The Complete {Photo} Guide to Making Your Own Homemade Laundry Detergent

homemade laundry detergentStep-by-step-by-step-by-step-by-step….

There have been a lot of questions posted lately about the whole laundry detergent-making process. Which I take as a great sign that more and more people are getting fed up with the ridiculously high-priced brand name stuff and turning to time-tested, “mother-approved” formulations that date back to before most of us were born! :-) And work JUST AS WELL, if not better than the over-priced, over-packaged stuff we are forced to lug home from the store in huge plastic bottles that chances are won’t be recycled. *deep breath*  (Stepping down off soapbox….for now).

In any case, I thought it might be helpful to post another “update”, if you will, on the Homemade Laundry Detergent project with more pictures!

Keep in mind, however, there is no “right” way to make this stuff….this is just the way it works best for me. I would suggest if you want lots more VALUABLE INPUT from other readers….visit one of the following ORIGINAL POSTS and read the comments. GREAT information there!!

Brand Name Laundry’s “Last Stand”!
Homemade Laundry Soap Revisited
My Homemade Laundry Products Line-Up

Let’s start with the basic recipe again:

Many people make this in a big, 5-gallon container, but call me lazy, cuz I don’t like to drag in a 5 gallon bucket from the garage. When it’s time to make soap, I just pull out my 4-quart saucepan like I’m cooking up a double batch of rice. :-)

homemade laundry detergent

First I add the grated bar of soap and add water to about the halfway mark.
homemade laundry detergent

I “cook” the soap soup at on medium low until all the little bits of soap are completely melted. To make sure of this…I will let it come to a boil for just a minute. That way I’m pretty sure no pieces of soap will be floating in my finished product.

homemade laundry detergent

I then add the 1 cup of Borax and the 1 cup of Washing Soda. Once again, we are only “cooking” it long enough to make sure it is all a combined and smooth texture. I try not to let it actually come to a boil because it will “boil over” very easily! (Not that I would know about that.)

When it’s all nice and combined and sorta creamy looking (if kind of reminds me of cooking pudding at this point)…it’s time to pour it into your soap containers.

homemade laundry detergent

I use (3) 1 gallon Minute Maid Orange Juice bottles.
homemade laundry detergent
I use a glass measuring cup and scoop the mixture out of the pan and pour into the bottles.
homemade laundry detergent

I THINK it ends up being about 4-5 cups in each bottle but I haven’t actually measured it. I just keep adding a little to each until they are all at the same level (and the pan is empty.)

Now I take each one to the sink and hot water until each bottle is about 1/2 full.

homemade laundry detergent

This allows for room to shake the contents after it hardens AND to add more water to aid in that process.
Then I give each bottle a good shake! Come on…get your aggressions out! Feel the burn! ;-)
homemade laundry detergent
This is what it looks like when I’m done…and this is the way it will sit overnight.
homemade laundry detergent
Then in the morning… will look like this.
homemade laundry detergent
Pretty much one big blob of goop. lol.
DON’T BE ALARMED! DO NOT PANIC! This is perfectly normal!
Everything is going to be OK! I promise.
homemade laundry detergent
What *I* do at this point is take a long handled wooden spoon and break up the goo a little bit
 then add more hot water…
homemade laundry detergent
….to just a few inches from the top
homemade laundry detergent
…and give it another vigorous shake!! Repeat with other 2 bottles.
homemade laundry detergent

They should look SOMETHING like this. But remember…this is not exact science…if they are a little thicker or runnier…don’t worry. It will still be a great laundry detergent and as you continue making and using it…you’ll figure out just what works for you.

homemade laundry detergent

TADA!! You just made your own homemade laundry detergent for PENNIES a load!!!!! Sure it might be a little lumpy…but who really cares?? It works! Pure and simple.

Honestly, I love this stuff. I don’t miss the store-bought stuff one bit! Especially since I started using just a tiny bit of fragrance booster in each load. I kind of missed the scent of the old stuff…but I’ve found most people prefer this unscented version, especially those with sensitivities to that sort of thing.

homemade laundry detergent

There you have it. I really don’t think I could have taken any MORE pictures of the whole process. I tried to cover every single step. Hopefully this is helpful for those of you who are trying this for the very first time. You “old-timers” shouldn’t even be reading this…what are you doing here anyway?  Just teasin’. :-) I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the “old-timer” comments when people have questions because I can’t always keep up AND your answers are usually better anyway! :-)

Thanks to everyone who participates in my little corner of the world wide web, and for your support of One Good Thing By Jillee!I hope it continues to be a

long and beautiful friendship!


Regarding High Efficiency (HE) Front-Load Washers:

Because they use less water, HE front-load washers require soap that is less sudsy. The good news is, this homemade detergent is VERY low suds. So it is my PERSONAL opinion that you should be able to use this in HE washers with confidence.
Also, there have been many, many HE washer owners who have commented on other posts that they use it and it works just fine.



