyes on it.

    Someday! Someday! Compensation, this recipe can “Tide” me over until we meet. LOL.

    Thanks again.

  77. Just wondering if the liquid form will grow harmful bacteria or mold? I made my own laundry soap years ago and read something about mold growing in the detergent that scared me off so I started using commercial detergents again.
    I wanted to try it again however so I made this recipe again last week and am hearing again about mold and bacteria. Is this true and how long will this detergent safely last?

    1. Hey Linda,

      There is always a possibility of mold growth in recipes using water, so even with this recipe mold can develop. I personally think the biggest issue comes from the recipes that say, “make this and it will last 12 months!” In other words, the recipes that make A TON of soap. This recipe makes about 18 cups, so it will last a couple of months. So while there is a chance that mold can grow, it’s reduced with the shorter storage time.

      Another option is to use distilled water in the recipe. Distilled water reduces your chances of introducing bacteria (and mold growth) into homemade DIY recipes. Tap water contains bacteria, most of it is good but some can be bad, so it may encourage mold growth in products that sit for some time.

  78. I am expecting our first little one in January!!! I just love your site and when I came across this laundry detergent I know I had to try it! Do you think it would be ok to use for a baby??? I know they normally recommend special baby detergent, but I would rather make it… Thanks for all you do!!! Excited to be a mom!!!!

    1. Hey Courtney, First of all, congrats!!! So exciting!

      I believe this recipe is safe to use on a baby’s clothes/linens. I created this recipe when my second child was a baby and washed all her clothes and blankets in this soap. 🙂

  79. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! I have tried it. It is really cheap detergent and it smells amazing. I put more essential oil , though. I suppose 20 drops are enough. Thank you for sharing it! Greetings!

  80. Thank you so much for all of your diy tutorials! I have been making your laundry detergent for about 6 months now and my clothes ALWAYS come out smelling amazing! I

  81. Is this safe to use with bleach on a load of white clothes? Also when making this detergent can it be mixed with fabric softener for a scent? I used the bar soap because its all i could find but it doesn’t smell very good.

  82. Oh my goodness! I’m so glad I found your website! I am gathering up recipes for everyday items and intend to one by one, eliminate my family’s chemical dependence. Apart from some of the ingredients in homemade household products being (or what I consider on my tiny budget) a pretty big investment, I have been afraid to give up my Tide. I have used many types of detergents and have found Tide to be the only one to work the way I feel laundry detergent should work.

    You have inspired me to try this recipe out. I probably won’t get to it for at least a few weeks from now, but I will definitely do this. Thank you.

  83. 5 stars
    I love this laundry soap – I just made my second batch today! This time I poured it into old coffee creamer containers for easier shaking and pouring. I knew they would come in handy eventually!

  84. I just made this laundry soap and love that it works. However, while pulling my clothes out of the washer I noticed that one sweater in particular had many dark stain spots. Have you heard of anyone noticing this? Just wondering what it could be from? No other articles of clothing were affected thou this was one of my only lighter colored articles of clothing.

    1. Hey Megan, I’m wondering if there might have been leftover soap residue from a previous laundry detergent in the washing machine, and when mixed with the castile soap or another ingredient in this soap, the dark spots occurred. Using vinegar (which is a great fabric softener) at the same time as the soap can also cause dark spots. I’d recommend running the washer once to clean it, even use a bit of vinegar in the water (no soap) to help remove any residue inside the machine, then try the laundry soap with another load of clothes.

  85. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I’m very excited to try it! Quick question- what kind of essential oil do you use? Lavender like the castile soap? Or is there another kind you recommend?

  86. Hi Kristin, I came upon your website when I started digging deeper into what my family and I use in our home. It started with my make up where I discovered your homemade foundation powder and gave it a shot. It didn’t work for me because I wanted something that had a little bit more coverage, but loved the feel for sure! Then every time I googled something else that was a DIY, your site popped up in way or another. I finally subscribed to get your emails! Although my family and I are primarily Paleo followers ( can always edit your recipes to fit our lifestyle), I still like to check out your recipes and point my grain eating friends to your site as it’s the cleanest one I’ve come across yet! Thank you for such an insightful blog you created and I look forward to checking back frequently!

