Three DIY Laundry Soap Recipes

I’ve long wanted to venture into making my own laundry soap. But, I’ve been scared. A washing machine seems big and complicated and expensive to fix if I break it with my experiments. But, finally the requests for laundry soap on our Facebook page buoyed the team and I to action. Behold the project we’ve been busily testing for the last few months: laundry soap. Please note that I’d recommend a small test batch of any of our recipes with your clothing and your washing machine to ensure that the recipe works the way you expect it to. Washing preferences, like soap preferences, can vary from household to household.

We’ve just welcomed Bramble Berry’s latest product, Washing Soda. It was perfect timing for this project! Otherwise known as Sodium Carbonate or Soda Ash, Washing Soda is a common base ingredient in many laundry soaps. In addition to acting as a water softener, Washing Soda is a stain remover and can even work as a fixative for some natural dyeing techniques.

A note on some of the other ingredients found in these recipes: Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) is thought to be an odor neutralizer and fabric freshener, but there is some debate as to whether it actually functions in this capacity when used in detergents. Borax is used as a stain-removal aid, and can also be used on whites as an alternative to chlorine bleach. I found Citric Acid works to break down enzymes found in common stains and is highly functional as a natural stain remover as well.

Recipe One: What to do with lye-heavy soap

Whoops! Something went wrong while making a batch of soap so to be on the safe side, you test the pH level and discover it’s lye heavy. Don’t toss the soap just yet! Laundry soap is a great way to use up a soap that may have otherwise gone to waste. Edited to add: The soap you use doesn’t have to be lye-heavy! But because oils free floating in soap are just that – oils – and oil on clothing can go rancid and smell bad we recomend a 3% superfat or below for laundry soap.

  • 1 Cup Baking Soda
  • ½ Cup Washing Soda
  • 1 Cup Shredded soap (a meat grinder or a vegetable grater work for this task but wear gloves if the soap is lye heavy

Get everything you need for the Shredded CP Laundry Soap Recipe (minus the shredded soap) with the click of a button!

Note: I used our clean up tool to get these fun curly soap shreds.

Recipe Two: For light duty loads

This recipe was not the best for loads that contained towels and other heavy fabrics, but worked well on finer linens and other lightweight fabrics.

Buy everything you need for the Light Duty Laundry Soap recipe with the click of a button!

Recipe Three: For heavy duty loads

Great for when you need to wash a full load of towels or other heavyweight fabrics and for tough stains, laundry booster Citric Acid comes to the rescue!

Buy everything you need for Heavy Duty Laundry Soap Recipe (except the shredded soap and vinegar) with the click of a button!

Note: Vinegar is optional, but can be added to reduce the need for dryer sheets or other fabric softening aids. Your laundry will not smell like vinegar, I promise!

Once you’ve got your ideal recipe locked down, you can choose to scent your detergent. I stuck with essential oil blends, but fragrance oils work just as well. Lavender seemed to be a universal favorite among the team member testers! Here are the blends we liked:

Start out with a usage rate of 1 mL per cup of powdered detergent, and add more for a stronger scent.

Edited to add: be sure to check out the comment for some more reader-submitted recipes! -AM

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  1. says

    I have been experimenting with laundry detergent for some time. I happened to come across your recipe and the only thing I didnt have in it yet was the citric acid. So I tried it and I’m wondering if I did something wrong.

    I see a lot of people having success…but I used 1 full bar of pure (homemade) coconut oil soap, 1/4c citric acid, homemade washing soda and occasionally lemon eo for a tad of smell and degreaser. But, I am finding while some of the clothes smell and look great…others do not. I am wondering…did I do something wrong? Maybe I need to add more to a load? I am adding 2 Tbsp to a ‘super’ load. I am wondering if I need 3…or idk I’m really at a loss. Help???

    • says

      Forgot to mention, I do stir everything together in hot water before adding to my ‘cool’ water in the washer….and besides some of the clothes not smelling ‘clean’….some still have the deodorant smell/residue left on the clothes :(

      • says

        Hi Anna!

        It sounds like you’ve done everything right. I wonder if it could be the bar of soap that you used. Some bars are more cleansing than others. It may just take a little bit of experimentation to find the perfect recipe that gives you results that you personally like. You could definitely try using more though, that could certainly help! Let me know how it goes :)

        -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  2. Julie Mace says

    So, to use the lye-heavy soap that seized up on me, do I need to wait until it’s cured (4-6 weeks)? Also, how do you know if it’s lye-heavy? How does it read on the ph strip? Thanks!

  3. Julie Mace says

    So, to use the lye-heavy soap that seized up on me, do I need to wait until it’s cured (4-6 weeks)? Also, how do you know if it’s lye-heavy? How does it read on the ph strip? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Julie!

