DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent – Cheap and Green {free printable}

Making your own laundry detergent from home is surprisingly easy and cheap, and with this recipe, there is no soap grating necessary! It uses just three ingredients and works like a charm – I know because I’ve been using it for nearly a year and my clothes always come out clean and soft. I provide two versions here – one with and one without Borax.

Homemade Laundry Detergent with Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap

Now updated with a free printable label – it’s pretty and you never have to look up the recipe again

Making your own detergent also just makes logical sense if you want to save money. Why? When you buy a cleaning product, especially laundry detergent, you’re mostly paying for WATER. $18 for a gallon of mostly water if you buy Tide. Here’s a way to save those dollars and make it yourself at home in just five minutes!

So, once my gallon of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap arrived in the mail from Amazon, I went on a mission to see how many green cleaning products I could make myself using my new, supposedly magical, soap. One of the items on the list was homemade laundry detergent! I wanted something that would be safe for the ground water, environment, cheap and gentle on my clothes. I scoured the internet to find a great recipe, because to my disappointment, there are no laundry detergent recipes in my handy “Clean House, Clean Planet” book (except to use Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds in an undiluted form – NOT cheap). So, I came across this recipe, from the Backwoods Home magazine website, and after two months, am still very happy with it! And I even have very hard water (oh the fun of living in the Marcellus Shale!)

According to their article, this homemade recipe costs a tenth of the cost of store-bought laundry detergent. I’m too skeptical to believe things like that without checking it out for myself, so I set out to see if they are correct!

Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients and Supplies

Just 3 ingredients – Super Washing Soda, Borax & Castile Soap (optional use of an essential oil like Lavender for fragrance)

 

How Cheap is this Homemade Detergent?

1 box of Super Washing Soda (55 oz.) = $2.69 (at Wegman’s) 
1 box of 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz.) = $3.99 (at Wegman’s) or 4 lb. Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda = $7.96 (Amazon) or $1.99/lb.
1 gallon of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (128 oz.) = $51.99 (at Amazon.com with free shipping)

To make two gallons of the detergent you use:
Super Washing Soda (you get 13.75 uses out of one box) = $.20 a batch
Borax (20 Mule Team ) (you get 19 uses out of one box) = $.21 a batch or $0.66 a batch with Baking Soda
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (you get 21 uses out of one gallon) = $2.47

Add it all up, that’s a mere $2.88 for two gallons, or 96 loads if you use the suggested 1/3 cup a load. 

WOW!

Compare that to Tide 2x Ultra Concentrated: 1 container of 150 oz. (or 96 loads) of Tide costs = $17.99
And Tide is not green or safe for the environment. Not only can you help the environment and wash clothes that are safe for your little ones (i.e., hypoallergenic & gentle), you can save $15.11!

You save even more if you compare it to a green (eco-friendly) laundry detergent.

A Note About Borax

Borax is controversial in green circles and I have found arguments for and against it. When I originally wrote this recipe, I did not know that the EWG gives Borax a rating of F for reproductive and organ toxicity – yikes. Apparently, it does not harm the environment, though, which is good. I use the EWG (Environmental Working Group) to research the safety of many products, so this was quite a find. I have decided not to use Borax any longer based on the EWG’s rating. The good news is that baking soda and super washing soda or a combination of both are excellent substitutes for borax and are readily available in grocery stores.

Supplies

  • 2 one-gallon containers in which to store the detergent (I recycled an old laundry detergent container and a vinegar jug)
  • A measuring cup or two
  • A two-gallon bucket (I used my old mop bucket)
  • Funnel to pour the detergent from the bucket into the containers (not necessary but certainly helpful!)
  • 1 medium-sized pot

How to Make The Detergent

  • Take a medium size pot and place on the stove. Fill with about 2 cups of water (doesn’t have to be exact).
  • Heat until about boiling.
  • Take your two dry ingredients first – the Super Washing Soda and Borax or Baking Soda, and pour them into the pot.
  • Stir constantly for a few minutes until it is well dissolved.
  • Add the castile soap and stir until well mixed.
  • Fill your two-gallon bucket up almost all the way with very warm tap water.
  • Pour in the contents from your pot and stir well.
Homemade Laundry Detergent Using Castile Soap
  • Take your measuring cup and scoop out the detergent and into the detergent container using a funnel. This is a picture of my container before I made the pretty label.
Homemade Laundry Detergent - Measure Out the Soap

How Long Does it Last? How Many Loads?

