Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

There are TONS of different recipes for laundry soap out there, I have tried a few and this one is my favorite.  I’ve been using this for a year now and one batch lasts 3 months for (on average) 5 people.  It’s really easy to make and cheaper than buying it.

You will need Borax, Washing Soda (not baking soda), Fels-Naptha soap, water and essential oils (optional).  I found all of these items (except the essential oils) at Fred Meyer near the laundry soap.

Ingredients for Laundry Soap

Start by grating the bar of soap.

Grated soap for laundry detergent

Then melt the grated soap in a large pan with 1 gallon of water on medium low heat.  Don’t let it boil just heat it up, stirring often until all the soap has melted.

Laundry Soap

When the bar soap is melted add the borax and washing soda and stir until the borax and washing soda have dissolved.  Then pour the soap into a big bucket (I use a 5 gallon bucket) and add 2 gallons of cool water to the bucket and stir.  Now is when you add the essential oil of your choice.  I like lemon or sweet orange.

Lemon Essential Oil for Homemade Laundry Soap

Stir it up again and let your concoction set over night.  The soap will gel up and separate over night.  It will look something like this:

DSCN2678 (640x480)

I like to use an immersion blender to make it nice and smooth.

DSCN2686 (640x480)

You can funnel the soap into smaller containers or I keep it in the bucket and use a long handled ladle to scoop half a cup of detergent per load of laundry.  If the soap sits for a while it will separate again so remember to stir between each use.

This detergent works in any washing machine.  I have a high efficiency washer and this soap is safe to use in it.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha Laundry soap
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda
  • 3 gallons of water
  • 10-20 drops of essential oil (optional)
  1. Start by grating the bar of soap. Then melt the grated soap in 1 gallon of water on medium low heat. Do not boil and stir often. When the soap has melted add 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda and stir until dissolved. Pour your soap mixture into a big bucket (something that holds more than 3 gallons) and add 2 more gallons of water. Now add an essential oil of your choice if you would like and stir well. Let it set over night. It will gel up and separate over night so stir and stir or use an immersion blender to make it nice and smooth.
  2. Use ½ a cup per load of laundry.


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7 thoughts on “Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

  1. Interesting, very interesting. I’ve been thinking of doing this and I’ve seen a few different mixes. I like the looks of yours.

    I do have an important question. Since I bought a real nice front load high efficiency washer for my wife, she would have nothing less. Will this mix be ok for HE washers or will it need to be modified?

    The washer would be an expensive item to replace and would really like some sort of assurance that it is safe to use.


    1. Hi Red, I have a new HE washer too and this soap works great. Mine is not a front loading washer, but I don’t think that makes a difference with the soap. My understanding is that with the HE washers you want a soap that does not suds up and this soap does not. Hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by. Grace

      1. Thanks Queen.

        I’ll be telling the Mrs. about this. With the rising prices, we will very likely give it a try.

        By the way, I dig your site. Practical, functional and user friendly. Now that’s my “cup o’ tea”!

  2. hi, i just made my third batch of liquid detergent, and like the first two batches, they do not gel, but works fine as well in cleaning our clothes. with your site, and the pictures for each step, i finally saw how much “gel like” it’s supposed to be, i always tweak the recipes i find online, and i realized i put too much water in it. also i live in the philippines, we do not have fels naptha, but instead i use a local branded soap called Perla, it is coconut oil based and is much like the ivory soap of the west, works fine in cleaning our clothes, love your site, and will keep on visiting

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