      Here are two ways to test the pH of your soap:

      1.) The Zap Test: Take your bar of soap and touch the tip of your tongue to the edge of the soap. If you experience a slight zap feeling (similar to licking a battery), then your soap is probably lye heavy. If you don’t want to lick your soap (and I can understand why you wouldn’t want to) you can use pH testing strips.

      2.) Using pH strips: Take your bar of soap and slice off a sliver. Run it under some water and rub it to create a lather. Dip the end of the pH testing strip into the lather and make sure the strip gets fully saturated. The other end of the strip will turn a color and match that color with a color on the pH guide. A normal bar of soap should be between 8-10 on the pH scale.

      You don’t have to wait until it’s fully cured, but I would recommend giving it at least a week or two to harden up :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  4. Amy says

    I make CP goat milk soap – I used some fragrance oil that I later found out was ‘not skin safe’ (purchased on a whim while picking up soaping oils at a local soap/candle supplier). Can I shred this and use it in my handmade dry laundry detergent? I hate to have the entire batch go to waste, but will do so, if it is going to cause skin issues.

    • says

      Hi Amy!

      Because I’m not familiar with the product, I can’t say for sure if you could make safe laundry detergent with this soap. I would hate for you to make it, and then have skin irritation! Personally, I would not feel comfortable using it, but that would be a personal preference :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  5. Kit says

    Been making laundry soap for a couple years now. I usually use felsnaptha as it is only .97 at my walmart. I make the liquid laundry soap. Tried the powder and didn’t like it as well. I have a HE washer and never any problems. Just made my summer/fall batch yesterday. My recipe makes 10 gallons at a time. I haven’t had any bad batches of soap YET! probably because I will be making my first batch next week. It might be my first disaster! LOL. I can’t wait to make my own soap. Been researching it for a couple years so I finally took the first step and ordered the supplies. Wish me luck!!

  6. says

    Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar
    one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses?
    If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?

    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any
    assistance is very much appreciated.

    • says

      Hi there!

      We don’t get too many spam messages. We just make sure to review comments daily and delete when necessary :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  7. says

    Hi Karla!

    I did a little personal research regarding the safety of the individual ingredients, and it appears they are each safe for a septic tank. To be extra cautious, I found that fats and greases should not be sent into your septic tank because they can clog inlet drains and don’t degrade quickly. Because soap is made up of oils, I would especially recommend using the recipe for light duty loads because it involves less soap.

    You can also post this question to the Teach Soap Forum to see if any fellow soapers have more insight! :)

    I hope this helps!

    -Amanda with Bramble Berry

    • says

      Hi Evie!

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoy soap making, it’s such a great hobby! Thanks for the cleaning suggestion! :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  8. Sheetal says

    Hi, I have made laundry soap bars with 100% coconut oil and with 1% superfatting. It makes a great bar. I have a question, can we make laundry bars with soap nuts either in the form of soap nut liquid in place of water or soap nut powder as an additive? Any issues you forsee? You think it’s likely to be more effective?

    • says

      Hi Sheetal!

      While I am not very experienced with soap nuts, I don’t see any issues doing this. I would recommend adding a small amount of the soap nut powder and see how it works! We have never tried it before, but if you do, I would love to hear how it goes! :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  9. june says

    Hi I have read all the comments with great interest. I use to make my own soaps, but haven’t been able to for a while. Anyway what I would like to know is that I have some coconut oil and shea butter left. I don’t think I can use the shea butter to make liquid detergent, but I wondered if I could use the coconut oil? I noticed that one of the comments said about using 2oz soap etc. I wonder wondered if it would work with just as well with the coconut. If my research is correct it has surfactants in it so it should do its job. Let me know what you think please. By the way I have just come across this site and I must agree with the others it is great.

    • says

      Hi June!

      Any oils that you want to use will work for the laundry soap. But you’re correct, I wouldn’t use Shea Butter. Since it isn’t for your skin, it’s totally your preference on what you use!

      Coconut Oil is a great oil to use and we’ve heard a lot of soapers use it specifically for their laundry soaps. I hope this helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  10. emily says


    After reading your site i decided to reformulate my washing powder using citric acid. My original formulation had sodium bicarbonate in it. I decided to try both! I am such a donkey! Any one who remembers chemistry lessons knows these two reagents are used to make volcano’s. Don’t worry no explosions, as both were anhydrous. However, this reaction produces h2o (so wet clumpy detergent), co2 and sodium tricitrate. How will this effect the cleaning power of my detergent. I have searched the web but can find nothing. I don’t believe it will damage my clothes. Should i just chuck it?

    Many thanks

    • says

      Hi Emily!

