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Natural Homemade Laundry Soap Powder and other Laundry Recipes

by Susan on April 27, 2012

Making your own laundry detergent isn’t difficult.  Not only is it quite easy, it’s so much cheaper than store bought AND there’s no nasty chemicals or fake fragrances to contribute to allergies.


Here are a few recipes for you to try.  We use the “liquid” recipe further down the page.


Homemade Laundry Soap Powder

16 cups washing soda (NOT baking soda!  Found in laundry aisle of your grocery – probably next to Borax)

12 cups Borax

8 cups grated castile soap

3 Tables.  lavender, lemon, or other citrus essential oil – available here


Combine washing soda, Borax, and soap flakes.  Add essential oil and mix with a wire whisk.  Use 1/8 cup per load (more or less depending on your needs.  Try 1/8 cup and if you need more, use more the next time).  Recipe makes enough powder to last a family of four several months, possibly a year.    Recipe found in “Clean, Naturally”  by Sandy Maine


Pre-Wash Stain Remover Spray

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup baking soda

2 tables. ammonia

3 cups water

Stir together and fill a labeled spray bottle.  Spray on heavily soiled spots just before washing (spot test first).  Recipe found in “Clean, Naturally” by Sandy Maine.



Homemade LIQUID Laundry Soap

1 bar soap (I have used plain old Ivory, Fels Naptha, or sometimes Dr. Bronner’s castile soap)

1/2 cup Borax

1/2 cup WASHING soda


5 gallon bucket with a cover


Grate the bar of soap with a cheese grater, place the flakes in a medium saucepan.  Add several (5 or 6) cups of water, heat.  Continuously stirring the soap flakes, allow them to melt over the heat.  When melted, add the borax and washing soda, stirring.


laundry soap mixing


When all this has melted, pour into the 5 gal bucket, fill 3/4 full with HOT water.






I add 25 or 30 drops of essential oil at this point – Young Living’s Lavender, Lemon, or Purification are all good choices – available here.  Give it all a good stirring.


015 (2)


Put the cover on the bucket and let it set OVERNIGHT.  In the morning, it will be goopy.  When using, you need to re-stir because it “gellifies” (is that a word??).  I’ve used this for several months, it works on just about anything.  My husband is a lobsterfisherman and let me tell you, if it gets out the smell of old salty bait, grease, and the stains, it’ll work on just about anything!! :)   Original Recipe from The Prairie Homestead – found here

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kris Delmage August 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I generally only use liquid soap and would love to try this to save some money. We have a front loader and are only supposed to use the soap for HE machines. What does that mean and can I use this homemade soap in my machine without hurting the machine in some way?


Susan August 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Hi Kris,

Thanks for commenting. I checked the website where I got the recipe a couple of years ago, The Prairie Homestead, and at the end of the post there is a note that says this soap IS safe for HE washers. I don’t know exactly what “HE” means, all we have is a top loader. Here is the link to the original post on the Prairie Homestead – There were several comments at the end of the post from ladies asking your very same question! :)
Take care,

Kris Delmage August 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Thank you Susan for your help…

Susan August 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm

You’re welcome. :)

Doris May 31, 2015 at 7:49 pm

I made the liquid detergent once, used Ivory Soap, my husband says it is too drying.
I normally use “ALL Free & Clear” HE. Would Castille Soap make it not-so-drying?
Is the Castille Soap sold in the grocery store genuine- how do you know ?
I would hate to make another batch and have it gather dust in the basement…

thank you.

Susan June 1, 2015 at 4:58 am

Good questions Doris! Castile soap is quite drying to my skin (dr. Bronner’s brand) if I use it undiluted (like for hand washing or showers or even dishwashing) but I’ve never noticed any skin issues using it in the laundry soap recipe. I’ve been using Fels-Naptha brand as the soap ingredient in the recipe for quite a while – available at Lehman’s – (and I can get it at our local grocery store). I have used Ivory soap too and really haven’t noticed any skin drying issues. I’m sorry I can’t really give you a good answer!

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