Homemade Laundry Soap (Borax-Free)

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I finally decided to make my own laundry detergent after weeks of thinking and searching for the best recipes, reading about borax, keeping old soap containers (Thanks mom for you help!)…

I choose to make the borax-free version because I was not very pleased to read everything people were saying about this white powder.. I used baking soda instead.. after all borax and baking soda both are known for being a fabric brightener and deodorizer.. so I used the non-toxic option. It was a hard choice since half the population is against and the other half are borax lovers.. but after reading that they were using it to kill bugs.. that it can cause cancer (Oh gosh no.. I don’t want that at all!!! The last 3 years I’m watching my mom suffer from 3 different cancers..), that it can be harmful for unborn babies (and I’m 24 weeks pregnant and mom of a almost 2 years old toddler girl).. anyway I’ve read very great reviews about laundry detergent without borax. I always wanted to make my own laundry detergent not only because it’s super cheap but because it’s Eco-friendly too, safe and chemical-free for my family too. another thing.. it’s safe for cloth diapers and that was important for me since I only use cloth diapers for my girl and will do the same for the baby due in April.

If only you knew what is really in the commercial version you are buying.. and how much water they put in..

I will not annoy you with all my calculations, but here’s the important ..

To make this huge batch of soap (10 bottles) it cost me 3.60$. Usually I was buying a green brand that cost 4$ (I buy it when it’s in sale, haha) for a 1.50L (32 loads) bottle. To have the same amount of soap that I made today it would have cost me around 40$  at the store.. so I saved 36.40$! what a bargain! And the great part in my story is that I was already using a totally not expensive brand.. if you are using a famous top brand like Tide you will save even more money!!! With my normal soap it was costing me 0.13$ per load… I’m already hearing you saying: Heh 0.13$ it’s a real joke.. I know but with homemade a load cost… are you ready??… around 0.015$ !!!!!! Because for 3.60$ (10 containers) I have about over 250 loads. it’s super awesome! ( One load is 1/3 cup of soap).

Also, I bought from an Eco-friendly brand (Eco-Pioneer, I bought them on well.ca )for my soap flakes, baking soda and washing soda. I searched for all the kind available in Quebec (Canada) and they were the best! You can read on their product description that :

*

 -Eco-Pioneer washing products are 100% pure and non-hazardous to the environment.

Eco-Pioneer products are designed to be simple, effective and environmentally sustainable. Besides being all natural and readily biodegradable, their washing powders leave a small ecological footprint. They are sourced from local suppliers and are minimally packaged in 100% recycled paper fibre boxes and printed with non-toxic, vegetable inks.-

*

That was important for me and was the reason I choose this brand over all the other one available on the market.

You can use soap bars instead of soap flakes, but the difference was so ridiculous (only pennies) between already grated and in a bar.. so I took the flakes. At the beginning it cost me like 30$ for the 3 ingredients, but I have enough to make 10-15 times this recipe.. Oh before I forgot, my version is unscented because I don’t like perfume, but I’ve read you can add few drops of essential oils in your recipe… but I’ll never make this version) Feel free to do what you want!

So.. when are you making the switch? ;)

You need :

(This recipe makes 10 containers of 1.50L)

*

* 1 cup natural soap flakes (or grated soap)

* 4 cups water

* 1 cup washing soda

* 1 cup baking soda

* 2.5 gallons hot water (9 L)

* Huge bucket or large pot (I used my canning pot)

* Empty (and washed) old laundry detergent containers (I used 10 x 1.50L containers)

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Directions

* In a pot over medium heat, melt the soap flakes in 4 cups water.

 * Remove from heat. Add the baking soda and washing soda. Combine well.

* In the pot, add 2,5 gallons of warm/hot water (9L). Stir until everything is blend.

* Cover and set aside for at least 6 hours. (I left my pot in my laundry room where the temperature is cooler)

* After the few hours wait, the mixture is supposed to look like almost a kind of gel.. in fact it looks like opaque jello. With a long spoon break the gel and mix until the texture is a little bit more liquid. (It will still be kind of jelly).

* Fill to 1/3 all the containers with soap mixture. The remaining 2/3 is for cold tap water.

