(No Borax) Homemade Powder Laundry Soap with Natural Fabric Softener

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Another homemade laundry soap recipe?

I hear ya! The internet probably doesn’t need more homemade laundry soap recipes. And Pinterest certainly doesn’t.

Yet, here I am writing and sharing another homemade laundry soap recipe. It’s all for good reason. Stick with me…

Homemade laundry soap made with natural ingredients. This easy-to-make laundry soap can be used just like a powder store-bought soap.

When my family began making the switch to natural products, many years ago, it was hard to find products made with safer ingredients. I was determined to stop using toxic products, so the homemade route was the only option for switching out a number of products. Laundry soap was one of these products.

Homemade laundry soap made with natural ingredients. This easy-to-make laundry soap can be used just like a powder store-bought soap.

At the time, there were a number of recipes online for homemade laundry soap using Fels Naptha. I didn’t want to use this particular soap, so I subbed in a natural option, castile soap. I was so impressed with the end result that I ended up creating, and later sharing, both a liquid and powder version.

Homemade laundry soap made with natural ingredients. This easy-to-make laundry soap can be used just like a powder store-bought soap.

The recipes have lived on Live Simply for a number of years now. Many reader friends have made the recipes and been just as pleased with the results. I’ve also received a number of requests for a “no Borax” laundry soap, since both recipes rely on Borax as an active ingredient.

Homemade laundry soap made with natural ingredients. This easy-to-make laundry soap can be used just like a powder store-bought soap.

Borax is a fantastic cleaning ingredient, and one that I feel perfectly safe using in my home. Of course, just like any ingredient, if you don’t use it properly (i.e. eating Borax) you could face some potential harm. I personally take the stance that Borax, when used properly, is a great cleaning product. (Wellness Mama wrote a helpful article about her stance, too.) Others don’t share my opinion, and I’m cool with that. We all need to make our own informed decisions. 

Homemade laundry soap made with natural ingredients. This easy-to-make laundry soap can be used just like a powder store-bought soap.

Today’s laundry soap recipe (laundry soap recipe number 3 on Live Simply, and probably the last laundry soap recipe to be shared here) is similar to my other recipes with the exception of Borax.

After much testing, I believe this laundry soap powder cleans just as well as the other recipes on the blog. Instead of Borax, this recipe uses a combination of washing soda and baking soda to freshen and clean clothes. Castile soap lifts dirt and fresh stains, washing soda increases the cleaning power of the soap and helps to lift dirt and stains as well as eliminate odors, baking soda softens garments and eliminates odors, and salt cleans and naturally softens garments.  The laundry soap works just as good as more natural store-bought options. 

Homemade laundry soap made with natural ingredients. This easy-to-make laundry soap can be used just like a powder store-bought soap.

And speaking of store-bought laundry soap, there are quite a few safe, more natural options on the market today. So if you want to purchase laundry soap instead of going the DIY route, awesome

A natural lifestyle isn’t about “doing it all” or “making it all.” Living a more natural lifestyle is just as much about simplifying as it is about getting rid of toxic products. It’s important to be intentional about what you want or need to make, what you can live without (I don’t think anyone is going to live without laundry soap), and what you can purchase from the store or a market.

Homemade laundry soap made with natural ingredients. This easy-to-make laundry soap can be used just like a powder store-bought soap.

Personally, I choose to purchase laundry soap from the store 99% of the time. This isn’t because I don’t like homemade laundry soap, or because it’s not effective. I would rather spend my time making something else, or spending time with my family.

I’m thankful for the increase in more natural store-bought options. I’m going to share more about my favorite store-bought options in a couple of months (part of the Switching to Natural Products Series). For now, here’s a few of the products that make my current favorite list: Optimist Co., BioKleen, Better Life, Seventh Generation Free & Clear.

