No-Grate Homemade Laundry Soap


Despite all the enthusiasm over making homemade laundry detergent recently…I continue to hear murmurings from those who just can’t bring themselves to grate soap and cook it on the stove.

It apparently just isn’t going to happen. :-)

I’m not naming any names…but my older sister would probably freely admit she didn’t decide to even attempt making her own laundry detergent UNTIL I told her about this “new” recipe I was testing out.

(I know it seems like I’m always “picking on” her…but she called me a “brat” on her blog recently…so she pretty much deserves it. lol).

Once again I have to credit the incredible readers of this blog for my inspiration.


Tiffanie posted this on February 4th….
A close friend of mine has been making laundry soap like this one for years, until just recently she found an easier one to make and passed it on to us.

3 Tablespoons Borax
3 Tablespoons Washing Soda
2 Tablespoons Dawn Dish soap

Put these ingredients in a one gallon jug. Pour 4 cups boiling water into the jug. Swirl until ingredients are dissolved in the liquid. Let liquid cool. Then fill almost to the top with cold water. The bubbles will overflow out of the bottle.
I love this because you can pick an awesome scent with the Dawn dish soap. This dish soap works the best because it gets grease out. :o)

February 4, 2012 8:59 PM

homemade laundry detergent

homemade laundry detergent

As FOND as I am of the soap I’ve been using for over 8 months now…I felt I needed to at least give this version a fair shake. Sooo…I made up a gallon of it and have been using it for almost a week. I’ve used almost the entire gallon and despite my initial skepticism…I have not noticed any difference in it’s ability to get my clothes clean from my current recipe. I use approximately 1/2 cup to 1 cup per load. I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s pretty thin and since it’s SO easy and inexpensive to make, it doesn’t bother me.

Of course there are still those items of clothing that will need an extra boost with some Homemade Shout or Homemade Oxi-Clean….but overall I honestly haven’t noticed any difference in it’s cleaning ability.

For those of you concerned with HE washers…I haven’t noticed any more soap suds with this “recipe” either. On a small load I will notice some sudsing…but on a large load…it appears to me to be as low-suds as my previous version.


homemade laundry detergent

So….today I offer up this “new” version of homemade laundry detergent to those who have to this point been reluctant or unwilling to try making their own. A couple of things that might convince you to try…no grating of soap…no cooking…and you can make one gallon at a time in just a few minutes.

If you DO decide to try it…I would love to know what you think. :-)




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  1. says

    I love the recipe, I will be trying it this week then if all works well I think this would be a great project for donation to a homeless shelter/food bank. Laundry soap is an item they seldom have to give away and very few of the people who come there can afford non food essentials. I save and reuse my old Fab bottles that I was getting for cheap after coupons but this is SUPER CHEAP I love it and if you have time I would love permission to share this on my blog

  2. Desiree says

    Hi there! This homemade soap sounds like a great idea. Was wondering if it would be ok for sensitive skin? And because it’s got just 3ingredients I don’t suppose that means it’s all natural right? Just easy to make?

  3. Alaina says

    Just started using the homemade no-grate laundry detergent today, and so far it has been working great. The real test will be my husbands clothes which get covered in oil and dirt. I will let you know the results when that load gets put through. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Kristin Schmidt says

    I just made my first batch of this and was very happy with the result. But I do have one question. We generally used Gain laundry soap so I was curious if instead of Dawn dish soap if I could switch it out for the Gain. The packages say the same thing so I was wondering if you had any insight on that? Thank you for posting so much useful information!!! You’ve been a lifesaver!

  5. Brandi says

    Isn’t there a way to make it thicker? It’s so watery. I don’t suppose that really matters.. its just my first batch of homemade landry detergent so I’m just used to the thicker store bought stuff.

  6. Brenda says

    HI, there..
    Thank you for posting this. I just mixed up a batch and am trying it out right now!! Thank you..Before I had tried the other version with the fels-naptha soap, grated, and then mixed in boiling water, add the borax and washing soda etc..but it seemed like the clothes started smelling musty..? So I stopped using that..but I ran out of detergent and decided to give this a try. anyone else have that issue with the musty smelling clothes after awhile?

