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. Judy L. says

    THANK YOU JILLEE! I made this for myself and my mom for Christmas. And after using it these past couple of weeks, I must say: I’m impressed! I made the “concentrated version” and have it in a reused Happy Planet 1L juice bottle. I use 1/8 of a cup for small to medium loads, and 1/4 for large to extra large (packed) loads. The dawn does settle out, but I just give a good shake before adding it in. I use an old medicine cup (you know the kind that comes with every bottle of pepto or liquid cold medicine…) which is 1/8 cup. Makes an excellent little scoop for the powdered version as well; I seem to have extra of those little things around anyway…at least now I’ve found a use for them! :) For white loads and heavily soiled loads, I add an extra “scoop” of washing soda + a couple of glugs (ha, that’s exact!) of hydrogen peroxide. This is rarely needed though, as the liquid laundry soap does just fine on its own: even got out that “make-up ring” around the collar of my white housecoat! Not only that, but my mom has stopped breaking out in hives from her old laundry detergent! YAY!

  2. says

    I was wondering if you could use a cup of regular powder laundry soap with borax and washing soda? Would it work the same as the bar soap when you are making the powder version. Then there would be no grading soap with that also. I like the smell of gain but I can’t get the smell with homemade soap.

  3. Colleen says

    I love how easy, fast and CHEAP this is to make. I guess I’ve been conditioned by commercial detergents over the years to think it has to be thick to work, and the watery consistency bothers me some, but I’m getting over it. I do put in twice the ingredients per gallon of water, then I can use just 1/2 cup and feel like it’s “strong enough.” It washes really well, but you do have to pre-treat stains a little more than you would with a commercial detergent. But that’s what I love my bars of Fels-Naptha for – best pre-treat/stain remover ever. I have made the Fels-Naptha “cooked” version before and truthfully I prefer it to this one (again, that thickness thing, I guess) but when I’m busy this is wonderful. I can make a batch in a few minutes and get right back to the job of doing laundry. I’ve been using this for a few months, and the other version since last June. I’ll never buy detergent again!

  4. Aurie says

    This is probably the third or fourth time I’ve pulled a great DIY from your site. I was using a food processor to grate Ivory soap, and while it was a great recipe, it still got coarse and a little clumpy in the ice cream bucket I stored it in. Not to mention, washing soap out of a food processor is a little more intense than it would appear. I swear by Dawn in any other situation, and finding this recipe was just what I needed!

    I would add, though, that I miss the touch of softness Ivory added to the freshly washed clothes that Dawn doesn’t replicate. Of course, that’s an excellent excuse to try the homemade fabric softener, too. ;)

  5. says

    I love, love, love this!! It’s been a life/money/time saver. So many of my family members and friends are wanting this recipe that I decided to post it on my blog. Totally giving you all the credit for this one! Stop on by and check it out. Thanks again!

  6. Ken Sparrow says

    Do not put the soap in the blender by its self. It will gum things up and most likely break the blender. Put the washing Soda are borax with the soap in the blender Put both if you have room. I grate mine before blending put if you should be able to use small chunks as long as you have the Washing Soda and Borax with the soap you should be OK. I grate my soap and it only takes 5min and i get fine particles of soap.

  7. Lisa C. says

    I’m taking the pludge and making my own laundry soap and fabric softener! I held out for a really long time because I simply LOVED the smell of ECOS Magnolia and Lily laundry soap – it was all natural and smelled amazing so it was hard to give it up. I’m going to try using Mr. Meyer’s Liquid Dish Soap instead of Dawn and I’ll report back. I don’t have clothes that get muddy or really dirty so I don’t think I’ll need the hard core “grease-cutting” that Dawn would provide. When I make the fabric softener I’m going to use Organix Cherry Blossom – was terrible at actually conditioning my hair but smells amazing so I’ll report back on that too…

    Quick question – has anyone been able to recreate that delicious scent of the ECOS Magnolia and Lily?? If anyone has experiemented with that let me know!

    Thanks for a fantastic blog Jillee!

