DIY tutorial to make your own laundry soap and save big money

This is a super easy tutorial on how to make your own laundry soap. I made another batch last night and it literally took me all of 10 minutes of work for a 5 gallon batch (including taking pictures).

To mix it up I used my drill with a new clean paint mixer attachment I use just for soap making.

Use a 5 gallon bucket (clean): Add to it about 3 gallons of warm or hot water.

Add to that warm water 2 cups of baking soda: Cost of 2 cups of soda: less than 50 cents:
Add to the water about 2 cups of borax: Again, the cost is less than 50 cents for 2 cups:

Take you a bar of whatever soap you want, I have used Irish spring which smelled excellent. This time I used a hypo-allergenic Dial which was 88 cents for 3 bars at wally mart. Cost for one bar was a whole 29 cents:
Now shred that bar on a cheese grater (it’s soap, it’s not like you can’t wash it):

Bring a pot of water to almost a boil, just not quite and add in all the shredded soap. Keep it from boiling and stir often for about 3-4 minutes till dissolved. Keep an eye on it because it tends to foam up if left unattended and burnt soap probably doesn’t smell to good.
Once dissolved, pour molten soap mixture into the batch (already containing water, soda and borax). Top off with hot water to fill it up and start mixin’. You could do this with a spoon or something, but this paint mixer cost me 2.99 at the hardware store and mixes the batch in about 15 seconds.

And VOILA, you have just made laundry soap. You just add it as usual to your loads in the usual amount. I have tried it on grassy stains after mowing and it works just as well as ERA or whatever you use.

About the only difference I have found with this method is it helps to give the bucket a shake before dipping out your soap to swish it all around. I usually put the mixture in old ERA containers with a spout so I just fill up my cup and go.

Price Comparison:
Cost of a super size ERA at Sams is about $15 last I checked for 2.34 gallons or about $30 per 4.68 gallons.

Cost per 5 gallons of home brew soap: about $1.29 plus 10 minutes of time. Kinda fun too really.

I figure we usually use 4 of those ERA containers a year from past experience so a total soap bill of about $60 a year. Now we will be spending less than $5.00 per year.

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Comments {16}

{16} Comments

  • 08.25.08 LiNTEK

    Very practical solution, especially now that times are hard.

  • 08.25.08 madsow

    Yes, it is not as perfect as store bought soap, you have to shake it before you use it or it will settle out. But it sure is cheap and works well.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • 08.26.08 Marcia

    Followed you over from Festival of Frugality…

    You know, I’ve always considered trying this. But I buy the cheapo Pyrex laundry soap, and it only costs us about $15 a year. Maybe I’ll do it for fun some day.

  • 08.26.08 Crystal

    I like just using the powder form. But great tips.

  • 08.29.08 Steff

    Will this work with an HE washer?

  • 08.29.08 madsow

    I honestly don’t have any idea. I have never used an high efficiency machine before. Other than knowing that they use less water and soap, I don’t really know a thing about them.

    Unless they use a different kind of soap I would assume you could use it, just in smaller quantity… but again that is an assumption on my part. Sorry I can’t be more help than that. There are several other blogs out there that have tips and such for home made laundry soap (such as all I can recommend is to check around with some of them. Knowing the manufacturer they will probably tell you that you have to use the brand they recommend or the sky will fall and the earth will cease to rotate.

    Good luck.

  • 09.02.08 Hercules

    If you use Arm & Hammer 'Washing Soda' instead of the 'Baking Soda' it works even better.

  • 09.02.08 Hercules

    If you use Arm & Hammer 'Washing Soda' rather than 'Baking Soda it will get stains out better.

  • 09.07.08 KeepItSimple


    Thanks for the great tutorial!!! I always like to see how others make things.

    I did a tutorial of my own a while back – it’s similar, but I use washing soda and fels naptha soap. I also only make 2 gallons at a time -whichs lasts about a month. We pour the finished product into two gallons jugs.

    As for the HE washers – yes, we have a front loader and it works great. You only need about half as much of the soap – so it lasts even longer!!

    Thanks again!

  • 09.25.08 Anonymous

    I love making my own soap…but I prefer the powdered version because it’s faster to make and easier to store.

    I have young children so I use kirk’s castile soap because it’s safe for those with sensitive skin.

    Super Gentle Homemade Laundry Soap

    1 cup Washing Soda
    1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
    1 bar Kirk’s Castile Soap

    Slice soap into strips and run through food processor to make “soap beads”. (or you could use a cheese grater)

    Combine soap beads, borax, and washing soda. Done!

    Use 1-2 tablespoon for small loads, 3-4 tablespoons for large loads.

    Dissolve in hot water if washing with cold water.

  • 09.25.08 Anonymous

    Oh, and this soap is safe for HE and FL washers because it’s low sudsing!

  • 10.03.08 Mary

    This is the simplest explanation I’ve seen. I’m going to give it a try. Thanks for posting! Consider yourself Stumbled!

  • 07.18.09 Christina

    Thanks for this. My kids and I tried it and had so much fun making it!

  • 11.29.09 Melissa J

    I tried making this and I was wondering if it was supposed to be very watery? I read on another page somewhere that theirs turns out to be like slime. TIA

  • 11.29.09 The Engineer

    Yes, it will be a bit watery compared to storebought detergents which are kind of syrup like. I don’t know about slimey, maybe they did something different. I have found it to work just as well though. You also might find it likes to clump up a bit over time, just give you bucket a shake and the clumps will re-dissolve again.

  • 07.09.13 Erica Ardali

    We’ve really been trimming the fat at our house, I like this idea plus I’m sure it works better than those cheap detergents.