Homemade Laundry Soap: Photo Tutorial

The other day, among shopping for a new mattress (which is another post for another day), I decided I would man up and finally make the homemade laundry soap I'd been putting off forever. Why it dawned on me to do such a task while mattress shopping is beyond me.

I just went with it.

And now I'll tell ya about it...

Gather up some simple ingredients. You might have many of these things at home right now. If you don't, it will cost less than $13 to get started.

You'll need a large 5 gallon bucket with a lid, some Borax, Super Washing Soda, and bar soap (I obviously chose Ivory).

First, grate your bar of soap into a deep saucepan.

Add some water to the pan (you'll find the exact recipe with quantities below) and heat the soapy water over medium-low, stirring constantly, until the soap is dissolved.

Because that will take several minutes, start filling your 5 gallon bucket half full with hot tap water.

Add your Borax and your Super Washing Soda to the 1/2 full 5 gallon bucket.

While you are still stirring your soapy mixture on the stove, waiting patiently for it to dissolve, feel free to marvel at all of the other uses for Borax and Super Washing Soda.

Because you won't use but a cup or so of each, you can use these all natural cleaning ingredients elsewhere in your home.

When that soapy water mixture has dissolved, add it to your 5 gallon bucket as well.

Stir it up and then fill it to the top with more hot tap water. 

Carefully hoist the full 5 gallon bucket out of your sink and to the floor. You might want to say a little prayer that the handle holds up, because if that bucket hits the floor you are gonna be in a world of hurt, sister.

Then put a lid on it and let it sit overnight. It will gel up a bit, so you'll want to stir it.

Then, gather your empty laundry detergent storage bottles and fill them half full. Fill the other half up with water, and you're done! You now have TEN GALLONS of laundry soap.

Ignore the "1/2 cup" writing on this bottle. It's actually a 1/4 cup that should be used per load. 
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Liquid laundry detergent 
Yields: 10 gallonsSupplies:
· 1 bar of soap (Fels-Naptha, Ivory, Dial Pure and Natural, or Zote)
· 1 cup of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (this may be hard to find in the laundry aisle in some stores)
· ½ cup Borax.
· 1 five gallon bucket with a lid
· old laundry soap containers, vinegar bottles to store the finished detergent (storing in the bucket is very cumbersome). You’ll need enough containers to hold 10 gallons.

Directions: Day one - 1. Grate the bar of soap into a stove pan.
2. Add four cups of hot tap water and cook the soapy mixture on med-low heat, stirring constantly, until soap is dissolved and melted.
3. In the meantime, fill the 5 gallon bucket half full with hot tap water.
4. Once the soap has melted, add it, the washing soda and Borax to the 5 gallon bucket.
5. Stir it up until all powder is dissolved.
6. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water.
7. Stir again and put the lid on to thicken overnight.

Day two- 1. Stir the bucket.
2. Fill your used (but clean) containers half full with soap
3. Fill the rest of containers with water
4. Optional step: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons of finished detergent. Add once soap has cooled.
5. Shake before each use, because the detergent will gel a bit.

Top Load Machine - 5/8 cup per load
(Approx. 180 loads)

Front Load Machine (including HE) - ¼ cup per load
(Approx. 640 loads)

Total cost to make (including bucket): $13
Total cost per load: $0.02
(This cost is relative to your first time making a 10 gallon “batch”, because you will reuse the bucket and keep using the same box of Borax, Super Washing Soda, and your multi-pack of Ivory soap).


  1. great article..its a great help, i have always buy laundry soap with me cause i always use it in my washing machine

    laundry tap set

  2. Hi there....my soap didn't really thicken overnight...any thoughts or suggestions?

    1. Hi Katie! It won't be thick like regular store-bought detergent, but mine gelled up a bit, especially at the bottom. It separated a little. Did you try stirring it? Maybe it set up more at the bottom and just needs mixed? I used a long grilling spatula (classy, I know) to stir it up. After I put it into my old detergent containers I have to remember to give the jug a shake to mix it up again. If that's not the case, perhaps you added too much water? Regardless, it will be thinner, but if you have the ratios of cleansers correct, it will be a great detergent!

  3. Hi Kelli! Thanks for sharing this recipe! I use the same one and make it dry! A lot easier for me! Blessings from Bama!

    1. Please share the dry recipe Bama Girl.

  4. I really want to try this, maybe when I move!

  5. This article help me. Thank your for sharing.


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