Posting about soap and cleaning is not my normal sort of recipe. But I do love my homemade laundry soap. I’m sure that many of you think I’m nuts for all of the things that I make instead of buy. With regards to homemade laundry soap, my main motivation is that I don’t like to waste money or resources. With four boys in our house, I do a lot of laundry. And the store bought detergent for a family of six, adds up quickly – even when you buy the cheap stuff. Then consider all of the plastic containers that liquid detergent comes in.
Our friends, Kevin and Lori, introduced me to this recipe years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I think it cleans just as well as the liquid stuff that I used to use. If you research homemade laundry soap recipes, you’ll find that recipes fall into two categories – powder and liquid. I use a powdered version, mainly because it is easier to make and store. I have also read that the Borax is activated by water, so it loses some of its potency when you make a liquid laundry soap.
I grate my soap pretty fine and then run it through the food processor using the sharp blade. Add a bit of the Borax and/or washing soda with the soap in the food processor and you’ll produce a fine powder. I’ve found that if I don’t get it very fine, some of the soap may not dissolve in cold water. Not a huge issue, just annoying to find little white specks of soap on your black shirt. The food processor fixes that issue.
When making this recipe, you can use pretty much any bar of soap. I am currently using Ivory soap, but have used Fels Naptha and Kirks Castile in the past. Kirks Castile has an unscented version, but it is pricey and difficult to find. Thus, Ivory. I find my Borax and washing soda at Farm & Fleet. Borax is pretty easy to find in most big box stores. Washing soda is not as easy to locate. But Farm & Fleet has it. Ah! Farm & Fleet. Anyway, I digress. Wherever you go, both will be in the laundry isle. Both are sold in large boxes. And washing soda is not the same as baking soda. Same sort of orange packaging – different product.
And finally, because someone will ask – I do not have a HE washing machine. I understand that you can use this recipe in your HE machine, because it produces very low suds.
- 1 bar of soap – Ivory, Fels Naptha, or Kirks Castile are good starting points
- 1 cup of washing soda (not baking soda)
- 1 cup of Borax
- Fine grate the soap. I use my food processor’s grate attachment.
- Combine all the ingredients. I combine in my food processor with the sharp blade and pulse until the soap is a fine powder.
- Wash your food processor!
- This recipe can be multiplied. Four bars of soap and four cups of washing soda and Borax will last our family of six about 6 weeks.
- Store in containers. I used 1 T to a large load of laundry. 2 T for extra dirty laundry.
Hmmm maybe this is a reason to dig out my food processor…
I like the save money, save the environment factor! Is this ok for sensitive skin?
Great question! Yes! I used this soap for our cloth diapers and baby clothes. We never had a problem. Those detergents that are sold specifically for babies actually have quite a bit of junk in them. And if you are careful with the soap you use, it can be fragrance free. Ivory does have some fragrance to it, but it doesn’t bother me.
I’m going to give this a shot!
I made this and used it and it worked great! Even got the smell out of our workout clothes!! The natural laundry detergents I’ve been using (one from Costco and one from Shaklee) did not get the smell out of our workout clothes. I put the detergent in before the clothes to dissolve for a bit before adding clothes. Thanks, Andrea!
Ah! I’m so glad to hear that. We have good luck with the workout clothes, also. But my washer has an “athletic” setting, so I never know if it’s the super good wash cycle or the soap.