* Close the lid and shake well. The job is done, now you can store them (I put all the containers in the basement) and use them when you need them. It will last for a while, haha!

* *

For a normal washing machine (top load), regular load add 1/3 cup of homemade laundry detergent.

Before using it, don’t forget to shake the bottle!

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55 responses »

  1. Do you add the cold tap water to the laundry soap bottles before you start using them for detergant? After they are finished storing?

  2. have you tried other versions? I was looking at the dry laundry powder diy as I thought it would be cheaper, but not sure which one is best.

    P.S: Hello dear Quebecor, we are situated in the same province, I usually fall upon U.S. blogs :)

      • From what research I’ve done, it is usually best to use liquid detergent when washing with cold water and dry when using warm/hot water. Apparently it’s all in the chemistry.

        I use cold water often in order to conserve on that front, so your liquid/gel detergent recipe was my go-to. Thank you!

    • Hi! I know homemade laundry detergent can be use in HE washer.. but I’m not sure for the amount.. I just looked on the Internet and I just found for the powder version of the soap… I’m sorry… :(

  3. No problem! Thanks so much for the recipe! I am going to tweak it a bit for my wonky washer, but yours has been the most practical of all the recipes I’ve looked at! Thanks again! :D

  4. Firstly, I’d like to thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge in such a detailed manner.

    Secondly, I’ve switched to nearly all natural body care, household cleaning supplies and edibles and couldn’t be happier with both the savings and the peace of mind. However, the last mountain to climb is our laundry soap.

    I live in a country where sodium borate (borax) is a restricted item due to individuals utilizing it as a cheap food preservative; nasty. Thus, I’ve been researching non-borax recipes and stumbled upon yours among many.

    Although your post is very detailed and informative, I was wondering if you could expound on the efficacy of your mixture. I am about to purchase the raw ingredients regardless, but would like to know more about your experience with using it. Further, I can also purchase Sodium Percarbonate (basically oxiclean) here and was considering adding that as well. Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Again, thanks again for your time and effort!

    • Sorry for such a long delay on posting your comment, for an odd reason it was in my spam file.. don’t ask me why.. To answer you, I really enjoy using my own laundry detergent, it cleans very well and I never had any issues with it (stinky or dirty clothes, skin reactions..) It’s not the first time that I hear or read someone talking about adding ”oxyclean” so I guess it’s fine. I don’t know how it could mess everything, hehe.
      I’m curious.. where do you live? (you said borax is restricted where you live), here in Canada you can buy it about anywhere.. from pharmacy to grocery store..

  5. Is there any reason that I shouldn’t be able to use a big stock pot that I use to cook in? Everything is non toxic so the pot should be fine after a good wash, right???

  6. Well, I tried and mine did not turn out. It never turned into gel. Is there a way to mess this up or is it just me?

    • Tried second batch this morning and same thing again. It’s very watery. Can I still use it and maybe just not dilute it?

      • This is so weird.. But I’ve read in the past that you still can use your soap.. :) maybe don’t add water like you just said :) that way you’ll also be able to use less detergent in each load.

    • I’m sorry to hear that.. :( mine never did that.. I *cook* it then leave the pot in my laundry room ( it’s cooler there) and the next morning it’s a very thick jelly.. Don’t know what happened with yours… :(

  7. I melted the soap in 2c h2o, added the washing and baking soda and melted it all together. after it was mixed well, added that to the 2.5 gal of h2o and mixed. that is how i understood to do it. is that correct?

    • I would be interested to know if yours still worked after it didn’t gel. I had the same result today making it for the first time. Did it still clean your clothes? Did you leave it undiluted? I used a bar of Dr. Bronner’s baby mild Castile soap instead of the soap flakes pictured because I already had it. Could this be the difference and why it didn’t turn out right? I was very excited by the recipe but now don’t know what to think. It’s so hard to find borax-free liquid laundry detergent!

      • Hi there!
        Sorry for the delay (I was moving in another town..) You can use a real soap bar instead of soap flakes, I used them only because they were not expensive at all and I didn’t had to grate a soap, haha. Mine always become gel.. but in the comments someone told me it wasn’t becoming gel at all, the two times she did it… (if you read that, can you answer her if yours worked finally?) You can try again or try the detergent just like that… (I’ve read on the internet while looking for an answer that you can still use it.. so you should give it a try before throwing it in the sink) Sometimes people don’t add the water at the end, because that way it becomes gel.. you could try this too :) Give me some news about all that!

