Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

3 Materials
45 Minutes

Of all the DIY cleaners, laundry detergent is the one that I haven't wanted to do. I would start reading ingredient lists and directions and instantly look away. It's always been easier to buy laundry soap (even the not-so-great stuff) then turn my kitchen into a soap-making factory. Until I found this easy recipe for homemade liquid laundry detergent.

You might want to make your own laundry detergent for any of the following reasons:

  • Making laundry detergent for sensitive skin
  • Saving money
  • Knowing exactly what ingredients are in your clothes

Ingredients and Supplies

  • 16 cups of water
  • 1 cup borax 
  • 1 cup washing soda 
  • A 5 oz. bar of Dr. Bronners soap (unscented or scented)

  • Medium size pot for cooking
  • Large pot for mixing
  • Storage container
  • Knife 
  • Spoon


  1. Shave off the soap with the knife into the pot or use a cheese grater to grate the bar soap. 
  2. Add 6 cups of water and heat slowly on medium heat until the soap pieces dissolve. Heat just under boiling or gentle boiling - do not let it boil over! Keep stirring to prevent the soap from bubbling over the top (about 15-20 minutes).
  3. Add in the washing soda and borax and stir until fully dissolved. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour this mixture into another larger pot or container. (The 2-gallon or 5-gallon buckets from the hardware store work great for this. Make sure they are clean and don't have an odor in them, though.)
  5. Add 10 more cups of water. Stir together. Let cool.
  6. Pour into your storage container and seal.

*Depending on a lot of factors, you may find that the finished laundry soap will gel a little bit. This will be perfectly fine and will not affect how it performs. Just give it a quick mix or shake it up before adding to the laundry as you do the loads.

How to Use

Use about 1/4 cup of soap per load of laundry and wash as normal.

Interested in more green cleaning recipes? Check out my Fizzy Toilet Bowl Cleaner recipe.

And this Natural Odor Eliminator that works like Febreeze does.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 15 questions
  • Norweita Beth
    3 hours ago

    Can you use this in all washers? Is it safe for HE machines?

    • Melanie Chatham
      59 minutes ago

      Yes and I get my food processor put and cut soap in big chunks mis with a little borax and let it shred the soap up. I usually do a handful at a time. The borax keeps soap from sticking together

  • Linda Johnson
    3 hours ago

    Cost-wise how much does this recipe cost per load? Is it safe for an he washer? I'd still want to add my cleansing essential oil blend too since it keeps the machine and clothes from smelling funky.😊 (But I don't think I'd add it in the container unless it's glass or stainless steel. I usually add it into each load.)

    • Melanie Chatham
      57 minutes ago

      It cost less than .25 cent a load. A lot of people add their favorite essential oil. Great idea

  • Vera Reeder
    An hour ago

    Is it safe on HE machines ?

Join the conversation

2 of 35 comments
  • Mary
    3 hours ago

    I use a 1/2 cup of both 20 Mule Team Borax and Washing Soda for laundry. If the load is especially dirty, I might add a measure of Oxyclean and/or a drop or two of (horrors) 🙂 laundry detergent.

    I don't mix anything together, add water, heat, or put up in jars. As the washer fills, I'll add the powders..They mix easily so I don't wait for the washer to fill. It won't damage your clothes.

    If you absolutely can't tolerate a tiny bit of detergent, swap it out for Castile soap, Fels Naptha, your choice.

    I've done this for years. The clothes come out clean & bright and I don't have to turn the stove on. 🤗

  • Hassan Maha
    16 minutes ago


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