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The BEST Homemade Laundry Soap you can make with just three simple ingredients! This all-natural laundry detergent is perfect for sensitive skin and actually smells great! An easy homemade laundry soap that only costs pennies a load.

ingredients for homemade laundry detergent - washing soda, borax, and soap.

Making your own laundry detergent is a super simple way to get clean clothes at a fraction of the price as storebought. Even better, you’re cutting down on packaging waste by not purchasing new bottles/boxes every few months.

Does Homemade Laundry Detergent Really Work?

Yes! It works great and it is effective and super affordable. We have used this in traditional top loader washers as well as a HE washer. I will say that it works best in warm water, especially if using a HE washing machine.

Homemade Laundry Soap Supplies

You’ll need:

  • Super Washing Soda
  • Baking Soda
  • Borax (only about $5 in the laundry aisle of major stores)
  • Bar soap
  • {optional} essential oils
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Cheese grater
  • Spoon
  • Storage container

Various recipes suggest using Fels Nelpha soap, but I cannot stand the smell of it! We use whatever bar soap we have hanging around. Use a brand that you already know is sensitive enough for your family’s skin.

The dryer is often the number two user of electricity in American homes. For extra money and energy savings, we love to line dry our laundry outside whenever possible (we have this great retractable clothesline) and use these drying racks when the weather does not cooperate. Check out all my tips for line-drying laundry.

Pro Tips

  • If you want to make a bulk batch, I find using the grating attachment on my food processor makes super quick work of it.
  • Using warm water is best to help dissolve the grated soap.
  • If you want to use essential oils, use 30 drops of your favorite scent.

More Homemade DIY Ideas

5 from 42 ratings

Homemade Laundry Soap

Servings: 7 cups
Prep: 0 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
ingredients for homemade laundry detergent - washing soda, borax, and soap.
An easy homemade laundry soap that only costs pennies a load.


  • 2 cups bar soap {grated}
  • 2 cups borax
  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 30 drops essential oils {optional}


  • Grate the bar soap. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to distribute.
  • Normal loads use 1TBSP - 1/4 cup.  I use about 1/8 cup with great results.

Additional Info

Course: DIY
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!


About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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  1. Is there a recipe that opts out of the bar soap or, is it the most essential part of the recipe? I’ll see if I can find a DIY bar soap recipe, and if it works out with the rest of the instructions. We are really trying to veer away from commercial products for our kids.

    1. I don’t have a version that skips the bar soap. But I have used tons of different brands of bar soap, including some handmade that I have purchased at the farmer’s market.

    1. Whichever you prefer! I recommend using something your family already uses so that you 1) have it on hand aka it’s cheaper 2) know that no one will react to a new brand.

      I’ve even saved bites and pieces of soap from various bars and put them all together to make the detergent.

  2. A cousin on my Mom’s side suggested this method and I love it… I run the soap through the Cuisinart on shred and then put it in with the blade until it is in tiny pieces. A bar makes a little over a cup so I use 1 cup per recipe. I found it disolves more easily this way and distributes more evenly in the container among the other ingredients. I do 2 batches of 2 bars and the put the extra ~3.5 cups in a mason jar for 3 following times that I need to make laundry soap. I also wrote the recipe on tape on my container so Eric could make it too (last time he used another recipe and my Tea Tree Dr. Bronners that I like for the shower).5 stars

  3. We’re definitely going to give this one a try. We use powder detergent, and we even add color safe bleach just to make our clothes smell better. We’re doing it totally wrong!5 stars