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      • Whitney says

        How many drops of essential oil do you use per batch. Getting ready to buy what I need to make this and I want have never used essential oils before so I’m not sure how many it will take. Thanks!

    • Maegan Rush says

      I tried using Lemon Eucalyptus and it was horrible :( I ended up tossing out about 4 gallons of detergent because it made our clothes stink. I later found out that eucalyptus has a very medicinal smell and is not good for this. Be careful with the smells you use. Lavender, Vanilla, lemongrass, and rose are all very good for this. Or you can use a scented bar soap (like Dove or Caress) and won’t need to worry about oils.

    • Tina Mercer says

      Hi Jillee,

      I wanted to tell you that I did some research and I love your method but I do one thing differently than you do. I first put it in a mason jar and let it do it’s separation thing and then I put the blade end of my blender on the mason jar and I blend it all up smooth! Then I poor it in the containers I keep and I add the water to it. It is great! I love and live by your website. Thanks so much for making my life simpler!

  1. Amanda says

    I have been making my own soap for about 3 years, I won't go back to commercial detergent. I actually make mine a little different. For me its easier to dump it all in a 5 gallon kitty litter bucket and wisk it really well. I actually melt mine in about 2 quarts of water, then add 2-3 gallons of hot water to the soap/powder mixture in the bucket. I don't let the whole thing gel overnight before adding all the water. I also do use essential oils, but the cheapo walmart stuff. We love our laundry scented, so I add about half a bottle to the 3 gallons of detergent. I used to pour my soap into bottles using a funnel, but now I just scoop right from the main bucket,

    • TinaD says

      Cheapo Walmart oils are not essential oils. Essential oils are pure oils extracted from plants. I’m not saying don’t use them if it is what you enjoy. I’m just saying it probably is not pure or natural.

      • says

        you’re right. they are not essential oils. I would however, recommend people not to use them for laundry soap. those are meant to be burned so the home smells good and not to be used on clothes that will be on your body. I read somewhere, that it wasn’t good for that, I just can’t remember where I read it it’s been a while. However, I understand that if it works for some people so be it. I’m just letting people know what I have found. :)

        • Ashly says

          You’re right Jackie. I went to the aisle where they have the fragrance warming oils today stating that it contains essential oils but it wasn’t 100% essentials oil. I turned it over and it said not to let touch skin, clothes, etc… I did however go to Hobby Lobby and found Peppermint Oil for $2.99 in the aisle where you make candles and bar soap. I picked out the peppermint oil used for the soap. Smells just like a Peppermint Patty. :) YUM.

    • Krista says

      I have been making this laundry soap for a couple of years now, and although I like the Fels Naptha, I have discovered I like the either the white or pink Zoat bar a lot better. It gives it a much better scent.

    • Kate says

      I keep mine in an old Tide container with the pressure button and it works fine. I will usually just give the bottle a good shake to re-blend anything that’s separated before filling the little cup. You can also adjust the top valve to control the flow, depending on how thick or thin your detergent is.

      • Karen says

        One possible idea for a container would be to use a “sun tea” type jar with a spicket. then you can use that to fill a measuring cup without the mess of scooping or pouring (and having it pour out super fast and spill/waste the overfill). Just a thought.

    • Mandy says

      I have hard water and use homemade detergent. I usually have to add in an extra cup or so (per recipe) of Borax, which should act as a water softener. Its important to add the extra in or it all goes towards softening the water and not washing your clothes. In times I haven’t added it, my whites get a little dingy. See if it works for you!

        • Cait T. says

          Adding 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar will solve any hard water problems. As an added bonus it locks in color, thus preventing fading from using too much Borox, keep your machine running longer by breaking down mineral deposits, and it will deodorize as well. I have worked in bars and restaurants for almost 20 years and nothing kills the smell of smoke and grease like a splash of vinegar!

          • Samuel Atkins says

            You cant add vinegar to your washing machine when you are using homemade soap that is made with bar soap of any kind including Fels Naptha. The vinegar well react with the soap and break it down to FFA free-fatty-acid.
            This is oily gummy trash unless you are using it to make Bio-diesel. It will stick to your clothes. A big NO NO

            • Lael says

              What about castile soap? I guess my question is what’s the big difference with adding it to natural homemade detergent as opposed to the regular store bough brand that is filled with nasty chemicals?

  2. Anonymous says

    Just read all these posts.. great information folks. I made the dry version of this the other day when I ran out of my usual laundry detergent.. and used Dove bar soap.. in my HE front loading machine.But having run about 3 loads,there is still detergent in the soap dispenser (seems like the Dove).So I thought I would try adding the water and boiling it up, all together since it was already mixed. Stirred away, thought I was lifting the Dove that was getting stuck on the bottom of saucepan but when I was finished and it was creamy.. I poured it into a container and the Dove had melted and totally stuck on the bottom of my saucepan! Very difficult to scrape it off too. Wonder if it's because I added all ingredients to the water at the same time? I use the dishwasher "soap" too, but having trouble balancing so my glasses don't get filmy… Any suggestions? Thanks for the info!

