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.

4.77 from 60 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. Hi Kristin, when you say “use quickly” how quickly are you referring; a couple weeks or a few months?
    I’m looking forward to trying out your recipe. Right now I’m debating if I should try liquid or powder. We do have an HE washer. Would your softener work with an HE washer? You said to put the salt in when the water fills but you can’t do that with an HE- I assume I would put the salt in the softener container at the top? Thank you so much! I’m so excited that I found your blog.

  2. I’m in the uk and borax isn’t available. What is the alternative please? I’d love to try this x

    1. Hi Donna,

      Kristin is currently out of the country, but I’ll make sure to let her know of your comment so she can respond when she returns. ~Rachel

  3. I was just curious what size washer you use? I have the biggest size possible since we have a larger family (#8 due in october!!). All the recipes say “you only need a small amount” but I always use more, but am always curious what size washer they use. 🙂 Thought I’d finally ask someone. 😀

    1. Hi Bethany,

      Kristin is currently out of the country, but I’ll make sure to let her know of your comment so she can respond when she returns. ~Rachel

    2. Hey Bethany, Congrats on #8!! That’s so exciting. We have a standard size washer, I guess. I’m not sure the exact size. You could definitely increase the amount of soap. I know HE washers usually say to use less soap.

  4. Hello Kristin,

    It’s me again. 🙂 i just made the aloe/avocado oil facial cream and i sooo love it. I replaced almond oil with avocado coz it’s what i have at the moment, it’s so smooth and silky.

    I just want to ask if there is a substitute for borax? It’s a bit difficult to find borax here in Spain. Thanks

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Kristin! I’ve been making your recipe for a couple of years now and I like it 🙂 I especially LOVE that I don’t have to grate bar soap 🙂 Got a question……have you ever used Sals Suds in your laundry soap instead of the regular castille soap? Wonder if it would be too harsh on the laundry, or if it would “brighten” it a bit. Not that my laundry gets dingy, because it doesn’t. It’s more the whites that I’d like to brighten up. Thanks so much for your time 🙂

    1. Yay, Cindi. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. You could try Sal Suds, but you’ll want to reduce the amount used since it is a detergent and extra bubbly. I’m not sure how much. You could also try something like this whitener (I add it directly to the washer): https://amzn.to/2HupCjX.

      1. Thank you Kristin! i added the whitener to my shopping list. Sounds like just what I’m looking for. I’ve been staying away from bleach and using hydrogen peroxide, which has worked quite well, but this looks less complicated 🙂

  6. Hi,
    does it effect the washing machine (in terms of mechanical problems) in the long run ?
    And do you have suggestions to protect machine (while using such DIY products ?
    Thank you

  7. Hello, I tried your recipe here but I halved everything because I am a bachelor with just my daughter and I. It seems to work well and clothes are clean but there is no suds at all, it really just looks like plain water washing in my HE tub. Is this normal? I have been using an old tide bottle cap to measure with and fill it up to the 1or 2 line for normal to heavy loads.
    Thanks for any advise

  8. I found your website as it had some DIY laundry recipes, as that is what I have decided I want and was forced to do. I was curious to see what ingredients you used. The internet is full of DIY recipes for everything-thank goodness. I truly am not trying to be critical in my comment here. My intent is to only create an awareness. My life has evolved to the point (this is and can be a process), where I am on a quest to find NON-TOXIC recipes and rid of my home of ALL chemicals. Did you know that the average household contains about 68 of them-yikes. We are all breathing this is into our lungs everyday, yes….even as they just sit in the bottles. While I find some blogs to be very helpful in their intent, I am specifically looking for ones that don’t hurt the environment or me and my family. Once we take a look at the ingredients and their impact (toxicity) on our lives, it just begs the question, why would we, as moms, knowingly put carcinogens on our bodies or our kids/familiy or prepare/buy food that will cause us/our families to develop sickness? This is a whole nother subject. Yes the companies producing these products know the chemicals they use are toxic. I would think this alone would give us reason for pause. Education is so necessary in pursuing a healthy lifestyle. I always use EWG as a guide when considering buying or making my own products. Until I became chemical sensitive (don’t think it can’t happen to you-I never did), I too went about my day unaware of the toxins in everything I was buying/eating. About 3 years ago I developed chemical sensitivities and all kinds of allergies. I then was literally forced to take the valuable time to research ingredients, to learn how the body reacts to our environment and then realized what I had unknowingly been doing to my body my entire life-poisoning it ( I am 67). My body had reached the point where it was screaming ENOUGH! I now not only want an economical product, but a non toxic one. I find this critical. Knowledge is power ladies. We are literally killing ourselves/our families by creating diseases in our bodies with all the chemicals we are exposed to from food, to personal care products (our skin is the largest organ on our body), to cleaning products….the list goes on and on. Think of our little ones whose bodies are much more susceptible to all the toxins we are knowingly and unknowingly exposing our precious ones to? I would hope that would awaken our interest in creating the healthiest environment we can, so they are less likely to develop sickness/disease like we have. Hopefully, we become not just interested in the economics of making/buying our own products, but we become interested in our kids, grand kids and future generations to come by knowing what ingredients, foods etc to avoid. Our lives depend on it as the bottom line is always profit for companies. As the CEO of OUR families, we have the power to start the process of change in our own homes. Who knows where that will lead? The possibilities are endless ladies :>)

    1. Thank you for sharing your journey, Janice! Thankfully, these days, we can educate ourselves, and then have the option to support great companies making clean products or make our own products (if desired). It’s so empowering to know that we have a choice in what we use.

