Simple Recipe: How To Make Your Own Laundry Soap For Pennies

How To Make Your Own Laundry Soap- Easy!
I have a confession to make.  In order to make something I have a criteria that the prospective project must meet.  I have three kids 5 and under so time can be limited and I only cut corners on things that are important to me. 
My Golden Rule:
The project must be easy.  It cannot be too time-consuming otherwise I do not consider it a savings.  Our time is valuable right?  The ingredients must be easy to find, and I must be able to calculate a significant savings up front.  It also must look fun and interesting, I become bored quickly.
This recipe is similar to those you may have seen floating around for a while now in blog sphere, however I decided to leave mine concentrated as opposed to the other directions that I have seen.  I felt that they took up quite a bit of space, and required more effort which would directly violate rule number 1 above.  Can’t break the rules.  So, here is what I used, and a breakdown of the up front cost to make it, and recurring costs since some supplies you only buy once or rarely.
I found everything I needed at Wal-Mart, including the 5 gallon bucket and lid.  I was a bit worried about the bucket due to the hazard around small children initially, however I can barely pry the lid off so it’s pretty safe.  Unless you have extremely strong kids, then please store it where they would not have access. 
Trip to Wally-World looked like this:
1 5-gallon bucket (near the paint dept.) and lid                  Cost: $4.00
1 Box of Arm & Hammer Washing (not baking) Soda        Cost: $3.50
1 Box of Borax                                                                    Cost: $3.50
1 Bar of Fels-Naptha Soap (in the laundry area as well)     Cost: $0.97
Total up-front costs were $11.97, next time I make a batch, which will be a while, I will only need to pay $0.97 for another bar of the soap since I will have so much left over Borax and Washing Soda.
  1. Grate the soap and add to a pan with 8 cups of water in it and warm over medium heat until soap is dissolved.  Stirring often, and not boiling, the mixture will be a bit foamy, that’s ok.  I used a stainless pan as I did not want any residue on a non-stick pan.  It washed up perfectly.
  2. Pour mixture into the bucket, and add a couple gallons of hot water.  Stir well and add the Washing Soda and the Borax, stirring until dissolved.
  3. Fill bucket with hot water until it is about and inch or so from the top, stir again and you are done for today.  Snap the lid on tight, and store overnight (mixture will thicken.)
  4. The next day I checked on my little creation and discovered that it had thickened as I hoped.  I used my immersion-blender and a large long spoon to stir the soap, bringing the thicker parts to the surface and evening out the consistency with my immersion blender.  I had kept a liquid laundry soap container from the last time I bought soap (way to often!) and filled it with my concentrate.  I use in a top loading machine about 1/4 cup per load.  I understand this recipe should be safe for front loading machines as well, and I have seen some people use 1/8 of a cup for their front-loading machines.
So, there you have it.  I was amazed when I calculated the savings per year on soap, and while the initial investment was under $12.00, I will be keeping my family’s laundry smelling fresh and clean for about $0.005 per load.  Not too shabby, and since this took me less than 30 minutes total time investment, and it was fun to make.
I hope this and other ideas I bring you from my kitchen in the Pacific Northwest help bring you ideas and inspiration.  I would love to hear feedback, changes, and versions that you have made too.  Please come back and post your results!! 
Hugs, Tanya 🙂

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  1. This is a great ideas I need to try. I was wondering if there is a natural inexpensive way to scent the laundry soap a bit.

  2. Hi Kristin:) A few drops of essential oil per gallon of laundry soap is what you can use. I like lavender and tea tree oil too since they smell so clean and fresh. Let me know if you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  3. I've been thinking about trying this, I think you just convinced me! Thanks for visiting my blog, I'm now a follower!

  4. Lorrie, It's sooo easy and I love it. I will not say that I love doing laundry 🙂 But I love saving money. Thank you so much for following! I love your blog, have a wonderful, blessed day- Tanya

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  6. I have been reading about this all over blog land. I was thinking if I did this I would have more cash for things that are actually fun! Do you know if this can be used in a HE washer?

    I am a new follower & will be visiting often.

  7. @ Toni: I was really shocked when I realized how much I was spending even after coupons and sales on soap, household items etc…and I could not agree with you more, I'd rather head to the thrift or fabric store than buy more soap any day. Plus it was super fun to make and I love the smell. Please come back and let me know how your turned out- Hugs, Tanya 🙂

  8. I see Toni above asked if this could be used for HE washers. Do you know if you can use this for the high efficiency?

  9. I see where you said it was safe for front loaders but some people think front loaders and HE are the same and some don't. Thanks!!!

  10. On the trip to Wally World you said a box of washing soda and a box of borax, but at the end you said you would only have to buy a bar of soap to make another batch since you will have so much washing soda and borax left over. My question is how much of the washing soda and borax do you actually use. From the price list I am going with the boxes are the regular size that you would find in the grocery store not the size from Sam’s Club. I am being a stickler about sizes and amounts since this wiould be my first time trying to make my own and I don’t want to make a mistake and waste product. Thank you for passing on your knowledge to us.

    • Hi Lenore!

      I actually used the contents of each just as listed in the recipe (I know it sounds like a lot) and it worked great!! I hope you enjoy making it as much as I do 🙂 Thank you so much for coming by!!

      xo, Tanya

  11. mLKjYu I think this is a real great post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

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Thank you so much for reading, and as always, may your heart and home be full of everything you love! xo, Tanya         linking up to: And these awesome parties: