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The DIY Soap Experiment: How to Make Your Own Homemade Natural Laundry Soap

Jun 30, 2021

The DIY Soap Experiment: How to Make Your Own Homemade Natural Laundry Soap
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After a long, hard day at work, there is nothing better than coming home and getting into some clean clothes. And if those clothes were cleaned in natural products, you might feel even better about your end of day routine. This blog post will show you how to create natural homemade laundry soap that is made from all-natural ingredients and includes no harsh chemicals, detergents or artificial fragrances.

The benefits of natural laundry soap

Laundry detergents are a thing of the past. Using natural soap has many benefits which traditional detergents lack, including being eco-friendly and cost efficient.

No harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances

Many laundry detergents contain chemicals that are harsh on your skin and your clothes. Natural laundry soap is a great way to ensure you're getting clean clothes without having any harmful chemicals on your skin that could trigger allergies or other skin reactions.

Better for the environment

Natural laundry cleaner is also better for the environment because less chemicals are being dumped into waterways. Soaps that are not made from natural elements usually have to be processed with chemicals, which can then go down our drains and affect the environment.

Processed soaps and detergents often contain harsh chemical ingredients as well as perfumes or dyes added for a more appealing scent and color. Natural soap doesn't need any of these extras—it's already great smelling and coloring all by itself.

Cleaner clothes

Natural soap is a better choice for your laundry, because it leaves clothes cleaner and brighter. Clothes don't wear out as much when they are washed with natural detergent too!

cleaner clothes

Natural soaps are great for the environment and your clothes. They don’t cause clothing to deteriorate over time or leave them looking duller than before you started washing them, which is especially good when it comes to natural fibers like cotton that typically see a lot of wear-and-tear from regular detergent use. Natural soap also has less impact on water quality compared with other types of cleaners - after all, we should be mindful about how much our laundry habits affect the planet!

Why make your own homemade laundry detergent

Although there are several options for natural laundry detergent on the market, many people choose to make their own from scratch. The cost of making your own detergent is cheaper and you can use natural ingredients.

When it comes to laundry, there's nothing more important than getting a clean load every time! But not all soaps leave clothes as bright or smelling as fresh unless bleach is added (which can damage clothing over time).

When making natural homemade detergent, you can control how much of each ingredient to use so that it doesn't take up too many resources or create other types of environmental harm. Surprisingly enough, using a lot more water and salt will actually make your laundry cleaner!

When concocting the perfect mixture for homemade soap there are some things we often overlook: our own needs as well as those in need around us. By playing with different ratios between ingredients like oil-based soap flakes, Borax powder (or boric acid), washing soda crystals also known simply by their baking soda counterpart; one is able to better tailor these recipes towards what they want them used for - this could be anything from being environmentally friendly all the way down to just getting a good deal on ingredients.

We should also take into consideration the needs of others when making non toxic laundry detergent, many people have sensitivities or allergies to certain types of detergents and soaps that may even be advertised as "natural". If you are looking for an all-around cleaning solution without any added perfumes or synthetic ingredients, then making your own laundry soap is a great solution to consider.

Rather than starting from scratch with several ingredients, you can also use our Fragrance-Free Laundry Soap as a base to create your own semi-homemade laundry cleaner. 

Does homemade laundry soap work as well as other non toxic laundry detergent?

Although making your own laundry detergent is an appealing option for those who want to use natural ingredients in their laundry, it may not be the best choice for everyone. There are issues worth considering before deciding to go this route.

First, some ingredients that are found in homemade laundry detergent recipes may leave a residue on your clothing or build up in the washing machine. This is because they often use oil based soap instead of chemical based detergents, which may not thoroughly dissolve.

Second, very few homemade laundry soap recipes contain a bleach alternative or stain remover that can do the job as well as chemical based detergents.

Lastly, the time and cost involved to make your own laundry cleaner may not be worth the trade-off of purchasing a quality laundry soap made from natural ingredients.

Regardless of these issues, making your own natural laundry detergent is still an option worth considering for those who want to use all natural ingredients in their washing machine and avoid chemicals altogether.

What are the ingredients in laundry soap?

There are three main ingredients used to make a basic homemade laundry cleaner.

  • Borax
  • Washing Soda
  • Soap

Borax laundry booster


Borax is a natural mineral also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. Borax is a natural cleaning agent that is not only non-toxic but also helps to absorb moisture and kill bacteria. It is often found as an additive in many laundry boosters.

Washing Soda

Washing soda is made of sodium carbonate which is used as a cleaning agent, and it softens the water during laundry. When the water becomes softened with the sodium carbonate, it allows other cleaning ingredients to lift dirt from the fabrics.