  9. 5 stars
    I made your laundry soap about a months ago (1/2 batch)……I love it, thank you so much.

    To help dissolve the Soda & Borax I used my hand held blender, worked like a charm. My batch did thicken when it cooled off, not sure why, but that made me feel a bit more confident in it LOL.

    Today I’m making a full batch. My son does his laundry at my place so I’m making some for him to try, he’s more of a sceptic than I, but said he’ll use it as long as it works. I’m sure I can convert him.

    Thank you for sharing this, I really appreciate it. Funny thing, I feel a bit of pride when I do laundry knowing I made the soap 🙂

    1. When I made a tiny batch ahead of time to test and use immediately, it formed major clumps all over, (Hardened clumps) immediately as soon as I added the liquid castile soap. I figured my ratio of water and warmth/coolness of the water was off, since I didn’t make the full batch. So my question is, ***Is the “thickened” liquid still usually supposed to stay smooth? Is clumpy what we’re trying to avoid? Or is clumpy fine to use?*** I wasn’t sure. 🙂 Thank you so much!

  10. Thanks Kristin! And I noticed you said you typically just go ahead and wash in warm water for stains; if the baby or kid clothes say wash in cold water do you typically just disregard those instructions and still use warm water in order to rid the stains or just in general don’t bother with cold water?

    1. If clothing has special washing instructions, I definitely wash it separately. Most of our clothes, these days, don’t require special instructions so the warm water works well.

  11. 5 stars
    Hi Kristin!
    Thank you so much for this post.
    Recently, I bought Ecos detergent that was absolutely deceivingly “natural” and I ended up with a rash from my scalp to my ankles… Jeeze.
    I just made a batch of this and I can’t wait to be rash free and truly natural again! 😀

  12. 5 stars
    Hello, Kristin! Thanks for this awesome recipe! I just made my first batch and while it worked very well, I have to shake it really, really vigorously every single time. Is this normal? If it is, what could I use to shake it with less strain, maybe a kitchen tool?

  13. Thanks for this recipe for natural laundry detergent! I have recently wanted to try to make my own but wasn’t sure about the measurements so this recipe was perfect!

    I do have a question…have you tries this recipe with Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds instead of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap? I LOVE the cleaning power of Sal Suds however, it is a detergent and I was just wondering if Sal Suds would result in a different texture or if Sal Suds would make this recipe too harsh. Thanks So Much!

    1. Hey BrownLuster, You’d probably just need to reduce the amount of Sal Suds used? Or just use a small amount of the soap in the washer. Sal Suds does have more suds than castile soap.

      1. Thanks for your quick reply Kristin!

        So what I will do is use less laundry soap as a try initially. I am a Sal Suds fan + I am concerned about soap buildup in the washer and on my clothes and linens. However, as you also stated, Sal Suds will definitely create lots of suds which is not good for the HE machines. I will make adjustments of the ratio of wash soap to Sal Suds as well as search for a natural solution to add to the purified water to help cut back on the sudsing power of the Sal Suds. I’m thinking maybe Aloe Vera Juice?!? Idk…it’s a discovery phase taht I’m excited to embark on now that I have a base recipe ans measurements, so Thank You!

        I am also quite excited to try the DIY fabric softener (cheap hair condish/white vinegar/purified water) mentioned on this thread by posters!! I have a bottle of unused Vo5 condish that would be perfect for this too! Lol.

        I am so glad I found your blog/site as well as the wonderful natural solutions that posters have suggested. Thanks so much everyone!

  14. Hi Kristin,

    Would you be able to sub out the borax with more of the washing soda? (I know borax is not necessarily a bad thing in general, but just wondering in prep of a newborn, whether this is an option just to stay on the safest side possible to avoid any skin irritation of very sensitive newborn skin.) Or is it a needed ingredient in this mix?

  15. On your laundry soaps you say they are best in hot water. I wash my colored clothes in cold water, so does it work well with cold water. Or do you have one for cold water. Also, I like a whitening booster for my color laundry do you have a natural one. I use oxi clean sometimes.

    I clean houses part time and I wanted to know if you have a great household cleaner that cleans soap scum really well. I have made several but they just do not clean that well. Thanks for your help.

    1. Hey Brenda, You can definitely try cold. I’ve personally found that many soaps, particularly a powder soap like my other recipe, work best in warmer water. We also have very hard water, so I’m always looking for ways to boost the cleaning power of my products. For soap scum, I would try a solution of 50/50 vinegar and water, or you could mix together baking soda with a bit of water to form a paste and scrub the area.

  16. 5 stars
    Your laundry soap recipe sounds really simple. I love easy it is to make environmentally clean cleaning products like you have here.
    Borax is somewhat questionable safety, so I wonder if you’ve tried laundry without it? What are your thoughts about the results?
    What if, skipping the borax, we go really simple at laundry time and just put a bit of castile soap and washing soda in the washing machine?

    1. You could try that, Elizabeth. I’ve tried skipping Borax (I personally don’t have an issue with it), and find that the clothes just don’t get as clean as I’d like. Definitely try experimenting and let me know how it goes!

  17. I am going to try this recipe when I finish using the liquid laundry soap now and was wondering if I make this a smaller recipe ( I am the only one at my house) should I just cut everything in half. Also when you use more than one essential oil how do you know how much to add of each one. I am thoroughly enjoying you recipes. Very happy I found them. Have you made a dishwasher soap recipe yet?

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