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How to Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Updated on June 8, 2012
This homemade soap works just as well in your modern washing machine.
This homemade soap works just as well in your modern washing machine. | Source

A simple liquid laundry soap recipe that can save you money!

Making your own liquid laundry detergent saves you money and allows you to know just what goes into that stuff you use to get your clothes clean! I have found this homemade soap to work just as well as liquid laundry detergents that I buy at the store. It doesn't take long to make and gives one a feeling of accomplishment at the same time.


You will need some basic equipment that most people have around the house:

A large saucepan or kettle

A large spoon


Grater (one you use for shredding cheese or potatoes is fine)

2 plastic gallon jugs with lids (I use gallon vinegar jugs with snap-on lids, but you could also use empty gallon laundry detergent jugs)


I was able to find all these ingredients in the laundry area at my local Wal-Mart. They may also be available at your grocery store or ordered online.

1/3 bar of Fels-Naptha soap

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup borax powder

6 cups water, plus additional hot tap water to fill jugs

Here's how to make the soap:

Grate the 1/3 bar of Fels-Naptha soap. Put the grated soap with 6 cups water into a large kettle. Heat over medium heat until the soap shreds are melted.

When soap has melted, add the washing soda and borax. Stir constantly until all is dissolved. Let set (still on burner) for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Using the funnel, pour half of the mixture into each plastic gallon jug. Fill each jug half full of hot water. Put on the lid, close tightly, and shake well. (If you are using a snap-on lid, be sure to keep your thumb on top so it doesn't pop off as you shake the jug.)

Remove the lids and finish filling the jugs with hot water (within 1/2 to 1 inch from the top). Recap and allow to gel for 24 hours before using. This recipe yields 2 gallons of soap.

Tips for making and using this liquid laundry soap:

  • Shake well before each use.
  • Use 1/2 to 2/3 cup for each load in a top-loading (non-High Efficiency) washer. For HE washers, use only 1/4 cup per load.
  • This soap does not produce as much suds as other laundry detergent, but that is not a cause for concern. It will still get your clothes clean.
  • Always use washing soda in this recipe. Do not use baking soda! It is not the same thing.
  • If desired, you can add two teaspoons of essential oil, such as lavender or orange oil, to each jug after the soap has cooled for a different scent. I like the way it smells without the oils, so I skip this step.

With just a little time, basic household utensils, and easily-acquired ingredients, you can make great homemade liquid soap that gets your laundry clean and is more economical than store-bought laundry detergent. Have fun!


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    • katedonavon profile image

      katedonavon 6 years ago

      You're welcome, Shesabutterfly. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Shesabutterfly profile image

      Cholee Clay 6 years ago from Wisconsin

      I've been looking for ways to save money and become more self sufficient cannot wait to start making my own. Thanks for the helpful hub!

    • katedonavon profile image

      katedonavon 6 years ago

      Thanks homesteadpatch! Just one more way to save a little bit. :)

    • homesteadpatch profile image

      homesteadpatch 6 years ago from Michigan

      This is really close to the soap recipe we currently use, but we skip the addition of liquid. Voted up!