Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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 soapno 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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782 thoughts on “No-Grate Homemade Laundry Soap

  1. Suzanne

    I know this is a silly question but where do you get those great jugs that are in the picture? I like recycling but I really like the idea of being able to see ow much is left, if its separated etc…

    1. Jillee Post author

      Suzanne…those are gallon-sized Minute Maid Orange Juice bottles. Buy some juice…enjoy…then recycle! :-) They are VERY sturdy. I’ve been using the same ones for a LONG time!

  2. Mary

    I’m a newby but so far I like the 3 gallon cooked version on your site the best. There are so many versions out there. Jillee, after all this time and comparison which version have you settled upon as the best? This is by far the easiest but which one is your favorite all around recipe?.

  3. anonymous

    You can use strictly the blue Dawn for clothes washing. 1-2 Tbsp per load…thats it! I’ve done it and clothes came out really clean! No real need to add washing soda and borax unless you have REALLY dirty clothes!

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  5. Comet

    Since I see this is still a “growing” thread–has anyone come up with a “sure fire” way to do this for EXTREME hard water? We live in the North East and have very hard water that tastes great but cleans–not so much.

    Getting toilets and sink areas—even WITH vinegar wraps–clear of the minerals is very hard to do. Our water heater–electric and huge for large family—has to have the element replaced every year or so and it looks like some sort of fossil when it is removed.

    Since the water has been low this year due to no or low rain I am seeing a LOT of deposit on our glasses and dishes to the point where I have had to hand scrub them with Bon Ami to get the odd white “layer” off. Any thoughts?

    Also—just a thought–when did Diaper Cleaning become a Religion? When my kids (28, 27 and 23) were little I used cloth and no special “formulas” or ingredients and washed in this extreme hard water and never had a problem. Hot water was about the only concession to their being diapers. And whatever happened to Diaper Clips? Was the greatest invention! Went over edge of diaper like a binder clip and NO stuck fingers! I had a huge infection caused by a diaper stick from a pin to MY hand and they were a life saver. I also used some form of coated–I think it was nylon–water proof pants that had snaps on the sides and elastic gathers–no special wool covers (ugh!) and no plastic. I tried to find these for friends who were doing cloth and had no luck. It just strikes me as–odd—that the amount of paper and bandwidth taken up by diaper cleaning seems to rival any other internet content!!! LOL!!!!! Imagine–for us “Old Timers” a whole BOOK on HOW TO DIAPER!!!!!! We would have fallen over laughing–in fact–I almost DID!!!! And to have to wash and rinse and rinse and rinse yet again seems—wasteful. You don’t have to eat off of the diapers! No one is looking to see if your used diapers are sparkling clean! And back in the day diapers seemed to last just about forever–pretty sure I still have some kicking around as cleaner rags. Now I read that the poor fragile things fall APART?

    1. Susan

      @Comet, do you have a product called LimeAway? In the bright lime green bottle? For mineral deposits. Be sure and rinse — don’t leave it on the metal forever.

  6. Allison

    My questions is follows: I made a couple of batches of this recipe recently but had a quick question. I actually orginally found this recipe elsewhere and it didn’t come with a very good description. So the first batch I made I mixed all ingredients together at once and then added water. But when the suds starting “overflowing” I quickly stopped that version because I thought that I needed all the suds for the detergent to work at it’s best. So I decided to make a second batch rearranging the order a bit: I dissolved only the washing soda and borax together with the boiling water then filled the gallon jug up with water, topped it off with the dish liquid soap and finally shook the jub to mix all ingredients. This version did not have hardly any suds since I added the dish liquid soap last. My question is do you think that it significantly matters which order the ingredients go in as long as the ones that need dissolving get dissolved?

  7. Sarah W

    Lyn, so all you use to wash laundry is a few squirts of Dr. Bonners liquid soap, washing soda and peroxide? Where do you find Dr bonners soap?Do I have to look at a health food store? I have been using the cooked felz naptha recipe with borax but would like to go more natural when it’s gone!