      Experimenting can be so much fun when working with bath & body products and we are so glad that you took the plunge and tried something new. It should be just safe to use, but I would try a small test batch just to make sure you like how it feels. Let us know how it turns out!

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  11. Theresa says

    I love this site and learn so many cool new things.

    I wanted to comment on the posts that talked about the laundry powder getting hard. I learned a trick on onegoodthing by Jily (sorry if that is not exact, working from memory ;).

    Add just a touch of vinegar to your powdered mix (stir quick to avoid fizz reaction) and pack into Ice cube trays (kind of like making a small bath fizzy). Unmold the next day and put in a container.
    Vary the amount in the ice tray to match your standard load amount of powder. Pack tight as possible. This is great portion control for my little helpers.
    They get hard as a rock but melt quickly in the wash. I have a frontloading he washer but I still just throw it in the drum with the clothes.

    Thanks for such a great site and store!!

  12. karenbrandt says


    I too am doing experiments with making my own laundry soap both powder and liquid forms. With Borax being questioned lately as being toxic – I have been trying to find a replacing product for Borax.

    At Walmart, I found a laundry detergent product called FOCA. Its in a 4.5 lb bag and sells for around $4. Says that it is phosphate free and formulated with biodegradable surfactants and enzymes … leaves your whites bright with a clean freshness. Safe on colors too. Here are the ingredients: Cleaning Agents (Lineal Anionic Surfactant and proteolitic enzyme), water softener (aluminosilicates and silicate), soil suspending agent (C.M.C.), optical brightener and perfume. Made in Mexico. Since I am not a chemist – have no clue what these ingredients really are.

    Thoughts on this?

    • says

      Hi Karen!

      These are not products that we carry, so we cannot speak to them as we aren’t using them to formulate or make recipes with. What we would recommend is trying to source these products and experiment and play around with them for your particular recipes. I hope that this helps! :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  13. DWS1 says

    Speaking of linen spray, from one of the comments above, would you need a preservative in linen spray? If so, how much? (I use phenonip.)


  14. Kristin says

    I’ve been using recipe #3 for everything. Gets cloth diapers clean, and must rinse well because baby has no diaper rash and I have yet to strip the diapers!

    Question though, does adding EO or FO scent the clothes after they’re washed, or does it just make the detergent smell nice?


    • says

      Hi Kristin!

      That is great to hear — we love the feedback that our readers and customers give about the tutorials. When adding fragrance or essential oil to your laundry soap, it does scent the detergent and can give a slight scent to the clothes after they are washed (depending on how much you use). I hope this helps! Let us know if you end up going with a fragrance or essential oil blend — we’d love to know more about it. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  15. Nancy C Fullerton says

    What great recipes! I love making my own home-y stuff! I would like to use the Bramble Berry re-batch bases for these recipes. Can I add a touch of color to the re-batch bases for a fun color addition? If so, what colorants would work the best? At what quantity? Thanks so much!

  16. Kris says

    The next day it was “set” & ready to be dilutes. It’s a very similar recipe to the famous “Duggar” recipe,, but I used my HP soap instead of fels-naptha. Same consistency! Woo hoo! I tested it with a load of towels. It smelled nice while washing & when it was washed it smelled like NOTHING 😀 I’m so happy!

    I think my next “adventure in soaping” will be to get some KOH & enter the world of liquid soap making 😉
    I’ve been researching liquid soap making for a few weeks & am very excited to give it a go. Perhaps this type of soaping could be adapted to laundry soap that isn’t “gelled” like most homemade liquid.

    I’ve never had luck with powdered laundry soap :( homemade or commercial. But I LOVE the idea of having 3 different laundry soap recipes! (& I’ve already added yours to my recipe book) I’ll just work on finding a way to have them in liquid form, since that’s what has been working best for me <3

  17. Marsha says

    I’ve used recipe 2 long before I pulled this up, and I’ve never had any problems with using it on all our laundry. School uniforms, baby clothes, underwear, linens, all of it. But the citric acid in recipe 3? I gotta try that. What purpose does it have in cleaning laundry? And do you all ever plan on doing anything for home made fabric softener? I make my own but I’d like to have a more viscous consistency than what vinegar, baking soda and cheap hair conditioner provide.

    • says

      Hi Marsha!

      We are so glad to hear you’ve been using a similar recipe to #2 and that it works so well for you. With recipe #3 (and any recipe), you can add in the Citric Acid to be a bit of a laundry booster that helps get out those tough little stains, especially on towels and other heavyweight fabrics. I think you’d really like it. When you try it out, let us know what you think. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  18. Kris says

    Hello again! :)

    So…. I’m excited & impatient,, so I guessed/improvised 😉

    I melted 2oz soap (by weight) into 1.5c boiling water.
    Added it to:
    2c hot water + 1/2c washing soda + 1/2c borax

    It’s still cooling……

    I’m fully prepared to need to water it down more if it gels too much or solidifies.

