Super Concentrated No-Grate Liquid Laundry Detergent

concentrated liquid laundry detergent

After I posted the Homemade Laundry Detergent – Trial Size Version recipe last week, I had several requests for a concentrated version of the LIQUID Laundry Detergent I am fond of as well.

Since it has been awhile since I’d made up a batch, I figured I’d give it a try. It actually was embarrassingly easy, but I’m going to post about it anyway. :-)

To make a CONCENTRATED batch of No-Grate Liquid Laundry Detergent I started with a smaller container. I used an 89 ounce juice container, which is roughly 30% smaller than the gallon size.

homemade liquid laundry detergent 2

Then I added:

1/2 cup of Borax
1/2 cup of Washing Soda
1/2 cup of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (I have used both the Original and the Ultra and haven’t noticed any difference between the two)

homemade liquid laundry detergent 4

Add to that:

4 cups HOT water to dissolve the ingredients, then fill the container the rest of the way with cold water. The ingredients do tend to settle at the bottom between uses, but I just give the bottle a good shake before adding it to the washer.

The ingredients in this recipe are a little more than double the amount from the original. Combined with 30% less water I decided 1/4 cup per large load of clothes should be sufficient.

homemade liquid laundry detergent 7

Over the last few days I have done probably half a dozen loads of clothes using this mixture and have been, once again, completely satisfied with the results. Since this liquid version doesn’t contain the oxygen bleach component that my DRY version does, I add some of that to my white loads.

Just another option in our fight against dirty laundry!  :-)

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NOTE: Since this question comes up so often in the comments…I thought I should address it in the actual post. This laundry detergent should work perfectly fine in front loader (high efficiency) washers.  It has very little to NO suds.  Many, many, many readers have commented in past posts that they use it in their HE washers with great results! :-)


concentrated liquid laundry detergent 2

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  1. Michelle says

    Just wondering…I’ve been making this for a few months but have always wondered…do you wait to add the cold water after the foamy bubbles disappear or fill it up and let the bubbles run out of the container? Thanks for the great recipes!!

      • Megan says

        Love your site Jillee! When I make mine, I add the dry ingredients, dissolve them, add the rest of the water, then the dawn. That way I don’t have to fight the bubbles . Just give it a little shake, and I’m ready to go. Hope this helps. :)

      • Tara R. says

        What a great idea Megan! I couldn’t get rid of all the bubbles!! I also forgot to put the “sweetener” before adding cold water, so they didn’t all dissolve, but I added some to my load.

    • Colleen says

      A little spritz of rubbing alcohol from a spray bottle will get rid of the bubbles immediately, and won’t affect the laundry detergent.

  2. says

    Far out, I see Dawn in everything!! LOL
    In Australia we have no such thing. Can someone PLEASE help me out with a substitute?
    I’m missing out on so much!!
    Cussons? Fairy Liquid? Trix? Palmolive? Earth Choice?

    I have a fairly new frontloader, and I’m too scared to experiment with it!
    Jillee, you are an inspiration to us all xxxx

    • Sharon says

      Fairy Liquid would be the best to use. I would think its the same blend as the British fairy liquid, which is THE BEST. Very pure. Couldn’t find it here in the States when I moved from the UK so I was told Dawn was gentle. Hope that helps.

  3. Emma says

    Never one to leave well enough alone (or so I’ve been told) I wonder how well the ingredients dissolve in our washing machine if they never completely dissolve while in the bottle?

    • Bell says

      I’ve wondered the same thing after recently making a small batch for my brother. I boiled the water, mixed in the ingredients then let it cool for awhile. There was residue in the mixing container and there is residue in the bottle.

    • Vannessa says

      Emma —
      I would try dissolving in a smaller amount of VERY hot water then instead of cold, I would add the remainder in warm water.

    • Gwyn says

      Maybe adding the two powders and the hot water and shaking/stirring to dissolve everything first then adding the soap and the rest of the water would help. I’m not 100% sure but might be worth a try. That way you aren’t dealing with suds by shaking vigorously when it’s in there as well as using hot water to help dissolve them. Just a thought.

    • says

      Emma…my ingredients DO completely dissolve…they just tend to settle (in their dissolved state) at the bottom of the bottle when they sit on the shelf. Giving it a quick shake before dispensing fixes that.

      • cty says

        Keep in mind that if the ingredients dissolve in water, they are water soluble. That remains true even for cold water. Here’s my high school chemistry (testimony to Mrs. Muzik, my HS Chemistry teacher). Hot water dissolves more because the molecules are further apart and there is more space for the ingredients to “fit”. The ingredients will also dissolve in cold water–it just takes more water because the molecules are close together.
        Also once the ingredients dissolve in water they will not “undissolve”. The only thing that will pull the ingredients out of the water is heating high enough to boil away the water. If you have bits that don’t dissolve—your water ratio needs to be increased (or perhaps the hot water used could be hotter). If the items “layer” in the bottle it is just because the ingredients has different densities.
        Soooo if you are washing your clothes in water (even cold) the detergent will dissolve.
        Also just because the soap will not “undissolve” doesn’t mean it will stay in the clothes. There is more water so the detergent is way diluted, the initial wash water is emptied, there is a rinse cycle to dilute further & is also emptied; any minute residue there is left will be rinsed out if you use white vinegar in the rinse cycle. The vinegar is also a fabric softener.
        If you have the hardest water ever–using distilled water to make your detergent should help heaps (its because the mineral salts are taking up all the space between the molecules).
        Mrs. Muzik was the best teacher ever! My oldest had her in HS too. She was stunned to see me at Back to School Night. She was one of my sons favorite teachers.

      • Jenn says

        Hi, does it matter what sent Dawn, I bought a sented brand by mistake….is it ok to use? Thanks

      • Jenn says

        Just realized my scent was not spelled correctly and I just read all the othef comments so no need to reply….sorry should have read first :-) thanks for all your great info. I’m new to your site and LOVE IT……thank you

      • Emma says

        My washing soda and borax appeared to be completely dissolved in the hot water but later I could hear it when I shook the bottle. Seems to clean well anyway.

      • Dinger says

        My ingredients dissolved completely when I made the laundry detergent, but I, too, can hear chunks in my bottle, now. I, also, have an issue with the detergent not rinsing completely out of the clothing. That being said, I just had the thought that my husband was the one that put those loads of clothes in the washer. I am wondering if he LOADED the washer too full. Hmmmmm……
        By the way, Jillee, I love your site! Thank you for being the guinea pig so all of us may reap the benefits!

    • Trixie F says

      I don’t know what kind of machine you use but I use a top-loading HE washer and have been using the dry laundry soap for months now with no problems. My Mom had the old-fashioned top load washer with an agitator and she would just add her soap to the drum after the water started filling up and stir it for a few seconds with an old broom handle just to be sure it completely dissolved. I think that was more for her peace of mind but she never had a problem either.

    • says

      Erin…since I don’t have a front loader I can’t say with certainty…but….there have been literally hundreds of readers on past posts say they use it in their front loader with no problems whatsoever. Hope this helps!

  4. Debbie says

    I have been using the borax, washing soda, and fels naptha soap for years. On my husbands oxfords, I have used Dawn, a full strength dab of it, for a pretreat on greasy spots. It works very well, but I’m going up try your detergent today. I bet it will be super at tough stains.

    • christine says

      I have also found a can of coca cola will get out tough mechanical grease. I used it on my ex’s bibs for work when he was a mechanic.

  5. Linda F says

    Love that this one is sooo simple! My fiance’ still doesn’t “get” WHY I would make laundry detergent! I also wonder about the quantity for a HE machine – but seems like 1/4 cup is so little, that it would be fine?

  6. says

    This is excellent–thank you – I am wondering how well it would work if one used a liquid castile soap instead of Dawn dish soap? What would be the ratio to be sure its concentrated?

    • Ann says

      I think the reason she uses Dawn is for it’s grease fighting power. Could be wrong, but I think I remember that comment earlier. Hope that helps.

      • Heather Woods says

        Would Gain antibacterial soap work just as well? Just asking because I already have a full bottle of Gain and would rather use that before buying anymore!

      • icaro_satsuma says

        antibacterial soap is bad, bad, bad for the environment and bad, bad, bad for humans as ANYTHING antibacterial is rendering more and more antibiotic medications INEFFECTIVE against serious, and even life-threatening, illnesses. please research this!! and if you have a septic system, you should NEVER use antibacterial products if you want the bacteria in your septic system to continue their job of breaking down waste.

    • Tessa says

      Karen, I have made this mixture with both castille soap and Seventh Generation dish soap. As far as performance goes, I think they both work equally well. That said, I prefer the dish soap only in that the mixture seems to “mix” better. It’s kind of hard to explain but when I use the castille soap there’s a lot more separation and I have to do more shaking, but with the dish soap I just turn the bottle over once and it’s good.
      And for anyone wondering, I will add to all the others that this does work just fine for an HE.
      Jillee, I’m wondering a little bit about the amounts here though. I guess I’ve always made a concentrated version based on comments I read from the original post. I use the original amounts of 3 Tbs. each borax and washing soda, and 2 Tbs. dish soap but only 4 cups water. And I’ve only ever used 2 Tbs. per load. And it works great! Just thinking you don’t need these larger amounts?
      Thanks for all the great info!

      • S says

        Hey, I have been using this for four batches, about 8 months and the seal in my whirlpool front loader tore. I had this machine for 9 years and it’s been great and after 8 months of this detergent it tore up. It could be a coincidence, but I’m a sorry to say I switched back. :(

      • Sarah says

        I have used this in my front loader for over a year. I haven’t had any issues. My washer is about 9 years old and is still awesome.

  7. Sandra R says

    Jillee, we can’t get DAWN in New Zealand. Is it possible there is another possible substitute?

    • Linda G. says

      I have used another dish soap in place of the Dawn almost all of the time that I make this (which is all the time). I have not had any problems with using a totally different soap in place of the Dawn. I’ve been using the Costco brand’s Kirkland soap instead and love the smell of that one! I hope you find much success in whatever type of soap you choose!

      • Marie says

        Hello Jillee, Just joined your site. I’m wondering if the liquid homemade laundry soap can be used in cold, well water? Thank you so much for your time and consideration :).

      • Jessica says

        I also use a different detergent than Dawn. My skin is so sensitive that the Dawn broke me out. I use Seventh Generation Free and Clear and have had great results! I also like to add 1/4 cup OxiClean to the recipe to help with extra tough stains.

    • marli says

      I live in South Africa and our top dishwashing liquid is Sunlight liquid. I substitute that for Dawn in all the recipes. Don’t know if you get that in NZ?

    • says

      Hi Jillee,
      I love the scent of lavender so much and wondered if I would be able to put some lavender oil in this mixture? Any thoughts on that?
      Thanks so much for all you do for us….You are truly a Blessing from God!!!!
      Amy (Mom to the Four Sisters)

      • says

        I add lavender scent booster when making this laundry soap. Smells wonderful!! Love the laundry soap. Use it all the time.

      • Heather says

        Amy, I add lemon and lime essential oils to my batches and it smells awesome! It’s very fresh and clean-scented without being overly girly, which my husband and son appreciate! :) I added about 10 drops of each scent when I made a 2 gallon batch, but this next time I’ll add probably 15 of each to make it a bit stronger.

      • Val says

        The lavender Gain dish soap smells really nice. I have used it in this homemade laundry detergent recipe. I’ve had good luck with Dawn and Ajax too.

    • says

      I would use sunlight liquid (I’m an expat kiwi)

      The down to earth brand is good too for this kind of thing.

    • Amanda says

      Actually, I use the same recipe but with castile soap (lavender scented) instead of Dawn. I LOVE it!!

    • aymbee says

      I have used Joy as well as Seventh Generation dish soap and both have worked equally well! Best of luck with your experimenting. I swear once you start using this you will never buy laundry soap again!