    • Kathy says

      Dove gets to suddsy for the HE machines. The fels-neptha is the best to use and is a low suds soap. Perfect for the HE machines, I have tried both and the fels-nneptha is the only one I use now.

      • Stephanie says

        Kathy, what mixture do you use for HE machines. I just made the one listed here on this site and the first wash went ok, the second wash still had a big clump of the soap left in the dispenser. I did shake the container before pouring out the soap too but maybe it needs more water??

    • Kalie Dalbey says

      when cooking your soap u have to stir constantly and make sure u have the heat on med/high. Just follow this recipe on here and it comes out perfect. the dishwasher u need to put white vinegar in your spot treatment area instead of the commercial stuff. the shine and no soap scum. I also add some corn starch to mine to thicken the soap.

    • Melissa H says

      I agree with Kalie. If you follow this recipe, you will get perfect soap every time. I have an HE machine, and use fels naptha since it is low sudsing. I have also heard the Zote works well as it’s low sudsing too.

      Also, for the dishwashing / filmy glassware, use Lemi Shine as your rinse aid. It’s in the dishwashing detergent isle in Wal-mart. Others who have had the “filming” problem swear by it. Good luck. :-)

    • Letitia says

      I only use Fels Naptha, too. I did NOT like the results when I used Dove. Fels Naptha is available at Walmart in the laundry section for around $1 per bar. It works great as a laundry spot treatment, too. Wet the stain and scrub with the bar of Fels Naptha. Let it sit for a bit and then wash.

  3. Anonymous says

    I've heard adding vinegar as a rinse helps soften and get the soap out. I've been using it instead of fabric softener but am still finishing up a jug of commercial laundry soap. The only difference is I do have static with vinegar as softener (Ican i use some tennis balls as dryer balls)?

    • Jen says

      YES on the tennis balls! It’s funny how I learned about tennis balls. Whenever I have to wash dirty tennis shoes, I always throw them in with towels. I started noticing how much softener the towels were whenever I’d do that, so one day I asked a lady who washes clothes for a living about that. She said she keeps tennis balls on her, so when she’s drying certain items, it fluffs them up!

    • Melissa H says

      I use the the blue nubby dryer balls, as well as a washcloth with a large safety pin pinned to each corner. I picked that tip up on some random website (wish I could remember to give credit).
      Anyway, I have zero static since using these things. :)

      • carla stroh says

        I use 100% wool from sweaters I find at the thrift stores. Very inexpensive. Just make sure you get the ones that are not sewn together at the seams, they don’t come apart in long strands. You can use them but they are more work.

  4. Anonymous says

    I've been making my own detergent for about a year. I use a kitty litter bucket and do what Amanda does with adding the water all at once. As far as my whites, I use the oxyclean. I keep thinking I am going to buy oxydol just for my whites but I will never go back to bought again for all my other laundry. This is too easy and it works great!

  5. Debbie says

    Well, I made a batch of the liquid laundry soap yesterday and I sure put it to the test tonight!! My grandson came home from college for the weekend with 2 weeks worth of laundry…dirty, smelly, sweaty laundry. I LOVE THIS HOMEMADE STUFF! His clothes came out smelling so fresh and clean! I used an old laundry bottle and just used a capful of my homemade soap and of course, just vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser. He will never know it was homemade laundry soap and not the store=bought. I like this so much better than the powdered homemade soap! Signed, one happy grandma!

  6. Anonymous says

    I can not wait to try this. But questions I have are, where do you find the "essential oils" to scent it AND I noticed people mentioning adding vinegar to the rinse cycle. I use a downy ball for my liquid softener, can I use that for dispensingthe vinegar and is the vinegar replacing the softener? And how does the clothes not come out smelling vinegary? I am probably thinking too deeply into this process!!! LOL. Thanks

    • Elizabeth says

      You can definitely use the Downy ball with vinegar. You can find essential oils online (like Amazon), at Whole Foods, or at many health food stores. Just be sure that you are getting *essential* oils and not *fragrance* oil. You can use the fragrance oil, but typically it is just the essential oil in a solution with some other carrier oil (like rapeseed, jojoba, or olive oil). It is easier to work with the pure essential oils since you can dilute as needed anyway.

    • Sherrill says

      You need to make the homemade fab sofnter, it is vinegar, water and hair conditioner, suave lilac and?? is AWESOME! amazing smell! way cheaper then any downey you can buy and way CHEAPER! :D

  7. Gina says

    I use this stuff all the time, so random answers to questions that I've seen pop up.