    I’ll update in the morning. (if I can ever sleep! Who’d’ve thought making soap would make me so excited!?)

    Ps. I love your blog!

  19. says

    I have been making my own Laundry soap for a year now. I have used all of the above recipes cause I really want it to work. My whites have started to turn grey. I have tried adding bleach but it doesn’t seem to help. Any ideas? We have hard water so that might be the problem.

    • says

      Good morning, Cherai! Sometimes hard water can add a bit of problems with your laundry and might be turning your whites a bit grey. Are you following the recipes directly? Thanks!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Dawn says

        We have hard water, and towards the end of winter when clothes cannot be hung outside, they do start to gray. As remedies, we use OxiClean and/or a FEW DROPS (no more) of bluing in the rinse. There are directions on both containers.

  20. Amanda says

    I was wondering if anyone was adding Lemishine or similar product to their laundry detergent, and how did that change your recipe? Does the Lemishine add a long lasting scent and help with stain removal like I think it will?

  21. Genessa says

    I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for some time now. My recipe is similar to yours. I find that using a tablespoon or two with each load is far more effective and rinses out of clothes better than using the larger quantities you’re suggesting. With laundry soap, sometimes less is more.

    • says

      Thanks for the tip, Genessa! We’ve found that everyone uses laundry soap differently and these amounts did work the best for us, but I’ll definitely have to try your amount and see what difference it makes. =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  22. Kimeli Wade says

    When using a lye heavy soap, does it have to cure first, or can I grate it and use it straight from the mold?

    • says

      Great question, Kimeli! With lye-heavy soap, you just need to make sure it has hardened first and wear gloves while grating it up. Then you can use it straight into your DIY laundry soap. =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

    • says

      Good morning, Veronique! We’ve found that Borax will work on whites and well as colors, but if you are worried, I would try a very small test batch to make sure your laundry turns out the way you want it to!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Veronique says

        Thank you. I was also wondering if I make my own CP soap, do I have to let it cure the whole 4-6 weeks before grinding it or can I use it after just a few days of drying?

  23. Zala says

    Hi Becky,I went with a baby powder like fragrance from my supplier here in Europe. It’s called Bambino; soft, clean and…well, powdery :-) A little girly, but till now no complaints from my boys, :-)
    Everything is very girly now in the laundry room: my washing powder in a pink/white polka dotted bucket and the vinegar softener in a pink bottle…:-)

  24. Zala says

    Back to report. Took 1 litre of vinegar and poured in some F/O (the same I used for the laundry powder) till I was satisfied with the scent. Poured some in the rinse compartment and the fabric came out soft and smelling heavenly! Even after a drying cycle! So if you want scent retention on your cothes this is indeed the way to go. And it’s cheap! Of course the F/O doesn’t mix with the vinegar, so you have to shake the bottle before use. Maby some poly 20 would help here, but it’s quite possible that this will wash the scent away. I have to try that out too.

  25. Zala says

    Oh, how I adore this kind of ‘selfsupporting’!
    I make my own laundry powder (similar to nr. 2, but with shredded soap, not liquid) for quite a while now and I love how clean and fresh fabric comes out. Now I’m going to try Millies idea for scented vinegar…

  26. Christina says

    Can you store this in a Jar?
    Also, it can be used for any type of washing machine? should I be cautious of anything?

    • says

      Hi Christina!

      This can be stored in a jar, can or any airtight container. You want to make sure it is airtight because when moisture gets in, it will make it get hard as a rock and you might not be able to get it out! We haven’t heard of a washing machine this doesn’t work in, but make sure to check out your user manual to make sure you can use a powdered soap. The only thing you need to be concerned about if using your own cold process soap bar (see recipe #1 – Lye Heavy) is that your superfat stays around 3% or less. Anything more can leave unsaponified oils on your clothing and you don’t want those extra oils going rancid and smelling funny! I hope this helps. :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      P.S. And start with a small batch, with the settings on cold when you do your first test!

  27. Steven says


    Borax was added to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on 16 December 2010. The SVHC candidate list is part of the EU Regulations on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals 2006 (REACH), and the addition was based on the revised classification of Borax as toxic for reproduction category 1B under the CLP Regulations. Substances and mixtures imported into the EU which contain Borax are now required to be labelled with the warnings “May damage fertility” and “May damage the unborn child”. [23]

    • Anne-Marie says

      Thanks for the heads up re: the EU. In this case, since the product is not a leave-on or rinse-off ski care product and instead is used on clothes and then washed out, my feelings on it are that I’m in the clear as a 4 month pregnant woman. I took the liberty of running this by my OBGYN this morning though to be on the safe side and they were not concerned unless I was bathing in the product =) Thanks for your concern! A-M

  28. Heather says

    Hi, What kind of shredded soap can I use? My cp soap on hand is superfatted to high. I noticed some earlier posts mentioned that you cant not use Melt and pore soap and some recomended using Ivory soap. I do have some old soap bars I bought from the store.(Irish Spring Deodorant soap) What do you recommend and what is the difference?

