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Trials of Creating a Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

I made the switch to chemical free liquid laundry soap over 10 years ago. My favorite is a lovely lavender detergent that comes in a small bottle and costs almost $15.

The bottle really doesn’t last long with a toddler in the house. And $15 is a lot to add your cart at Target! If you’re looking for an affordable natural homemade liquid laundry soap, read on.

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Besides cutting household expenses, making homemade liquid laundry soap keeps the chemicals out of your clothes

So, last year I finally bit the bullet and started making my own. I can’t tell you how many powder and homemade liquid laundry soap recipes I read.

Most of the recipes for powder laundry soap included chemicals and known skin irritants. But, I didn’t just read the recipes – I read the comments too. And many of the comments said the dry ingredients in the liquid laundry soap settled to the bottom and became a hard glue. This happened to me in the first recipe I made!

Other comments said the soap left a chalky residue on their clothes or in the washing machine. I experienced this a well, which lead to creating a chemical free liquid laundry soap that works and saves us over $150 a year!

Why Should You Make DIY Liquid Laundry Soap

Besides cutting household expenses, making homemade liquid laundry soap keeps the chemicals out of your clothes! Did you know the mainstream laundry soap brands contain chemicals that cause respiratory problems, irritate the skin, and have developmental and reproductive side effects? Yep, check out for yourself at the Environmental Working Group.

The natural cleaning agents in today’s recipe will have your greening up your laundry in minutes! Plus this recipe is HE washer safe and has a lovely fresh and clean scent too.

Green Ingredients for a Green Wash

Baking Soda

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a naturally occurring substance. Best known for its use as a scouring agent and odor absorber. Baking soda is also used in cleaning recipes to fight against dirt, grease, and odors.

This cleaning agent alone is a must-have for your cleaning arsenal. In today’s recipe, it works as a detergent booster to soften clothes, keep odors at bay, and colors bright.

Castile Soap

Castile soap is a concentrated vegetable-based soap made of ingredients you can actually pronounce. This soap is gentle on skin and effective against dirt, grease, and unwanted germs. Castile soap can be used to clean just about anything and everything: your face, your shower, and even your dirty dishes! Yes, I’m a fan!!

Sal Suds

Sal Suds is Dr. Bronner’s tougher version of soap, although its chemical makeup makes it a detergent, not a soap. Sal Suds is formulated to conquer tough cleaning projects such as unforgiving grease and stubborn dirt. And the Environmental Working Group gives it an A. Sal suds is basically a tougher version of castile soap, although it is more like a detergent. I recommend swapping Sal Suds for castile soap if you have hard water to avoid a residue in your clothes or washing machine.

Washing Soda

Washing soda, also known as sodium carbonate is extremely alkaline. The high alkaline level works as solvent or water softener to degrease and lift stains. It is very effective to fight hard water because it binds to the minerals. Washing soda also helps liquid soap “gel”, making it a multipurpose cleaning tool.

Essential Oils

Essential oils not only provide a wonderful natural fragrance to homemade cleaners but also contain powerful cleaning properties. I choose lavender essential oil for this recipe because it has been used since Roman times to clean, wash, and keep away odors.

And of course, because I love its amazing soft floral scent it adds to linens! Find it in my natural Vanilla Lavender Linen Mist recipe too.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap Ingredients without borax

Gather Supplies:

6 cups water

1/2 cup baking soda

1/2 cup washing soda

1 cup liquid lavender castile soap or Sal Suds

30 ml lavender essential oil

2 to 3 airtight containers

How to make Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap without Borax:

In a large stockpot, bring 6 cups of water to a soft boil. Once the water begins to boil, turn off the burner and add baking soda and washing soda. Stir for two to four minutes to help dissolve the ingredients into the water. Next, add castile soap or Sal Suds. Combine by gently stirring to avoid too many bubbles. Last, add 30 ml lavender essential oil or one of your favorites.

Pour into a large airtight container to store until use. As the soap sits, the mixture may form into a gel. The contents may settle to the bottom or clump. This is all normal, simply stir or give it a shake before use. I’ve noticed this happens in cooler temperatures. So in the winter try to keep in a warmer spot.

How to Make Borax Free Liquid Laundry Soap with Castile Soap

How to Use

Shake as needed before use. Add 2 tablespoons for HE (high efficiency) washing machines and 1/4 to 1/2 cup for traditional machines of Borax-Free Liquid Laundry Soap per load. Wash as normal. Any clumps will dissolve in the water of the washing machine and your clothes will come out smelling wonderfully fresh and clean!

I love how I keep my family’s clothes and our household linens fresh and clean without chemicals or expensive detergents. If you love making your own cleaners too – don’t miss my clever No Nonsense Bathroom Cleaning Methods, That Work.


  1. I currently make a non-toxic powder laundry detergent. This looks like a great alternative! Thanks!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      I would love to try a powder laundry detergent, but I have been reluctant because I would need to grate a bar of castile soap. Which I can imagine would take quite some time. With luck I hope to find it for purchase already grated.

  2. Sandy Davis says:

    This came out very clumpy and made 1/2 of what I thought it would. It was like oatmeal. Is this normal? Do I put it into the soap dispenser? I hope it goes down.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Sandy, as the soap sits, the mixture may form into a gel and contents may settle to the bottom or clump. This is all normal, simply stir or give it a shake before use. I’ve noticed this happens in cooler temperatures. So in the winter try to keep in a warmer spot. You may also want to opt for a powder laundry detergent, which what I switched. You can find the recipe for it here –

  3. Is it possible to make this recipe dissolving castile bar soap? I am trying to avoid buying liquid soap in a plastic container. Thank you!

  4. I went ahead and made with liquid castile soap. It looked OK last night, but this morning is completely solid. Not sure what to do with this.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      This is all normal, simply stir before use. Or put in a squeeze bottle to squeeze out each time. Or use my homemade laundry powder detergent.

  5. Is it possible to substitute Castile soap for coconut oil soap or another natural alternative? I have an intolerance to olive oil (which is a main ingredient) when it touches my skin creating major itching and rash. What would you recommend? I only want liquid detergent as well.

    1. lifenreflection says:

      Certainly worth try. I would cut the recipe in half so you an give it test run.

  6. Hi! My first attempt at this resulted in the baking and washing soda solidifying the moment it hit the water. Stirring wasn’t working well. So, my second attempt, as soon as I poured in the two sodas, I attacked it w my old school electric hand mixer. This really cleaned it up nice, no more clumping, all clear!
    Thanks for the recipes!

    1. lifenreflection says:

      That’s a great tip to keep it form solidifying!

  7. i want to make a sustainable laundry soap without depending on castell soap or washing soda any thoughts

    1. lifenreflection says:

      I recommend trying soap nuts then.

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