This batch lasted about two months for a family of four, and even included a three day visit from four girls in my family who love to wash clothes (and have lots of them!). I find it works for about 96 loads, which for us is about 2 1/2 months, so I don’t have to make it very often!

I find this detergent works just as well as Tide, All, and Arm and Hammer’s detergents, all of which I’ve used. The website suggests using it as stain remover as well and I tried that with no luck at all. It didn’t work for me – stains didn’t budge a bit, even after soaking for days in the detergent.

How Much To Use in the Washer:

I use 1/3 cup like the website suggests and do find it’s important to mix the detergent before each use. I swish my container around so it doesn’t get too sudsy, and it works like a charm.

Overall, I love this detergent and how much money I’m saving on it, while doing my part to be friendly to nature and our health.

5.0 from 3 reviews

DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent – Cheap and Green {free printable}
 
Author:
Recipe type: Laundry Detergent
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Take a medium size pot and place on the stove. Fill with about 2 cups of water (doesn’t have to be exact).
  2. Heat until about boiling.
  3. Take your two dry ingredients first – the Super Washing Soda and Borax or Baking Soda, and pour them into the pot.
  4. Stir constantly for a few minutes until it is well dissolved.
  5. Add the castile soap and stir until well mixed.
  6. Fill your two-gallon bucket up almost all the way with very warm tap water.
  7. Pour in the contents from your pot and stir well.
  8. Stir with a large spoon to mix in the soap and add the essential oils if you desire.

 Get Your Free Printable Label Here so you never have to look up the recipe again!

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the recipe! I’ve been looking for a liquid recipe for some time and this is perfect. I decided to not use the Borax and instead replaced it with the baking soda. My first batch was solidified rocks at the bottom of the bucket. I mixed the two powders and added the hot water as instructed, but I think I may have figured out a solution to the “rock” issue lol I started over and i filled the bucket with hot water first and I added just the super washing soda while stirring constantly, and that dissolved completely. Then I added the baking soda while stirring constantly, and that too dissolved completely. Then I added my Castile soap and stirred that in slowly and there is not one speck of a clump/rock. It is completely dissolved this way. I’m guessing the baking soda is the culprit as it solidifies as soon as the water hits it. So, from what I gather in my experimentation, if using baking soda in place of Borax, add the hot water to the bucket first. Do not put the powders in first, but instead add each powder seperately to the water while stirring constantly. Lastly add the soap. Hope this helps those with the “clumping” problem

    • Hi Jessica! Oh, fantastic! I’m going to add your tips to the post to help all of us, crediting you, of course. You’ve helped so many!! Thank you!

    • I tried it your way and it worked! Thanks for the suggestion :)

    • Hello! I tried adding the super wash baking soda-dissolving it-then adding the baking soda. However, when I added the baking soda, the mixture turned into a lumpy semi-solid. It looked like salt when it gets a little bit wet…kind of clumpy and grainy. I went ahead and added the soap, bu it didn’t help with the clumps. I’ve been trying to shake up the gallon jugs to break them apart, but they seem awfully stubborn! Does anyone have any idea what I may have done wrong?! Would heat affect this? Should I have taken the pan off of the hot burner before adding the powders? Any extra tips would be much appreciated!!! Thank you!!

      • Hi Valerie! I’m not quite sure I follow your comment, but did you add the super washing soda and baking soda to water first? There needs to be water already in it first, then add the powders. I’ve found that you don’t really need to add the soap while it’s all in the pot – it’s fine to add it to the bucket afterwards. It does get clumpy, even after you dissolve the powders. I haven’t found a way around that, however, it cleans really well even while clumpy, so I don’t really care.

