Making Laundry Soap

Recently I ventured into laundry soap making.  Stacie posted this recipe on a yahoo board a while back and I finally gave it a try.  The cost is significantly less than what I was using before and it was super easy to make.  Matt helped me and I think it took the two of us less than 5 minutes.  (It might actually take longer if you actually had to heat the water, the water is practically boiling out of our tap right now, it is summer and the pipes run through our attic.) I did some rough calculations on what it cost me to make.  I rounded up my calculations to an even $5 for the whole batch, I also use about 3 ounces with each load instead of the 4 ounces she said to use (I have a front load washer and always use a little less soap), the cost came out to about $.03 per load.  I was using method before and it was about $.19 per load.  A savings of $.16 per load!  Considering how much the laundry has increased with the boys home, it is a much appreciated savings.  I think it works just as well as any soap I have used in the past.  🙂

Here is the recipe for those of you interested:

Laundry Soap


  • 3.1 oz bar Ivory soap (I used Dr. Bronners all natural/organic and it worked great)
  • 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • ½ cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • Water


  • 5 Gallon container
  • Knife (we used the cheese grater)
  • Pot large enough to hold 5 cups of water
  • Long stirring stick/spoon (for 5 gallon container)


Shave the soap into small strips and place in the pot with 5 cups of water. Bring the water just shy of a boil and stir until the soap is completely melted. When the soap is just about melted, pour 3 gallons of hot water into the 5-gallon container and let it sit until the soap in the pot is totally melted. Once all of the soap shavings are melted, pour the mixture into the 5-gallon container and stir.

Once the soap and water are thoroughly stirred, add the ½ cup pf washing soda and stir until dissolved. Once the washing soda is dissolved, pour in the cup of borax and stir again until dissolved.

Optional: Essential Oils for fragrance. If you like fragrant detergent, now is when you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils.

Now you’ve got a huge container of hot soapy looking water. Cover the container, place it somewhere out of the way and let it sit overnight. Once it’s cooled it will gel. It will not gel uniformly so it will be lumpy and watery. It may not be very attractive, but it works. It’s best find smaller storage containers for convenience.

Usage: ½ cup per laundry load is adequate to clean your clothes. This homemade laundry detergent works well in high efficiency washing machines since it is low sudsing.

One word of caution, if using a high efficiency machines: Before pouring the lumpy gel into the detergent receptacle, stir it to break up the lumps. Very large lumps may not fully dissolve, stirring the detergent with a spoon, pencil, or whatever you have available (or your finger), works fine.


This recipe yields 442 oz of laundry detergent, of which 4 oz are required per laundry load. With this recipe you should be able to wash 110 ½ loads of laundry.

2 Replies to “Making Laundry Soap”

  1. This has been on my list of things to do for weeks! I finally have everything I need…I just need to do it.
    Probably during big brother time when Mezmur is asleep.
    P.S. I LOVE cloth diapers.

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