    Also what is the best way to shred soap bars?

  29. Joyce says

    I have tried the laundry recipe but when it cools it forms a hard layer of soap on the top what am I doing wrong.
    when heating it up and making it all the soap melts but the hard stuff forms after.

  30. Joveta says

    Hi I am so glad I found this site Im going to make my own soap and im very excited but I just want to know do you put the powder in the drum with your clothes or in the detergent tray of the washing machine. I dont want to fall at the last hurdle plus I cant wait to pass this onto my friends look forward to your feed back

  31. says

    I make my own fabric softner using vinegar and Brambleberries energy F/O. My clothes come out smelling wonderful and very soft. Once you add the energy F/O to the vinegar, the vinegar smell goes away. I don’t measure, just pour until I like the scent. My cloth do not stain.

  32. Carolyn says

    I make liquid laundry detergent witht his same recipe. Just heat the grated soap in a pot on med-low heat stirring frequently until the soap is melted. Pour into a 5 gallon bucket with the washing soda and borax. Stir. Fill with hot water. Cover and let sit overnight. Dilute into bottles with equal parts detergent mixture and water. Shake well before use. Use 1/2 cup per load.

      • Lisa says

        Hi, Thought I would share….I have made this in the past as well. (I like the powder better, just me :)) But I recently found out if you add some glycerin to the bucket it will loosen up the “gooey” texture to more of a smooth pour-able creamy liquid. you will have to test to see just how much to use. I think about 2-3 Tbl per gallon would do it. start with less and wait a few days. then go from there. Less shaking…lol.

  33. says


    Whew! I just don’t think I’m ready to take that plunge yet…

    How much detergent do you use for an HE machine?

  34. Melissa says

    Do you add the oils to the water in the washer then the soap or can you add it in the powder as you mix it up? Thanks.

  35. Pamela Sapetto says

    I would love a liquid laundry soap recipe too. Do you think you can come up with a recipe for that too? It would be great!


    • Kayla says

      Hi I’m not from bramble berry but I think I could help you with this. I’ve been making liquid laundry soap for 10 years. Prior to that my grandma made it for like 50. What I do is 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup washing soda and 1 full bar of your choice of soap. OR 1/3 of a fels neptha (sp) bar. Melt the shredded soap with 4 cups water and once it’s melted add the borax and washing soda. With another 4 cups fill a 2 gal bucket add the soapy water and let sit for a day. That will kind of turn into a gel type soap but if you want it more liquidy add more water when you are making it. When I make this I use fels neptha and it only costs me like $2-3 every 3 months. Because even for a bad load you kind of only need a quarter of a cup. Like I said I’m not with this company but I’ve been doing this for years.

      • says

        Hi Kayla!

        Thanks for letting us know what works for you. We’ve found that it is just to gel-like for our tastes and doesn’t seem to wash our clothes like we would like it to, but we are definitely working on a liquid laundry soap recipe, so keep your eyes peeled for that! =)

        -Becky with Bramble Berry

        • bobbie2sk says

          When will we get to see a liquid laundry soap recipe post? I’ve tried many different recipes that I’ve seen online, but none of them have really impressed me. Please post soon.

          • says

            Hi Bobbie!

            We are still working on perfecting a liquid laundry soap recipe, but in the meantime, I would definitely check out the Teach Soap Forums to see if any of the crafters there have a recipe that they are willing to share with you. Be sure to subscribe to the Soap Queen blog so you can keep up-to-date on our newest projects, recipes and tutorials. =)

            -Becky with Bramble Berry

            Teach Soap Forums:

      • Michelle Ramos says

        So it doesn’t matter what soap you use? I’m nervous that too many suds will form and not rinse out. I currently use the Fels Naptha but I’d like to try some other soaps too, like the ones I’ve made, but I’m wondering if you can use any soap or if you have to be careful which one you choose.

        • says

          Hi Michelle,
          I’m not familiar with Fels Naptha, but you can certainly give other soaps a try! The key with laundry soap is you just need to be careful that you don’t use anything that will accidentally leave color on your clothes or leave a strong scent. Otherwise, it depends on your own preferences!

      • NIema says

        I think I will try the recipe that you posted. I have so many soap scraps. Can I use this in place of the Fels Naptha soap??

