How to Make Your Own Laundry Soap

Updated on April 17, 2019
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Rebecca loves sharing what I know about alternative medicine, health, frugal living, fun, animals, and how to live a better life!

Why Make Your Own Laundry Soap?

Laundry soap is expensive. It's easy to spend $100 or more a year on just detergent to get your clothes clean. Making your own is inexpensive, easy, and cheap. It may seem complicated or daunting at first, but it's really not. The initial upfront cost to make your own is about $30, depending on which ingredients you choose. But when you make your own, it makes 5–10 times what a decent detergent such as Tide costs for 1 gallon—and you'll have some left over for the next batch.

Tide, Gain, and other brands run $15–$25, and the cheap stuff you buy at the dollar store or knockoff brands don't work as well. You can also opt to use natural ingredients making it better for your family, skin, and health. So why not just make your own? Much like toilet paper and paper towels, this is just another thing you literally buy to use up and throw away—what a waste. Just make your own, and save your money for fun things, not laundry soap.

Things You'll Need

  • You'll need a 5-gallon bucket or another large container to mix all this stuff in. You can find these for free at a grocery store if you ask, or pick one up at a local hardware store for a few bucks. You can use any container you like. But once you use them, I'd keep them only for laundry soap making.
  • Save old laundry containers to store this stuff in, as there's no point in throwing them out. And it makes it handier to dispense when you are going to wash your clothes. Just funnel it into old containers.
  • A spoon, long utensil, or paint stick to stir will also be needed.
  • Most of the ingredients can be found at Wal-Mart or a local grocery store. I've noticed it is much cheaper to buy them locally than through an online retailer. But if you can't find them locally, there is always Amazon—especially for something like Zote.
  • You can substitute essential oil in the recipe below with a laundry booster, such as Purex Crystals, or Gain Fireworks. I only do this when I don't have an essential oil on hand. Essential oils are natural. Pure Castille soap can be used in place of Zote or Fels-Naptha.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and save tons of money like we do! Your clothes will be brilliant!

Is This Recipe All-Natural and Green?

Is this recipe all-natural and green? This particular one is not. But this is because of the Zote and the Gain booster. You can substitute these out for pure Castille soap, and essential oil and it will be.

Some of the ingredients you'll need.
Some of the ingredients you'll need.

Ingredients You'll Need

  • 1 bar/14.1 oz Zote laundry soap/or buy the pre-grated white Zote, grated
  • or 3 bars Fels-Naptha soap, grated
  • 2 cups Borax
  • 5 gallons water, hot
  • 5-gallon capacity bucket
  • long spoon for stirring
  • 1/2 oz essential Oil/or 1 cup laundry booster, scent optional
  • 1 funnel, optional
  • 2 cups OxyClean or Biz or sodium percarbonate
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 5 gallons tap water
  • 2 cups washing soda

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 24 hours
Ready in: 24 hours 30 min
Yields: 5 Gallons

How to Make Your Own Soap

  1. Grate your Zote or Fels-Naptha. Once grated, add it to a large pot.
  2. Add 2 liters of boiling water, and stir this until it has dissolved
  3. Next, add this mixture to your 5-gallon bucket.
  4. Now add the 2 cups Borax, 2 cups washing soda, 2 cups Oxyclean or Biz, 1/2 cup baking soda, and your essential oil or laundry booster
  5. Stir and add the remaining water. Use the hottest tap water you can get from the tap. Keep stirring until well blended and dissolved.
  6. Put the lid on your bucket and let this sit for 24 hours.
  7. Remove the lid and give it a really good stir
  8. You can now use your laundry soap! 1/2 cup to 1 cup per load. Give some to family and friends, or even sell it at a local market. Dilute further if desired, many do, because it will be thick. You can also use this for dish soap.
This is what grated soap—Zote or Fels-Naptha—looks like.
This is what grated soap—Zote or Fels-Naptha—looks like.

How to Make Your Own Washing Soda

If you can't find washing soda locally, you can make it from baking soda.

Just set your oven to 400°F, spread 2 cups of baking soda on a cookie sheet, and bake for at least 1 hour, swirling it around occasionally during the process. And don't worry if you overcook it, it won't hurt it.

Bingo, washing soda!

© 2018 Rebecca


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