  2. Oh, and thanks for the cute printable label!! Time saver for me and will spruce up my gallon water jug lol

  3. No problem, glad I could help! I was bound and determined to find a solution with this huge money saver lol I’m a SAHM with an almost 10 month old and this is a no brainer for saving money. It’s cheap, effective, Eco friendly and just better all the way around. Thank you again Sara for such an awesome recipe!

  4. How does this work in HE machines? Just wondering…

    • I’ve only ever owned HE washers in my adult life and I’ve yet to have a problem with this recipe. It’s very low-sudsing as there is no surfactants in it like sodium laureth or lauryl sulfate in it, which is all that HE washers require.

  5. And, by the way, can you make it more concentrated to make it even easier to use? I imagine that would be OK, right?

    • Sure, you could make it more concentrated by adding more castile soap to it, but the cost would go up. It’s very easy to use and make as is – it’s not thick, but it doesn’t need to be to just pour it into the washer.

      • I think she means make it more concentrated by adding using less water, not by using more soap. Two gallons is a lot to store. Using half the water and using only 2-3 TBS instead of 1/3 cup for each load seems like it would work just fine and not require storage of a giant bucket. Anyone tried this?

  6. I love this stuff! We have been using it for 5 months now. Even gets my husbands cloths clean, which is saying something. Thank you for sharing! Do you use this on your cloth diapers? If so how does it work and how much do you use? Thanks again!

    • Yes! I use it on everything, including cloth diapers. They get very clean! I’ve had no problems with this detergent in over a year! Glad it’s working for you, too, Amanda.

      • Hi, I know i am a little late. I made this soap yesterday. when you use it with cloth diapers do you still use one third of a cup? I know with commercial laundry detergents you are supposed to use less, but this stuff seems so gentle i would assume a third of a cup is fine. Please let me know, Thank you

        • Yes, I use a 1/3 of a cup unless I have a very small load, then I use less. My diapers get clean every time- it works amazingly well! The only time they might have some leftover stench is when I leave them in the pail for more than a couple of days. But after two washes or drying in the sun, they smell fine again.

  7. Would this detergent work in front loader washing machines?

  8. Sylvia Robinson says:

    I am very interested in making my own laundry detergent. I have a HE washer which requires me to use HE detergent. Can I still use this recipe? Any help would be appreciated.

  9. Lauren H. says:

    Hi, I wanted to add that the peppermint Dr. Bronner’s soap is almost ten dollars cheaper for a gallon at Whole Foods. It’s cheaper in any size (But other scents are still the same. I don’t ask questions. Haha.) but I did notice that it’s much cheaper for the entire gallon. For anyone near a Whole Foods, that would be very convenient, plus you don’t have to wait for it to ship in. Also, for Whole Foods brand baking soda, it’s just under a dollar for a pound. That’s another good saving. Just thought I’d throw this out there for anyone who is impatient and cheap.

  10. This is my first time to use washing soda and borax. Do either of these smell like bleach? I made the laundry detergent last night and used it this morning. My hands felt like they had bleach on them and after the wash was completed the towels smelled like it…it was pretty strong smell. Thanks

    • Hi Lisa! No, I have never had them smell like bleach before. Could it be residue left over in your washer from bleach or detergent? That is odd. Or the container you’re using to store it – did it used to have bleach?

  11. Hi Sara!
    Do you use the borax-free version when washing cloth diapers? Have you noticed a difference with how well one version cleans versus the other? Thanks!

    • Hi Mandy! I just washed my first few loads with the borax-free version but I have not done the smell check test on the diapers yet…I did notice that the poop (orange because it’s breastmilk poop, sorry to gross you out!) did not come out like it normally does. It is still stained orange, and normally it’s a lighter orange. So, it seems it doesn’t clean as well as Borax.