    –The detergent is fine in HE washers, because it doesn't suds much at all. (BTW, the suds are just an additive in most detergents to make you think it's a better detergent, but suds don't do any of the real work.)
    –DIY powder detergent doesn't work in cold water cycles, but DIY liquid (this stuff) works fine, because the soap has already been dissolved.
    –It will not ruin your cookware, it's just heated soap!
    –1/2 cup per load is fine. Put it right on dirty armpits or other tougher spots for an extra clean.
    –I saw borax for sale at Target today, but haven't found washing soda anywhere. I got mine from, good prices and free shipping.
    –I had a hard time finding reasonably priced bar soap like Fels Naptha or Zote, so use Ivory and it works just fine.
    –I make a 2 gallon batch with 1 bar Ivory, 1/2 cup washing soda, and 1/2 cup borax. I heat the entire amount in a big pot so that everything dissolves properly, then pour it into a rectangular storage container to gel. I break up the gel and just measure a 1/2 cup from the container whenever I do a load.
    –For tougher loads or stains, just a tiny amount of Oxyclean, will provide enough surfactant to allow the DIY detergent to do its job.
    –To figure out your cost per load, do something like this: soap cost ($1.92 for 4 bars = $0.48 for 1 batch) + washing soda cost ($2.99 for 6.5 cups = $0.23 for 1 batch or 1/2 cup) + borax cost ($4.29 for 20.5 cups = $0.20 for 1 batch or 1/2 cup) = $0.91 for 1 batch. 2 gallons is one batch, so using 1/2 cup for each load equals 64 loads from 1 batch = $0.0142 per load! Wow!

  8. Jill Nystul says

    Gina…thank you so much for your expert answers! So helpful!

    For those asking about essential oils…I haven't ever found them at Walmart…but you can get them at any health food store and they have them on But they are not "essential" to this recipe. ;-)

  9. nelson says

    So im pretty sure im in big trouble!!!! I finally started the mission make the things i have pinned. Specifically the soap, well i thought id mix in some stan booster, smart kid move to combine it all at time making instead of load by load, well lets just say NO!!!!. after reading reviews – i added sun oxygen cleaner (1 cup at that) even tho i have never used it before thinkin its like oxy clean. well as awesome as that is, i now have a bucket over flowing with suds, removed an entire icecream bucket and then some of suds!! Its been 30 min and it wont stop, im thinking at this point i might wanna count my loss,and start over no sun oxy but really this stuff still might have a purpose if i could contain it! Trying to decide really were i could even disguard this at anyway without it foaming even more. oh geezzz why do i always try to improve.. if it aint broke! Would you keep it? Wait for the suds to stop and see where it goes?

  10. Jill Nystul says

    Oh dear! lol! I'm sorry nelson. Sounds like something that might happen to me! I might be tempted to start over….even though I totally know how you feel about wasting stuff! I hate that. Good luck?

  11. Kristian says

    First off i LOVE the blog kudos! I made my first batch of detergent and fabric softner today. I am waiting for morning when i can use. I used half a bar of the fles naptha and half a bar of yardley english lavender soap (for scent). The yardley soap claims to be natural and contain essential oils so it is like killing two birds with one stone and at one dollar a bar it was worth a try. Thanks again and with two little boys laundry is plentiful and this saves a TON of money ..a little fun to make too. keep the diy cleaning solutions coming. :)

    • Linda Chancellor says

      I made a batch of the liquid soap using Zote as my soap base and followed the reciepe to the letter, but
      I went to use it today and it had Solidified! Did I not use enought water?? I followed the reciepe, and I notice in some of the comments made, thickening seems to be a problem. I added hot water to my jug poured it back into a pan and am heating it up so I can use it, is this correct. Did anyone else have this problem and what is your remedy, I really want to use this soap.

      • Daria says

        The first batch I made did the same thing… the gel or solid? I could barely tell the difference.. :) The solution was simply to add more water until it was to the consistency I wanted to use. From the 5-gallon bucket, I pour it into a large (left-over) laundry bottle, adding more water if necessary, and use the cap as a measure. (It’s around 1/4 cup…) If the solution is thicker, just use less per load.
        I also added 1/2 cup of Dawn dish detergent to the recipe mix for extra grease cutting.

        After reading some blogs, I decided to add vinegar to the diluted soap. Wow did I get the volcano effect!!! I guess the vinegar reacts with the washing soda and oxygenates…. Guess what!! OxyClean! So now I just add the vinegar to the loads I want to “bleach” safely.

        For fragrance, I had bought the fragrance crystals a while back and add a small capful to the bottle, not the 5-gallon bucket the soap was originally made and diluted in. It works great, but I think I’ll try the Yardly Lavender soap next time.

        Happy washing!

        I love this stuff

  12. Anonymous says

    I made the dry version on the weekend and do far so good. For those of you who don't know what washing soda is, it is the BEST stuff for cleaning sterling silver. Put a tablespoon in a bowl lined with aluminum foil then add hot water. Just drop in your sterling silver pieces and it starts to fizz away. Leave on for about 5-10 minutes then take out and rinse in cold water.