(No Borax) Homemade Powder Laundry Soap with Natural Fabric Softener
5 from 1 vote
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(No-Borax) Homemade Laundry Soap with Natural Laundry Softener

Homemade laundry soap made with natural ingredients. This easy-to-make laundry soap can be used just like a powder store-bought soap. 

Course DIY
Cuisine Cleaning
Keyword Laundry Soap
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Author Kristin Marr

Ingredients

  • 1 5-ounce castile soap bar unscented, or your favorite scented variety
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 30-40 drops essential oil optional*, example: 15 drops eucalyptus and 15 drops lavender

Special Equipment:

  • food processor alternatively use a cheese grater and large bowl
  • towel optional
  • storage container with a lid large enough to hold 5 cups of powder

Instructions

  1. Cut the bar into small, thin slices.

  2. Place the soap chunks in a food processor bowl.

  3. Pulse until the soap resembles small crumbles (almost like finely crumbled feta cheese). Alternatively, shred the soap with a sharp cheese grater into a large bowl. 

  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, and place a dish towel over the processor bowl (optional, if you find the powder is circulating in the air). Pulse until the ingredients are well combined and the mixture resembles a fine powder.

  5. Add the essential oil, if using. Place the dish towel over the bowl again. And pulse for just a few seconds to combine.

  6. Pour the soap into a storage container with a lid. The soap will keep for at least 6 months.

To Use:

  1. Stir or shake the soap before use. Scoop 1-2 tablespoons (for HE machines) or ¼ cup for top-loaders, and add directly to the clothes in the washer (not the soap dispenser). Use the warmest water possible for your clothing. See the troubleshooting tips below for more help. 

Homemade laundry soap made with natural ingredients. This easy-to-make laundry soap can be used just like a powder store-bought soap.

More from Kristin Marr
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22 Comments

  1. says: Kelli

    Would it be possible to boil this recipe and make it into a liquid? When I put it in my washer tray where powder goes, its clumps up and does not go down.

  2. says: KHOLOOD ASSAF

    Hi,
    is this laundry detergent good and safe to use with dark cloths? Is there any white residue on the garment after washing?

  3. says: Kimberly Ridgway

    Can you use a microwave to expand the soap bars to crumble? I’ve done that with another recipe, but would like to try yours. I have a microwave I use specifically for that purpose.

    Thank you!

  4. says: Peh Cher Fern

    hi there, any other salt alternatives other than Kosher ? Also, do you use a separate food processor ? Thank you

    1. says: Chardea Singer

      Hi there,

      Epsom salts also work. Kristin doesn’t but you could if you feel it’s safer. She just washes it well.

      LS Team.

      1. says: Tale

        Using Epsom salt is not really a good option. If you do not have kosher salt, just swap for any other type of normal cooking-type salt (table salt, sea salt, even Himalaya salt if you want to be fancy). The salt is there to act as a water softener, and thereby as a fabric softener, Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate, not sodium chloride, and actually hardens the water. So you do not get the intended effect with Epsom salt.

  5. says: Haplo

    5 stars
    What is kosher salt? I’ve never seen it in stores here in the Netherlands. I just put in regular table salt and it seems to wash well 🤷‍♂️

    1. says: Tale

      Kosher salt is just salt, mined from salt deposits. It is a slightly coarser type of salt than table salt, and it has no added iodine. So it is just plain salt. You can substitute kosher salt in this recipe with sea salt or normal salt. No need to get fancy. You can even use iodised salt if you want. The iodine will not harm your clothes. Only thing I would keep away from is really coarse salt, as it takes time to dissolve.

  6. says: Carly

    Would this work using liquid Castile soap instead of a bar? Do you have instructions for making this a liquid detergent instead if a powder?

  7. says: Van Rey

    Thank you for this recipe, just made some today. One of my relatives said he used DIY detergent and it clogged up his washer.

    Do you think this might have the same effect over time?

    I have a brand new washer and want to keep it in working order as long as possible 🙂

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