  8. I made this last night and like the other replies it didn’t turn into gel. Recently I’ve been making my own liquid soap for handwashing and I think that the amount of water to soap bar ratio is the problem as when I make my liquid soap I use way less water than recommended here.

    • I still can’t understand what’s happening since it’s not the first time I do the recipe here, and even friends of mine finally did it and it’s always becoming gel… :( Maybe it’s the soap I’m using… hummm if you try it with less water, tell me if its working..

    • Ishh I was looking at my recipe this afternoon, there was a mistake when I wrote it.. it’s half the amount of water that it was previously written.. awlala! I’m soooooooooooooooo sorry!!! I corrected the recipe!!!!

  9. you could always try leaving it overnight, I ended up doing that recently–not on purpose–and it was more like jelly but the more I stirred it the “looser” it became then I added the last of the water and it still works. I am also only doing a half of the recipe just because of my lack of storage. I still only have to make a new batch every 10-12 weeks! Awesome, I love it.

  10. Thanks for the recipe! It’s so simple that yo inspired me to give this a try!!!

    I’ve just whipped up a batch of this and it’s outside “resting” now.

    After reading some of the other posts which said that it didn’t gel-up, I’ve modified the recipe, made it more concentrated, and will see how mine turns out (especially interested in the results for washing clothes) before sharing ;-)

    Also, I just used what was on hand here – I had the washing soda & baking soda but grated up a bar of commercial bath soap – so I’m not sure if it’ll work :-/

    It looks okay so far though! We’ll see… Hopefully I’ll be back in a couple of days with a success story!!! Cheers!

    • The alterations I made to the recipe work well in the machine but I shouldn’t have used commercial bath soap – it probably would’ve been much better with the suggested laundry soap flakes – with the bath soap I subbed in, I ended up having to purée a 1cm thick disc of hard soap into the 7 liters of liquid underneath (not even 10 mins) but it gave a viscosity of something in between a gel and water.

      My laundry is fantastic and smells fresh without any chemical feel or smell but I used a lot & combined it with my homemade vinegar and eucalyptus rinse aid. I worked out the cost to be only 12 cents per wash (which is half of what I normally spend) and I can use cold wash with Eco rinse cycle too – normally I need to use warm water and deep rinse – so this formula is a winner anyway!

      I think I’ll get more economical results with actual laundry soap instead of bath soap though, so… Tonight I’ll make a small batch of cold process coconut oil & orangutan-friendly palm oil laundry soap with 2% superfatting ratio to use in my next batch of this stuff and report back for anyone who is interested ;-) I should have enough of this current batch to last me until the soap cures for the next batch :-D I’m so glad I read this blog! YAY! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! You’re awesome! :-*

      • Well, I must say… The type of soap you use is EXTREMELY important! Commercial bath soap is a definite fail. The soap I made from scratch works BRILLIANTLY though! :-D I decided to CPOP the soap to speed things along and it’s working beautifully in this DIY Laundry Liquid recipe!

        Although, admittedly, I’ve reduced the water amount in your formula to a 1/4 of what’s recommended here plus I’ve increased the washing & baking sodas to 1 cup each & I use 150g of my grated coconut/palm soap. When the batch congeals (on cooling) I just purée it well with the stick mixer & pour into my containers (with a 2 inch gap from the top – for shaking).

        Thank you so much for this blog recipe – you’ve been the key to my laundry success! :-* :-* :-* Now to perfect dishwasher detergent… *sigh*

        Blessings to you!

      • p.s. The thing that I adore most about this laundry liquid is that the clothes come out smelling fresh but not drenched in chemical fragrances! And my skin doesn’t itch like it used to :-D I highly recommend making your own laundry liquid – like this one – it even *feels* healthier when you’re wearing your clothes!!! Awesome work, kunstlerinmom!!!

        p.p.s. I’ve made myself some cleaning paste with this laundry liquid – to clean hard surfaces like the stove top, kitchen sink, shower glass, tiles, chrome fittings etc. Here it is: 1/4 cup warm laundry liquid concentrate + 1 cup baking soda + 1 teaspoon essential oil (I use 1/2 orange & 1/2 eucalyptus). Stir it all together really well & pop it into a wide-mouth plastic or tin jar. Apply with a damp sponge or nylon scourer. Rinse clean. Polish up with a lint-free woven cotton/bamboo cloth. The wetter your applicator, the softer the result – for strong abrasive effect, squeeze most of the water out of your sponge & apply more paste ;-) ENJOY!

