DIY Laundry Soap Powder

| Modified on May 05, 2023
DIY Laundry Powder

There are many reasons that people turn to DIY laundry soap. Most commonly people are looking for an inexpensive way to get clothes clean. But did you know that DIY laundry soap may be the resolution of a chronic skin problem?

Laundry detergent, fabric softer, and dryer sheets all add chemicals to your clothes, sheets and towels. The very things that are in constant contact with your skin. The lists of chemicals in these laundry aids can be long and many of them are not good for your skin. If you have trouble with dermatitis, eczema, body acne, or sensitive skin, making your own laundry soap can reduce the chemical irritation to your skin and allow your skin to heal. If you have been using natural remedies for a skin condition to no avail, using a DIY laundry soap may be just what is needed for complete resolution to your skin problem.

The good news is that DIY laundry soap is a cheap solution and simple to try. You have little to lose and much to gain.

Recipe DIY Laundry Powder

What You Need:

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing soda
  • 2 cups grated soap (Zote, Ivory or Fels Naptha) or soap flakes
  • 1 cup Oxiclean

If you are starting with a bar of soap, use a cheese grater to grate your soap.

Use your blender to blend your soap flakes or soap grates with the borax. This will make your soap flakes finer and easier to dissolve in the wash.

Pour your borax and soap flake mixture into a jar. Add your washing soda and optional Oxiclean. Mix well.

That is it! Use 1-4 Tablespoons of your mixture per load of laundry. The size of the load you have and the type and size of your washing machine will affect the amount you will need. Home made laundry soap does not suds up, so you don’t have to worry that you will overflow your washer with bubbles.

DIY Laundry Soap Tips

This recipe works best with warm or hot water. Soap flakes don’t dissolve well in cool or cold water. If you wish to use cool water to wash, simple dissolve your soap powder in a quart of hot water and add it to your cool water wash.

You will not need fabric softener. This soap leaves your clothes very soft. If static is a concern use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. This will keep you from adding chemicals to your clothes each time you dry them.

Do not expect your laundry soap to foam up like commercial detergents. It won't. But that is okay; bubbles are not necessary for cleaning to take place.

Because Fels Naptha is a great poison ivy remedy, this soap may be idea for clothes that have been in contact with poison ivy.

Zote soap flakes have a slight citronella smell. Freshly laundered clothes in zote flakes may have mosquito deterring properties.

Ivory soap will leave clothes very soft and is ideal for baby laundry or those with sensitive skin.

Where to Buy the Ingredients for DIY Laundry Powder

Borax, washing soda, zote flakes, and Fels Naptha can usually be found in the laundry aisle. Ivory bar soap or castile soap will be in the health and beauty section of your store.

Have you tried DIY laundry soap? Please send us some feedback!

DIY Laundry Soap for Sensitive Skin

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 07/11/2017

Have you guys ever make your own laundry soap? I just made another batch. I haven't done it in a while…

23 years ago my firstborn was a newborn. He had very sensitive skin. I could not use disposable diapers or disposable wipes or regular laundry detergent on his cloth diapers. So I made my own wipes and my own laundry soap. It was super simple. I grated up bars of ivory soap and mixed the following:

  • 1 bar ivory soap, grated
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda

Depending on load size and whether or not you have a HE washer or not, use 1-4 T. per load.

I used this for his diapers and all of our clothes. Our clothes were SO soft!

I just made another batch of this soap (using Zote flakes instead of Ivory because I didn't want to bother with the grating) and am interested to see how it does. My laundry is much dirtier these days with my older sons and husband doing a lot of out door and construction type work. Back then my husband had an office job and my baby really didn't get that dirty. I will let you know!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Denise
50 posts

I'm wondering about the savings money-wise too if anyone has figured that out. I am going to try this because I bought a small bag of biodegradable laundry soap and loved how it worked! I am thinking this home-made would do wonderfully with those ingredients, and save me money. This that I bought was 1.10 lb bag, and I think around 3 dollars, can't remember now. But cheap. The ingredients is what I'm not sure isn't that good but here's the list: Lineal anionic surfactant, Water softener (polymer and slicate), soil suspending agent (C.M.C), Optical brighterner and perfume. Would love to hear from anyone using the EC Recipe, and/or knows about the soap I bought at Walmart.

Replied by Maria W

I have made the exact recipe mentioned in this blog. I used Ivory soap, just grated it and added it with the borax in my food processor and it powdered right up. Smells great and works great. A great feeling making my own. It only took minutes and it's much more economical.

Home Made Laundry Soap

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Lin (Tujunga, CA) on 07/23/2009

This isn't exactly a cure, but might help anyone with allergies and sensitivities to chemical laundry detergents.

I bought a box of Borax for the first time and have started making 100% natural laundry detergent, along with a natural soap (Castille is what I used) and Soda Ash (or 'Washing Soda' - which is a more concentrated form of Sodium Bicarbonate/Baking Soda. I bought mine from an Art Supply which was sold as '97% Soda Ash' (people use it to set tye-dye and natural dyes. I read that Arm and Hammer Washing Soda is only about 23 or 30% Soda Ash and has bleach and chemicals added).

There are other ways of washing laundry naturally like soap nuts, etc... I haven't gotten to trying those yet, but just wanted to say how easy and rewarding this was. It's not as laborous as you think! You can find recipes online. It is just a matter of hand grating the soap (which is kind of fun, let the kids do it!), then dissolving the soap in a pan of hot water on the stove, + adding borax and soda ash. White Vinegar can be added to the wash as a natural fabric softener. And for good measure, why not dry some clothes out in the sun! My laundry is coming out beautifully (especially the cottons).

What was once a boring chore is turning into a labor of love. Ok, maybe not EVERY day! But it's inspired me to make many similar changes and get back to the old fashioned ways of life. Afterall, don't they always portray women singing at the clothesline? But we don't do that at the washing machine, do we? Makes me feel like we've lost something there.

Replied by Adriana
(Sofia, Bulgaria)

I go further and make my own soap bars with natural fats and lye. I use it to make my own liquid laundry detergent. The soap making process is explained on line. There are also soap calculators on line for proportions of fat, lye and water. Instead of grating my soap, I cut it into smaller pieces and put them in a 10 liter water bottle, add baking soda (about 200 g) and about 100g borax. Fill with water and leave it to melt on its own. Shake it well before each use. I clean at home with baking soda, vinegar, steam-cleaner. I use my own soap as a shampoo and tooth-soap as well. I do not use any chemicals in the house. To remove stains from clothes I use dry clay powder.