This Homemade liquid laundry detergent is made with a bar of soap, Borax and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda. It’s quick and easy to make, and it gets clothes clean without the toxicity and strong fragrance of commercial laundry detergents. This homemade laundry soap is excellent for baby clothes, sensitive skin and allergies. It can be used in top loading and front loading washing machines and will save you hundreds of dollars per year.
5000 Loads of Laundry for $20.00
You’ll make one batch at a time, using a fraction of what’s in the boxes of Borax and washing soda, but the total of what’s in those boxes will yield enough detergent for over 5000 loads of laundry for a total of $20.00.
Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
In this post, I’ll teach you everything you need to know about making your own laundry detergent.
- how to make liquid laundry detergent with Borax, washing soda, and Ivory soap
- cost comparison of homemade laundry detergent vs. brand detergent
- cost per load
- how to add scent to your homemade detergent
- frequently asked questions about DIY laundry detergent
I’ll also share an inexpensive, healthy alternative to fabric softener and dryer sheets and a link to a powdered version of this laundry detergent.
How many loads does this detergent make?
You’ll make your detergent in 5 gallon batches. Store it in a 5 gallon bucket, and then dilute it with the same amount of water when dispensing into a jug or into your machine. However, if you were to make as much detergent as you could with the full box of borax and the full box of washing soda, you would get over 5000 loads of laundry (for a front loading machine) out of the ingredients.
That is the equivalent of EIGHT 10-gallon batches of detergent. (Remember, you store it in a 5 gallon bucket, but it’s actually 10 gallons worth of detergent because you add an equal amount of water when you dispense into jugs or your washer.
A front loader uses 1/4 cup detergent per load.
A top loader takes 1/2 cup detergent per load.
With a front loading machine, you’ll get 640 loads out of one 10-gallon batch of this detergent.
With a top loading machine, you’ll get 320 loads out of one 10-gallon batch of this detergent.
Remember that’s only from ONE 10-gallon batch. The ingredients cost about $20 and will yeild approximately EIGHT batches of detergent, so you’ll be able to wash 8x that amount of laundry for 20 bucks.
Cost per load for this homemade laundry detergent:
For front loading machines, this detergent costs less than 1/2 a cent per load (.4¢/load)
Top loading machines, this detergent costs less than 1 cent per load (.8¢/load)
80 Gallons of Detergent for $20
Remember, I spend a total of about $20.00 to buy the ingredients to make this detergent. With those ingredients, I can make eight x 10-gallon batches of laundry detergent (or 80 gallons of detergent).
How much do you spend on brand laundry detergent now? Probably at least $10.00 per month right? If you have a large family, you’re likely spending more. Think of the money you could save!
Cost of brand detergent vs. homemade laundry detergent
Lets compare the cost of brand laundry detergent with the cost of this homemade laundry detergent.
Let’s say a 64-load jug of Tide costs about $13.00 including tax. That’s 20 cents per load or .20¢/load.
Less than 1¢ per load
64 loads of laundry with this homemade detergent costs a fraction of that:
In a top loader 64 loads of laundry will cost you a grand total of 51 cents; less than 1¢ per load.
In a front loader, 64 loads of laundry will cost you a grand total of 25 cents; less than 1/2¢ per load.
Homemade laundry detergent is an easy way to save significantly if you’re a student or a young family on a budget, or anyone just looking to reduce your living expenses.
By the way, I have an inexpensive, natural alternative for fabric softener which will slash your laundry costs even further. I’ve shared it further down in this post.
Is it laundry detergent or laundry soap?
Some people argue that homemade laundry detergent is not actually detergent but laundry soap. If you want to know what the technical difference is between detergent and soap, you can read about it here.
Honestly, you can call it whatever you like. I won’t be offended, and neither will your laundry. But you know what your laundry will be?
Clean and fresh, and free of the toxins that take their toll on our health, our planet, and our pocketbooks.
Will it get my clothes clean?
Yes, this homemade laundry detergent will absolutely get your clothes clean. I’ve been using this recipe for 10 years and I absolutely love it. I’ve also supplied several daycare families with my DIY detergent for years as well.
Clothes washed in this detergent come out just as clean as when they’re washed with brand name detergent. Clothes washed in this homemade detergent come out of the dryer or off the line much softer than they do when washed in brand detergent.
It’s a gentle but powerful detergent. So much so that I use it to wash my sons’ hockey gear because it’s gentle on the fabric and materials but it takes the stink right out of it. You can see how to wash your hockey gear at home here.
What does homemade laundry detergent smell like?
In the jug, this homemade laundry detergent smells just like Ivory soap but it will not leave a lingering scent on your clothes which is one reason it’s great for those with allergies.
Your clothing will smell fresh and fragrance-free. They will not be coated in chemicals designed to make your laundry smell like a mountain spring or a summer breeze.
The factory-made scents that brand detergents contain have nothing to do with the cleaning power of the detergent. Those scents are made from a concoction of chemicals used to mask the offensive odour of the chemicals in the detergent.
You can add essential oils for scent
If you don’t think you can give up the scent of laundry detergent, you can add 15-20 drops of essential oils when you dispense a working supply of your detergent into a jug. I’ve never done it, as I am sensitive to scents (would that be scent-sitive?), so I can’t give you first-hand advice on the amount to use.
A safer, healthier laundry detergent
The ingredients used to make commercial laundry detergents and softeners are frightening. Many have been linked to cancer, nerve damage and organ damage, and are responsible for immeasurable environmental damage as well.
Why on earth would would we expose ourselves and our children to those chemicals 24 hours a day?
As parents, we are so careful to avoid substances and materials that can potentially harm our children, and yet:
Consider that you and your children are clothed day and night, and all night long, your faces pressed up against pillow cases and sheets. If you use brand detergents and softeners, you are inhaling harmful toxins 24 hours a day. Not to mention, our skin is our largest organ and an absorbent one, so the toxic chemical residue that coats your clothing and bedding (yes, if you can smell it, it’s there), is in contact with your skin 24 hours a day as well.
Learn more about the harmful toxins in your laundry products here.
Ingredients for Homemade Laundry Detergent
PRINTABLE RECIPE AT BOTTOM OF THIS POST.
Note: The following measurements will makes 5 gallons of concentrated liquid laundry detergent which yields 10 gallons detergent because you’ll add an equal amount of water to the concentrate before using it.
For your conviencience, this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
- 1 bar of Ivory Soap (or Sunlight bar soap, Fels Naptha etc.)
You’ll also need:
- 5-gallon bucket with lid
- long handled spoon
Mark your bucket:
You’ll need a 5-gallon bucket to mix and store your homemade laundry detergent in. Bulk food stores and hardware stores carry them. I use a bucket my husband brought home from work.
If your bucket isn’t already marked, use a permanent marker to make a line at the 5-gallon point.
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent
Reminder: This recipe makes 5-gallons of concentrated liquid laundry detergent. You’ll fill an old laundry jug half way with it and then add an equal amount of water, meaning you’ll actually get 10 gallons of laundry detergent from this batch.