  13. Anonymous says

    Oh I love reading all of the comments, it really helps. I will be trying my hand at this next week I think and I am really excited! :) I read a lot of comments about getting your products at Wal-Mart. Please please please try to shop locally for your products. Wal-Mart does not treat their employees well and promotes the "big man" instead of families in your community. It's usually the women doing most of the shopping, so we need to know how important our decisions are. Thank u for reading my post and considering making better choices. Happy soap making!!!

    • Aerica says

      That is not entirely true about Wal-Mart. It is like any other business. I worked there for a few years a d although I don’t work there anymore I will continue to shop and support the employees. There are a few ” bad” managers but what work place doesnt. I didn’t make a lot of money but was well taken care of, plenty of perks (got big discounts during holidays) and health care plans were awesome. I have gotten almost all I needed to make soaps at my Walmart. They are all different and carry things according to the area so just check around.

      • Dakota says

        I’m not even going to go anywhere near how WM treats their employees. Buying local is always a good idea though. Without our support Mom and Pop stores will not make it. If they don’t carry what you want, most will order it for you. You just have to ask.

        • Monique says

          I really find it funny how people forget that walmart was a small main st shop. I worked for walmart for years and they have always given to the schools and clubs at least at my store. My main st shops not so much and the prices they charge are so over the top. I don’t care who sell what I need as long as they do not rip me off. That is why I like this, I can save money and show my son that just because it came from the store doesn’t make it better.

      • Dorothy says

        I wouldn’t shop at Walmart if it were the last store on earth People shop there because they want ‘NEW” crap for their house for cheap while the majority of those items are made in china.

  14. Jamey says

    Wow! I didn't realize so many people were making their own cleaning agents. I make my detergent a little different. I use pure vegetable soap, grate it in a pot and cover with water. cook on medium heat till all soap is melted. then I pour this into 2 gallons of HOT water in a bucket. Mix. Add 2 cups of powder (see below)when it becomes room temp, add about 10 drops of essential oils.

    *you can mix your powder to suit your family needs/wants.
    -Super Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer) thicker and tougher on stains
    -borax (20 mule) medium on both
    -baking soda any brand I think is the weakest of the 3
    you can mix or combine any of the 3 to get the consistency that you prefer
    **vegetable soaps do not produce suds but still clean wonderfully
    regular soaps can be used also but will leave a build/residue up in washer, if you choose to use regular soap as your base, you should run the washer with 1 cup of vinegar and hot water, once a month to get rid of the buildup.
    ***Vinegar can be used in the rinse cycle to act as a softener and also anti static agent
    **** for Whites, add 1 cup off Borax to your washer and HOT water, soak for 30 minutes, then wash.
    ****I use 2 cups of super washing soda to make mine, It will start to gel within a couple hours, It does get a little thicker than the others, If you don't get all the lumps out, you can also use your electric mixer to blend it and make it smooth.
    ***** 1/2 cup for regular washers and 1/4 cup for HE washers
    ******Good for HOT and Cold Washes
    *******Essential Oils
    Lavender, Tree tree and Rosemary have Antibacterial agents. But you can use whatever scent you like, or mix it up.
    Have Fun

    • Kylie says

      Ive been reading thru all of these post for the answer to my question! Can i use essential oils as a smell good agent? Right before i was about to just post my question…i came across your post!! Thank you for all the good info and talking about using oils! Although i do love the smelly laundry beads i may just have to try both.  I love my laundry to smell so good! Im assuming the oils ares also fine for HE  washers as well? I cant think of any reason why it would harm any washer at all but thought maybe i should ask. Iv never made my own cleaning products but am so excited to start! 

      • Amanda says

        You can also make your own fabric softener using the essential oils. I find I prefer to do this than to add it to my laundry soap (been making my own for 1.5 years now) because not everyone in my family likes the same scents that I do. I just make a larger batch of softener and divide into smaller spray bottles for each family member. Label them, and add the scent they want. Works wonderfully!

        On a side note, we also have our own colored sponges to moisten with the softener so we don’t get them confused and have a minty-vanilla-patchouli scented shirt :)

  15. Anonymous says

    Just made my first batch, it's gellin as I type. I've never been so excited to do a load of laundry. When this batch is all used up I'm going to make the powdered version. It your worried about using the powdered version in cold water just turn your washing machine dial to hot, and run the hot water over your scoop of powdered soap. It only takes moments for it to dissolve, then turn your washing machine dial to cold.

  16. MzFrugalista2U says

    Jillee – thanks for the tip about using homemade oxi-clean for whites. I just washed clothes for the 1st time with homemade soap and thought maybe I had done something wrong. FYI-another good source for essential oils is eBay. You can find great deals as low as $12 (w/shipping) for 4 drams (small vials) of essential oil. It made my clothes smell wonderful.

