How to Make Homemade Laundry Soap

There seems to be HUNDREDS of blogs and websites that tell you how to make your own laundry soap. After a few tries, I was excited to find this recipe for homemade laundry soap through Pinterest. So, if you're like me when I first heard of homemade laundry soap, you're probably asking, "What in the world do you use to make your own laundry soap?"

You'll need 3 products, all found in the laundry section of the grocery store:
  • Fels Naptha Laundry Soap (1 bar grated)
  • Borax (1 1/2 Cup)
  • Washing Soda (NOT to be confused with Baking Soda) (1 1/2 Cup)
Purchasing all 3 items cost me under $8! If it doesn't work for you, don't worry! You haven't wasted your money because you can use Borax and Washing Soda for many other household cleaning tasks!

You'll also need 2 empty gallon sized containers to store your laundry soap in. I used 2 left over, "family sized" plastic ice cream pails, which are just a little over 1 gallon each.

Ice cream pails. . .of laundry soap!

Don't worry about exact container sizes or precise amounts of water. What I've learned is that the process isn't an "exact science," which is something that frustrated me when I first tried to make it.  I am so glad I found this recipe because for some reason, it all made sense! So, the only thing I changed was the container size. The original recipe makes 5 gallons and I don't have a 5 gallon bucket, so I used what I had. That simply means mine is more concentrated.

  • Grate a bar of Fels Naptha, just like you would a block of cheese (or use your food processor if you'd like).
  • Fill a dutch oven type of pot half way with WARM water (about 2-3 quarts) and put on medium heat; add grated soap.
This is the pot I used. . . nothing fancy.

  • Stir until the soap is melted. Then add the Borax and the Washing soda. Stir just enough to combine the ingredients evenly. *Keep a watchful eye to prevent the overflow of suds all over the place. If it starts to bubble up, lower the heat setting.
  • Once the soap has melted, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the pot of soap sit on the stove for 20-30 minutes so that it thickens.
  • Meanwhile, BOIL a tea kettle full of water. Again, no exact measurement, but I filled mine up to just under the spout. (Turns out it's about 6 cups, or 1.5 quarts.)
  • Place your empty containers in the sink for safe pouring and mixing. Pour the boiled water evenly into the 2 containers, then add the soap in equal amounts to each pail. Stir well.
  • Next, fill each pail up gradually with COLD water from the faucet, continuing to mix well as you fill. It will make a few suds, but just stir the suds right back into the soap mixture.
  • You should end up with a thick, almost gel or custard-like consistency. Let the soap sit uncovered overnight (24 hrs.) to set.

Custard look of the finished product.

Again my "recipe" is more concentrated but so far, so good. It works well, even on my husband's stinky exercise clothes! (Sorry, honey--LOL!) I use 1/8 to 1/4 cup per load, depending on size and how soiled the laundry is. I still use my other laundry additives as I always do (such as bleach, ammonia, dryer sheets, etc.). I'm working on homemade alternatives for those! :o)

I was intrigued by making my own laundry soap simply because I found the whole process interesting! Who knew? I'd been walking past these items for years in the store and never knew what they could be when mixed together. Also, making your own soap is cost effective. Laundry detergent can be extremely expensive, especially when you have kiddos and loads that seem to never end! If you go to the original recipe, you'll find a general break down of how much it costs per load--I'm talking cents per load!!

My daughters decorated the lids. :o)

I'm not an expert at this, but I'll be glad to answer as many questions as I can.
Happy Laundering!

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Growing Home


  1. I've read many recipes on line about making your own laundry soap. The process looks interesting, but for some reason, I'm still intimidated, ha, ha! Maybe some day I'll try it.

    Your daughter did a great job with designing the lids. :)

  2. Mara, I know exactly what you mean! I felt the same way. . .especially on the liquid soaps!! Let me know if you try it!!

  3. You can make homemade bleach too! And its colorsafe! 1 1/2 c 3% peroxide, 1/2c lemon juice, pour into gallon container then fill the rest up w water. I use about 1/2c per load. You will notice that it makes towels very fluffy too!

  4. Thanks, Vanessa for the "bleach" recipe. I'm going to give it a try!

  5. We love homemade laundry detergent here! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    I would love it if you would share this post on the Creative @ Home Wednesday Link-Up! I really think my readers will enjoy it!

    Susan Godfrey
    Finding Beauty -

  6. I've got a huge container of laundry detergent I am working my way through, and this is next up on my "project" list. I am honestly really excited although I think my hubby will be scared of homemade detergent. I'll have to hide it from him until I do one successful load. He usually takes some convincing. :) The proof is in the pudding...or in this case laundry!

    xoxo Caroline

  7. Hi Susan!

    Thanks for stopping by; we like the homemade detergent, too.

    I don't mind linking up!

    Take care.

  8. Hi Caroline,

    How are you feeling these days? I hope all is well! I remember I couldn't wait to get through my store bought detergent so I could try making my own. I hope your husband likes it!!

    Take care.

  9. Been making my own for almost 3 years now. We love it!

    I will have to try the bleach, though.

  10. Three years, Desiree?!?!

    That's great! I'm going to try to stick with it as well. It is SO much CHEAPER!! I haven't tried the bleach yet, but it's on my list.

    Happy summer!

  11. We made this again this week, too. I use one bar of soap from Virginia Soaps and Scents (which was one of my first Crew reviews.)

  12. Hi Jennifer,

    I've heard you can use different soaps in this recipe, too. I've not tried that yet. I'm considering it though, because I want to make something for my baby boy--sensitive skin.


Comments are always welcomed!!

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