    • Hey! :)
      I’m using it with both of my kids (My girl is almost 3 and my boy is almost 7 months old) and it’s fine. I use it for cloth diapers too and they almost never had skin rash (except while teething). I’ve read a lot on internet and homemade (mine is borax-free but on the internet there is a lot of recipes with borax) has less chemical than regular soap. This is also one of the reason why I started doing my detergent. You should give it a try, If you see they react to it, just stop using it. Here we never had any problems and my boy is super pale with a super sensitive skin.

    • The reason I followed this recipe is because I do suffer from eczema & have many chemical sensitivities – the main one being artificial “fragrance”. As I reported above, I don’t suffer the itchy skin from the clothes anymore :-D I love it & would much rather use this gentle formula for washing baby clothes than the harsh commercial detergents. Try it, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

  11. Could I store it in the five gallon bucket? I want to try this, but I don’t have enough containers once the batch is done, so leaving part of out in the bucket would solve that problem

  12. hello i am from romania …you nou eastern europe …can you please be more specific about the water quantities and the final volume of the product cause i cand understand how u can put 19 l in 10×1,5 l. please i want to make ur recipe verry much …i think is great what u are doing . tanks

  13. Has anyone figured out the quantity to use for HE machines? I’m looking forward to trying this!

    Also, I recommend that you add a pin-it button to your blog so we can save articles in our Pinterest accounts.

    • I’ve read that you can use it in the gel form, just use less. I don’t know the exact amount of gel to use but I would say try 1/3 my amount then adjust if you need more or less :) Let me know if you test it! I’m curious to see how much we need when we want to use it in the gel form.

  14. Would it also work to leave it undiluted and store it in a gasket seal jar? Or do you think it would get too hard? I want to minimize the amount of space this would take up. If I did this, do you have any idea how much I would need per load? I also have heard of people who use an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice in a downy ball or added to the rinse cycle. Is this necessary? I read that the natural soap will leave a residue if you don’t use an acid rinse. Thanks!

    • Hey! I think you can leave it without adding water at the end. I’ve read on other blogs that people often leave it that way because they don’t have a lot of empty space in their house to put tons of bottles. Some people prefer the powdered version for that reason too. I don’t know the amount of ”gel” to use, but like I replied to somebody else in another comment, you can try it, maybe 1/3 of the amount then if it’s not ok.. you can adjust for less or more gel. I never had any issues with residues on my clothes neither on my cloth diapers. I’ve read thart residues often come from the powdered version if you wash in cold water.I never used anything in the rinse cycle. When I wash my cloth diapers I do 2 rinse cycle, not 1, but with my regular clothing only 1. :)

  15. Will this fill up a 5 gallon bucket when finished? I don’t have 10 containers to store it in. If it don’t, could you convert it to for me? Thank u so much! :-)

  16. Thanks for posting a borax free recipe! Do you happen to know what “natural vegetables” the Eco-Pioneer soap flakes are made from? We have allergies, so if they are made from wheat or soy I’ll have to source out an alternative. I can’t seem to find a manufacturer website for Eco-Pioneer or that information posted anywhere.

    • Hi! In fact it’s not vegetable, but vegetable oils.. so I’m not sure there is wheat in that.. never heard of wheat oil.. and for soy.. I’m kind of skeptic too. I checked on the box I have at home and nothing is specified. I looked online (like you) and everywhere it’s only written ”vegetable oils”..but hey which ones!?!? Vegetable oils can be more than one thing.. canola.. olive, coconut, grape.. the possibilities are huge.. I searched for a company website and only find that : http://www.eco-pioneer.com/ but there is only a phone number to contact them. If you’re in Canada, maybe you can call them, I cannot believe they won’t be able to answer you, hehe. :) I’m sorry I cannot help more than that :(

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