To make your detergent:
- Grate the Ivory soap into a large pot and add 4 cups hot water. (Water amount doesn’t need to be exact).
- Heat on the stove, stirring until soap has completely melted.
- Pour this hot mixture to a 5 gallon bucket.
- Add Borax and washing soda, and stir until powders have completely dissolved.
- Fill the bucket to the 5 gallon mark with tap water (*see bucket-filling tip below).
- Stir, cover, and let sit for 12 hours (it may thicken during this time).
- When cool, whisk or stir detergent well to break up lumps/gel.
- Fill an old laundry jug halfway with detergent and fill the rest of the way with water. Shake to combine.
Shake well before using as ingredients may separate.
Note: your detergent may be thin, thick or lumpy depending on the hardness of your water, room temperature etc. It’s fine no matter how it turns out. If it’s thick or lumpy when cooled, just make sure you whisk it well to break up the lumps.
*BUCKET-FILLING TIP: If you have a retractable hose at your kitchen sink, just place your bucket on the floor in front of the sink, and stretch the hose over to fill the bucket.
How much homemade laundry detergent to use per load:
For front-loading/HE washing machines, use1/4 cup per load.
For top-loading washing machines: use 1/2 cup per load.
A healthy, inexpensive alternative to fabric softener:
To cut laundry costs even more, use white vinegar as a fabric softener and rinse agent.
Fabric softeners are one of the most toxic household products in your home.
I’ve been using vinegar to soften my clothes for 10 years. I switched from liquid softeners and dryer sheets vinegar because every brand gave me headaches and irritated my throat. It’s no real surprise when you read up on the toxicity of fabric softeners. They’re actually one of the most hazardous products in our homes.
I LOVE using vinegar as a rinse agent because it softens clothes beautifully, it’s a fraction of the cost of commercial softeners, and it’s chemical free. It also removes and prevents the build up of residues in my washing machine and on our clothing.
Using vinegar as a fabric softener will not leave your clothes smelling like vinegar. The odour dissipates when it dries.
Frequently asked questions about homemade laundry detergent:
- Does homemade laundry soap clean as well as store brands? Yes, this homemade laundry detergent cleans as well as commercial laundry detergents.
- Can I use homemade laundry detergent in my HE washing machine? Yes, you can use this homemade laundry soap in all washing machines.
- Where can I find Borax and Washing Soda? Both products can be found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store or purchased through Amazon with the link above.
- Is Washing Soda the same as baking soda? No, the two are not the same, but you can make your washing soda with this easy tutorial: How to turn baking soda into washing soda.
- Where can I get Borax in the UK?. In the UK, you can buy Borax online here.
- Where can I find Borax in Australia? In Australia, Borax and washing soda are known by different brand names. I believe they are available at Cole’s.
- Is Borax highly toxic? No, you are likely confusing it with Boric Acid. Learn more about Borax here.
- Do I use an entire box of Borax and Washing Soda to make the detergent? No, you use ONE CUP of each plus one bar of ivory soap to make 1 10 gallon batch of this homemade detergent. Your boxes will make many 10 gallon batches of detergent in the months to come.
- My detergent looks too lumpy/solid/watery. That’s ok. Your detergent may look different every time you make it. Sometimes mine is watery and pulpy. Sometimes it thickens to a gel which breaks up once whisked. Don’t worry about what it looks like. The key ingredients are in there so it will work.
- How long is homemade laundry detergent good for/does it go bad? Your homemade detergent and ingredients will keep indefinitely.
- Can I make homemade laundry detergent in a powdered form? Yes, you can make homemade powdered laundry detergent, but the liquid version is more economical.
- I like the smell that brand name detergent gives my clothes. You may miss the smell of your old detergent but that scent wasn’t exactly “mountain fresh”. It was copious amounts of fragrance added to mask the smell of the toxic chemicals in your detergent.
- Can I add essential oils to scent my homemade detergent? Yes, but I haven’t tried it, so I can’t recommend how much to add.
- I don’t see any suds. How can this detergent be cleaning my clothes? This is very low sudsing detergent. Suds don’t actually clean your clothes. They’re the result of a bunch of chemicals added to your store-brand detergent to make you feel good about the product.
- I can’t get Ivory soap. What other kind of bar soap works for homemade laundry detergent? A bar of Fels Naptha, Zote (pink) or Castile bar soap can be substituted.
- Will this detergent work on a really grimy/dirty load of laundry? Yes, I have sweaty, hockey-playing boys and a husband who works construction. Trust me, it will. If necessary, just as you boost your commercial detergent, you can boost the cleaning power of homemade detergent by adding a half cup of Borax and/or washing soda to a heavily soiled load.
- Will this detergent work if I have allergies and sensitive skin? Yes, unless you are allergic to Ivory soap, this detergent is excellent for those with allergies/sensitivities.
- Will making this detergent ruin or transfer a soapy taste to my cooking pot and utensils? No, silly! It’s soap. You wash and soak your pots and utensils in dish soap all the time, right? 🙂
I hope you love this homemade laundry detergent recipe as much as I do! Making my own laundry soap makes me feel good about what I’m doing for the earth and for my family, and it saves me big bucks too.
Believe it or not, using my own detergent makes doing laundry a little more enjoyable for me.
Now, I need to make some of these awesome storage containers for my laundry room, and I may just LOVE laundry day!
Best Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
- 5 gallon bucket
- large cooking pot
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
- 1 bar Original Ivory Soap
- Grate the Ivory soap and add to a large pot with 4 cups hot water. Heat on the stove, stirring until completely melted .
- Pour this hot mixture to a 5 gallon bucket.
- Add Borax and washing soda, and stir until powders have completely dissolved.
- Fill the bucket to the 5 gallon mark with tap water.
- Cover, and let sit for 12 hours (it may thicken during this time).
- When cool, whisk or stir detergent well to break up lumps/gel.
- Dispense into an old laundry jug, filling just to the half-way mark. Fill the rest of the way with tap water.
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
Kate - The Craft Train
Thanks for sharing Jackie, I’ll have to pin & give this version a try. I use a similar break down of ingredients but don’t cook & dilute them, it only lasts 2-3 weeks with one scoop per wash. For me this is because of my own skin allergies and possibly the diluted version will be even better for that. FYI you can buy borax and washing soda in the laundry detergent aisle at most Australian supermarkets (but the packaging and brand names are different). Thanks!
Jackie, what kind of vinegar do you use and how much of it for a full load?
Hi Linda. White vinegar – the same as you’d use for cooking or cleaning, and I just fill my rinse compartment to the “fill” line. It’s probably about 1/4 cup.
i use ACV … should i go buy the white vinegar instead ?
Yes, it’s white vinegar that you’ll need, Katherine.
Thanks, Jackie. I like when natural living ideas are discussed widely by different blogs. And thanks for this post, I meant to switch from our natural options to a homemade one for a while. Maybe it is a sign I finally should. 🙂
Go for it, Shirin! Nice to hear from you by the way. 🙂
Another recipe I’ve used has the same amount of ingredients with FelsNaptha but it only calls for a total of five gallons of water. Love these recipes but would yours be too light on the products?