  8. says

    No grate homemade laundry soap….Has anyone tried to make this hypoallergenic free. Would that just be the Dawn dishsoap? Any advise would be great. I have an infant and 2 other kids…All I have ever used is All Free and clear

  9. Kathryn says

    I love this recipe, and it works great in my HE washer. I haven’t noticed that it doesn’t work as well as previous detergents I have used. If I have a tough stain, I just treat it with my bar of Fels Naptha soap, and don’t need to worry about Zout or Shout. That works great. I use a homemade fabric softener that smells really good, and that combined with the detergent makes my clothes come out smelling really fresh and clean. I usually put a homemade dryer sheet in my dryer too, so triple whammy! :)

    • Terri says

      Did you try it? I was wondering about adding only half the water to make a more concentrated detergent—or instead of adding half the water, just add twice as many of the three ingredients to the bottle with the same amount of water…then it would be twice as strong.

  10. Diane says

    Just a question (and it may be up there in the million comments…. I did not read through them all!!) Do we have to add all the water? If we use less water (say a fourth) can we then just have concentrated laundry detergent and then only use 1//4 cup in a load instead of a cup? It seems to make sense to me but I am not wanting the bottle to blow up in the laundry room!! lol….

  11. Jessica says

    This recipe is awesome! I made a grated and “cooked” detergent before, but this one is much quicker and easier PLUS it gets my clothes cleaner! I make it with Ultra Palmolive Oxy Plus Power Degreaser dish soap and it gets out grease stains that the grated detergent couldn’t, and I only add a quarter of the water so I can use about 1/4 C per load (I do so much laundry but only have space to store one jug of detergent and didn’t want to make a new batch every week). Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  12. Katie says

    I love this soap! I have been using it for a few months now and I do have one question….can I substitute baking soda for the washing soda? I think the washing soda might be a little to harsh for my darks/delicates. What to do you think? Thanks!

  13. Andor Zensko says

    I had tried the grated soap version and found out I was allergic to the Fels Naptha bar soap. So I ended up using the Borax and Washing Soda for so many cleaning needs around the house, this has saved a lot of money over the year, I was very happy about that. I am will be trying your liquid version of laundry soap to see how that is for me. Thanks for sharing.

  14. says

    Hi Jillee!
    Im so excited! About a month ago we had a special guest speaker at our Woman’s gathering in one of friends home. We were going over great practical ideas, thoughts, and on how to organize tips.
    The guest speaker came in to speak on DIY Cleaners and came bearing Gifts :) She brought each lady present a small sample Of DIY Laundry detergent. (it was the ingredients mixed together in a Ziploc bag with the Recipe and directions taped to it so we could go home and try it. So I DID. Well it was the same recipe as your No grate Laundry Detergent.
    During that time i went on a mission on investigating on my own the many different recipes. And Came across your blog and decided to try your version.
    SO I HAVE TRIED BOTH. And i actually prefer your version better.
    Yes this No Grate version is SO SIMPLE.. Less work. I just feel your version one works better.
    I did however add my own twist.. (im one of those who loves seeing suds.. i love bubbles lol)
    I actually added 1/8 of a cup of Dawn into each Gallon of the 3 gallons of Your Version, as the last step Because i have read Dawn is an amazing grease fighter.. And i like it.
    Not much different… but a little more suds.
    Anyway just sharing my thoughts ALSO i Have NOTICED that they actually sell ZOTE (which is what i substituted for Naptha Already Grated!!! No grating just cooking now! Hopes this helps!

  15. Vivian says

    Thanks to Jillee for creating a wonderful blog.
    I am on my second batch of this detergent recipe, and I have been noticing that some of my clothing has indeed faded since using this for my laundry. I wonder if it is because I have hard well water? I also have more ring around the washer tub. Does anyone have a similar effect? I am using less than 1/2 cup of liquid. I still love the over all cleaning effect, and will make a third batch.

  16. Julie Sims says

    I LOVE this recipe…I have made the powdered version but this is so much easier. I used the Dawn Thai Dragonfruit and it smells great and cleans my clothes wonderfully. I made some last night for my mom and she was skeptical at first because she has an HE machine but it worked perfectly. Less suds but great cleaning power! Thank you Jillee for this great post :)

  17. Tammy says

    This recipe looks great! WHAT AMAZES ME THOUGH is the amount of people asking “how much do I use per load”? Are you kidding me? I hope you’re not the same people home schooling your children. YIKES!