  17. windi says

    Alrighty – first of all thanks to Claug and Anonymous for your comments. I made some dry diy laundry soap today with the above ingredients. I haven't actually washed a load yet – but i did heat 1-1/2 cups water in the microwave to boiling, then mixed in 1 Tblsp of the mixture – and IT DISSOLVED WITHIN SECONDS! Here's the thing though, I left it sitting on the counter while i went about other household duties and when i returned – it had Gelled up. No biggie – I whisked the lumps out and don't see why it shouldn't work when i get around to washing later this evening. I now have a cup and a half of "gel" to add to my load of wash.
    Btw – i used ivory instead of the fels-naptha.

    • Liz says

      If you are having trouble finding washing soda locally there is a finder on Arm and Hammers web site, bought 2 boxes 8 years ago (put them in gallon zip lock to keep the moisture out) and still have the second one. I make 5 gal at a time, and put them in my old detergent bottles. lasts about 3-4 months with 2 boys with allergies. I use a bar of Ivory soap and do have to use the magic eraser in the top loading machine occasionally. it gets ring around the beater at the top of the water level. I use vinegar in the downy ball and add my tea tree oil to the gallon jug (also I have very hard water) Clothes are just as clean, plus the colors last longer then with commercial brands. (my boys have hand me downs) I think that the extra water in the recipe that I use helps it not get too thick. Happy washing

      • Megan says

        You can make your own washing soda! Just bake baking soda at 400° until the ‘shine’ goes away and it starts looking grainy. For 1/4 a box it took about 30 minutes. Be sure to stir periodically so it cooks faster. If you don’t believe me just google “making washing soda from baking soda” and you can find the exact science :)

  18. Fran says

    I am wondering if you can use the soda used in swimming pools to raise the PH level? Does anyone know. I was told at one time that i could raise my PH level by adding just regular soda to my pool..or is this different from 'washing' soda? thanks and BTW I love this blog.

    • janel says

      in our pool I use baking soda and borax to manage the PH( our PH is pepetually acidic)- it is much cheaper to buy it at a grocerystore/walmart than the versions from a pool store. The main ingredients in the pool store versions are sodium bicarbonate(baking soda) and sodium tetraborate( borax laundry booster- check the box to make sure you have the one that is ONLY sodium tetraborate).
      Both need to be added to the skimmer bucket-NOT directly into the pool. I do not put more than 2lbs of baking soda and 1 box of borax in in a 48hr period to make sure I do not end up with too much in the pool- this will result in the baking soda coming out of solution and a lot of pool vaccuming. Once I get the PH where I want it when opening the pool I use mostly borax through out the rest of the summer to maintain PH- it also softens the water if you have hard water.

  19. Anonymous says

    I make the powder version (love it!!!) to help keep the whites bright I added a 16oz can of LA's awsome oxygen base (you can get it at the dollar tree for $1.00 it is their version of oxyclean) hope this helps

  20. Becca says

    I made up 1/3 of a batch yesterday and this morning when I went to check it it hasn't hardened up like it should. Does this just mean that it's already as thin as it needs to be? Should I be worried or just continue on using it? It seems to be (pretty much) the correct consistency and the gallon jug is only half full. I guess I'll just try a load and see how it turns out.

  21. Anonymous says

    This soap is great! Made three gallons and love it. Do you have to let the mixture sit overnight before adding water to make each gallon? Just wondering if I could add the water right away. Thanks!

  22. windi says

    SUCCESS – NO GRATE _ NO COOK!! For you who like using the dry mixture but don't like the soap floaters that don't totally dissolve – try this…

    Cut a bar of ivory in half, place half on microwave safe plate, and microwave for appx 90 seconds. Remove dish and let soap cloud that forms cool and dry on the counter while you do the second half. Once both "clouds" have cooled so there is no moisture left, place cloud chunks in ziplock bag and smoosh. Manipulate bag until there are no large chunks left. Then add 1 cup each of borax and washing soda – and there you have dry mix with no flakes.

    I was curious to see if the "cloud" powder would dissolve so I placed a tblsp of it into some hot water, gave a quick stir – and once again – total disolvation (is that a word? I dunno!). It clumped up initially, but quickly dissolved to nothing. I imagine with the borax and soda mixed in that it will dissolve just as quickly and may even be more evenly dispersed.

    I can't wait now to try it in a load of laundry – but i am forcing myself to finish the rest of my first batch (with flakes) first….excercising my frugality.

  23. windi says

    Sorry – i should also mention – i think this only works with ivory because it has air whipped into it. Other brands (yardley, fels naptha, etc. may only melt and not poof into a cloud – not sure how effective that is for dry mixture…..just saying.

    I should also say – very little mess in the microwave and what little cloud was left in there wiped right off – no sticking or cooking onto the surface.

    AND – it was fun – i bet kiddos would love to get in on it too (maybe?)

    Hope this helps someone.