Washing soda

Bar Soap

Bar soap makes up the last of the three main ingredients in homemade laundry cleaner. The most common soaps to use are castile, Zote Soap or Fels-Naptha. Although this is the primary cleaning agent used in homemade laundry soap, it is good to note that this is not the detergent typically found in most laundry detergents. The difference between soap and detergent is that soap is a natural cleaner made from oils and fats, while detergents are synthetic and contain surfactants.

Surfactants are responsible for breaking up stains and suspending dirt into the water. This prevents it from re-depositing dirty back onto your clothes, which is why there's a rinse cycle in washing machines!


Can I use baking soda as a laundry detergent?

Baking soda is a popular ingredient to add to homemade laundry detergent. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. This chemical is considered food grade and safe to use in products or cleaners because it helps regulate the pH level of water, keeping it from being too acidic or alkaline.

The benefit of using baking soda in laundry is that it essentially makes any soap or detergent work more effectively while reducing bacteria.

How to make an all-natural laundry detergent?

Making your own laundry detergent is easier than it sounds. You can make a liquid or dry powder and the following instructions are for making this dry powdered type of cleaner.

Here's what you will need:

  • 1 Box of Borax, 72 oz.
  • 1 Box of Washing Soda, 55 oz.
  • 2 Bars of Fels-Naptha Soap, 5.5 oz. each, or bar soap of your choice.
  • 2-4 lbs Baking Soda

You should be able to find all these items in the laundry aisle at your local grocery store.

Step 1. Grate the Fels-Naptha Soap.

grated soap

This bar soap is hard and dense which can make it difficult to grate by hand. A simple trick to make this process easier is to microwave it in small 30 second intervals. This will soften the soap and make it puff up. This makes the dense soap much simpler to grate to a fine texture. Allow the soap to cool completely before grating or it’ll get clumpy.

To speed up the process, you can also place chunks of the cooled and softened soap into a food processor to grind it to a fine powder, which will make it easier for it to dissolve in the washing machine. Add 1/4 cup of baking soda with the soap to keep it from clumping together while you are grating it.

Step 2. Mix Ingredients Together

In a large three gallon bucket, start adding each ingredient about one cup at a time, mixing while you go. This will make for a more even distribution of all the ingredients throughout. 

Step 3. Store in Containers

Store the mixture tightly sealed in a large bucket or in smaller containers. Keep somewhere cool without a lot of moisture, as moisture in the air could cause it to cake up.

How To Use

Use 1-2 tablespoons of homemade laundry soap per load, depending on the size and soil level of your clothes.

The soap should be ground finely enough so that it will dissolve in any temperature of water. However, it will work better with warm water rather than cold.

For high efficiency washers, make sure you have the dispenser adjusted for powdered detergent. If you find that the soap doesn’t get adequately rinsed out of the dispenser, just pour it in with your clothes. 

For regular washing machines, start the water before adding your clothes. Then add detergent so it can dissolve before you add clothes.

How to make a homemade laundry detergent scent?

A great way to add scent to your homemade laundry detergent is to use an essential oil of your choice. Lavender is a popular choice, as is lemon. Add 30-40 drops of essential oils to your laundry soap mixture, making sure that the oil is evenly distributed and doesn't clump up the soap.

Another alternative to add a scent to your soap is to substitute Fels-Naptha soap with a scented castile soap bar, like Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap.

Can I use a pre-made soap base?

If you like the idea of having a natural laundry detergent but don't want to go through the hassle of buying all the separate ingredients and making your own, then using a pre-made soap flake base is a great option.

Pure soap flakes can be used as a substitute for the Fels-Naptha soap in your homemade laundry detergent recipe, skipping the tedious process of grating it. Simply add borax, washing soda, baking soda and your choice of essential oils for an easy DIY solution.

Our Fragrance Free Laundry Soap Powder is the perfect base for homemade recipes. This soap powder is made from plant based ingredients like coconut oil soap flakes, baking soda and salts. This all-natural soap made from coconut oil is gentle on your skin, while working hard on stains. Simply add essential oils for your custom laundry detergent. We've done the hard work for you so you have more time to focus on what matters.

Making your own natural laundry detergent is a great way to save money and ensure that you are using high-quality ingredients in the process. Before you make your next laundry soap purchase, take a look at Ingredients Matter. We offer natural detergents that are free of harsh chemicals and full of essential oils to keep clothes looking brighter for longer. Don't let the time it takes to make homemade laundry soap get in the way of you being able to enjoy these benefits!

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