I haven’t seen the other recipe, Diane, but I’ve never had a problem with this recipe not getting my clothes clean. 🙂
Just wondering whether adding a couple drops of an essential oil would have an adverse effect on the mixture. Thanks
No, there are a lot of recipes out there that suggest adding essential oils to homemade detergents.
I read somewhere that Borax can cause cancer. Is this true? I used this wonderful recipe in the past and made some detergent but, after I read about the Borax I sadly stopped making it.
You’d want to do some digging and researching. Here’s an article from Crunchy Betty to get you started. http://www.crunchybetty.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-borax-is-it-safe-or-not. I do not believe it to be harmful. Schools are permitted to use it in science experiments, while many are not allowed to use shaving cream for play. One thing I do know for sure, is that I trust Borax (which, on a side note, is not the same as boric acid) a naturally occurring mineral, to be much safer than most of the chemicals found in commercial detergent and softeners. That’s just my personal opinion though.
I did also hear it said (read it somewhere on the BrambleBerry – a soapmaking supply store – website) that the studies that supposedly link Borax to cancer are from Borax that was directly applied…not just exposed…to the skin. Because this is laundry soap and is never directly applied I would have to see some concrete proof of the harm of a naturally occuring mineral before I stopped using it. Just my opinion!
I have used a similar recipe for awhile and I love it. Though as a geologist I’d like to address something…remember that arsenic is also a naturally occuring substance. Natural does not always mean safe and chemical does not always mean dangerous (even water is a chemical…don’t knock the wonderful science of chemistry! It’s not all doom and gloom!). And now…I’m off to have my morning coffee and make a new batch of laundry detergent! Cheers! 🙂
Whay can u had to get the scent naturally??
Hi Monica, sorry, are you asking “what” can you add to get the scent natually? You can use essential oils (citrus, herb, fruit etc). They’re available in most health food stores.
Thank you so much! We have ten children still at home, and I spend a fortune on detergent. I’ve been thinking about making my own!
If you don’t want to grate the ivory cut it in quarter size pierce and put it in the microwave! It’s expands and turns in to crumbs after you play with it! My kids love it!
Yes! I have a post about the expanding Ivory experiment on my blog, Kelli! We LOVE doing that! Isn’t it amazing? It doesn’t matter how time we watch that bar of soap expand – it impresses me every time!
Love this…don’t you just wish everyone knew how simple, inexpensive & fantastic homemade laundry detergent is!? I never had much luck with the liquid/gel version but have been happy with my powdered variety for years. Just started adding citric acid and making my own bar soap scented with essential oils to grate into the mixture.
Stopping by from the Hip Homeschool Hop! 🙂
Do you know how much essential oil should be added to this mixture?
I’m in Australia and make this so can help with where to get ingredients. I use Sards Wonder Soap from the laundry aisle in the supermarket. I get it at Coles but have seen it at Woolworths as well. Borax and Lectric Soda Crystals (the washing soda) is around the same place. The washing soda is in crystal form so I dissolve it n the saucepan while it is still on the stove, doesn’t take long. I use it as a concentrate so leave it in a bucket with a lid and just scoop out about a third of a cup per full load. Hope that helps 🙂
Thank you, Sue! This is very helpful! Now I can direct anyone who asks, here to your comment. x
You still have a Woolworths?! I thought they closed down all their stores all over.
Nope. Not sure where you saw Woolworth’s mentioned. I haven’t seen one of those stores in several decades. I remember thinking they were pretty cool when I was a kid.
Woolworths in Victoria was known as Safeway up until a few years ago. Maybe that is where the confusion lays? Sadly we have a duopoly over here in Australia in relation to supermarkets. Aldi has made some impact, but not as much as we would like. But I digress.
Thankyou Sue, I was wondering about using the Sard. I will try to get everything for this this week while I am shopping and create some to use when I have finished up my current lot of powder
The Australian Woolworths is a separate company to the Woolworths that Americans would be familiar with. It opened in the twenties and is still one of the (two) largest supermarket chains in Australia. I believe that they were originally called Wallworths Bazaar, but deliberately took on the ‘Woolworths’ name to cash in on the existing popularity of the overseas chain. Just in case you were interested… 🙂
She meant Woolworths in Australia. They are definitely open there.
Eva @ The Multitasking Mummy
Definitely a money saver and better for the environment!
Can you substitute Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda for Arm & Hammer Washing Soda?
No, you cannot, but there’s a link in the post which takes you to a site that shows you how you can turn baking soda into washing soda.
This is the second batch I have made. It worked great and we live in a rural area so there is always dirt. It lasted for 10 months for my family of 3 and that is AFTER I gave away a bunch to friends.
one side note, I did use my immersion blender on the concentrated batch to make it a little more consistent in texture.
Yay! Doesn’t it go a long way?! So glad you were happy with it, Debbie! Major savings, right?
Wondering if anyone with very hard water has tried this out? Our water is so tough on our appliances. I have to to vinegar runs in the washing machine (just vinegar, no clothes) a couple times a year and we still get tough build up. Curious to see if people with the hard rural water (and no water softener or UV machines) have tried it!
I have hard water…well water and I have made my own laundry soap for several years. It works wonderfully!
I have been wanting to try homeade detergent. Is it safe for babies?
Unless your baby has a sensitivity to any of the three ingredients, yes, it’s much safer as there are no chemicals in this detergent like there are in commercial brands.
Do you know if this is OK to use for cloth diapers?
I’ve heard those that say yes, and those that say now, Sarah. I can’t say one way or the other, as I’ve never used it for diapers.
I use a powdered version of this recipe on my modern cloth nappies with no ill effect. I also don’t have to strip wash as often as friends that use commercially prepared powders.
What is your dry version?
Stacy @ Life on Three Sides
Do you know if there is an effectiveness difference between Ivory and Fels Naptha? I LOVE this idea and have used your recipe (with Fels) for a few weeks now. I do feel like the clothes don’t quite come as clean, so I upped the detergent-to-water ratio when I mix in my jug to 63%/35% to make it more concentrated, but it still feels like the clothes aren’t coming quite as clean. Any suggestions?
(Side note, I think the laundry comes out with this really light fresh clean smell, and it is wonderful– I also use vinegar as a softener and not smell additives, so it’s all from this recipe mix. =) )
Hmmm, what’s making it “feel” like your clothes aren’t coming clean, Stacy? Do they *look* clean? If you scroll through the comment thread, you’ll see that yours is not a concern I’ve heard before. I’m not really sure what to suggest. If your clothes look clean and smell clean, it’s hard to determine what might be causing you to feel that they’re actually not. I’ve never used Fels Naptha as we can’t get it here, but many people love using that. I’ve also hear that you can use Sunlight bar soap instead of the Ivory.
