How to make your own eco- friendly laundry soap

A Quick and Easy Tutorial

By Susan Jarrett

Laundry Day! Royalty free image by Angela Bailey.

Here at our household, make our own laundry soap. Why, you ask? There are factors like thriftiness, not having to rely on manufactured goods, environmental concerns, etc. But primarily we make our own laundry soap because its fun!
Here are the pros:

1. It’s cheap.

2. It’s extremely hypoallergenic.

3. It does not leave any stinky artificial perfumes on your clothing.

4. It does not use artificial dyes.

5. It does not pollute the environment.

Here are the Cons:

1. It does take time to make and special equipment (equipment should NOT be shared with equipment you intend to use for food).

2. It does not remove heavy stains.

So, if you think the pros outweigh the cons, here is the recipe and instructions:


1 bar Fels Naptha or Zote soap- shaved
4 cups of hot water to melt the soap
3 gallons of hot water
1 cup of borax
2 cups of washing soda
1 cup of baking soda
1 large pot about 4-5 gallons size Container(s) to hold soap
(I use recycled milk jug style containers)

Home Laundry Detergent Ingredients
Eco friendly homemade laundry detergent ingredients


Grate the soap into the pot (not one you plan to cook with). You can use a box grater or just rough chop with a knife. Do not use whatever tool you use for grating soap with food.

Add 4 cups of hot water to the pan. Simmer on low until the soap melts completely into the water.

Add borax, washing soda and baking soda to the hot water. Simmer on low until it dissolves with the soap. If the mixture is not melting, add more water if needed.

Add 3 gallons of hot water. Mix with a large spoon until it completely dissolves (Again, do not use a spoon you intend to use for food).
Pour into containers. As the mixture begins to cool, it will turn into a thick gel. 

Use 1/2 cup of this homemade laundry detergent per load of laundry (or follow your HE washing machine recommendations)*

Bubbly Liquid Laundry Detergent!


Because this laundry soap is perfume free, I sometimes add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to eliminate any stubborn odors. It does NOT make your clothes smell like a pickle, it DOES eliminate odors, and is a NATURAL fabric softener!

Wait! Before You Go!

Does this process sound too labor intensive? Here’s a quick time saver:

  1. Mix all processed ingredients together in a plastic container with a lid. Ditch the water. Using a spoon, mix ALL the DRY ingredients together and voila! You have a dry detergent!
  2. You will need to use your washer to melt the soap and dissolve the other dry ingredients so this super quick dry laundry soap works best with hot or very warm water!

Happy washing day my friends!

*I have not tried this with newer HE machines so always use your own judgement when using this homemade laundry detergent! All machines are different and have differing requirements!

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