  36. Michelle H says

    I am still unclear on how much to use/load. If it’s 2T for HE, would it be 1/4 cup for a regular washing machine? Also, would the usage rate for FO be the same as for EO (1mL per cup of detergent)? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Michelle!

      What a great question! For a high-effiencey washer it is going to be 2 Tablespoons that was mentioned and if you don’t have an HE washer you would just use what you machine normally uses for powder.

      The FO/EO rate is going to be the same in the recipe no matter what kind of washer you use it in, the only difference in a regular washer (vs. HE) is how much you use.

      I hope this helps!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  37. Liza says

    I was wondering about scent retention. We love our soap and I have used several variations. I however cannot get the scent to retain. No matter how high I get the fragrance. I am up to 1 oz ppo. It doesnt stay on the clothes. What can be done for this? I would like a little scent retention. We have an HE I use 2 tables per load. I use 2 versions the citric acid recipe I Love it, and the regular 1 cup soap 1 cup borax and 1 washing soda.

    • says

      Hi Liza!

      This laundry soap tutorial is not going to keep scent retention onto the clothing. We didn’t add extra because we found that adding too much essential and fragrance oils can actually stain your clothing.

      If you are wanting scent retention on your clothing, I’d suggest creating a linen or clothing spray that you can use once your clothing is out of the dryer.

      I hope this helps! :)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

    • Kayla says

      I know this is a fairly old post, but another thing I have heard is taking a rag, dotting it with your EO, letting it dry and then throwing it in the dryer with your laundry. Not sure how well it works, but it sounds like it might. :)

        • Lo says

          We actually put a few drops of EO (we’ve got a bright citrusy blend we’ve been using the last couple months) on our wool dryer balls. The scent doesn’t cling forever like commercial dryer sheets/detergents, but it does brighten up your fresh laundry!

  38. says

    We’ve been making our own laundry soap for a while and using our goat milk soap bars to do so. Very similiar recipe to yours: 1 Cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, 1 4-6 oz bar of soap. We’ve used it on both conventional and front loader (HE) machines with no problems. Since we generally have a lot of farm/work laundry (really dirty), we use 3 Tablespoons of the mixture. It comes out very clean.

  39. Liza says

    The addition of citric acid to the batch made a difference in how it keeps together.While my basic formula is 1 cup soap 1 cup washing soda 1/2 borax and 1/4 ctirc acid, I m wondering if a reduction in soap shreds might alsp be beneficial. I noticed it was more together once mixed instead of soap beads and powdered mixed together. Anyone who has made the powder will understand what I mean. It is now all uniform in texture no powder separation. I added a slight amount of iron oxide in green to soap so I could see it. Since there is no bleed because of the dab I added, it made it visually easier to see, if the mix was cohesive. I am allowing it to dry in an open large container

  40. says

    A few more questions:) There were a few conflicting answers to the superfat question. One person said to use nothing higher than 3% and another said that it did not matter. Can someone clarify as to what is best? Second, What about MP soap? Would that work in place of CP in these recipes? I have tons of scraps. Third, I have a 1 lb bag of brambleberry luxury rebatch that I never got around to using and has passed the date you suggest to use it by. Would that work in these recipes if I add fragrance oil?

    • Liza says

      I superfat the soap at.5 instead of zero to give me a margin of error. Superfat means you would have oils all on your clothes and machine.

      • says

        Right, I will plan on using my soap scraps with the lowest superfat in my powder first, just wondering if i shouldn’t use the higer ones in the laundry at all. Maybe I will do a practice load with towels or something to see how the higer superfat goes. The next question that I am dying to gat an answer to is whether or not I can use the Luxury rebatch soap shreds in the recipes or if that superfat % is too high. I have a couple 1lb bags that I never got around to using. They passes the date of suggested use on the brambleberry site and I would love to use them so they don’t go to waste. This would be perfect-I could just skip the grinding soap part. :)

    • says

      Hi Erica!

      Thank you so much for the great questions! Regarding the superfat query, we do suggest (and have edited the post to reflect that) a 3% superfat or below on your laundry soap so that the oils don’t stain your clothing.

      We haven’t actually tried this yet with a M&P base, so we don’t know how it would work, but if you do try it, let us know how it turns out. :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • says

        Okay, Thanks so much. I’ll try a test batch on the MP sometime and do you happen to know what the SF content is on the luxury rebatch?

  41. Amanda says

    If getting the scraps super fine isn’t possible, stirring them up in hot water first helps. I dump my flakes in the wash, start with hot for a minute or so, the switch to warm or cold, or whatever it required for that load, before adding the laundry. Melts the flakes easily. Besides, taking the cold edge off the water helps get clothes cleaner anyway. Cold water doesn’t need to be icy!

  42. says

    I’ve been away on vacation in Florida for a week and now I come back to so many awesome Soap Queen posts! Yay!