Interesting. Like I said – this is a concern that I’ve not heard before. When you say “dirt” do you mean mud and actual dirt? Or are you talking about food stains? Paint and marker stains? How “dirty” are the clothes to begin with. If they’re very soiled, you might add an extra half cup of the washing soda as a laundry booster. I do that from time to time if I have something that’s quite soiled i.e. someone spills spaghetti or coffee on a shirt, but quite honestly, when it comes to regular laundry, I’ve never had a problem getting my clothes clean with this detergent. Hopefully it all works out for you. 🙂
There is a recipe on Soulemama’s blog. Instead of Ivory she uses Dr. Brommer’s peppermint soap.
I will try this. At the moment I use a commercial brand detergent and I add vinegar and soda at the same time. The vinegar is also supposed to help remove any detergent left also it cleans the washing machine every was so no build up.
I have an HE front load machine with soap dispenser on top. Where do you suggest I add the soap w this recipe?
It’s a liquid, Barb, so wherever you’d normally add your liquid detergent – likely in the dispenser that you mention.
@Stacy! I’ve been using this several months, I have a little goalie and dives into mud puddles, This stuff is brilliant for all this mud.
Could it be your overloading your machine? This is the only thing I can think of that could help x
Hi, I’m in Australia and have been making my own laundry soap for years too. The ingredients are readily available in any Coles supermarket. For the soap I was using Lux flakes but have switched to Sunlight soap (grated) for a change. Both work well.
As for the vinegar, I dilute my white vinegar in water 1:3. Lasts ages and still works as a softener. In Australia 2L of white vinegar cost $1.09. This gives me 8L fabric softener. I will never buy washing soap and softener again!
Thanks for the tip about diluting the vinegar, Lisa. I use it full strength. I’ve never thought to dilute it. Tomorrow is laundry day, so I’ll give it a try!
Is this recipe safe for leach bed septic systems?
You would want to check with your municipality about that, SLB. Sorry I can’t help, but I’m not on a system like that.
Hi folks, for UK use, both the borax and soda stuff are available just dif brand names. Soap wise, I’d go with something fairly unperfumed and no moisturisers in so avoid dove types but a standard supermarket bath soap should work. You can do translation of american cups online or more effectively, you can get American cup measure in most supermarkets or online for reuse. It looks fab.
Just wondering if there is a printable version?
@suzanne manser- do you know the brand names forum? I’d love to try this as my first homemade/Eco venture but am a little nervous.
As for soaps, could we use a standard baby soap eg johnsons (I love the smell). Tia 🙂
What do you do it you are terribly allergic to the only type of soap you mention, Ivory!
You can use Sunlight bar soap or Fels Naptha, Regina. I believe you can use any mild soap actually.
Actually, Fels naptha and soaps that are specifically made to use on clothing are the only bar soaps that should be used when making homemade detergent. Other bar soaps leave a film on clothing. Bath soap won’t work.
Interesting, Erin. I’ve been making mine with Ivory, which is a bath bar, for 3 years now, and it’s never left a film on any of our clothing.
Check your cloth diaper manufacturers recommendations.
It may void the warranty if you use something other than what they recommend.
I’ve used this or similar on my cotton ones and it’s lovely!!
But I never tried it on key microfiber BC it said not to on their site.
Best recommendation I saw was to wash covers in with other laundry not the inserts to save washing then so much.
I can’t wait to make my own. I just bought a big bucket of Claudia’s Choice and it will be a while before I need to but I’m not hugely happy with it and it’s sooo expensive!!!!
Do you know if Borax Substitute will work this same way?. Cas I think U cannot get Borax in UK.
I think it will, Marlena. I’m fairly certain others have used that as a substitute.
What type of vinegar do you use or does it not matter?
I use distilled white vinegar, Teri.
How big of a juice jug or laundry jug do you use??
It doesn’t really matter, Chantal because you’re just filling that jug to be a convenient working supply, so whatever container you have on hand is fine. I use an old laundry jug or vinegar jug or juice jug – whatever I have. The main supply of the detergent is kept in a 5 gallon pail, but I just fill the jug 50% of that detergent in the pail and 50% water to have a working supply handy at beside my washing machine.
I have been making the powdered version for some time now. It doesn’t last as long but I also add oxy clean to mix. Works great on kids and electricians dirty clothes.
How much oxy clean do you add to your powdered mix? And how much of the powder do you put in each load (I have a front loader). I though I was being space saving by making it powdered then realized I don’t know how to use it that way!
I don’t use oxy-clean, Catherine. My recipe is just borax and washing soda along with the Ivory soap and water. I’m only familiar with the liquid recipe. I’ve never used a homemade powder recipe, but I’m sure if you google it, you’ll be able to find powder recipes which tell you how much to use.
This is from awhile back so I doubt you need the info anymore, but in case someone is like me and browses the comments and has the same question I will pipe chime in. I don’t -KNOW- exactly as I have not made this as a powder (I dislike powders) but I have seen a TON of other recipes, all pretty much the same, I also use a laundry “sauce” recipe I found online that can be used as a powder. Pretty much everything i have read said that 1 Tablespoon of the powder (or sauce) works. I can personally say that 1 TBSP of the sauce is enough so I would assume the TBSP would at least be close 😀 You can always adjust if need be!
I have hear that oxyclean is very bad for people with allergies and eczema whichmy son has vboth!
You can get Borax in the UK. Try the Soap Kitchen.
I was wondering for Essential oils, which I use daily for almost everything at this point. What would be your recommendation on how many drops to add? Would you say to add it to the individual jugs each time or add the oils to the 5 gallon bucket?
Hi there!! Just wondering if it would be ok to half the recipe (yielding 2.5 concentrated gallons) and go ahead and fill with water to the 5 gallon line so I don’t have to add water every time I refill my laundry jug?? Thank you!!
Yes! I’ve done that before, Leslie. 🙂
I should add that you’ll just want to stir it well every time you refill your laundry jug. 🙂
Hello there, I couldn’t find borax. I live in Edmonton, Alberta ca. From where I can buy it? Thanks.
Usually in grocery stores, in the laundry aisle, Shazia. I just saw some at our Metro store yesterday. I also buy it at No Frills and Independent Grocer (both owned by Lowblaws). Walmart and Canadian Tire, and possibly even Home Hardware may carry it as well.
Thanks. I found both from safe way. Detergent is really good.
Help!!! I made this detergent but used fels-naptha instead. My colored ckothes are coming out with blue spots. My whites are good so far. The blue spots happened on 2 different loads.
I’ve never heard of this happening, Jen. I’ve never used Fels Naptha, but I’ve heard from dozens of people who love the recipe, and dozens who use feels naphtha instead of the Ivory. I’m sorry that I can’t offer any explanation, but in 3+ years, I’ve honestly never had a single problem with my homemade detergent. Did you try googling your issue to see if it might be related to something else?
I have but can’t figure it out. I’d hate to waste it. Mine is lumpy though annd very watery. I gear people say there’s is gel like.
I still want to make myvoen laundry soap because my kids have sensitive skin. I might try a powder recipe. I been reading up and says fels-naptha and borax are not good to use because its unatural and can be harmful to the body.
I’m shocked to see this stored in a Tropicana jug! Big child-safety NO-NO!