    Kristin in Oregon

  87. Hello. I just made your detergent recipe and am washing my first load with it now. I have a question about the step where you add the powders to the hot water. The fumes were really heavy and I felt like I was inhaling a lot of chemical. Do you have any information about fumes from borax or washing soda being dangerous?

    1. Hey Sureiya, The EWG cautions against inhaling borax, but I’m sure it would need to be a regular practice to be harmful (just my opinion). Washing soda is similar to baking soda, with a higher pH level. The powders will create a dust in the air, so it’s best to slowly pour them into the water, if possible, to avoid the powdery dust.

  88. I am going to give your recipe a try! Will it dissolve in cold water washing? I am sure someone has asked this question.

  89. 5 stars
    I just made my second batch of this and I am a convert! I’m super allergic to most detergents and I’ve been using the store bought “natural” ones for over a decade now. I *thought* they were doing the job and I. Was. So. Wrong.

    I’ve been dealing with ongoing armpit stains on my light shirts and I thought they were just from how I sweat or the type of deodorant I used… but this detergent pulled 90% of those out! I can only imagine how it will keep up any new shirts I buy as these have been stained for ages.

    It also made my clothing much softer after just one wash. I did notice an increase in static but I’ve been meaning to knit some new dryer balls anyway, and I may try epsom salts along with my vinegar rinse (made with thieves vinegar). The little bit of static is a small trade off for how awesomely this works.

    Oh, and it pulled out dried chocolate stains when I used it directly on the stain before the wash. That’s just magic!

  90. Hi! I´m from Norway. And here borax is very hard to get a hold on and if you find it, it is very expensive. Order online will also be to expensive with chipping and toll. We do have washing soda, only under a different name. And as i have understood washing soda is kind of the same, only not as powerful as borax(?) In this recipe there is 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda. My question is: can i use 2 cups washing soda instead? or does anyone have any other suggestions?

    I love this site btw!

    1. Hey Marthe, I apologize for my delayed response. Yes, I believe you can use washing soda in place of the borax with good results.

      PS–I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog!

    2. I used this recipe for years and loved it (except that I must admit I occasionally had issues with odors – regularly sprayed down clothes with vinegar). Anyhow, recently I have decided to err on the side of caution and take out Borax. I’m still not fully convinced it’s bad, but oh well… I’ve been trying another Borax-free version and I’m not loving it. I want to come back to this and I was wondering this very same thing – can I just double up on the washing soda? I also wondered about replacing the Borax with baking soda (for odors). Marthe, have you had any luck with yours? How do you like it? Kristin, any thoughts on baking soda? Thanks for any input!

      1. Hey Tessa, I’ve heard from a few readers who replaced the borax with washing soda, and the results have been very mixed. Most of the people agreed that borax really adds power to the soap, so they felt like the cleaning power was reduced with just washing soda. If you’re using washing soda in place of the borax, I would try washing the clothes in hot water as this may help compensate for the lack of borax. Another idea is to double the castile soap used in this recipe to make the soap more concentrated. I’m not sure about adding baking soda, but it’s worth a shot. Maybe reduce the recipe and try out both ingredients: one with washing soda and one with baking soda. Hopefully another reader will have more to share in the comments about their experiences. I’d love to hear how it goes!

  91. 5 stars
    Hi Kristin,
    I wanted to say I love, love, love this laundry soap!!! I got lazy one day and didn’t make it and bought a natural brand at the store and it doesn’t come close to this one! This laundry soap gets stains out amazing! I have a 15 month old little girl so some of her things get stained but I don’t worry with this soap. I am on well water and I saw on a comment you put vinegar and salt in the final rinse. Do you use rock salt or ground sea salt?

  92. Look forward to trying this. But I just have to know where you got the cute measuring cup in the pictures!

  93. I’m excited to try this! I’m new to using Dr. Bronners (but I love it so far), any reason you can think of that the Baby/unscented wouldn’t work with this recipe? My husband is allergic to fragrances.