      • When my son was a baby, he had many allergies and had to use cloth diapers washed in the mildest soap possible and rinsed several times to make sure all the soap was gone. He had to use a Mul-soy formula due to allergies. If you’ve ever used it, you know how badly it stains cloth diapers… yuk. He still having rashes and the diapers looked unclean. A friend told me to use a cup of white vinegar in my pre-wash or soak cycle, then do the load like normal, adding a cup of white vinegar in the last rinse. The combination of vinegar and sunlight made my sons diapers very soft and stain free. And best of all, no rashes. Maybe this will help others.

        • I forgot to add, the vinegar also helps with eliminating odor from the diapers. Mul-soy stank going in and even worse coming out.

        • Great, thanks for adding, Sherry! I do have another post about using white vinegar as a fabric softener. It really does work, doesn’t it? And in my cloth diaper post I say that using vinegar in the wash helps to eliminate the odor. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Thank you so much for this recipe! I was looking for a liquid DIY laundry soap, and one that was Borax-free.

    I’ll be whipping up my first batch tonight. Can’t wait. YAY!

  13. Hi! So, last night I made the borax-free version with liquid castile soap. It smells delightful since I went with the lavender version. I just want to make sure it’s not supposed to firm up…mine is basically super soapy water, and even after cooling overnight, it didn’t solidify or thicken at all.

    Is that right?

    Thanks!
    Dawn | The Crispy Sage recently posted..Vampire Killer Garlic WhipMy Profile

    • Hi Dawn! Nope, it’s not supposed to get thicker. It is watery. I give my a little swish in the bottle before every use to mix up all the ingredients again and have no problems! It cleans very well, it’s just a different consistency that what we’re used to.

  14. Hi! I know you said that there is no smell using the lavender essential oil. But, I know I am really sensitive to it and can’t use it. Can I use peppermint essential oil instead? I seem to fair OK with that. Thanks for the recipes! I can’t wait to try them!!

    • Hi Erica! Oh yes, sure, the lavender is just a suggestion. You can use any oil you like, or none at all! It is not necessary and even when a lot is added, the clothes still smell neutral. So, if you’re very sensitive, I’d skip it altogether.

  15. If you want it thicker would it be alright to add only 1/2 of the water? Would drying the diapers in the sun be enough to bleach the diapers naturally?

    • Well, I suppose it could! LOL Then, you can add 1/2 the amount to the washer because it’ll be more concentrated. But there’s really no need to make it thicker, it’s just that’s what everyone’s used to. It doesn’t affect the cleaning power at all. As far as drying diapers in the sun – yes, that helps to get rid of the stains, but it doesn’t always. And I wash diapers every two days, so often it is raining and they can’t dry in the sun. Sometimes the sun helps to set the stain instead of remove it – I’ve had that happen several times.

  16. Thanks for the laundry detergent recipe. I have The Castile Soap and I was looking for this recipe.I’ll try it tomorrow.

  17. I don’t have a high efficiency washing machine. I’ve used this recipe for a few months now and I love it but I suddenly noticed it’s just not cleaning that well. Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do? I was thinking of doubling up on the castile soap but just am not sure if that’s what I should do. Thanks so much!

  18. Question… is this supposed to turn kind of chunky/stringy/gloppy overnight? I’ve tried doing this with and without borax, and the same thing happens. After it is all mixed up, it looks wonderful… but then after it sits overnight, strange things happen and it about 1/4 of it is all chunky-like. Even after shaking it a bit, there is a bunch of little chunks that float around, it never really mixes together. Does that make sense? I really want this to work, because this is easier than grating soap to make a powdered version!

    • Hey Amy! Yes, that is totally normal. I know it seems like it wouldn’t work right, but I promise it does! I’ve been using it for over a year to wash our clothes, sheets, diapers, towels – everything – and it cleans very well. Before every wash, I just circle the jug around a few times to mix it all together. The clumps is the Castile Soap clumping together. I suppose it could be fixed by using a mixer to mix it up, but I’m much too lazy to do that, especially since it cleans very well like it is.