For the record, the tropicana jug was for photo purposes. The state of my old, used laundry detergent container is less than desirable for a blog post. I’m not sure how a detergent bottle would be any safer though. They’re not child-safe. And, as you can see, Alex, your comment was not deleted. It was simply waiting in moderation for me to approve it. I’ve been out to yoga and the soccer field, and have come home to a number of comments to approve and publish. 🙂
I’m a fan of your blog and expected you to accept my point. But instead you feel like you need to be snarky and justify your decision. Where I live in the UK it’s taught to never decant ANYTHING to a container which a child might confuse for a soft drink etc. As I say, I am a fan and I expected you to be more responsible in your reply.
At one time, I made my own liquid detergent, loved the cost! However, I started seeing my whites and white washcloths e-specially all turning yellow. Have you heard had this happen or heard of it happening? If so, what rectified the situation? I would love to make my own again. And by the way, I LOVE your ideas and blog, thank you SO much!!!
The clothes dryer is often the culprit when it comes to yellowing, Cindy. It’s the high heat. Chlorine bleach will also yellow your whites over time. I suppose there might be something in a commercial detergent that offsets this? Probably a blueing agent. Blueing agents add a tinge of blue to your whites, which offsets yellowing. And when you think about it, laundry detergent that you get in the store is almost always blue, so that’s my guess. Because I line-dry 3 seasons of the year, it hasn’t been an issue here. Sunlight bleaches them bright white, but if you could always use a non-chlorine bleach, don’t use the hottest setting of your dryer (heat=yellowing), and if need be, you could toss in an extra 1/2 cup of the washing soda from time to time, Cindy. It’s a whitener. If you can line-dry outdoors that’s the best for getting your whites the whitest, but that may not be an option for you. Glad you’re loving my blog! x
ET Speaks From Home
I didn’t realised that vinegar can be use as softener. This is such an interesting recipe! Thanks for sharing it with us! #Pintorials.
Thanks for your comment above Jackie. It totally makes sense to me, so this time around I will be sure not to use chlorine bleach and I will throw in a 1/2 cup of washing soda from time to time. I’ll also watch the heat on my dryer. I’ll let you know how it goes. I am excited to try it. Thank you!!
Bello. Thanks forma sharing. Do you know, if using liquid ivory, how muchos should one use forma this receipe?
I’m not sure that it would work with Ivory liquid, Alfonso. I think that would cause much more sudsing than the bar soap. I personally would only recommend using the bar soap.
Does this work in cold water? Thanks
Yes, I wash mostly in cold, JLM.
Thanks for your quick response – love you site!
Another question: I did, today, half of the recipe, meaning, half of every ingredient: correct? 2.5 gallons. How should the consistency be? Shouldn’t be thick?
Not necessarily, Alfonso. I mention in the post that the consistency is different for me every time I make it. Sometimes it’s thick, sometimes it’s watery. As long as all the ingredients are in there, it will work just the same.
Thanks for your kind response. Will wait till tomorrow to try my first homemade laundry detergent, I’ll let you know how it went. Thanks.
Well, I did it and it really worked well. Thanks for sharing these things. Still missing the bubbles from the old detergent but certainly is a ‘mental’ thing, this home madre detergentes really works. Thanks a lot.
Found the UK equivalent ingredients, but don’t know what your cup measurement equals? 5 gallon bucket is 20L, all ingredients are sold in grammes so any rough guide would be helpful. Thanks!
There are lots of online conversion sites, Kathryn. You’ll find them if you do some googling. Then you can enter exactly he amount and type of measurement you’re looking to convert.
I got this recipe somewhere else, and I have been using it for about a year now. I love it. I love not having to buy laundry soap at the store. Its so easy to make. I make a half batch and still have enough to share with other family members. The only thing I have found is it takes a lot less per load in my washer than was it says to use. If I use a much as it says, it leaves a residue on my clothes.
I am needing to try something like this for serious health reasons for myself, and also for my Navy son. My problem is we live in an apt building and share laundry facilities (he front loaders) with everyone else in a communal area. Would I be cleaning the machine and putting everyone else’s laundry scum on our clothes if I use this laundry detergent and the vinegar softener?
Thank you so much for this posting. I am hoping so much to be able to go completely organic and safe in every area of my/our lives.
Good question, Fay. I think the build up occurs more in the tubing that leads away from the machine – the drum of the machine is probably quite clean. Think about your kitchen or bathroom sink. The sink itself stays clean because of all the action it gets – friction, agitation, cloths wiping it etc. But the pipes leading away from the sink develop that gunky build up because there’s no friction or agitation in there – just the water running through. That’s my thought anyway – not sure if I’m right or wrong. lol
Hi, from Australia I think we would use Sunlight bar soap if still available. Have borax & washing soda, different brands but should do the same. Any help would be appreciated.
Sunlight would likely be a great bar soap to try, Barbara. And as long as you have the Borax and Washing Soda, even if they’re different brands, it sounds like you’re good to go.
Can this be used for cloth diapers?
I’ve heard it can be, Cierra.
Easier and faster than grating, you can microwave the ivory soap for a minute or so. It expands and gets fluffy. After it cools you can squish it and it will be nice and powdery. So much easier and less effort than grating. As for microwave time, I don’t remember exactly how long. Just keep going until it stops expanding. Maybe a minute and a half?
Yep! It’s a minute and a half. We often do that experiment here, Amanda. I’ve used the results to make my detergent that way too!
Thanks for details but have not had a chance to make it yet, sick husband pensioners in older age bracket.
I am going to try this recipe…thanks for posting. Do you have a recipe for homemade powder laundry detergent? Thanks!
Hi Kristy, I’m sorry, but the liquid detergent is the only recipe that I have. I know there are powder recipes out there though if you do some googling.
Do these products also whiten whites?
The detergent alone won’t brighten your whites, but Arm and Hammer washing soda is known to brighten and whiten, so you can add an extra half cup to your white load to help. If I find my whites are looking less white than usual, I add an extra 1/2 cup of the washing soda and an extra 1/2 of borax to my white load, a little eco-friendly bleach, and I line-dry the load on a sunny day. There’s nothing like the power of the sun to bleach out your whites. I generally do this once or twice a year to give my whites a boost.
I should add, that the biggest culprits when it comes to dingey whites are chlorine bleach in your wash and using an electric dryer. Both will quickly affect the whiteness of your clothing.
Thanks for the recipe.. I made the full recipe (5 gallons) but put it in a half sized bucket (2.5gallon) What would be the correct amount to put into the wash please?
Or would I benefit from putting the liquid in a 5 gallon bucket and add the extra water?
I hope this question makes sense
I think it would be easiest to transfer it into a 5 gallon pail, and top up to the 5 gallon mark with water. Then you’d fill a laundry jug with half of that detergent and half water.
Thanks for your reply
Hi there, great recipe, I made my 1st batch yesterday and tried it out today, my batch did not turn into a gel like some, but has a watery white blob consistency, i’m not fussed as you have said it does not matter, i made 6 pints instead of 5 gallons due to lack of space, it works a treat, i also added essential oils of Lavender and Bergamot and use the white vinegar rinse, my washing came out clean and smells clean and not chemically fragranced as before.
