Friday, May 13, 2011

Do-it-yourself homemade natural laundry soap

With the new (old) wringer washer, and the warm weather, we are a little laundry obsessed these days!  I've been meaning to make a batch of homemade laundry soap.  Good quality natural laundry soap is expensive - our usual brand is about $20 for 3 litres.  Here is a bulk recipe for liquid laundry soap that incorporates pure essential oils – it’s a compilation of recipes from various sources.  I like that this liquid laundry soap cleans well, is all natural, affordable, extremely easy to make, uses whatever favourite essential oils you prefer for added aromatherapy value, and can recycle left over soap bar bits (soap off-cuts tend pile up at our house from our soapmaking business).  And, maybe most importantly, you know exactly what is going into your laundry soap and you are avoiding carcinogenic, toxic, skin irritating, environmentally nasty additions like sodium laureth sulphate, dioxins, etc (read more about the problems with SLS and other chemicals in your cosmetics on David Suzuki's website here).   From now on, we hope not to have to buy laundry soap again!  If you don't have the time or inclination to make this laundry soap, another good option is to use soap nuts (well, they are actually soap berries, sustainably harvested from trees in India and Nepal, and highly effective at cleaning laundry in an eco-friendly way).  

As a side note, some of our soap bits were also recently used in a wet-felting workshop (follow the link for a walk-through demo on wet-felting!) – another good use for left-over bits of soap!

Do-it-yourself homemade natural laundry soap (liquid)

You will need: 
- One large 18-20 litre (5 gallon) pail to mix soap in
- 4 cups hot water (just boiled)
- 1 cup natural olive oil based soap bar, grated finely
- 1 cup washing soda (found in the laundry section of the hardware store)
- ¼ cup borax (found in the cleaning section of the grocery store)
- 60 drops of pure essential oils of choice – e.g. lavender & citrus; lemon & thyme; lemongrass; chamomile & marigold; grapefruit & tea tree; or unscented is also an option

1) Combine grated soap and hot water in large saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until soap is melted.  Then fill your large pail halfway with very hot water.  Add the melted soap, washing soda and borax. Stir well.

2) Fill bucket up with hot water.  Stir, let sit 12-24 hours.  Then add essential oils stirring well.  You are done!    

3) Store your laundry soap in glass jars, or old liquid laundry containers.  Shake well before each use.  Use 1/2 per load for top loading (or your wringer-washer).  I'm not sure it is recommended for front-loading washers as they tend to suggest using particular products with those machines.  I believe this recipe yields about 90-100 loads.

Here are 10 other recipes for do-it-yourself homemade natural laundry soap (powder and liquid options)


  1. I have been looking for a liquid soap recipe for a while now -- thank you for this! Seems simple and I love that I can add essential oils <3

    Do you think this would keep well in mason jars? How long? Or would it keep forever, just needing to be shook up a little before use?

    Thanks so much!

  2. Yes, this soap should keep well in a mason jar for an almost indefinite time if kept out of light and heat (which will cause essential oils to deteriorate). You will just need to shake it up well before each use.

  3. Perfect -- thank you! :)

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