    I’ve been wanting to try laundry soap, so I can’t wait to try this. My question is, does the soap you use have to be fully cured? I usually superfat at 5% so my existing bars wouldn’t work. I want to make a small batch of soap with less superfat to try for this, but was wondering if I need to wait the full 4-6 weeks for it to cure.

    • Liza says

      Hot process the whole thing. if no crock just make a double boiler with 2 old pots. Easy easy

  43. Liza says

    Is the heavy duty recipe with citric acid safe for diapers and sensitive skin? I think it would be since it lowers the ph on the whole mix. Also what cannot be washed with this mix. My husbands work shirts and dress shirts get stains are these okay?

    • says

      Yes, good question, I would like to know that too! My husband always comes home from work with grease and grime on his clothes (if it is not dirt it is mechanic guck, he is a heavy equiptment operator and takes care of the equiptment too if it breaks down…to give you an idea of the stuff he gets on his clothes) What would you recommend and just to throw it out there if you do not have many to wash and you dont want to wash them seperatly from everyone elses to save on time and cost what can you use that will clean his and keep ours from the grime without ruining ours but is gentle enough for sensitive skin or babies?

      • says

        Hi Jodi!

        What we found was that we actually had to separate out the clothes. What is strong enough to remove the grease from the garments is also strong enough to irritate sensitive, delicate baby skin.

        I’d try going with high coconut oil recipes, and if you want to try it out with your baby, I’d do a small test batch to see if it irritates their skin.

        Now that A-M’s son is almost 2, they are finally starting use the same laundry detergent for him as they do with their clothes but they didn’t start that for a while.

        I hope this helps! :)

        -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Sue M says

        I made soap and my brother tried it out. When I told him that fels naptha was in it, he said that when he used to visit our Aunt that lived on a farm, she had him grate the fels naptha so that she would put some in the washer with the clothes because it was the only thing that would get the RUST out of the clothes from the well water

    • Jodi says

      This is a good question, I need to know too. My hubby gets nasty at work and I need something I can use to clean his as well as ours but for sensitive skin that can break out in rashes if to harsh. What do you suggest?

  44. Jessica Pepper says

    hi Becky,

    I love making my own laundry soap but I really have a hard time because if I forget about it, it has to be rewashed where as conventional soap I didn’t have to.. I used a recipe I had pinned, it only called for 1/3 bar of fels soap.. but the next one I made I upped it because I just wanted to see if that would make it better when I forget about it, it really didn’t.. However, it did gel a lot nicer this time. So when I stirred it up, it stayed pretty jelled up, I am pretty sure I used 1 cup each borax and super washing soda and 2/3’s of the soap bar.. My husband does prefer this as it saves us a ton of money and he says the clothes feel clean and better to him :) thanks for posting the recipes :)

    • says

      Hi Sue!

      It might have been that a small amount of moisture had gotten in the soap. Do you live in an area with higher humidity? We noticed that if there was any humidity in the air or moisture nearby that the recipe tended to get a little harder.

      And, you can totally still use it by breaking it up and throwing it in your laundry.

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Cathie Land says

        If it has citric acid in it you will need to add a small pouch of rice in your container to keep it from being solid. I make dishwasher soap and used a tulle bag of rice in the bottom and it helps. Like using bread to soften brown sugar, or rice in with salt in a sale shaker keeps it from clumping. Another ready made bag is those organza bags that you use in weddings and such, fill with rice, tie shut, voila, rice bag.

  45. says

    Wonderful post, we’ve been making our own laundry powder for awhile now and love it. Will have to try these recipes as well. For Recipe 2 does the amount of castille keep the laundry powder pretty dry or does it become a bit wet?

    Would love to see a print option available on this blog as I frequently find myself copying and pasting into Word.

    • says

      Hi Michelle!

      We didn’t find that the natural castile liquid soap made the powder super wet, but just gave it a slight damp feeling.

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      P.S. I’ll pass on the idea to have a print button on blog posts to our web development team. Thanks for the idea! :)

  46. Kali Brothers says

    I also make my own laundry soap, but I don’t use Baking Soda. My recipe is 2C Grated Soap, 4c Borax, 4c Washing Soda + whatever EO’s. It doesn’t make “smelly” laundry like conventional laundry detergent, but I like that. I can’t stand the smell of conventional laundry soap or fabric softeners.

  47. Lisa says

    Does the fragrance stay in the clothes or is it just to make the laundry soap smell good? Also, no worries about fragrance oil staining clothes? My guess is that it is such a small amount that that wouldn’t be a problem?

    • says

      Hi Lisa!

      The scent will be a light, faint scent (if it sticks), but it isn’t going to be overpowering or heavy. If you’d like, you can increase the usage rate in small batches.