For those in the UK as i am, you can buy Dri-Pak Soda Crystals for around 75p – £1, Tesco’s sell them, Borax is no longer available in the UK but Dri-Pak Borax Substitute is available from most hardware stores for around £1.75 and so far i have used Doctor Bronner’s soap bar available from most health shops, i also used the Dri-Pak Laundry Boost 1/2 scoop with my whites which is around £1.75.
Thanks again for the great recipe, next is to have a go at making some make-up :D!
Thanks for sharing and I’m going to use it but I really think you should be putting a health warning up re: Borax usage. It’s not readily absorbed through the skin but it IS readily absorbed over a mucous membrane eg nasal passageways and lungs. Borax is a known teratogenic ie: causes birth defects. Know8ng this I would be taking precautions when pouring it out, especially if pregnant.
How much essential oils would you add to the recipe? Or would it be better to add to the “jug” amount? Thanks!
I’ve never added any myself, Phaedra, so I’m not really sure. I think I’d be more likely to add a few drops to the jug though, rather than the big bucket.
Hi! First of all, thanks for all of your hooligan happiness!
I found this thread through your article about microwaving Ivory soap for kids. Can I microwave my Ivory soap and crumble it instead of grating a solid bar? Will it grate more easily after it’s microwaved? Will its cleaning properties be retained after microwaving?
Yes, I’ve done that before, Karin. The cleaning properties didn’t appear to be affected in any way. After microwaving, it will crumble easily – no need to grate it at all. 🙂
I am an old Grandmother!!! Back when there were no disposable diapers and everyone used cloth diapers, we kept a bucket of Borax water to pre soak the diapers in before washing them!!! So to answer the question if Borax is safe for cloth diapers…Yes it is and works great!!!
Super to know! Thanks for the tip, Lynne!
I’ve been using this recipe basicallly for over 2 years, except in a smaller batch – 1 gallon at a time….looking forward to making this…just need to find a 5 gallon pail. My smaller batch recipe is 3 tablespoons each of Borax, Washing Soda and Dawn dish detergent. Mix together and add water. I use a milk jug. Easy to store and use. The yearly savings are comparable to yours. My only question is, since it’s a gel, how do you get it into a jug with a small opening?
It’s actually a liquid, Sharon. Sometimes it’s a thick liquid, and sometimes it’s very liquid with gel-like blobs in it. I just give it a stir (with a whisk if it’s a thick batch), and pour it through a funnel into the jug.
Came across this post in the wee hours of the night feeding my 2-month-old and am excited to give this detergent a go since we’ve started looking for safer products and ways to stretch the budget. Thank you for sharing this recipe! Curious if it’s rough on colors from a fading perspective or if it’s gentler on them and preserves them longer? Or does the vinegar help with that, as I believe I’ve read somewhere that it does?
Our colours are as bright as they always were, Lyann. None of the ingredients contain any bleach, and I’ve never heard anyone suggest that their clothes fade with the detergent.
I love it but the one I made come out more like clear water, I m just wondering is it right? Or I did something wrong. What color it should be?
As long as you used all the ingredients listed, it will be fine, Anna. Mine turns out different every time. Sometimes, it’s quite clear and pulpy, other times it’s thick and white. I think it depends on how long you cook the soap for and how long it takes to cool. No matter how it turns out, if all the ingredients are in there, it will work the same.
Hello, Iv’e been making my own laundry detergent for almost 40 yrs. an what a savings it is ..It works well, my hubbie used to be a cable splicer an his clothes get dirty with cresote an it always came out…Something iv’e done when I didn’t have the bar soap your using is iv’e used all those hotel bar soaps that seem to pile up everywhere..Even better they don’t cost a thing !! Just thought i’d share that….
Great suggestion, Cheryl! I never know what to do with those bars of soap!
can I use warming oil instead of essential oil? for this recipe how much oil is good? Thanks
I’m not sure, Shazia, as I’m unfamiliar with what warming oil is. I actually have never used essential oils with my detergent, although I know others have commented saying they like to add some for the scent. Hopefully someone will pop in and let you know how much they’d recommend.
Warming oils should work as well as essential oils, as that appears to be their base as well. Remember the purpose of essential oils in the laundry is the great smell, so any good smelling oils should work. Only a few drops would be required though. Sounds like it might be time to experiment! 🙂
Thank you Sharon. I will give it a try.
I have made this very successfully with Sunlight bar laundry soap. Works great!
I love following your blog!!! I also started using home made laundry detergent. We cloth diaper and it really does an amazing job. My version is powder (4c borax, 4c washing soda, 1 grated fals naphtha bar and 1 bar mild soap I used toms lavender) I love that you have exact measurements (we use 2T/load). There’s no waste or guessing. And the best part no clumping or residue!!!
Easier than grating the Ivory: slice bar in half; place on papertowel in microwave & cook for 20-30 seconds until it expands. Carefully remove from microwave & allow to cool; once cool, hold over bowl or bucket or whatever you are using & carefully crumble into it…much easier & quicker than grating.
Yep! We do that too sometimes, Julie. The hooligans love watching it grow in the microwave!
I have been doing this since Christmas and I have had to make 2 batches so far but was putting them in mason jars your way sounds more easier.
I may be shunned for asking, hey I’m blonde (ok,ok so some greys are visible)
But can you still use laundry bleach w/ your detergent recipe?
★Please know that I do know NOT to mix bleach & vinegar though★ lol
Yes, you can use bleach along with this recipe, Lucy.
Thank you for posting this! I made the concentrate the other night and have one question. Was it supposed to thicken up at all or is this just a liquid consistency? Thanks.
It’s different every time, Tracy. As I mention in the post, sometimes it’s very liquid-y for me, and other times, it’s quite thick.
Just a question…if using the homemade vinegar fabric softener in the washing machine…are the clothes full of static when removed from the dryer? Static is why I have always used the dryer sheets. I love this detergent recipe. Can’t wait to make it this weekend. My husband has lost his job after 26 years and with 3 kids at home and 1 in college we are trying to save everywhere possible. Thank you!!!
Not at all. The only time I get any static is when I throw something acrylic in the dryer, which doesn’t happen often.
I would love to make this but I’m allergic to borax. Is there something I can substitute?
You can probably find recipes on the net for homemade detergents without Borax, Sonija. I’m not in the loop about those though. A google search should turn something up.
I used 2 cups each of Borax and washing soda and 1 bar of Fels ( finely grated) and use it as a powdered soap. use 2 tablespoons only per load, but we have soft water system. I walk around the house in my white soxes and they come clean and white. I have a small apt and no room for 5 gallon bucket.. Gallon jar works great. might have to use more for hard water. love this soap. I don’t have to use any vinegar or anything. I add the soap first and then add some hot water to dissolve water in wash machine. just a little bit. then switch to cold water. I have used this soap for 2 years and love it.
I use the dry powder as well. I never have trouble with it dissolving so I wonder what the advantage would be to making the liquid form. The solubility of washing soda and borax is quite high so the small amount used would easily dissolve in the wash and of course the soap will dissolve. I use one cup each of soda and borax and a personal size bar of Ivory. I grate it with my microplane and run the mixture through the food processor to get a nice, uniform powder.
Hi Diane! Wow, so that’s the same recipe as mine, but in powder form. Is your washer a top-loading machine? Because front loaders use much less water than top loaders, I worry about the powder not dissolving as the barrel doesn’t really fill with water. Also, I wash in cold water for some of my loads, and I’m not sure the powders would dissolve. In a warm or hot load in a top loader, I imagine it wouldn’t be an issue.
Awesome way to save money and help the environment. Thanks for the recipe! 🙂
Been using this ingredients for a while now I absolutely love it only substitution is I use the fels neptha only cause my skin is sensitive to the ivory soap otherwise 99 cents every so often for the bar soap to refill my detergent is amazing my clothes come out clean and fresh never tried powder form but im gonna try some tonight saves me money
I’ve been filling my downy ball with distilled white vinegar for over a year and my clothes always smell like vinegar, which I don’t really mind but i only do my whites for that reason. It would be nice to do all my clothes and not smell do strong. Suggestions?
I would definitely mind if my clothes smelled like vinegar. There should not be any trace of vinegar odour when you take them out of the washing machine, Dawnelle. Is your machine old? I’m wondering if it’s not rinsing your clothes thoroughly. Regardless, vinegar doesn’t smell once it’s evaporated, so when your clothes are dry, there shouldn’t be any noticeable smell.
Ok I’m definitely doing something wrong then. My whites smell like vinegar for almost a week after they are washed and dried in an electric dryer. I’ll try an extra rinse cycle
That is so bizarre. I’ve heard from a lot of people who use vinegar as their rinse agent, but never from anyone who’s clothes smell of vinegar afterwards. Try the extra rinse for sure. And how much are you using? I probably use about a 1/4 cup or less.
That did it! I was probably using about a cup before so i cut that way back. and instead of using an extra rinse i just didn’t seal the downy ball completely so it opened sooner in the cycle. Thanks for trouble shooting with me! Love your blog btw!
Oh good! I’m so glad you got to the bottom of it! Hooray! 🙂
im curious about tryin this…but i think when ive tried ivory soap it made me break out…is irish spring to strong of a soap to use? tyvm… oh and i use vinegar to clean my washer works great 🙂
I used Borax (about a cup) with a few drops of Dawn dish soap to wash my car. No-didn’t use gloves. My car looked great but my hands swelled, broke out in a rash and really ached. DON’T DO IT! DO NOT use straight Borax on skin! It was a stupid thing to do. I believe this recipe would work great on my laundry, however, after witmessing what it did to my hands!
Hi there. I tried the recipe but my soap is too liquid, it does not look concentrared at all. I used a bar of 580 gr of soap. Can you please tell me the size of the soap bar you used in the recipe? I see the Amazon link points to packs of 4 oz bars, which are way smaller than the one i used… Thanks!
I mention in the article that the consistency of my detergent is different every time I make it, Patricia. Sometimes, it’s really watery. As long as you have all of the essential ingredients in there, the actual mixture is the same regardless of the consistency. It will be fine. 🙂
I always add a few drops to tea tree oil because of the antifungal and antibacterial properties and i add some sweet orange oil too!
Thanks, Jackie:) So just one more question: even when you get watery soap you still dilute it in the jug or you use it just like that? Thanks!
Yes, you still cut it half and half with water, Patricia. 🙂
Thank you for this recipe! Do you use the same pot for cooking and melting the bar soap? Just wondering if the soap renders the pot unusable for anything else. 😀
Yes, I use one of my cooking pots to make the detergent in.
Good to know. Thanks so much! 😀 I’m a little OCD. Haha
Does the microwave trick work on fels naptha too?
I wouldn’t recommend putting any other brand of soap into the microwave. You can do it with Ivory because of the high air content, but other brands could burn and potentially ruin your microwave, or worse yet, catch on fire.
I’ve used the same basic recipe quite often. However, I’ve made it with scented soaps (my mom saves bars of Zest for me), and been pleased with the results. Seems to last. But I never diluted mine, just used the jelled detergent straight from the bucket at a quarter cup per load. I like using Zest for the scent, but have also used Yardley’s lavender too.
I have done the recipe with Zest soap, and it works great. Zest is one of those soaps that rinse clean, so no residue. I grate mine up as a powder. I don’t use water until it’s time to use it, though, because I am worried that the water that is being stored in the jub might turn mildewy with time. I just put some of the powder in a small container, add boiling water, and shake it up before putting it in the machine. The clothes smell wonderful when they’re done.
isnt Borax a dangerous compound? Just a small can kill a child or a person.
You may be thinking of boric acid, Kris, which is indeed toxic. Borax is a mild irritant, so keep out of eyes and airways, but some people actually ingest a small amount daily as a dietary supplement.
I am definitely giving this a try! I can only find 90 grams Ivory soap here. Is this enough?
I’m not sure how large a 90 gram bar would be compared to mine, Rachelle. Is it not the size of a regular bar of soap?
The 90 gram is smaller than the usual bath soaps. I found another size (113 grams) online. I guess I’ll just have to grate more than 1 bar until my weighing scale says 113g 🙂
Thanks to everyone’s comments! This really helped answer some questions! I’m going to give it a try, as I do laundry everyday !:))
I’m making my 3rd big bucketful right now. I LOVE using this detergent! I give bottles to my mom and she is always so grateful. I get giddy doing my laundry knowing how much I am saving. I pass by the big bottles of detergent in the grocery store and think “Ha ha!” Thanks so much for sharing.
Thank you so much for the recipe. I’m on my second bucket because I keep giving it away to convince others to use it. I’m using a cat litter bucket which is almost exactly 5 gallons and the lid seals nicely. I got a paint stirrer attachment for my drill and it worked great to mix the gel blobs.
Can’t help but think it is much better for my septic tank too without all the suds and chemicals.
I make mine dry. I use 1 bar of fels naptha, finely grated, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup washing soda. Mix it all together and you’re done. 1 tbsp for regular loads and 2 tbsp for larger or dirtier loads. Takes about 10 minutes to make. The longest part is grating the soap.
Hi, we don’t use a washing machine but hand wash our clothes. Can I still use this? I mean, would it be safe for my hands? Thanks!
I think so. The soda and soap would be fine. Borax is a mild irritant, but it’s diluted in a lot of water with this recipe.
I was going to try your recipe as soon as I found a pail with a lid, but then I had a couple friends tell me they’ve had problems in the past with homemade liquid detergent clogging their pipes and gumming up their machines. We all have hard water. Has anyone else had problems like this? Is using vinegar as a rinsing agent enough to keep things from clogging up?
I’ve never had any problems in all the years I’ve been using it, Celeste, and I’ve heard from 100’s of followers, both here on my blog, and on my fb page who have used it for years, and love it as well.
Thanks for making these steps so easy to understand. I like the idea of being able to make my own scent for my detergent.
