Friday, February 20, 2009

Fresh & Clean Laundry Soap

I've been making my own cleaning products for some time now and love the way that so many different types of cleaners can be made from 6 basic ingredients: baking soda, washing soda, borax, castile soap, vinegar, and lemon juice. I make glass cleaner, an all purpose spray cleaner, soap for the wood floors, scrub for the bath tub, soap for the dishwasher, and even shampoo out of these ingredients.

Recently I decided to test out some homemade laundry soap. I've been using Charlie's Soap, which I completely love, but I can no longer get locally, so I decided to look to my current products for an answer. I was already using washing soda and/or Borax in addition to my regular laundry soap sometimes when I needed a laundry booster or something for odors or tough stains. And my Dr. Bronners castile soap touts that it can be used to clean just about anything. So why not mix them up?
I ended up grating an ounce of the Dr. Bronner's, then adding a cup of Borax and a cup of Washing Soda. I shook it all together and stored it in a glass jar w/ tight fitting lid. I use about 2 tablespoons for each load (just because that's how big the scoop is in my laundry room).

Our laundry comes out looking, feeling and smelling nice and clean. No fake "mountain fresh" or "sunshine" scent, just clean. There's no plastic waste. Everything comes in cardboard, which I recycle. And it's all stuff that I buy anyway. Gotta love that!

EDITED 2/27/09 to say: As you'll see in the comments below, we were asked for a cost per load on this laundry soap. We originally figured it at a much higher price (because I'm not all that good at math, evidently!). I looked online for prices of the Washing Soda and Borax because I didn't remember how much I'd paid for them 6+ months prior. Well, when I went to our local King Soopers grocery store (owned by Kroger) to restock this week, I found that they were much cheaper than I found them online. So here is my new cost breakdown:

Washing Soda: 3.99 for 55 oz = .072 / oz
Borax: 3.49 for 76 oz = .045 / oz
Dr. Bronner's bar: 3.65 for 5 oz = .73 / oz

For one batch I use:
8 oz Washing soda = .576
8 oz Borax = .36
1 oz Dr. Bronners = .73
for a total cost of = 1.66 per batch

One batch = 17 oz of mixed product
2 tbsp = 1 oz, so there are 34 tbsp of product in this batch
$1.66 divided by 34 tbsp = .048 per tbsp

I use 2 tbsp per load, so that is $0.097 (let's round up to $.10) per load

Hope that helps!

~*Kellie blogs regularly at Greenhab: The Browns Go Green*~


  1. About 10 years ago I owned a health food store. One dark and rainy afternoon a really rough-looking biker guy came in -- he asked for a bottle of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint liquid soap!! Told me he used it for everything from brushing his teeth to washing his underwear. He was right - it does work for everything without being artificial and doing damage to the environment.

  2. This is so great, you have so many good ideas. I wondered (if it is not too cheeky),if you would consider linking it to our Buddy's link where we are trying to help those out who don't have these skills. I would really appreciate it. Margaret
    The link is

  3. How funny! I was planning to post my laundry detergent recipe next week! Even took pictures yesterday! Great minds think alike! :)

    I do it almost exactly the same, only I use 1 bar Ivory grated in the food processor then I add 1 cup Borax and 1 cup Washing Soda and process. It makes a nice fine powder!

  4. This is how I have been making mine also. Love it. I used a rose scented bar last time, smells great!

  5. Great post. I love the idea of using Dr. Bronner's for laundry--such a good smell!

    mmm...Rose scented sounds wonderful. I wonder if you could get by with using less of your mix? 28 cents per load sounds a bit high. My free and clear environmentally sound detergent comes out to 11.5 cents per load (if I use it according to package directions--which I use much less!) Your same amount would come out to $13!! per container!!

    I bet you could get by using 1/2 or a 1/4 of your awesome mixture!

  6. D'oh - sorry Steph! I love the food processor idea. I'm definitley trying that next time!

    Becca - As I did my laundry last night I realized that I use one scoop, which is actually 2 tablespoons, so I guess you could cut that in half to $0.14 per load - that definitely makes it better! If you had an especially tough load, I guess you could use more, or just add a bit more washing soda to that particular load.

  7. About a TB of my homemade does the trick except for really tough loads.

  8. Great idea! I love finding simple, inexpensive and environmentally friendly solutions like this. Thank you for sharing.

  9. The nice part about homemade laundry soap is that you can use the leftover ends of bars of soap that are too small to wash with otherwise. I try to save the bits and scraps for whenever I made my next batch. It saves me some frustration when I'm washing my hands and the soap is about to run out and I can't quite get it to lather properly.

  10. Great idea - my husband has a collection of "soap ends" in the shower. Evidently he has some sort of aversion to small bits of soap, lol.

  11. With so many of us not only trying to save pennies but to use authentic products this is great. You have inspired me to "have a go", lol. Thank you for been part of Buddy's, Margaret

  12. I was going to say that 28 cents is high. My All is running me 15 cents a load.

  13. I LOVE Dr. Bronner's soap! I use the peppermint liquid soap for my hair, body, and teeth! My children use it in the bath as well. Dr. Bronner's has so many nice scents - I bet your laundry smells wonderful. I know his lavender is fairly strong, so it's a good choice.

    I have yet to try homemade laundry detergent, but I will get around to it. Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. I should mention that has some of the lowest prices on Dr. Bronner's products, and shipping is a flat $4.00 and some change. I've been buying from them(gallon jugs) ever since I saw them mentioned in a green chat space on the web. They are very fast with shipping ans reliable.

  15. I only use 1 TBS when I was a normal load, 2 for my hubby's dirty work clothes. I never have any issues with them not coming clean, in fact they smell MUCH better with this homemade detergent than they ever did before.

  16. This would be interesting to try out. Thank you for submitting it to the carnival.

    I have wanted to try my hand at making homemade soaps, and this one seems easy. I will have to see if I can get some borax and whatever else you said in the entry!

    Thanks for submitting it again!

  17. I love your recipe for homemade laundry soap. I especially like how its eco-friendly as it cuts down on all the plastic container waste. Stumbled and reviewed for you too!

  18. I'm glad I found this post. I am just getting interested in making my own laundry soap. Thanks everybody!

  19. I have a question about this, because I REALLY REALLY like the idea of making my own, but does it suds up too much to use in a front loading, high efficiency machine? Thanks!!

  20. Jess, I have a top loader, but I've opened it up to see about the suds factor and I would say it's safe for a front loading machine too. It actually won't get all bubbly like many of the commercial products, but still cleans just as well. I think they put extra "stuff" in the other products to make it do that because we typically associate bubbles w/ clean. Hope that helps!

  21. i do this too, but i stretch it with 1 1/2 c each borax and baking soda, and i just use 1 Tbsp. i even use it with my cloth diapers! we do add a scoop of sun oxygen cleaner in each load (which is inexpensive and as i understand it, pretty natural/safe.)

  22. Thankyou so much for the brake down of the price. I have always wondered what it cost per wash now I know!!!

  23. I have been making my own laundry soap for quite a while. I use my own homemade bar soap and 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 of washing soda. I make it into a liquid though. I think it works better. I use this liquid for everything, hand soap, dishwasher soap, and stain remover. I figured that with my homemade soap it costs about 7 cents a load. Cant beat that with 5 (soon to be 6 ) kids. It has become so popular with my friends that I had to start selling it. Who would of thought that laundry soap would turn out to be my best seller lol

    I love your site. Making it from scratch is definitely our motto.

  24. This is really interesting. I think this can really help me with my expenses with the laundry soaps.
    laundry hampers


Header designed by Crystal. Thanks!