Homemade powdered laundry soap in vintage jar.

Easy and Economical DIY Laundry Soap Two Ways

Homemade powdered laundry soap in vintage jar.

Homemade laundry soap is an easy thing to make yourself in your kitchen. Whether you prefer powdered or liquid, you can make your own with only three ingredients for a fraction of the cost of commercial laundry detergent and be confident that you and your family are not being exposed to any harsh chemicals.

I have heard people who have tried homemade laundry soap complain that it doesn’t work as well as commercial product. I have never had a problem using this and for many years my mother used it as well. I think the key to it is that I use distilled white vinegar in place of fabric softener and this very well could be assisting in the overall cleaning power.

The powdered soap is my preferred method but I also use the liquid because it is much quicker to make when I let my supply run out. I will share with you both the recipes in this article.

Powdered Laundry Soap


12 ounces grated bar soap such as Felsnapa

2 Cups Borax 20 Mule Team Detergent Booster

2 Cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

10-15 drops of essential oil (optional)

A few tablespoons of baking soda


First grate the bar soap. I use my own handmade 100% Coconut Oil Soap, but if you are not a soap maker then the Felsnapa works about the same.

Next, mix the Borax and Washing Soda in a large bowl or kettle and add the shredded 12 ounces of soap. Then mix all ingredients well with large spoon or your hands.

At this point you could absolutely use it as a laundry soap, but I prefer to pulse it in my food processor to get the consistency of store bought laundry detergent. If you choose to do this, add a tablespoon or two of baking soda to each round of blending to prevent the grated soap from sticking to the blades. Put the baking soda in first, then add the soap mixture and pulse until you get the desired consistency. Repeat as needed until all the soap mixture is blended.

If you are uncomfortable using borax, simply omit It. 

If you like your laundry soap to have a scent, I find that adding a few drops of Lemongrass Essential Oil gives it a nice clean scent. However, the scent will likely fade if you tumble dry your laundry.

Store in a large glass container or an airtight plastic tub.

Usage: 1-2 TBS per load

Liquid Laundry Soap


1 Cup Borax 20 Mule Team Detergent Booster

1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1 Cup Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap or Dr. Bronner’s Biodegradable Cleaner

17 Cups of water

10-15 drops of essential oil ( optional)


First, bring 6 C of water to a slight boil. Turn off and add the borax and washing soda. Stir to dissolve.

Next In a large bucket or pan, combine the remaining 11 C of water (at room temperature) and the 1 C of Castile soap with optional essential oil.

Then pour the hot washing soda and borax mixture into the bucket with the castile soap and mix.

I store mine in quart glass canning jars, but my mother always dumped hers into previously used commercial laundry soap jugs so it was easy to pour out of.

Usage: 1/8 – 1/4 C per load

Want to try nontoxic laundry soap but don’t want to make it?

Disclaimer** I have a top load high efficiency washing machine and a residential septic. I have had no problems using either of these recipes. However, I cannot guarantee how your washing machine will react. It largely may depend on the softness or hardness of your water. Likewise, I am not guaranteeing the effect on your septic. I am sharing my personal experiences and take no responsibility for your experience should you choose to use either of these laundry soap recipes.

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