Recipe: Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

What are the benefits to making your own laundry soap?

1. It’s a great money saver-especially if you compare it to the “allergy free” or “scent free” versions.
2. It’s easy! With 3 ingredients and a food processor you can whip up a batch in just a few minutes.
3. You know exactly what is in it-no extra chemicals to be inhaled, cause allergic reactions or irritations.
4. It’s Green, so your home air quality and your local groundwater will thank you.
5. If you keep the ingredients on hand you won’t ever “run out” of laundry detergent and have to run to the store.

There are a few things to be aware of when using Homemade Laundry Soap:

1. A little goes a long way. Really. You only need about 1-2 TBS a load.
2. It will not foam up like the detergents you are used to. That’s ok-it’s still working.
3. The wash water may look gray. Again-it’s ok. That’s the dirt & ick coming out of your clothes. You just don’t see it with storebought detergent because of the bubbles.
4. Your laundry will not have a scent. This does not mean that it isn’t clean.
5. You may want to occasionally clean out your washing machine with a load of hot water & vinegar to help dissolve any stray soap build up-most brands you buy at the store are detergents, not soaps. . . soaps can leave some residue.

So here you go, the super easy recipe

Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

3 ingredients, a food processor, a few minutes and you've got it!


  • 1 Cup Grated Soap
  • 1/2 Cup Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
  • 1/2 Cup Borax


  • Combine all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
  • For each load of laundry use 1 TBS. If extremely dirty you can add a second TBS.
  • Quick Notes:
  • You may grate your soap either by hand or in a food processor.
  • I like to "chunk" my soap up with a knife before I place it in the food processor.
  • Baking soda and washing soda are two different chemical compounds-maker sure yu use washing soda.
  • Look for washing soda in the cleaning aisle of your store.

Here are some other times we’ve talked about Homemade Laundry Soap:

Best of “Frugal Laundry Care”.
Reader’s Question: Homemade Laundry Detergent Residue?
Reader’s Question’s: Fading, where to find Washing Soda & more!
Reader’s Question: Cost Effectiveness of Homemade Laundry Detergent Reader’s Question:  Dingy Laundry?
Using Homemade Laundry Soap in an HE Washer.

And I even made a video showing you how!  Making Laundry Detergent Vlog.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. meliss says

    Do you have any trouble with it dissolving in cold water? I’d made liquid the last time because I read someone talking about it not dissolving enough, but that’s a pain to store.

    • Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says

      Meliss-I only use cold water in my washer and have never had a problem with it dissolving. I totally agree with you on the storage (and mess) issues of the liquid version. The powder works just as well, is easier/less time intensive to make and takes up a fraction of the space. LOVE IT.

  2. stephanie says

    so very timely – i’m mixing up a batch this morning. I also love using it because it helps all members of my family that do laundry [cough — dh — cough] with detergent portion control:)

  3. Lorrie says

    I just mixed up a batch of this dry powder for the first time last week! I’ve always made the liquid detergent so this was MUCH easier. So far it is working just fine. (Had read about Zote soap but couldn’t find any in stores around here, so used Fels Naphta. It’s good too – I just wanted to try something different. Where do you buy the Zote?)

    • Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says

      Actually, I use the Fels Naptha as well. I used that photo from flickr :) (it was marked as being available for use of course)

      I have used Octagon in the past-I found it at a Dollar General that had an area that seemed to be targeted at the Hispanic demographic. You may try an ethnic grocery of some sort (Asian, Hispanic etc) many of those traditions are more likely to still use actual laundry soap.

  4. Brigid says

    This looks great! I also wash in cold only, but I have a front load HE washer…any problems with that washer type? Thanks.

  5. Sharon says

    I use only Zote. I hate the smell of Fels. I live in Wisconsin, so Woodmans, Sendiks, and my local Mexican grocery store sells it. I have also seen at Big Lots.

  6. levi says

    I used a bunch of little soaps from hotels that we’d collected. They were the right size to throw in the blender as well. So far, so good…

  7. LORI says

    I use to lye-soap for years. I really liked the way it deeped cleaned my sons clothes. This version really works and it easier to make then lye. Thank you for this !!

  8. Ryan says

    great recipe… got the ingredients from a friend.. shave the soap, add it to the measured powdered ingredients in a small saucepan, heat until all dissolved, dump into 5 gallon bucket, (with lid), add water to make the full 5 gallons. Save an old container to use as needed. if you want to have it scented, add some (not too much) scented bath oil..

    • says

      Connie-I’ve never used castile soap, but as long as it is an actual bar soap it should work (unless you are worried about the calendula staining things) I have heard some folks add the Oxi Clean type stuff-I haven’t bothered. If a load is really tough I just add that in separate occasionally. As for the soap nuts, the whole point is you use those by themselves as your laundry soap-so I don’t think you’d need to add them in to this mix.


  1. […] that coveted washing soda needed for your homemade detergent. Frugal Upstate has a great recipe for homemade powdered laundry soap and HillBilly Housewife has one for liquid detergent. Want to make homemade dishwasher detergent? […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *