Arts & Crafts Magazine

Homemade Laundry Soap WITHOUT Borax

By Dotchi Latham @DotchiLatham
My sons and I are allergic, or sensitive to, almost all store-bought detergents. I started making my own laundry detergent years ago to help with the skin rashes. I ended up loving it and now I make it because it's also cheap! 

I used the recipe my mom taught me but had to alter it because we don't always have borax and sometimes I just can't afford it. When I'm trying to be frugal, borax is a luxury I just can't afford. Now I have a recipe for making laundry soap that is a little bit more penny-friendly for me.

Homemade Laundry Soap WITHOUT Borax

The last of my batch from July 2013, made with Fels-Naptha.
The Kirks Laundry Soap will look more clear.

And before anyone asks: No, I am not one of those that thinks Borax is a horrible substances. In fact, I have a box of borax sitting under my sink and I use it. Sometimes I even use it in *GASP* my laundry soap recipe. Want to do a little reading on Borax? Here's a great read on the whole Borax is safe/ Borax is dangerous topic, by Crunchy Betty.

NOW! Onto the recipe...

Homemade Laundry Soap WITHOUT Borax

You will need
  • Baking Soda
  • Super Washing Soda (Next week I'll show how to make your own)
  • Kirk's Castile Soap or Fels-Naptha Or any other bar soap you like. I know people who make it with Ivory Soap.
  • A large pan for boiling water
  • A long spoon or wooden stick for stirring
  • A 4-5 gallon bucket to store it in. You can buy them at any hardware store.
  • A grater, like the one you use to grate cheese
  • A measuring cup. A 1-cup measuring cup will work.
If you can't find washing soda, I added a link to soap items. If you need help finding the items, just click the links above. 

I find washing soda at Wal-Mart and sometimes I can find it at hardware stores. I ended up making my own though since it is cheaper for me.Before we start: A note about my laundry soap
I prefer a liquid laundry soap since I wash my clothes either by hand with a Mobile Washer Laundry Plunger and five gallon buckets, or in my Panda Counter Top Washing Machine. I don't want to wait for the soap to dissolve in hot water. I need it to mix with the water right away. I use warm to hot water with each load. 

You can make this into a powder form (I'll tell you how at the end) but I will be making it into a liquid.

Step-by-step: Making your Homemade Laundry Soap

Step 1 Gather your supplies
Get everything together! And get ready to make laundry soap! Here is a picture of all my supplies.

Homemade Laundry Soap WITHOUT Borax

Everything you need! Just add water!

 Step 2 Grate your soap

With the cheese grater, grate your bar of soap. If you are making dry soap, skip down to the bottom. If you are making liquid soap, keep reading.

Homemade Laundry Soap WITHOUT Borax

This is Kirks Castile Bar Soap grated

Step 3 Boil your water and melt your soap

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the grated soap and stir... a lot! Keep stirring until your soap is melted.

Step 4 Add Washing soda and Baking soda

Add 1 cup of washing soda and 1 and 1/4 cups of baking soda. This isn't exact science though. So don't worry if you heap the measuring cup a little. Now stir until it's all dissolved into the soap water.

Homemade Laundry Soap WITHOUT Borax

You can still see little flakes of soap.
It took about 10 minutes for the castile soap to melt once the water was nice and hot.
Fels-Naptha usually takes a little longer to melt.

Step 5 Start filling your bucket!

Carefully pour your hot soap mix into your four or five gallon bucket. Add your hottest tap water to fill it up to almost the top. Stir everything together very well with your stirring spoon/ stick.

Homemade Laundry Soap WITHOUT Borax

Well, it's not pretty and cutesy. But it works for me.
My Homemade Laundry Soap storage bucket.

Step 6 Let it sit overnight.

Now you just let the laundry soap sit overnight. In the morning it will look like a congealed glob. That's okay! It's supposed to look like that. Stir it with your stick again and it's ready to use!

Here it is before I stirred it. I try to make a few bumps in the laundry soap glob but you can hardly see them. The spoon is standing up by itself!

Homemade Laundry Soap WITHOUT Borax

Here it is after stirring. The spoon no longer stands up. You can't tell in the picture, but it's slowly sinking into the laundry soap.
Homemade Laundry Soap WITHOUT Borax

One bucket will last me anywhere from 7 months to a year. My longest lasting batch was around for 1 year and 4 months.

Using your Homemade Laundry Soap

When I had a regular washer to wash clothes in, it was an HE machine and I never had any problems with this recipe since it is a low suds soap. 

You don't have to use a lot it for each load either. I use 1 to 2 TBSP per load. No, really! That's all I use! I have a shot glass that I use for soap. It's about 2 TBSP when full. I just measure it out depending on how dirty the laundry is.

If you have a stain on your laundry, I just take a Fels-Naptha bar of soap, wet the clothes, and rub the soap on the spot. Then I wash it. I guess you could use any other bar soap, but I always use Fels-Naptha because I usually have an extra bar laying around.

To make dry laundry detergent

To make dry laundry detergent, just add the grated soap, 1 and 1/4 cups baking soda, and 1 cup washing soda into a food processor. Run the food processor until it's all mixed together into a nice powder. 

When I made the powder version, I used 1 tsp per load. If you are using cold water, you will need to mix it with some hot water first so it dissolves, then add that to the washer.

Add-ins AKA Stink Pretties

If you really want to get creative, you can add 15-20 drops of essential oils to add a nice smell to your laundry. I don't add any to my soap but, a lot of people tell me that it makes the laundry smell nice. It seems that the main oil I hear of everyone using is lemon. 

If I were to add an oil to my laundry soap recipe, I'd probably pick mint. When I am out of laundry soap, I use Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Peppermint Soap instead and the clothes come out smelling WONDERFUL! 

I have been toying with the idea of using the Dr Bonner's castile peppermint bar soap in place of Fels-Naptha or Kirks soap. If I do, I will let you know how that goes. I am guessing it will be lovely!


By the way, this post has affiliate links. If you purchase something using these links, I make a little pocket change and you help me out. If you don't, that's okay too! I'll keep blogging anyway!

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