  19. Love this detergent. I washed my fitted sheet in Tide yesterday, washed my flat sheet in my homemade laundry detergent after I made it (with help from my daughter), the flat shett came out way cleaner. Thanks so much for sharing this! I don’t believe I will need commercial laundry soap anymore. This stuff works really good and it’s cheaper and safer.

    • Wow, cool! That is awesome, Denisa! Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m wondering which version of the recipe you made, the with borax or without borax version. Thanks so much. I’m looking for the washing soda so I can give this recipe a go. My husband has very severe eczema, and even the laundry soaps for sensitive skin are not working.

  20. What happened to the recipe with the washing soda, borax & fels naptha soap? I bought the supplies and can’t find the recipe now! Ahh! It had all the pictures and everything and I was so excited to make it!

  21. Looking forward to trying this laundry detergent. Is it safe for HE machines and if so would the amount to use per load be reduced or the same? Thank you.

    • Hi Rebecca! This recipe is perfect for HE machines because it is low-sudsing (since HE washers use less water, the soaps need to be less concentrated and have less-suds because there isn’t enough water to wash all the soap out). So, this is a very low-sudsing recipe because Castile Soap does not contain surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate that make it suds up.

  22. Samantha R. says:

    This information is great but there is places online you can get castile soap and not make it yourself. Not as heavy as most soaps and not expensive as a lot of drug stores. I get mine from http://www.naturalwayorganics.net.

  23. I was just wondering if you have an update on how the borax-free version is working with the cloth diapers. Have you noticed any build-up/smells? I am wanting to try it, but am a little anxious! Thanks.

    • Hi Kristen! I’ve washed the diapers about 5 or 6 times in the borax-free version and they smell just fine! I have also dried them in the sun a few times, so that makes a big difference in smell. If it has affected smell, it’s very minimal.

  24. Hello Sara ! Im very new to what I’d call household DIY solutions, and it’s been a real pleasure reading your articles.

    As I live in China, I had to do a real research to find the names or equivalents for the ingredients needed, and came up with a question for you, if you may have time to answer me :-) .

    So, after searching, I found out that washing soda was in fact Sodium Carbonate, which is extremely common in China, more than baking soda that needs to be ordered online or in specialized shops (Chinese don’t make cakes and don’t use ovens like Western people do), and is used for example to make steamed buns ! Its found in every store beside the salt and sugar.

    I also found out that its very similar to baking soda. Just bake “baking soda” and it becomes “washing soda”. I was then wondering why adding both in the detergent recipe (baking soda replacing borax) ? Washing soda washes, but what does baking soda do that washing soda doesn’t ? I’m just curious and hope you can help me understand :-) .

    By the way, castile soap costs a fortune here, and I’m going to make it myself, seems pretty easy !

    Thanks and good inspiration for your creative days !

    Eden.

    • Hi Eden! So cool to have you visit around here. You pose a very good question about the washing soda and baking soda difference – I’ll have to research as I honestly don’t know. I thought making your own castile soap was pretty complicated – did you find a tutorial? So cool! Yes, all you have to do to make washing soda is to bake baking soda, but since you don’t have an oven, that is pretty difficult! I think the recipe would work just fine with all baking soda and no washing soda. I suggest making a very small batch and testing it.

      • washing aoda is baking soda that has been oven heated…at a certain temp and time….simple as that. I make the dry version and the recipe said not to use baking soda.
        just google washing soda.
        hope this helps

      • Hi, thanks for the reply, even though we are both still without an answer about the difference lol !

        By the way, I have an oven. I bought online, in the famous “Taobao.com” , a cheaper (no fee at all for buyers, as it earns with the adverts) and extremely popular version of Ebay in China. The guy who opened it is now the richest guy in China if I remember !

        I also have all the ingredients at hand, no problem on that side neither, I was busy traveling but now Im getting ready to ‘follow your recipe :-) . You can buy Borax in China for an average price of one dollar for 5 kgs !

