Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

The laundry detergents available to us at the supermarket are good at getting our laundry clean. But this homemade liquid laundry soap recipe gets clothes and linens clean without the harsh chemicals and fragrances, not to mention — you can skip the plastic jugs! 

And while you’re making a healthier change in the laundry room, consider making your own non-toxic dryer sheets, too.

glass jar with white laundry soap and rolled green towels

Do you drive by the local laundromat and get choked up by the smell? I sure do. Those chemical fragrances are powerful!

And they’re not exactly good for us, either. 

I’ve been making my own laundry soap for years now. (Admittedly, with a few gaps in there when I don’t get it made it time and my husband buys the “natural” store bought stuff. 

My powdered laundry soap recipe appears on page 139 of my book, but some people prefer a liquid soap for doing laundry. 

Reasons to use a liquid laundry soap:

  • You live in a humid climate (as I do) and get tired of the powdered version clumping.
  • It’s pre-dissolved, so no worries about the occasional powdery residue left in the laundry.
  • Liquid laundry soap can be rubbed into a stain as a pre-treatment.

What’s the difference between soap and detergent? 

Soap is made from natural ingredients. Detergents are comprised of manufactured ingredients and often include synthetic surfactants.

These surfactants make oils and dirt easier to remove, but many get a poor safety rating from the Environmental Working Group and are known carcinogens.

Making this liquid laundry soap recipe

This is an easy recipe to make, and only requires three ingredients (plus water). I generally have these ingredients on hand, as I use them in a variety of recipes, but you may not. 

Check the laundry aisle at the supermarket for both Borax and washing soda. If you can’t find them there, you may find them at the hardware store. Short of that, there’s always ordering online. 

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grated soap on a black cutting board

You can use any type of bar soap, grated so that it dissolves more quickly. Grate it by hand or use a food processor if you have one. 

Essential oils for fragrance are optional, but choose a scent that complements the soap you use! 

Using this DIY laundry soap

Store the soap in a large container with a lid. The glass container you see here is a one-gallon container and holds only about 2/3 of the recipe; the remainder is in another sealed container. I’ve opted for this container because the lid is easy to lift off.

A two-gallon bucket works well, as do a number of upcycled containers. 

Keep a scoop handy for transferring soap to the washing machine. Use 1/8-1/4 cup per load.

glass jar with homemade laundry soap recipe

★ Did you make this laundry soap recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

glass jar with white laundry soap and rolled green towels

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This liquid laundry soap recipe gets clothes clean without the harsh chemicals & fragrances. Plus -- you can skip the plastic jugs! 


  • 1 1/2  gallons water, divided
  • 1 5-oz bar of soap
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1/2 cup washing soda


  • Grater or food processor


  1. Grate soap using a grater or a food processor. grater with a bar of soap
  2. Put soap and 1/2 gallon water into a stock pot. 
  3. Heat until soap is nearly dissolved, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Turn off heat and add Borax and washing soda. Stir gently to dissolve. 
  5. Add remaining 1 gallon of water. Stir to combine. wooden spoon with soap mixture dripping off
  6. Cover pot and allow to sit overnight.

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

32 comments… add one
  • Sharon Pylypiw Jul 25, 2023 @ 8:02

    is washing soda & borax the same? thanks!

    • AttainableSustainable Jul 26, 2023 @ 5:59

      No they’re different, so you’ll need both for this soap.

  • Jess Jul 11, 2023 @ 4:45

    If I make the bar dish soap recipe you have her, could I use that as the bar soap in this recipe?

    • AttainableSustainable Jul 13, 2023 @ 10:47

      I haven’t tried that, but I don’t see why not!

  • Linda May 27, 2023 @ 6:25

    Love this!!! Been using for quite awhile and gets everything clean!

    • AttainableSustainable Jun 1, 2023 @ 11:50

      So glad it works for you too! 🙂

  • KATHLEEN CARROLL May 24, 2023 @ 4:07


    I made my own laundry soap, for years. I want to get back to it. I followed a recipe like yours, but it made a much larger volume. I just want to check and make certain that I am to use only one gallon of water for this recipe.

    Thank you for your time.n

    • AttainableSustainable May 25, 2023 @ 11:02

      This recipe calls for 1.5 gallons of water, I hope that helps!

  • Cynthia Shaw May 23, 2023 @ 13:13

    Does this actually clean the clothes? Recipes used in past did not.. TY

    • AttainableSustainable May 25, 2023 @ 11:06

      It gets clothes and linens clean, I’ve been making this for years now and I love it.

  • Ellie Apr 9, 2023 @ 4:30

    My mix is watery and didn’t get thick. Thoughts?

    • AttainableSustainable Apr 13, 2023 @ 3:11

      It’s hard for me to know from way over here… but I’m guessing it’s still ok to use!

  • Lorina Gutierrez Apr 4, 2023 @ 4:28

    Is is supposed to be thick and like a gelatin?

    • Kris Bordessa Apr 5, 2023 @ 13:19

      Yes. It thickens as it cools.

      • Cassie Blackmon Apr 7, 2023 @ 4:55

        Mine is thick like jello this morning after sitting overnight. How do I now turn it to liquid.

        • AttainableSustainable Apr 13, 2023 @ 3:16

          Try warming it up a touch, maybe set it on the dryer. Good luck!

  • Deffley Toni Feb 8, 2023 @ 21:53

    How much do you put in each wash?

    • AttainableSustainable Feb 9, 2023 @ 6:16

      Use 1/8-1/4 cup per load.

  • Virgie Jan 26, 2023 @ 0:43

    Where shall I buy the ingredients to make laundry soap, bath soap ? And the recipe?

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 26, 2023 @ 5:19

      Check the laundry aisle at the supermarket for both Borax and washing soda. If not, try the hardware store. Short of that, there’s always ordering online.

  • Rene Jan 11, 2023 @ 10:28

    What type of bar soap?

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 12, 2023 @ 7:21

      Any type of bar soap you like will work!

    • Carolyn K Cornish May 16, 2023 @ 0:14

      Kiss My Face Olive Oil is good for those, like me, allergic to all things coconut.

  • Nancy Jan 4, 2023 @ 16:34

    Were do you get washing soda?

    • AttainableSustainable Jan 5, 2023 @ 4:42

      Check the laundry aisle at the supermarket for washing soda. If you don’t find it there, look at the hardware store. Short of that, there’s always ordering online!

  • Carol L Jul 29, 2022 @ 20:05

    Do you have a link for the container you use?

  • Kate Panthera Apr 28, 2022 @ 21:24

    Am wondering how much this recipe makes – is it the same amount of the water you put in, or less?

    • AttainableSustainable May 3, 2022 @ 7:07

      It ends up making more than a gallon – the container I use to store it for use is a one-gallon size and only holds about 2/3 of what this recipe makes in total. I store the rest in another sealed container and refill the gallon jar for use. A 2-gallon storage would definitely work too!

  • Alan Koisti Sep 15, 2020 @ 17:06

    Thanks for the idea, but I was wondering what size bar soap do you use, facial size or bath size?

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 15, 2020 @ 17:10

      So sorry! I knew I’d left that out and meant to fix it. 5 ounces.

    • Lisa Mar 17, 2023 @ 9:14

      Can I use liquid soap like Dr. Bronner’s instead of bar soap?

      • AttainableSustainable Apr 13, 2023 @ 3:40

        No, stick with the bar soap.

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