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  9. Katie Dudley

    20 Mule Team Borax: Developmental & Reproductive Toxicity: High Concern
    May contain ingredients with potential for developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects; respiratory effects; skin irritation/allergies/damage

    I’m looking for a homemade powder laundry detergent recipe that does not contain Borax or Fels Naptha soap. I have searched high and low for one with no luck. Maybe there isn’t one.

  10. Gina

    Hello! Thanks so, so much for the recipe. It’s been great!!! I baked up a cookie sheet full of baking soda (from a huge bag I bought as Costco) and I think I have enough for the rest of this year and all of next! The soap is working very well, but I have a question. Is there any way to make the liquid thicker? I have a front-load HE washer (no suds at all!!) and the detergent tray doesn’t hold the soap. If I have to do a load of my husband’s stinky work-out clothes, I need to fill two compartments with soap (one for the pre-wash and one for the regular), but this soap all runs right out and goes into the machine all at once. So I’ve ended up using this for the prewash and a store-bought version for the regular, since I can’t babysit the machine and add it when the regular cycle starts. Does anyone know a way to thicken it up a bit so it’s not watery? Again, thanks sooooo much. This has been a great recipe:)

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  12. Laura

    I have been making this recipe for several months now. It works great, but after a while I’ve noticed a strange smell to some of my clothes. It’s not like mildew, but a hard-to-describe mustiness that lasts and is making it impossible to wear these clothes because of the smell. Anyone else had this problem??? Or know how to fix it? I use vinegar as my fabric softener (put in the separate compartment of the machine) and used the same measuring cup for the soap and the vinegar until recently. I thought that might be the problem based on this link: Any help would be greatly appreciated!! :)

  13. linda

    i have been using your liquid detergent recipe for about 3 months ~ after using for a while i noticed a lot of dirt in a ring around the drum of the washing machine and on the agitator ~ also some mildew smell on towels and cloths ~ i wash these in hot water ~ i have never had this smell before or the dirt in the washing machine ~ if you get a chance could you advise if there is anything different i should be doing ~ last week i bought a box of arm and hammer detergent ~ the kind i used to use and the ring on the washing machine is gone and so is the mildew smell on our towels. i really enjoyed the money saving part of the liquid home made detergent but i am not sure about what is going on with these issues ~ thanks very much ~ linda

  14. Bren

    I’d love to try this recipe and this may seem like a dumb question, but I was just wondering if you could use the ultra-concentrated Dawn instead? I have this brand and it says it fights grease just like regular Dawn. Thanks!

  15. Karen

    I just started making my own concoctions from here and so far am pleased, I was bowled over by the jewelry cleaner! I bought a lot of that stuff! I would like to know how to make the fabric softener better, I did add some blue food coloring. Baking soda is messy! It is cheap though and works.

    My big question is, do you have to buy the Dawn newer concentrated or does the old stuff work? I am about to make this laundry detergent and can’t wait to try it. Also, why only the blue? Thanks Jillie, I love saving money and not dealing with strong chemicals and ridiculously expensive cleaning products!

  16. Brenda Delawder

    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

  17. Desiree

    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?

  18. Alaina

    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!

  19. Kristin Schmidt

    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!

  20. Brandi

    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.

  21. Rachel

    I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but I really feel like this recipe fades the colors on my clothes much quicker than normal. Perhaps, it could be the Dawn?

  22. Kathy Weir

    I just washed my first load of laundry with this and it seems so far to clean my clothes just as well as regular detergent. I believe I’ve found my new favorite. Why is my detergent clear where your’s is blue??

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  24. Brenda

    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?

  25. Lisa

    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.

  26. Dana

    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! :-)

  27. Cee

    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…

      1. Landon

        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.

  28. Lynn Jarrett

    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!

  29. Lisa N

    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.

  30. Kelly Jo

    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

  31. Terry Valentine

    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!

  32. Jutta

    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!!

  33. Robin C.

    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*

  34. Janel

    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.

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