  7. Lisa says

    I have been using this recipee for 2 months now. I saw a recommendation on another site about this recipe that I thought I would pass on. I mix the main 3 ingredients with the 4 cups of hot water. I do not water it down to fill a gallon jug. I leave it concentrated and then only use 1/4 cup per load instead of a cup in my HE washer. I make 2 batches to fill up an old Tide Free bottle that I still have. The 2 batches fills the bottle up about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. I found that using the concentrated solution cleaned our clothes a lot better than when I made it the first time following the above directions exactly. The solution is still runny but is a little thicker. I am allergic to dye and scents, so I use Dawn Pure Essentials Hypoallerginic and have gol along fine. I have also tried the dry soap version of 1 cup Borax, ! cup Washing Soda, and 1 Fels bar. It cleaned the clothes great with using 2Tbls per load, but our high suds warning light came on in our HE washer. I then used only 1 Tbls, since a lot of people said that their clothes got clean with that, but my suds light still came on. We are going back to using this Dawn recipee since it never made our suds warning light come on. I only tried the dried version because my sister-in-law gave me the recipee.

  8. Dana says

    I made some up and am washing now. A little concerned though, as there are NO suds in the water. I am doing a pretty large load so I used about 1 1/2 cups. I’m using Dawn Advanced Power dishwashing liquid. Was pretty sudsy until I put my clothes in, then they seemed to disappear. I know suds do not equal clean, I’m just surprised by the lack of them. Any thoughts on why this may be? Thanks for any insight! :-)

  9. Cee says

    The ingredients for this recipe does not sound like enough for one load – it doesn’t seem like enough cleanser to dilute & use for mulitiple loads…. Am trying a 1/4C. (of recipe above that was not diluted beyond the initial 4 cups of water) right now in a cycle which will also dispense bleach. If not for the bleach in the load, I don’t think this load would come clean at all. Thoughts?
    Also, very hard water where I live…

      • Landon says

        We have hard well water. If you use this as directed with the ingredients listed you will be amazed at how clean your clothes can be. Laundry manufacturers actually suggest using more detergent than is really needed because the faster the consumers use the stuff up the faster they will be back for return sales.

  10. Lynn Jarrett says

    I made a concentrated version to save space and it crystallized on me and had to be reheated several time before I used it up.. I now make a 1/4 batch to save space in my RV. I also use white vinegar for fabric softener. I either fill the cup or use about 1/2 c per load. This also keeps any soap from building up in my washer!

  11. Lisa N says

    I made a bunch of the cleaning products, “mad props” on the soap scum buster spray, that was the best thing I’ve used in my shower EVER.
    After mixing up a batch of the no grate laundry soap, I have to question, this is about 1.30 teaspoons of actual cleaner per load (21 tsp per 16 cup of cleaner). Can this actually get the clothes clean? Fingers crossed, trying it on my clothes before the family’s.

  12. says

    Jillee- today I am thankful for your website :)
    I have been using this recipe for months now and love it but i have noticed recently that my clothes are looking a bit dull and are not nice and fluffy when I hang dry them. do you have any solutions? I’ve just written down the recipe to the softener using unnstobables, baking soda and vinegar so I will make some of that. just wondering if you’ve heard of this happening and what solutions you might suggest?
    Have a wonderful Thanskgiving and thank you for all your posts. My husband and I both love your site

  13. Terry Valentine says

    I use grated ivory bar soap – I don’t cook it on the stove. It is dried then mixed with arm & hammer washing soda and 20 Mule Team Borax. On white loads I add oxiclean. Doing it dry I use 1 tablespoon for a regular load and up 2 tablespoons for large loads. Put distilled white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser and there is no need for dryer sheets. We have used this for several years now – and a person I know from a greasey eating place says all the grease is gone from her cloths!

  14. Jutta says

    Good idea to make your own NATURAL laundry detergent. The right approach for the environment and your families health and well being. BUT now you are telling people to use DAWN ???? That way you are using the bad stuff that you were trying to avoid again ??? Doesn’t make sense to me at all!!