  94. Just a note, since there are so many people on here asking about HE front loaders. I have one, and I switched to the dry homemade soap years ago due to my hubs’ totally AWESOME eczema problems. It cleaned well enough…for a while. Then I started noticing lingering odor and stain issues. Same soap, same formula, and it was no longer getting our laundry clean. With teenage boys who work and play hard, that’s not acceptable.

    I went on a search for why (and it took a while), but basically what it comes down to is this: homemade soap is soap (which cleans but leaves behind residue) and regular laundry soap is detergent (which strips all the odors and crap out of the material). Detergents also don’t leave as much residue behind in the machines. From what I understand, it’s also part of the reason most regular laundry detergent has been reformulated to be HE-safe; less suds and less residue. I stopped using the homemade stuff, went back to All or Whisk Free (which my hubs can tolerate), and the odors and stains went away.

    I would love to give this recipe a try, and I still might…but if the stains/odors return, then I know it’s time to switch back to a detergent for a while to clean out the residues. I also found this when I was poking around tonight. http://www.everydaycheapskate.com/dear-mary/homemade-detergent-safe-use-todays-washing-machines/

    I know we all want what’s best for our families (and believe me, I know in spades), but homemade soap may not be an option for those with newer machines.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Stacey! I know a couple of people experienced a similar issue and found that using vinegar to strip the clothes in the rinse cycle helped remove any residue. Maybe this will help?

    2. I often struggle with odors in my husband and teenage son’s clothes with homemade detergent. I’ve been using homemade detergent for years, but the battle is ongoing. I found your description of why that happens very helpful – although I don’t want to go back to regular detergents. The vinegar solution seems to be just a bandaid solution that I have to keep doing over and over. Have you found any way to fight the odor in a natural way?

  95. How long is the shelf life on this laundry soap? I made my batch a few months back and today noticed a definite, different odor.

  96. Hey Kristin –
    My husband and I made the this detergent this past fall, and recently made our next batch. Has this recipe changed since the past fall? Did it used to include baking soda? Was the amount made greater then? In the fall we filled 4, three pint jars – and this round it was less than three jars. Just curious – and wanting to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Thanks!

  97. Just made my first batch of laundry soap and had a question….When I pour the soap into my washing machine when the water is pouring in, it doesn’t form any bubbles or lather. Is it supposed to?

  98. You may have already answered this question—-but thats a lot of comments to read!!!! I was wondering if your liquid laundry soap recipe is okay for HE washers?

    1. Hey Kristie, Lol, there are quite a few comments to read through ????. This will work in an HE machine. You’ll only need about 1-2 tablespoons versus 1/4 cup.

  99. Whoops I didn’t heat it at all, just mixed it all together. Does the heating just help the borax/ washing soda dissolve or will it not work as well since I didn’t heat it? Should I heat the whole mixture?

    1. Hey Shannon, Yes, the heating should help dissolve the borax and washing soda. You could also add a bit more water to the current mixture (1/4 cup) and heat. I don’t think the heat will destroy the Sal Suds, just keep the heat below boiling.

  100. Thank you for the laundry soap recipe. I have been making diy laundry soap and homemade deodorants for over a year. I use Dr. Bronner’s soaps for almost everything. I like only having to buy a few ingredients for my cleaning needs. I was worried at first that the finished laundry soap was too thin, but it settles and thickens with time. It doesn’t suds up, but does a nice job cleaning. Another bonus I have found is that the family is not experiencing mosquito and tick bites with the peppermint Dr. Bronner’s. This includes my dogs; I wash their bedding with it too, and haven’t had fleas in the warm season.

    1. Hey Sharon, That’s so great! I’m curious to try out the peppermint scented soap in my next batch of soap. Living in Florida means we deal with a major mosquito issue all summer long. Thank you for sharing!

      1. 5 stars
        did you turn the burner off before you added them? i barely let it boil, barely, then shut off the burner and add them. i have an old whisk i keep in my laundry soap and i stir them in quickly with it to dissolve them. i’ve never had this happen. i’ve been using this recipe now for maybe 3, possibly longer, years.

  101. Hi Kristin,
    I’m sorry if you’ve answered this in the comments, but I am in a super hurry right now and don’t have time to read them all (there are a LOT!). I noticed in your recipe for the dry detergent, you have a recommended amount for top loaders and front loaders. Is there a different amount for front/top loaders with this recipe? I have a front loader and am trying this recipe for the first time. Thank you. Love your site and can’t wait to try several of these DIY home products.