        As for the Castile soap, basically, its just olive oil + lye + a scent of our choice + optional extras according to recipes.
        I’ll just have to be careful to respect proportions, as lye is harmful if not fully absorbed by the fat, but its the same for every other kind of soap too. I never tried but it shouldn’t be hard. I found a video explaining it on youtube : “Learn to Make Olive Oil (Castile) Soap in 6 Minute.”

        Have you ever tried making some ? :-)

        Once I’ve done some I’ll send you my impressions ;-) .

        • I’ve never tried making castile soap – that’d be so cool to learn! I’d love to hear back about how it goes for you if you decide to make the soap. Glad you were able to get an oven – funny how that’s a standard here in America but hard to find in China.

          • Well, its not hard to find ovens, as internet is so easy to use here, its just that people don’ t use it as they don’t do pastry-kind recipes (rice is their base, not wheat) and they do steamed buns instead of bread, so you don’t find them (the ovens) in the average supermarkets.

            For sure, I’ll let you know how the soap making goes on :-) !

  25. Hi there! Thanks for the recipe! I’ve only used this once but looking forward to all its benefits =]

    I’m a little worried that I may not have made this correctly. Is it supposed to be super foamy? When I shake it up to mix everything around, I open it up to a volcano of foam!

    I’ve seen a lot of comments about using this for HE washers.. I live in an apartment where we have shared laundry machines. How do I know if our machines are HE? Even if they aren’t, would it be alright to use anyways?

    Lastly, in an effort to have longer-lasting clothes (also part of the reason I switched to homemade detergent), I’ve been doing some hand-washing. Is this detergent suitable for that?

    • Hi Theresa! Yes, when you shake it up it WILL be foamy! Castile Soap foams like crazy when shaken. This recipe works for both HE and regular washers. HE washers use less water, so the suds don’t get rinsed out if using a regular laundry detergent and not one formulated with less detergent. This one is naturally less sudsing since it has no sodium laureth sulfate!

      I think this recipe would be good for handwashing, and you’ll only need a little bit.

  26. Hi I am wondering if I can make this with DR bronzers suds soap? Will it work the same

  27. Frances "Penilayne says:

    Thanks for sharing! The printable really made my day :)

  28. Is there a reason that this needs to be made ahead? Couldn’t I just calculate the amount of each of the ingredients and put them in the washer, like making a recipe for baking?
    It’s only 1/3 tsp of soap and 1/4 tsp each of washing soda and baking soda. Teaspoons, amazing!

  29. Hi

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I made it yesterday night using the baking soda. I was wondering do I just put the soap in with the clothes or in the soap slot? You have suggested to use 1/3 cup for each load but can I use more if there is a bigger load?

    Thanks
    Enza:)

    • Hi Enza! (I see you’ve been all over the site…welcome!!). Yes, the 1/3 cup per load is merely a suggestion. I use more if I have a large or very dirty load, less with a smaller load. You put the soap in wherever your washer dictates – for mine, it’s in the soap compartment. Whatever you’ve been doing before, you’d continue to do, just use a different soap. Does that make sense?

  30. Hi Sara, my question might cause some eye rolling, but here goes: would you happen to have measurements for your laundry soap recipe using the 32oz size of castille soap? I can’t get castille soap in gallon size containers where I’m from. Thanks a bunch :-)

    • Hey Vanessa! No eye rolling here, only that I don’t quite understand your question. The recipe only calls for 3/4 cup of castile soap, which is certainly in a 32 ounce bottle. The only thing I have written is about buying a gallon jug and the cost breakdown, but you need a gallon of castile soap for one batch.

  31. I’ve noticed, I made the borax free version, that it gets chunky after sitting a while, is this normal? Is there any way to avoid it?j

  32. I love this detergent! I have been using it for about a year now. My only concern is that my whites are dingy. Especially my kids white sports shirts. I’m a little hesitant to use HP since it will be draining into my septic system. I’ve tried using blueing and that helps with the cottons but I don’t seem to have much luck with the synthetic fabrics. I was wondering if anyone has found a solution to this.