You’re so welcome!
I’ve used these items individually, I am definitely going to try this out. My little ones have sensitive skin, if this works it is going to save me a lot of money and time. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Jillee,first of all thanks u so much for sharing ur landry detergent recipe!My question is why used particularly Ivory soap Brand?If I cld nt get Ivory soap since I live in Asia,what is the best u cld recommend or what is d criteria that I need to look for a bar of soap?Ur reply wld much appreciated,Thanks!
I use Ivory because it’s mild and “pure” (as far as soaps go), and I like the scent. In the US, they often use Fels Naphtha. Any laundry bar soap (do you have SUNLIGHT brand?) should work. I’ve also heard people say they use Castile’s brand. You want a mild, pure soap, or one designed for laundry purposes so there’s no residue. Also, you wouldn’t want to use one with aloe or lotion in it, as that maybe oily.
We have no ivory brand here, but we do have the sunlight laundry soap, the yellow one, will that work also?
Hi, can i use this detergent for cloth diapers?
Many have said that they do, but some have said that you can’t. I personally can’t say one way or the other, as I’ve never tried, Chelsie. Sorry!
Great article! Homemade detergent cleans as well as commercial laundry detergents. My husband insists to use only homemade things. I am so proud that I have found your post. I am going to show it to him. Best regards!
Does this clean just as well as other laundry detergent?
Girl, I wouldn’t be singing its praises and sharing it with you if it didn’t. 😉
I like this laundry soap.thanks for this …its save my money for this month!!
Glad you tried it, Fifa!
This is great! Laundry detergent goes so quick it seems and I swear everything time I go to the store, the prices are higher. I am going to try this for sure. Thanks for sharing!
I know! It’s crazy how expensive it is, and how the price is always increasing!
I made the detergent in powder form. The soap is still visible after the wash. I had to put it in rinse mode again to get rid of that.
When you use vinegar in laundry does the cloth smells like vinegar when dried? Did you use dryer to dry the clothes?
Hmm… Sorry, I can’t comment on the powder form. I’ve only ever made it in liquid. If you follow my recipe, you shouldn’t have a problem. I use vinegar when I line dry AND when I use the dryer. Our clothes never smell like vinegar. Vinegar’s odour disappears once dry.
Does powdered Ivory Laundry Soap work? I used that on my baby clothes way back when and know you can still buy it.
But it’s already laundry soap. I suppose you could use it in the recipe, but the point of using bar soap is that it’s a very inexpensive alternative to store-bought laundry detergent. Using store-bought laundry detergent in this recipe would defeat the purpose of making it to save money. If $avings isn’t the motivator for you though, sure, give it a try!
If powdered Ivory can be used – how much would I use for the recipe?
I’m not sure, Joanie. I only use the bar soap. Would you even want to use the powdered Ivory? It’s already in laundry soap form, correct? The reason we’re adding borax and Washing soda with the bar soap is to turn bath/face soap into laundry soap.
Hi, thanks for your laundry soap recipe! i am excited to try it…i have one question about the strength of the detergent. Is it necessary to fill a separate container and then dilute it? or would it work just as well if i just halved the amount to each load, to a 1/4 cup per load? Thanks! Sheri
I’ve always diluted it, Sheri. It probably would work if you didn’t but I’m not sure if it would work as well. I think diluting it, and then giving it a shake first, helps to break up the lumps that form in the bottle, and it will make for a better distribution of the detergent in the washing machine.
Lovely site.. thanks for sharing such great advice.
I used to make gallons of l-soap.. but now make Laundry Sauce.
one quart jar..
fill 1/3 with boiling water..
add a 1/4 of a large bar of soap. Grated . Ivory is fine.. but fels nafta is great.
stir off & on until soap is melted.
add 1/2 c EACH of borax & washing soda . stir .. fill jar up to one inch from the top of jar rim.
stir off & on until mixture cools & turns into sauce: thickens .
I use a stick blender to finish the process.
use one T per load .
easy & quick. less then an hour .. make as many jars as you desire.
That sounds interesting, Lisa! I might have to make a batch!
What can you use if ivory soap doesn’t like you?
If you’re in the US, a lot of people use Fels Naptha. Here in Canada, I’ve heard people say they’ve used any mild soap that doesn’t contain lotion i.e. aloe.
Just wanted to say thanks for posting this. Came across your blog when looking to change to a Thrifty lifestyle & doing research about it.
This homemade soap detergent is my first step into the realm of thirfty + efficiency. Really exited to make it.
Hi, I just made this today and was so happy to smell the laundry coming out of the machine! I used about a teaspon of lavender essential oil to about 1/3 of your recipe, and it didn’t come out smelling like lavender at all, so I’ll try two teaspoons next time, but this is a luxury item really!
Also, I used Sunlight Soap (the bar) and I’m in New Zealand. For people wondering about babies and sensitive skin, this is the soap recommended by Eczema experts in New Zealand. A – it works particularly well at preventing hand dermatitis and B – it is a very cheap alternative to the other good eczema soaps (Aveeno and QV etc). It cured my hand dermatitis which was really bad. I’d get deep fissures and lots of skin infections etc, but using Sunlight Soap as much as possible got rid of it in 7 days. I’d had it for about 4 years! (Typically shows up in your 20s). And I’m a nurse so I wash my hands SO MUCH.
i have been using borax/calgon powder (2:1 ratio) for a couple of years now … cant find calgon powder anymore though so gonna try this …. its just so much easier to carry powdered not liquid to the laundrymat ( we live in an RV so may have to get used to it
I made the recipe as a powder and am currently storing it in an old coffee container. I have an HE washer. I tried it on a load last night. I put the vinegar in the rinse dispenser and added the essential oils to that dispenser. For all the people talking about Borax- it is an ingredient in detox baths. I bathe in it regularly (2 cups per full bath). It is not dangerous imo. People have also used it in laundry for nearly 200 years now.
I made one batch, still using it after 2 years! I am now going to make another batch. Thank you for this recipe. Also, my son has eczema so this has been extremely beneficial for us.
Wow! 2 years. That’s fantastic. Think of all the $$ you saved, Cortny!
Sometimes black clothing gets white streaks from build up on the sides of my washer. Does that ever happen to you? What do you recommend?
Hmm.. no, I haven’t had that happen here, and we wear a lot of black. I do use vinegar instead of fabric softener though, and it’s great for removing residue in clothing, in your machine and in your pipes.
Would liquid Castile soap work?
I’m not sure about using liquid soap, Doug. I’m not sure of the amount you’d need to use. Can you get it in a bar?
Liquid Castile soap seems possible as I’m trying to make one with peppermint liquid castile soap and peppermint essential oil.
Peppermint oil can help to remove odors from the clothes and deodorize sweaty workout clothes.
Thank you for sharing this! I know I am a few years delayed, but how much powder does 1 ivory soap make? My kids were practicing some “soap carving” and we were planning on using the scraps for this. I just have to make sure I get the right measurement. Thanks again!
We have no ivory brand here, but we do have the sunlight laundry soap,