    • Lindsey says

      Yeah I believe only Ivory soap does that. I am majoring in Early Childhood Education classes and I had to take a Math and Science class. We did a night full of science experiments and the Ivory soap trick was one of them. I believe my teacher said only Ivory would do that. It is very cool and kids would love it!

    • Dakota says

      So does that mean you don’t use any soap to wash your dishes? Or no I got it. You must not have children. You would be shocked at the things they put in and on dishes.
      Sorry had too.

        • Sherrill says

          i clearly write what is on the container, i LOOOVE LOOOOVE LOOOOVE, did i mention that i LOVE sharpe perm markers! have a HUGE variety of colors! example, my milk jug says: SUAVE Lavender/Lilac 11/27/12 , and when i make new, i will cross off the flavor and put the new smell, and new date :D i always LABEL with my handy dandy magic marker, have a few in just about every single drawer around hte house, write on baggies, jugs , squirt bottles.. ect,….. and my kids know how to read, and know its not food, :D

  24. Southernsweetie says

    two questions…
    If I was to substitute Dr Brommer's liquid soap for the bar of soap, how much would you use?
    Could you stop at the gel stage and just use a small amount of it as a concentrate? Then you wouldn't have to have as many containers…

    • Jane says

      Hey! I use Dr. Bronner’s in mine and it is fabulous! I add 1cup of the Doc to 1 gallon of detergent. I’m not quite sure what you’re asking in your other question… I tried to use less water in mine to make the detergent more concentrated… but it gelled so much it was kind of a useless lump.

      Here is how I make mine (borax free, because, even though it’s probably fine, I’m on the fence about borax) and it cleans beautifully!

      Over medium heat:

      Heat 5 cups of water
      Add 1 cup of washing soda and
      1/3 cup of salt.

      Heat until dissolved. If it doesn’t dissolve within a couple of minutes, add more water. The original recipe I found called for two cups of water and that just wasn’t enough to dissolve everything!

      Pour heated mixture into a 1 gallon container.

      Add 1 cup of LIQUID Dr. Bronner’s. I always add the Bronner’s after the rest is in the jug, because it’s pricey and even with a funnel I tend to spill.

      Fill the jug the rest of the way with cool tap water.

      I have made three gallons of this now and it gels up differently every time I make it. I’m sure it has something to do with how high/long I’m heating everything. All three gallons have washed equally well, so it’s no big deal… sometimes I just have to do a lot more shaking than other times.

      Hope this helps. Happy laundering!

      • says

        Thanks for your reply! I made the laundry soap using the liquid Dr. B with some formula I figured out and have since forgotten! :) I cup to 1 gallon is much easier then what I came up with!
        I made it pretty close to when I posted my question… I am just now needing to make a new batch up. My was very liquidy and never did gel at all. So, my 2nd question was really moot. I have LOVED it and it works fabulously anyway. I will never go back to store bought soap again (despite the fact my family thinks I’m crazy for making my own)!
        I bought a bar of Dr. B this time to try and see if it thickens up as it is supposed to.
        Sidenote: I have also made a few batches of fabric softener now and my family is in love!! :)

  25. jwalters says

    I'm one of those people who can't get past the idea of cooking soap in my good pans. However I really wanted to try this recipe out. After making regular visits to my local thrift shop I finally found everything I needed: 1 big pot ($5.00), 1 cheese grater ($1.00) and 1 glass measuring cup ($2.00). I have a long dowel rod leftover from another project so I'll be using it instead of a wooden spoon. I'll be making my 1st batch this weekend and I can't wait! For others who don't want to cook soap in their good pans, I highly recommend that they check out second hand stores in their area.

    • Mechelle says

      ok i dont quite get the aversion so many seem to have about making soap with their kitchen utensils….what exactly is the worst that can happen, you dont have to use dish washing detergent when you wash the pot and grater? I have a 3 gallon bucket (2 actually) one is my mop bucket the other i use when making laundry detergent and other stuff. This is my only concession and simply because I use my large pots a lot, so letting one sit over night would be an inconvenience.

      • Megan says

        You don’t let the soap sit in the pot overnight, is that what you are meaning? You pour it into the jug immediately after you add the borax and washing soda. The mixture did leave a film on my non-stick coating but it wiped right off.

  26. LetterstoClaire says

    I'm highly considering doing this but I had a suggestion/question- Has anyone considered using a container with a wider mouth spout and placing a shaker ball (the metal kind that come in tumblers for protein shakes, the metal ball knocks around inside the tumbler for mixing). This seemed like a possible solution for mixing (it would need to be added as a final step, after the gel process).

  27. Anonymous says

    1st I just wanna say I LOVE YOUR BLOG! It's so awesome to find someone willing to share all these GREAT ideas. I just ran across this recently & have been working on several diffrent DIY ideas :) my first project was your re-usable dryer sheets, LOVE THEM! second I made Jillies homemade "oxi-kleen" it was sooo easy & again I LOVE IT! my third lil project was the homemade makeup remover wipes :) yep, you guessed it, I LOVE THEM! the last project I did was the Quik n easy version of your homemade laundry detergent (with the Dawn Dish soap, I used the hawiian pineappple scent) & its amazing! honestly I cant wait to try the shampoo, Clorox wipes…among a few other things, LOL! My dear husband thinks I've lost my mind with all this homemade DIY stuff, but he's saving money so he's NOT complaining (: Again, Love the blog, wonderful ideas along with great tips.

    Ashley Massey
    Calera, Alabama

  28. Anonymous says

    I love this blog, thank you for gathering all these great DIY things I've been meaning to do! Let me preface this by saying I really like my laundry soap and dryer sheets to match scents. I see some people using Yardley soap for this recipe. I'm pretty sure they have a matching scent lotion, so I'm wondering if lotion would work instead of hair conditioner in the DIY fabric softener recipe. Anyone try this? Alternatively, what do you think of trying to use the shampoo that matches scent with the conditioner in the fabric softener recipe for the laundry soap recipe, instead of bar soap? Perhaps it would suds more so the ratios would have to be adjusted? Sorry I don't have any of the accounts you can comment as so I had to be anonymous, but my name is Melainia :)

    • Lindsey says

      You sound like me haha. I like my stuff to match scents, especially shampoo and conditioner! And you don’t have to have an account to have your name show up, I don’t.

    • Angela says

      I don’t know this for sure but I’m guessing that lotion would NOT work because it does not dissolve the same way that conditioner does. Lotion is made to be absorbed into your skin, while conditioner is made to be rinsed away leaving some softness in your hair. Having said that, if the Yardley soap is lavender scented you could try looking for a lavender scented conditioner. Often the less expensive brands like Suave and White Rain will have a huge variety of scents so odds are you could find one to match your chosen soap.

  29. Anonymous says

    I have seen a lot of uses for essential oils in your posts, which is making me want to learn more about them. Can anyone recommend a website or boom about all the uses of different essential oils and the benefits they provide?


    • Elizabeth says

      The website I use to buy the essential oils is E BAY, w/ free shipping! I got lavender essential oils for under $3.00! And it’s is enough for 3 batches, just a few drops! I added it at the last step, B4 leaving it cure for 24 hours! Lavender is an anti-aspect, and that is a good thing :)

  30. Jessica says

    I have and idea I was going to try and thought I would share it. For my next batch, I am going to leave it concentrated, and put into canning jars to store. Then as I need more, I will just mix together with hot water and add to my gallon jug. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to soon.

    • Bonnie says

      That sounds like a really good idea! You could even give those to people, maybe not as gifts but just as “here try this”. I am going to invest in Mason Jars this fall because everyone I know is getting something home made for Christmas :)

      • Sherrill says

        If you are not going to use the mason jars for canning, you can use the salsa jars from walmart :D we use lots of them, and love the jars for drinking, but also they are quite handy to use for gifts such as this! :D they are the quart jars, so unless you want the smaller jars, they are like getting them FREE, (ifyou like salsa) which we use for a LOT of stuff

  31. Anonymous says

    Having fun already. I put the grater in the sink with hot water and it's really soapy. Yahoo! I'm soaking the dishrags too. Tell everyone not to sweat the grating. I have bad arthritis in my hands and I had no problem. I used fels naptha. I'm taking this batch along to my dear overworked daughter so she doesn't have to worry about running out of laundry soap for her family of four plus two nephews.

    • Megan says

      You don’t have to grate it. Just stick 1/2 a bar at a time in the microwave, do 30 second intervals for a total of 90 seconds. Take out of microwave and let it cool completely. Then you can either easily crumble it with your fingers or add it to a plastic bag and use a rolling pin/glass/child to break it up.

      • Bonnie says

        Do you use the feet of the child or just roll them over the bag? Just kidding :) I’m totally going to use your microwave suggestion because I think my kids would love to see it (heck, who am I kidding…I’d love to see it!) and it does sound a lot easier than grating. We’re moving into a new home Monday and I can’t wait to put the kitchen to good use with Jillee’s blog open on my laptop on the counter :) I’m more excited about making some of her homemade concoctions than I am about actually being able to cook again!

    • Bonnie says

      I make this in a 5 gallon bucket all the time. I add everything at once. And to scoop it out, I just make sure I have some liquid and some gel. Sometimes it’s more uniform, sometimes it’s not. Either way, it works.

  32. AKmama3 says

    My daughters and I just made four jugs of this as a spring break project. They loved the grating and stirring part. We have just washed some clothes and are loving the results. I did purchase the fragrance booster to use (I bought Gain) so it did boost my cost up a bit, but you use such a minimal amount that it should last a while. Thanks for the great ideas!!

    • Susan says

      AKmama3, I was wondering if you pour the gain fragrance booster directly in each individual wash or do you mix it in your batch, if so, how much do you pour into each batch? Or do you pour it while it’s cooking?



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