    • Ah, synthetic fabrics are notorious for keeping stains and smells. I hate how our polyester pajamas keep stinky night diaper smells in them, so I only buy cotton now (plus, it’s safer). So that doesn’t surprise me that you haven’t been able to get out stains. You could try using a more natural alternative to bleach – hydrogen peroxide. Put it in your washer in the bleach compartment and wash your whites. Then, if you can, dry them in the sun. That can sometimes really help.

  33. I just made this recipe (borax free) but added 1/2 cup of Epsom salt to soften my hard water (as recommended on this site: http://www.measuringflower.com/2013/03/laundry-soap/). I am not going to use this detergent for my diapers because as so many say, anything with soap in it will (over time) start to leave a buildup (making the diapers less absorbent). I use this powder recipe for my diapers instead: http://www.measuringflower.com/2013/08/homemade-allnatural-cloth-diaper-detergent/. It is also cheap and easy.

    Thank you Sara for a bar soap-free recipe! Gone is the grating!

    • You’re welcome, Amy! Thanks for the tips about the soap and epsom salts. I have been using cloth diapers for several years but have never braved washing them without soap. They do seem to get less absorbent over time, but I always felt that was the lining starting to lose the waterproof lining. I hadn’t thought that it could be the soap buildup. However, castile soap is so different than detergent, but it is oily. There is so little of it in this recipe. Now you’ve got me thinking!

      • Update: I have been using this recipe (plus Epsom salt) for all our clothes for about 3 months now and I love it! Our clothes come out clean every time! I have used the soap-free recipe from Measuring Flower for diapers for almost 9 months and the diapers are as absorbent and odor-free as ever! Saved by blogs! Thanks again. I challenge you to try the soap-free for dipes. Works wonders. :) Cheers!

  34. 27 years ago I was a freak that washed my baby diapers, not once did my child have diaper rash! I always added a little soapy water to the bottom of the diaper pail. On washing day I turned up the water heater about an hour for diaper washing, ran them through a hot rinse cycle dumped strait from the pail, then washed the diapers with the homemade soap. I added white vinegar to the the final rinse as urine is ammonia and vinegar is alkaline and that brought the diapers back to a ph neutral environment. Hang out to dry in the sun, summer or winter. If they freeze, pop into your dryer and they are the softest ever! Best wishes to all you smart cloth diaper mommies!

  35. Is this ok for use on baby clothes or should I use the baby mild castile liquid soap? Thanks

    • I think it is. I use it for everything, all the laundry – towels, sheets, kids clothes, our clothes, rags, baby clothes. The baby mild version has no fragrance, so it is the safest for those with allergies. But I’ve found the other versions have a scent, but it’s so faint that the clothes are left with no scent at all.

  36. Totally confused by your math. You said that Dr. Bronner’s is $51.99 per gallon and then that the overall cost of the finished product is $2.88 for two gallons. Did I miss something??

    • Yes, you did :). It costs $2.88 per batch (and one batch of detergent makes 2 gallons) because you only use 3/4 cup of Dr. Bronner’s in each batch. So, one $51.99 gallon of Dr. Bronner’s will last you for many, many batches. So, yes, you pay upfront more for the supplies, but each batch only costs $2.88 to make.

  37. Thanks so much for this recipe. I am excited to try it. I was curious though, why do you buy the Bob’s Red Mill baking soda instead of the Arm & Hammer one? Is there a difference between the 2? Do you find that one works better than the other? Also, have you found that it’s hard to buy the gallon of castile soaps on amazon recently? It seems like the only one available is Tea Tree in the gallon size. Does it really matter which scent of castile soap you use or is it just based on preference? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

    • I guess at the time this picture was taken that’s what I used, but I’m not picky. I also use Arm and Hammer and find there is no difference. I haven’t bought a gallon of castile soap on Amazon in a long time. Still have half a gallon left, too! It lasts forever even though I use it often. Sorry to hear the supply is low right now. You might try vitacost.com instead.

