Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How to Make Your Own Liquid Laundry Soap

Need a project to use up all those little leftover pieces of soap? If you have sensitivities to fragrances or dyes you could use an unscented soap bar to make this laundry soap. It's a lot more cost effective than buying a fragrance free detergent. Just a little note though, I don't use this soap on my cloth diapers. It has a lot of borax in it and I'm concerned that it will harm the elastic.

laundry soap step 4
about 5 ounces of soap
1/4 cup Dawn dish-washing detergent
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
hot water
fragrance or essential oil of your choice, optional

2 quart covered saucepan
old liquid laundry detergent bottle
2 funnels

1) You will need about 5 ounces of soap pieces. I leave this pan sitting out on the stove top and collect little pieces of soap until I have about 5 ounces. You could also grate up a larger piece of soap or a whole bar using a cheese grater. If I plan to use this laundry soap on whites, I make sure I'm using white or very lightly colored pieces of soap. I don't want to dye my husband's white dress shirts lavender with my laundry soap.
Laundry Soap Making Set 1
2) Completely cover the soap pieces with water. More water makes this process go faster but too much water and heat can make your soap bubble up into a foamy mixture.
Laundry Soap Making step 2
3) Cover the pan and heat on low for 1-2 hours until all the soap pieces are completely dissolved. I usually check on it every 15 min. or so just to make sure it hasn't bubbled over.
Laundry Soap Making Step 3
4) When the soap is dissolved, pour the hot mixture into the laundry detergent bottle. I find a funnel very helpful.
Laundry Soap Step 5
5) Add 1/4 cup Dawn dish-washing liquid to the soap in the bottle. Normally I would use Original Dawn, but all I had on hand at the time was Ultra Dawn. I add the Dawn because my handmade soap contains moisturizing oils for my skin. My clothes do not need moisturizing so the Dawn helps to trap those extra oils.
6) I use a different funnel (that I made out of a piece of paper) for the dry ingredients. Pour 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda into the laundry detergent bottle.
Laundry soap step 6
7) Fill the bottle up with hot water from the tap. Using hot water is important to help the borax dissolve. Put the lid on and give it a good shake after filling to help in cooperate all ingredients. If I were going to add a fragrance or essential oil, I would do it here at the end. I think 1/2 ounce would be a good starting point to experiment with scent amounts.
8) I use 1/4-1/2 cup of this soap in my wash loads. I do give the bottle a little shake before every use just in case there are some undissolved ingredients.


  1. How size bottle are you using to store the soap?

  2. Just wondering if this recipe would work on the front-load washing machines? I have a friend that is constantly griping about how much the special detergent costs.. and would love to make some for her!

    1. I have no idea. My mom has a front loader. I'll have to see if she will let me try it out next time I visit. I would guess that you would need to use less of it just because they don't use as much water to rinse out the soap.