Homemade Laundry Soap

Although the idea of “living off the grid” sounds like an appealing goal in many ways, my family is far from that mark. However, we try to be as self-sufficient as possible within our current abilities and infrastructure. We also are trying to make strides toward becoming more so. 

Here are the three main ingredients you need to make your own laundry soap.

A part of the process is obviously being able to provide as many items yourself as you can and spending as little money as possible buying disposable products. (By the way, is anyone else frustrated with how much toilet paper costs? I’m about ready to switch all our toilets to bidets.)

Today, I wanted to share a recipe for making homemade laundry soap. Laundry detergent is another one of those expensive disposable products. You still have to buy the three main ingredients, but buying those and mixing them at home will save you a bundle. Also, it’s easy. The main ingredients aren’t hard to find. I bought mine at Walmart.

I usually double the recipe below for two reasons. First, I store it in a five gallon bucket on top of my dryer, so I have room for that much at a time. Two, we go through a lot of laundry, so making more detergent at a time means I have to make it less often.

How much of the detergent you need to use just depends on the size of your load and how dirty the clothes are. Generally, I use more of the homemade soap that the concentrated soap you buy from the store. For most loads, the homemade detergent works fine, but there are times when I have a very dirty, smelly load that I decide to use the store-bought concentrated detergent.

This is what the finished product looks like.

In the recipe below, I’ve found that using Zote laundry flakes is much easier than cutting and grating up a soap bar of Zote or Fels Naptha. However, you can use a ⅓ of either soap bar chopped up instead of the flakes.

Homemade Laundry Soap

⅓ cup super washing soda

⅓ cup 20 Mule Team Borax

⅓ cup Zote laundry flakes

1 gallon plus 12 cups of water


Add 6 cups of water to a pot on the stove. Add in the washing soda, Borax, and Zote. Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring often. Once all the soap is melted, remove from heat. Be careful not to let the mixture boil over. Pour the soap mixture into a large container (like a five-gallon bucket). Add 6 more cups of hot water and stir. Then add one gallon of water and stir. Soap is ready to use the next day and will appear like a watery gel.

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