  15. Robin C. says

    Okay, I’ve just made my first batch of the “no grate laundry soap”. It was soooooo much easier than the other method. I’ll check back to update you on how well it works! *FINGERS CROSSED*

  16. Janel says

    I tried this detergent and I love it! I however miss a scent so I first added 2 tablespoons of Unstoppable scent booster and stirred it in 4 cups of hot/boiling water until it was dissolved. I also use 3 tablespoons of dawn.

  17. Valarie says

    I made a laundry detergent using the grated soap method used by the nineteen kids and counting family. It made a huge batch. I used it for a couple of months and noticed that my clothes were very dingy. (sp?) I ended up going back to my favorite store bought brand. Has anyone used this recipe for any length of time and what were the results? I would love to make my own again. Thanks.

  18. Jennifer says

    Hey there! I made the laundry soap with the Fels Naptha soap and love the results but it doesn’t look like yours. It had little lumps of soap in it. I decided to try this one and my end result is much more clear looking than your beautiful blue! Mine is a very pale blue. Am I doing something wrong? My clothes are definitely clean with the other kind….and am hoping this works too, even though it doesn’t look the same.

  19. sara says

    I made this yesterday and did 2 loads and I am not impressed. My towels still have that stale towel mildew smell and I could still smell my husbands deodorant on his shirts. I will stick to the powder mix!

    • Kendra Acker says

      Towels will always have a mildew smell in time. Its caused by fabric softener and soap buildup. You can get rid of that by soaking it in vinegar and baking soda water. Add 4 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda to your washer load and let it sit for an hr. (you have to stop it when the washer fills). After an hr add your detergent and continue the washing cycle.

  20. Kendle says

    I made this however read it all wrong!! So I made it right all the way up to add cold water in a larger jug. BLAH!!! So i have contuined to make this in 4c. jars as a concentrate! Works with less needed to go in! I use a tropical Shea butter soap which leaves my clothes fresh clean and amazing!! I am a true beleaver in this stuff!

  21. Kendra Acker says

    Okay, I really doubted that this would work because 1. its homemade and 2. its so simple to make. But I made my own only I used the new Dawn Power Clean, and it is amazing. It works better than store bought laundry soap. My husbands work clothes get extremely dirty and usually after washing them, there is a ring of grease residue in the washer, well there wasnt after using this, and it completely cleaned his clothes. I’m recommending this to every person in the world. Also a side note, I spent $8 on the washing soda and borax combined, and I get my Dawn soap free at Kroger with coupons. This is a definite $$MONEY$$ SAVER! thank you for sharing this recipe.

  22. Jennifer says

    I will have to try this. I tend to add a little dawn to my loads with greasy clothes anyway and it works wonders. I had a room mated that worked at a fast food place and Dawn got the grease and thus the smell out of her work clothes.

  23. Ashley says

    fyi, for those trying to make all natural detergent, Fels Naptha soap is nothing but chemicals. I don’t know if heating it the microwave would release toxins in the air or not, but I do know everything that I have bought/read regarding all natural cleaners says absolutely do NOT use it. Smells good and cleans well, but LOADED with hazardous chemicals. For what its worth…

  24. Kassi Hilterbrand says

    I just have to say…the grated homemade detergent was still breaking us all out and making us itchy…we discovered Fels Naptha soap is not so good for the skin and is also animal tested and has animal bi-products ;-( But I made this detergent a month or so ago and instead of DAWN used Mrs. Meyers dish soap. My husband is a general contractor = really dirty clothes and we have four children….our clothes not only come out super clean and fresh smelling but this recipe is easy and cheap!! I definitely recommend this!!

  25. Laura L says

    I LOVE this version better than any. I make it regularly, & it’s so simply & easy to make. With 4 kids I am always throwing in a load of laundry, & this is not only inexpensive but it also ensures that I am running out to buy laundry detergent at inopportune times! Thanks for this. I really don’t have time to cook laundry detergent, though I have made that version before, & I have also make the grated dry version…but I like this one the best. Thank you again!