      And we’ve never noticed any problems with FO/EO’s staining the clothes at all! :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  48. Nancy C says

    Thanks for the recipes they are really great. If anyone makes liquid soap. I make my laundry soap with 100% coconut oil and zero superfat. I add the washing soda and borax to the heated dilution water. And I use vinegar in my rinse cycle. Lavender is also my favorite eo to scent it. Clothes come out so clean and fresh smelling. Saves lots of money and much better than the Tide HE with Bleach. I also use the empty Tide push button detergent dispensers for my laundry soap.

  49. says

    My recipe is a tad different. 1/2 cup each of borax, and washing soda, 1 bar of 0% superfat soap, shredded, 2 gals of water. Fo of choice. This makes enough for about 64 loads of laundry. I use about 2 – 4 tbsps of vinegar in the rinse water. I have an he washer and have had no problems.

  50. Gabby says

    Thank you so much for posting these recipes, Anne-Marie! I have a question: are the quantities listed for one load? If not, how much do you use per load?

      • Jessica Pepper says

        I actually have an old top to a tide cup and I use that much for a regular washing machine, it must be a half of a cup?? I’ve never tried a few tablespoons to see if that would help, I must try that!!

  51. says

    Love that you shared this! I have an ocean of soap shavings I have saved that were intended for laundry soap. I just never got around to researching recipes. Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to give some of these a whirl!

  52. says

    I’ve been making my own laundry soap for a while, you can pretty much use any kind of soap. If you don’t have any scrap soap around you can also use Ivory or Fels Naptha (you can find it in the laundry isle).

    For HE washers just use half as much. I use 1-2 tablespoons. It’s great for the HE because it’s a low-suds detergent!

    I have also found that 1 ml of fragrance for 1 lbs. of detergent is a good ratio.

  53. says

    Thought I’d throw my 2 cents in here! I’ve been making my own laundry soap for about 2 months now and the recipe I use is much like Recipe One in this article, except that you don’t have to use just lye heavy soaps. I love using my rebatch soap and I’ve also used Ivory. To get it extra fine, I run it through the blender or food processor a few times. To help with some of the questions: YES, it is HE washer safe, and I usually use 1 tablespoon for light loads and 2 for heavy loads. Good luck everyone!

      • Leah says

        Easy way to use ivory without having to shred….microwave a bar of IVORY on a plastic plate for 1:45 seconds (in my microwave, yours might differ a little) don’t freak out it will turn into a giant fluffy cloud! Let cool for 5 minutes. Break off large peice of the cloud and put between both palms over a large plastic storage bowl. Rub palms together quickly, instant soap powder. Great job for kids!

    • says

      Good Morning, Cecelia!

      Since it is being using for laundry soap, the superfat doesn’t actually matter. You could superfat at 0% or at 4% and you’d still get an excellent laundry soap out of it. :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  54. Meimei says

    After you mix the recipe – how much do you actually put into 1 Medium to large load of regular laundry?
    Surely not the whole recipe?

  55. SamanthaH says

    Great recipes! Any idea if they are compatible with the newer high efficiency machines?

    • says

      Hi Samantha!

      These recipes are great to use with the newer high efficiency machines (Anne-Marie tested it), but she used half the amount it calls for. In fact, we’ve had another soaper tell us she used 2 tablespoons per large load and that is a completely safe amount for the HE washers. :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • gunsrima says

        I am wondering about where to add laundry soap in these machines? I have Miele washing machine and very tiny compartment for washing powder OR SOAP, in this matter. But, maybe I should place my home made soap in the drum? I am bit worry about clogging.

        • says

          That’s a great question! I’d add the laundry soap to where you normally add the soap. And, if you think it is too much, then you can totally add a smaller amount. :)

          -Becky with Bramble Berry

  56. says

    Thanks for the tip about Citric acid! I will certainly try that. Citric acid also works to clean swamp coolers/ AC units and in the dishwasher to get dishes without spots (what do you think that LemiShine stuff is…)

  57. says

    D’oh! Of course this would have to be introduced the day -after- I put in an order! *lol*

    (Guess I’ll just have to make lots of soap so I need more supplies, hm?)

    If I wanted to make a soap now that I could shred to make laundry soap, what oils would you suggest? I hear coconut is always a good bet. Are there any I should avoid, or that it would not help my laundry to include? (i.e., “shea butter won’t make your clothes softer” or anything like that)

    Thanks so much! Great addition to the site!

    • says

      Hi Cheyenne!

      Any oils that you want to use will work for the laundry soap. Since it isn’t for your skin, it’s totally your preference on what you use!

      Coconut Oil is a great oil to use and we’ve heard a lot of soapers use it specifically for their laundry soaps. I hope this helps! :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry