Homemade Laundry Soap

Carole\'s Homemade Laundry Soap

Does frugality come with age? I don’t know, but I’m happy to announce that I now make my own laundry soap. There are tons of recipes on the Internet, but they’re all basically the same. The big question is whether you prefer powder or liquid.

When buying laundry soap, I always went for the liquid because the powder always left a bit of residue on my clothes, especially when using cold water. However, when making your own, the liquid soap takes a little longer to make, so I decided to test the powdered version, and if it didn’t work, I could always switch. I’m all into saving time making the stuff.

So, it took me about 10 – 15 minutes, and it works like a charm. No residue on my clothes, and the dirt is gone, gone, gone. Also, this method is cheaper, safer for the environment, and takes up less space on the shelf.

So here’s what you need:

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda

1 bar of soap, grated – (Sunlight, Fels Naptha, or Zota – NOT body soap)
1/4 cup Oxyclean (optional)

Mix it all up. Use 1 Tbsp for small loads, 2 Tbsp for large loads.

One word of caution, I read that you should use gloves when handling the washing soda because it is caustic. I also rinse my hands after each use of the laundry soap.

All of the ingredients are near the laundry detergents at the store. For the bar of soap, most Whitehorse stores carry Sunlight. It’s sold in a package of two bars, and is usually found near the laundry soap.

Some people prefer to use baking soda instead of washing soda. They are interchangeable in your laundry, but not in your baking! Washing soda is more alkaline and is more effective than baking soda.

For your first loads after switching, the Greenpeace website recommends washing your clothes with washing soda only; this is to prevent yellowing. I didn’t do this, and I didn’t experience any problems.

Thanks to the following sites:

The Frugal Shopper
Modern Cottage
Diaper Pin
Green Home Living – a great story!



  1. fawnahareo said,

    April 27, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Funny, I never thought of doing this before, but it’s come up on a couple of blogs I read lately. I have a whole case of 7th Generation laundry detergent to use first, but maybe when I start running out (oh, in about 2 years!!!) I’ll give this a try. Well, a liquid recipe because I use a high-efficiency machine. It would make a fun gift for an eco-savvy friend, too!

  2. MOM said,

    May 8, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    Good idea girl!!! I remember when we would go on vacation at Grandma Gauthier’s, she used to wash the diapers, towels, and face cloths (etc) on her wash board with those bars of soap…What an experience that was… Those were the good old days. Keep up the good work!!! 🙂

  3. Dawn said,

    May 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    hey Carole! Thanks for the comment on my blog – I appreciate it! And I’m so glad I came for a visit to your blog! Been wondering what I’m going to do after my 7th Generation liquid detergent is gone (at $19 a bottle) -this is the perfect solution. Just made my own cream scrub tonight (like VIM without the bleach!) Cheers.

  4. Judith Haydock said,

    January 2, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Can I just point out that the notion of washing soda being caustic is wrong. It is often confused with what we in the uk call caustic soda. I have not got time now to look up the chemical names for you but they are different and you would not use caustic soda for washing any clothes as they would likely disintegrate. I use washing soda hm powder for hand washing and it does not irritate my skin at all whereas commercial powder does.

  5. January 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Hi Judith,
    Thank you for that clarification. I looked it up and the two chemical names are sodium carbonate (the “washing soda” we put in our laundry) and sodium hydroxide (the stuff used for stripping paint).
    I will also add your comment to my new blog yukonchatterbug.com as I don’t use this one anymore.

    Please note that you should still wear gloves when handling the washing soda when making your laundry detergent as per the caution on the box.

    Thanks Judith

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