  18. Lee Ann says

    Hi, I have finally decided to take on the making of my own detergent like so many of my friends are doing. I came across your no grate detergent and that is what made me decide to do it. I HAVE SOME QUESTIONS THO, how is the amounts determined? Would it do affect anyting with less or more water? The reason I ask is when you mentioned how much thinner it was, so i wondered if could add less water to make thicker? LOL the other reason is I decided to double recipe, BUT after the fact, I see my containers are 1.32 gallon!! LOL! thank you

  19. Celia says

    I tried this recipe last night and I didn’t really like it. I was really bummed about it, too, because I love your site and all your recipes! Maybe I did it wrong, but all my clothes just came out smelling like dish soap, and none of the stains came out, even with pre-treating them. I’m actually going to try a dry soap recipe tonight and re-wash that load. I really hate the smell! Any ideas as to what might have gone wrong? Thanks!

  20. Shooey says

    I also add 3 Tbls. of liquid fabric softener and 3 Tbls. of Oxi-Clean to the mix. That way I’ve got everything in there that I need. Thanks for your great money and time-saving “recipes”.

  21. Nomi says

    I wouldn’t promote Dawn dish soap. Dawn dish soap is bad for the environment contains chemicals that link to breast cancer and hormone disruption, and they owned by Proctor and Gamble which test on animals.

    Better choices:
    Seventh Generation…which comes in great smells like:
    Lavender Floral and Mint
    Fresh citrus and Ginger
    Lemongrass and Clementine

    Method…..which comes in great smells like:
    sea minerals
    pink grapefruit
    lemon mint
    fresh currant
    ginger yuzu

    Just a thought..:)

  22. says

    I love this recipe! I use Dawn “blue” for everything. I am an Extreme Couponer, so I get this stuff for about $0.25 a bottle! I have always used whatever bar soap I could find for as close to free as possible. This is such a better idea than grating those bars of soap! I don’t have a food processor so that is not an option.

    What types of jugs are those? They are really neat. I love that they are clear.

    Thanks for the great blog.

  23. Cheri J says

    Tried this and works great! The only other thing I did was …. I had made my own “Febreeze”. I had some left over after filling my bottle so I added it to the laundry mixture. So now it has a great smell and just a touch of softener to it.

  24. Alyssa says

    I LOVE this recipe!! I made my first batch about 4 months ago. I was hesitant to try a homemade laundry soap, and after making up a batch, I still didn’t feel much better about it. But I figured at worst, I would re-wash the load with my Tide, and since I had all the ingredients on hand, why not give it a shot. Wowza, I was impressed. I was a bit sad that my Dawn New Zealand scent didn’t carry over too much, but then I found your other post on adding Downy Un-stoppables, so I gave that a try. I was sold. I will never ever go back to buying over priced laundry soap again!!! I’m already on my 3rd batch and get excited every time I get to make more batches, I’m also going to give the concentrated version a try too! Now I’m trying to decide if I want to make wool dryer balls or the homemade fabric softer!!

    I also wanted to add that my husband who doesn’t give two cents about chemicals or anything like that just shook his head at me when I made my first batch (his way of saying I’m trying something crazy!!) Well I am happy to report, that even tho he still isn’t sold on the homemade laundry soap, I have asked him on several occasions if he can tell which clothes I wash in this and which ones in Tide. He swears he can tell a difference… but I haven’t used Tide in over 4 months, pretty sure he has nothing that has been washed in Tide!! :-) Thanks so much for all your helpful and wonderful tips!

  25. Sabor says

    For those of you that don’t like to grate soap, Walmart sells Zote Flakes which is the Zote Bar Laundry Soap already thinly grated so it dissolves faster. It’s great on either liquid or dry soap recipes.

  26. Deb says

    Jillie my husband does most of the laundry around here and this is his favorite soap recipe as well as mine. Probably since blue Dawn is my absolute favorite for cleaning everything

  27. Suzanne says

    Is there a substitute for the Dawn dish soap? Something with less chemicals in it? I like the recipe we use now but I hate grating soap so i like the idea of not having to do that step.

  28. Camille says

    This is my first time ever making homemade laundry soap……..I am making the liquid laundry soap version as we speak……..Wish me luck……..I am so excited to see how this stuff turns out and works.


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