  26. Amy says

    Hi, I just made this recipe today and tried it. I have a front loader and I noticed the detergent running out beneath the (closed) door after I put it in the detergent dispenser set for liquid like it usually is. Any ideas? Also, I used Palmolive because it was the only one with lavender scent when I bought it but the clothes didnt come out smelling good at all. Is there some way to incorporate Purex crystals into the recipe? thanks!

  27. says

    I have made this recipe twice now. The first time I made it the way it is posted, aside from switching out baking soda for the Borax. As soon I started using it, I wondered why I had bothered to add all that extra water to it. The second time, I made three batches at once, adding in the Unstopables, an extra Tbsp of baking soda per batch, and NOT adding the extra water. Since it was concentrated, I didn’t need to use as much. However, it still only lasted a month for this family of 6. I really liked the addition of the Unstopables – I did the amount Jillee suggested, and it was just enough for me. After doing the Fels-Naptha laundry soap for years, most store-bought detergents seem to be overly strong smelling. I liked the light scent I got from the small amount of Unstopables.

  28. Cathy says

    I add one capful of downy unstoppables to a cup of the boiling water and stir until disolved. This is a great recipe in a pinch. I do love your year supply of dry for $30. I always add to that “in 30 minutes”. I have given so much of it away, but it will still last me 6 months!

  29. Milissa says

    I just recently found the original liquid detergent recipe on Pinterest…didnt know till just today that you could actually make a dry version of the same. Anyways…I melted my 1/2 bar fels naptha, 1/2 cup washing soda, and I added 4 TBLS of borax to mine….and someone had suggested that I buy a cheap bottle of conditioner and add to the mixture too for scent as well as a softener effect…..has anyone else ever done that to theirs before?

    This was the first time I have made this recipe so I’m curious how its gonna turn out after it sits all night…..but I’m gonna give it a try and worse case senario, I can start over again with another batch without the added conditioner and see how that works. Actually next time I make this I really would prefer to do the dry version….it would be so much easier for my boys to use I think, But cost wise….you can afford to mess up a batch of it and not get too stressed out….this stuff is so easy to make and so affordable!!!

  30. Sarah says

    I am excited to try this. I have some detergent that some one very generously gave me and my family. It is good detergent, but every once in a while there seem to be grease stains. I know Dawn is awesome for that so I plan on using it to boost the old detergent or to treat the grease stains. I’ll let you know how it goes! I have pinned lots of stuff from this blog! :)

  31. Layla Bell says

    if you don’t like grating soap, just buy an electric coffee grinder (I found a good used one at the Goodwill for five dollars) and grind up a bar of soap. Makes it into a powder, easy to dissolve in water! I will try this new liquid soap as well!

  32. Lisa Marie says

    My husband is a motorcycle tech and his clothes always wreak of “the shop” and I can’t seem to get the smell or grease out of his clothes, no matter what different brands out on the market I have tried. I am going to see if I can find all the ingredients to make this today. I am pretty excited to try it. I really hope it works. I will let you know. Are there any recipes like this for fabric softener?

  33. KJsLady says

    I have made this 3x now and will continue to make this way when I run out of my previously made batch of dry.

    I like the fact that I can make MANY more bottles of this with the ingredients I already have, it’s low/no sudsing and my clothes are clean.

    I am using the POWER dawn, because I love that one and it removes “boy” stains well. I am going to add Downy unstoppables or just use my fabric softner as usual.

    Thanks for sharing!

  34. CL says

    If you are going to use Dawn dishwashing liquid in the recipe, why don’t you just use a small squirt of Dawn to do the laundry? Dawn is an excellent degrease but a very harsh soap. I worked for an automotive repair shop once and the owner would not allow anyone to use Dawn to clean a vehicle; it ruins the finish on an automobile.

    • Gwen says

      What did your boss use to wash cars? My husband has been using dawn, but if there is a better thing to use please let me know. I don’t want the finish on my vehicle to be ruined. Thanx. :)

    • Andor Zensko says

      When I get something on my clothing that I am sure will not come out will a little bit of help, I put the dawn dish soap on my clothing directly. It has even gotten out old stains that have been through the dryer. It has not harmed my clothing in any way, but that being said, I have never used it on anything really delicate either. I keep a tiny bottle in the closet with my laundry soap just for this purpose.


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