      • Thanks for clarifying, Sara! Also, are there any advantages in using certain scents of castile soap for laundry or would you say it is based just on your preference of smell? Sorry for asking such silly questions. I am totally new at this whole natural and do it yourself cleaners, but I love the idea and hope that I am successful. That’s why I totally appreciate your posts!

  38. Hi! I was just wondering if you have a recipe for dry laundry soap? Thanks!

  39. I Sara!! How much water do you add to the recipe? 2 Gallons? Thanks :)

  40. Does anyone know if this recipe is safe for septic systems?

  41. Thanks for all your cool recipes. What exactly is Dr. Bronners Soap? Could you describe it, or is there a substitute? I live in Botswana, and have never seen that brand here, or even in South Africa. I doubt whether Amazon would even ship it here.

    • Sure! Dr. Bronner’s soap is Castile soap, which is made of olive oil. So, if you can find castile soap then you’re golden. The goal here is to find a true soap and not a detergent (which has sodium laureth sulfate, it’s the harsh chemical we are trying to avoid).

  42. Does anyone know if adding a bit of xanthan gum to make this thicker would harm the clothes or washer?

    • Great idea! I doubt it would the hurt the clothes at all and would also be surprised if it clogged up the washing machine, but I couldn’t say for sure. I think it’s worth a try! It’s really not necessary to have it thicker, it’s just that’s what we’re all used to when we switch over.

  43. My first batch clumped up too! I felt terrible throwing it all out. So I had an idea, I tried it and it worked. I took the clumpy and gross looking mess and put it in a big pot on the stove and heated it up. Not quite to boil but just hot enough and I Stirred a few times while it was heating and voila! All the clumped dissolved and it was a beautiful clear detergent :) pour it back in the bottle and it’s perfect now :)

  44. Is this safe to use on cloth diapers? I’ve made my own detergent before for cloth diapers using borax, washing soda, and baking soda but never dr. Bonners. Just wondering if it would create a build up that would need be stripped later.
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  45. I tried this recipe with Lavender Castile and 20 drops of Lavender. It seems to work great on my clothes, but my husband’s uniforms still smell like sweat! Do you think I should add more/other essential oils? Any tips on super sweaty clothes is appreciated!

  46. Sarah E Gordon says:

    I made this just like recipe said, and the dirty clothes smell are still on the clothes.

    • Sarah, do you know if you have hard water? That can affect it’s ability to get all the soap and dirt out of the clothes. Also, a great trick to clean deeper is to add white distilled vinegar to the laundry softener compartment.

      • Sarah E Gordon says:

        I don’t think we have hard water, I already add the vinegar as well. I also notice I have to shake detergent up, do I need to stir it instead? Possibly add more baking soda?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] was very excited to try this laundry detergent to be able to compare it to my homemade one, and I found it worked exactly the same! So, I mostly likely will not be buying it, but it’s [...]

  2. [...] I found this recipe at My Merry Messy Life. There are laundry soap recipes all over the Interwebs, but I was looking [...]

  3. [...] chemicals they contain. So, now I use vinegar as a fabric softener in the washer, my own homemade laundry detergent that’s very gentle on clothes, and pure wool dryer balls and the three combined keep the [...]

  4. [...] consider switching to cheaper and healthier laundry cleaning solutions. I’ve made my own laundry detergent using this recipe, but I’m finding I really prefer the ease and frugality of soap nuts. I use hydrogen [...]

  5. [...] I made the switch from commercial laundry detergent to making my own green, natural detergent for a fraction of the cost, I have really missed the lovely fragrance that came with commercial [...]

  6. [...] DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent – Cheap and Green {free printable} [...]

  7. […] remover for a while, and just finally got around to it! This will join my non-toxic and gentle laundry detergent and natural fabric softener that I’ve been using for over a year and half. I’ve been […]

  8. […] All Natural Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap from My Merry Messy Life […]

  9. […] hands. There are a few natural sanitizers out on the market, but I find making my own things (like laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, and body butter) is far cheaper and I know exactly what’s in […]

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