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.

4.80 from 67 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. 4 stars
    I make my own liquid (either 100% coconut oil, or a 75/25% coconut & soybean oil,)
    and I usually use a combination of both potassium & sodium hydroxide – Lye. . . because 100% coconut oil will be very watery when the soap paste is diluted. . . the lye combination makes for a thicker liquid soap.
    I make the bar soaps to use for my powder laundry soaps as well.
    I normally use white vinegar in the rinse. . . I Will definitely have to try adding the salt!
    Gotta love the ever-changing hardness of Florida well water! LOL
    Afew years back, I had to switch back to store bought due to the hardness of the water changing.
    Moving just over a year ago, we have much better water (all around) as there are alot of natural springs. So I’ve been making my *Naturals) again. . . It’s great saving money & the environment as well.
    I also make & sell my handmade soaps online & at the local flea market.

  2. Thanks for this. I was quite excited to whip this up for my wife, who is intrigued by the possibilities. I notice that my resulting mixture has a light tan color. I’m wondering if this is normal or if, perhaps the borax combo reacted to the cat iron pot in which it was dissolved. I’ll do some research but would like to come to some conclusion before she starts on the whites! 😮

  3. Has anyone put the finished product into a beverage dispenser, such as the jars with a spigot? Thanks so much!

  4. HI, this sounds too much water to me. I have found the same recipe on the net but the only difference with yours was 4 cups of water and it still was liquidy and clumpy and hard to dispense. Soda bicarbonate and Soda crystals after several hours separate from the soap and water and at that point get very clumpy. What could be a reason for this? Thank you

    1. Hey Sonia, You’re welcome to reduce the amount of water if you’d like. A bit of separation and clumps can be normal, I just stir the solution to incorporate it back together. You could also try reheating if you feel this is effecting your ability to use it.

  5. I am about to try you liquid detergent recipe. One question instead of tap was would distilled water be better and last longer?

  6. 1 star
    Stays clumpy and not disolved even after stirring…only is liquid when it’s warmed in a pot on the stove. Very hard to dispense this way.

  7. 5 stars
    I have to say that this has become my favorite laundry soap to make and use! Thank you for sharing with us.
    I do have a couple questions for you though…the first time I made it ( I make 1/2 batch at a time) it turned into a very nice gel-like detergent. The second time I made it (this past Sunday) I did everything the exact same, with the exception that I added more drops of my 2 essential oils (lavender and lemongrass), and this time around it seems so watery that I’m using more than my normal 1/4 cup, in fear that my clothes won’t be clean because it seems SOOO watery this time around. Am I using too much by using approximately 1/2 cup? I should be clear that my detergent did turn cloudy as it did the first time around and it does have a gel-like consistency, just not as thick as the first time. What’s your thoughts?

    1. So glad you love the laundry soap! I think it has to do with environmental temp. I honestly can’t figure out why sometimes it gels and sometimes it doesn’t, that’s just my best guess. But the gelling doesn’t make it more effective. It will work either way. How much you use is up to you, whatever you feel works best.

      LS Team

  8. When using this on a front load washer, would it damage the machine if i put the soap (gel-like) into the soap dispenser? Also, for HE washer, 1-2 tablespoons is accurate for a large load?

    1. Hi Leslie,

      Not sure if it would damage the machine, if that is a concern, I would add straight to the washer. Yes, 1-2 TB for HE you can add more if you feel the need.

      LS Team.

  9. The Environmental Working Group does caution against Borax, especially for children. Can you suggest an alternative? Thank you!

  10. Hi! I sent you a message, but I realized that I sent it too early – when I halve the recipe, would I be using half a cup of borax/washing soda/soap, 5-8 drops of essential oil, and about 8 cups of water?



  11. Hello Kristin,

    I made this recipe in a half batch, but it didn’t gel up and after a few hours, it formed a web-like film across the top. Is that normal? What am I doing wrong?

    – Erin Kelly

    1. Hey Erin, There’s no guarantee it will gel. But gelling really doesn’t mean it worked or is better. In the warmer months, gelling doesn’t usually occur. So this is very normal. It doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong. Enjoy the laundry soap!!

  12. 4 stars
    Mine turned out with “chunks”. My washer is HE. It has a try for liquid and a different spot for powder. Should I treat it as a liquid or powder since it has chunks.

  13. How is bar soap in the liquid laundry mix? It’s easy for me to get bars of Sunlight soap where I live in the interior of British Columbia; not sure about Castille liquid soap.

    I use the Sunlight soap, about 1 tbsp. shaved into boiling water in an ALUMINUM pot (old camp pot) to clean silver. Just dump the silver (even delicate jewellry) into the water for a few mins. and presto, the tarnish is all gone. Now I hope I can use it in the laundry soap mix too.

    1. You can turn a bar of Castile into liquid Castile soap. It is like 2 1/2 cups hot water for every bar of soap. Grate the bar and Dissolve it in boiling water

  14. 5 stars
    Perfect recipe! Just tested it today, and my laundry smells wonderful and cleans very well! Will use this recipe instead of constantly going to store just to buy a new bottle of detergent everytime I run out of it.

  15. I made this detergent following the instructions but unfortunately it seems to have almost no effect on laundry. Stains and dirt remain and the clothes still smell of sweat even though i used extra essential oils. It seems far too dilute to me.

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