    1. Hey Karen, Lol, there are a lot of comments ????. I’m happy to answer this question, and I need to go back into this post and edit/add the recommendations for top and front loaders. You can use this in a front loader, but since they use less water you’ll want to reduce the amount used to just 1-2 Tablespoons. Enjoy!!

  102. Hi Kristin! Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try it. I just have one question for you, I can’t seem to find any answers online. While I LOVE Dr. Bronners, recently I happened upon the Mrs. Meyers brand at the grocery store. I did a quick test on my countertop and it doesn’t produce any suds at all, but it also didn’t leave any kind of film on my laminate countertop so that was good. It was also WAY cheaper which was why I thought I’d give it a try. Have you every tried it or do you know anyone who has? It has a nice smell, I got the Lavender scented one and I do suspect that the fragrance is artifical. I used it in my carpet cleaner and to mop the kitchen so far, but a little iffy about putting it in my laundry soap. I have about a quarter bottle left of my Castile soap so I’ll probably try that first, and then try the Mrs. Meyers and see if its as good. I wanted to buy Dr. Bronners Sal Suds but can’t seem to find it anywhere.

    1. Hey Kim, I have tried Mrs. Meyers before, and I’ve really enjoyed their cleaning products. From an ingredients standpoint, they aren’t that bad–although like you mentioned I’m not sure about their scents and how they’re derived. According to the EWG, most of their products receive a B grade: http://www.ewg.org/guides/brand/6630. They make a laundry detergent, so I would probably use that product if you want to stick with Mrs. Meyers. I’m not sure if their soap products will be effective, like castile soap, at making a homemade laundry soap. Castile soap is very concentrated, so it’s important to dilute it. I’m not sure if Mrs. Meyers will work the same way.

  103. Hi Kristin, I look forward to trying this recipe. I made another one and it works but is really messy! It gets too thick and I have to keep adding water. I love the dry recipe and have used it for about 3 years. I won’t go back to store bought!
    Love your website!

  104. I see where a couple people commented about replacing the castile soap with Sal’s Suds. I just wandered over here after reading your post about why you prefer Sal’s Suds for dishwashing to see about that very thing. I love this laundry detergent recipe and have been using a more concentrated version of it for several years. But sometimes I do feel like it could use a boost. And the biggest frustration I sometimes have is battling odors in clothes – mainly ones that get air dried. I read once that it’s because these natural recipes use soaps instead of detergents and so it doesn’t strip the fabric of all the junk the same way a detergent does. I’m wondering if switching to Sal’s Suds would help my problem. But I’m just curious as to why you choose castile for laundry and not Sal’s Suds. Thanks for your input!

    1. Hey Tessa, Great question! Sal Suds is a detergent versus a soap (chemical composition), so it works really well for tough jobs: grease, really tough stains, etc. When it comes to dishes, I don’t think castile soap works very well for tackling grease, so I turn to Sal Suds.

      I definitely think you could use Sal Suds to make a homemade laundry soap versus castile soap, but you won’t need as much Sal Suds. Sal Suds produces a ton of bubbles (suds), so my concern in the washing machine is the bubbling issue. I’m not sure exactly how much Sal Suds would work best in this recipe. You could try soaking the clothes in a bit of Sal Suds in a sink or bucket, and then washing the clothes in the washing machine.

      Another option for providing that extra boost in the laundry is Oxi-Clean. There are a couple of decent organic brands (BioKleen) and I have a recipe here on the blog: https://livesimply.me/2015/08/13/homemade-oxi-clean-like-laundry-booster/.

  105. 5 stars
    I just tried this recipe and I love it! It works just as well as my expensive store bought laundry detergent. thank you!!!
    I have tried a few recipes from your blog and I have loved them all!
    You might be the best person to ask this from:
    Can you come up with a natural recipe to replace the (ever so famous on pintrest) recipe of the shower cleaner that is made with a mix of Dawn liquid soap and vinegar? This mix works so well on my tub, it has changed my life! But it smells terrible, and it feels toxic.
    Thank you once again! and keep up the great work!

