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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781 thoughts on “No-Grate Homemade Laundry Soap

  1. Valarie

    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.

  2. Jennifer

    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.

  3. sara

    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!

    1. Kendra Acker

      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.

  4. Kendle

    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!

  5. Kendra Acker

    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.

  6. Jennifer

    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.

  7. Ashley

    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…

  8. Kassi Hilterbrand

    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!!

  9. Laura L

    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!

  10. Amy

    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!

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  12. Jen

    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.

  13. Cathy

    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!

  14. Milissa

    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!!!

  15. Sarah

    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! :)

  16. Layla Bell

    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!

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  18. Lisa Marie

    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?

    1. Elaine

      I haven’t tried this soap on greasy clothes. When I used to wash greasy clothes, I would add a cup of white vinegar to the load. It helps remove the ordor.

  19. KJsLady

    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!

  20. CL

    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.

    1. Gwen

      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. :)

    2. Andor Zensko

      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.

  21. Judy L.

    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!

  22. Holly H

    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.

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  24. Colleen

    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!

  25. Aurie

    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. ;)

  26. Rhea

    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!

  27. Ken Sparrow

    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.

  28. Lisa C.

    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!

  29. carla

    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

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  31. Kathryn

    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! :)

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  33. Vicki

    Just wondering if adding a small amount of glycerine would help the liquid not be so runny? Has anyone tried this? I think I might try it and see how it goes.

    1. Terri

      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.

  34. Diane

    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….

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  36. Jessica

    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!

  37. Katie

    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!


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