    1. Hey Ig, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog, and the recipes!! Hmmm, I’ll have to check out the soap and vinegar recipe and see what I can come up with. I’m thinking you could probably replace the Dawn with Sal Suds. Castile soap and vinegar don’t mix, but Sal Suds is perfectly fine to mix with vinegar.

  106. Hello Kristin, thank you for this recipe. I really enjoy your blog. I have 3 questions. Is borax color safe, like for black colors. My gym chothes is very stinky. I’m not a dirty person, but I can not get my gym chothes to small fresh. Can I use baking soda? Would baking Soda be safe for black colors?

    1. Hey Elba, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog. Yes, borax, baking soda, and washing soda are all color-safe materials. The only natural ingredient, that I use on the blog, to avoid around colors is hydrogen peroxide since it can bleach clothes.

  107. Hi, i was wondering, is there a substitute for castile soap? I can’t find it in South Africa. You would do me a solid

  108. Kristin,

    Is this soap a low sudsing soap? HE washers will get what is called suds locked if a high sudsing soap is used.

    Thank you

  109. Hi Kristin!
    First of all, thanks for creating this website! I have been so inspired by you!! Question: I made the liquid laundry detergent soap, and when I took out bottle #2 to shake it (it became a dense gel), I noticed white ‘ strings’ and round shapes in the liquid, floating around. Do you think they are bacteria? Should I get rid of this batch? I would post a link with a picture, but I am not sure that is allowed in this comment section.
    Lots of hugs from Montreal!

    1. Hey Sarah, That happens quite a bit to my soap, too. It’s normal and safe from my experience :). It’s just a reaction to the process. PS: Feel free to share a link/photo :).

      And I’m os glad you’re enjoying the blog!

        1. You’re so sweet :), Sarah. Thank you for sharing the photo. Yes, my soap looks like that quite often, depending on the cooling process and outside temperature. I haven’t had any issue with using it.

  110. I’ve made this twice now. After a couple years of a powder I had to go back to tide but now because of this recipe I’m back to making my own. Love the liquid since I do a lot of cold water washing. I did notice that the more I agitate my detergent by getting some the more it will gel.

  111. Pingback: Homemade liquid laundry soap - live simply how to hand wash clothes in college
  112. Would it be possible to leave out a little water and make it more concentrated? Also, how many loads would you say that you get out of this recipe?

  113. 5 stars
    I am almost done with my first batch of this lqiuid laundry soap, also a convert from Tide. I have a large capacity HE machine and use 2-3 Tbsp of this soap, depending on load size and soil level, and have never had a problem with suds. However, in the beginning, my husband complained of white flecks on the inside of his underwear. Solution: Microwave the gel for a few seconds so that it turns into a liquid. I spoon the gel into an Oxo 4 Tbsp measure, MW 8 or 9 secs max–it will foam up; once the foam goes down, I MW another 4 secs or so, give it a stir, and pour it into the dispenser–no more white flecks. In the beginning, I used a narrow-topped jug, and shaking it created a lot of foam on top. Using a wide-mouth jug makes it easier to dispense it without getting mostly foam. Rough fabric is caused by residual soap, so for “fabric softener”, I pour vinegar into the dispenser, which helps to adequately rinse it out. BTW, fabric softener should not be used on towels, as the softening agent prevents them from being absorbant. I have recently begun to use wool balls–I will definitely try essential oil on one the next time!

    When my girls were babies (1960’s), disposable diapers were horrible at best (oh, were they aweful!), so I only used them when on vacation. At home, it was cloth diapers and diaper liners (to prevent poopie staining). I would make a solution of warm water and Borax in a diaper pail and put the day’s diapers into it. The next morning, I would pour the whole thing into the washer, set the spin cycle followed by a rinse and spin, then launder as usual with detergent and some Borax. Result? Clean, odor-free, and stain-free diapers. One daughter’s urine would sometimes smell of ammonia, and that smell would be totally gone. My sister-in-law was amazed at how white the diapers always were. Glad some people are using cloth diapers–disposables need to be kept out of the landfills! Plus it is more cost-effective.