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Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe - Gel


homemade laundry soap ingredients

Homemade laundry soap

David Fisher
Most of the recipes I've seen for homemade laundry soap use Fels Naptha Soap, which has been used for laundry for ages. But if you don't want to use a commercial soap with artificial ingredients in it, you can easily substitute a bar of your own natural soap though. Just be sure to use one that's not got any extra oil in it. Extra oil is good for your skin, not for your clothes. I recommend a 0% superfatted bar of soap made with just lard or tallow or olive oil. (See further note below.) These oils will all be low sudsing, hard, grate-able bars of soap that will last a long time and work well in the washer.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 4-5 oz. bar of 0% superfatted soap
  • 1 cup of borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1 gallon + 1 quart of water


  1. First, make your 0% superfatted batch of soap and let it cure for a few weeks. The longer it's cured/dried, the easier it will be to grate.
  2. Using a food processor or manual grater, finely grate the bar of soap.
  3. Bring a quart of water to a boil on the stove and slowly add the soap, stirring gently.
  4. Reduce the heat and let it simmer gently until all of the pieces of soap are melted/dissolved.
  5. Add the borax and washing soda and stir until they are dissolved.
  6. In a separate pot, heat up the gallon of water or measure out a gallon of very hot tap water.
  7. Pour the soap/borax/soda mixture into a large container and slowly add the gallon of water to it.
  8. Stir until the mixture is well mixed.
  9. Let it sit overnight. It will "gel" together...kind of a custard-like consistency. I've also heard it described as "thick egg drop soup."
  10. Stir or shake the soap each time you use it.
  11. Use 1/4 cup for a front loading washer. Use 1/2 cup for a top loading washer.
Many people who use homemade soap in their washers also recommend using 1/4 cup of white vinegar in the place of the fabric softener. This not only helps soften your clothes, but helps clean out any residual soap scum from your clothes and washer.

More information on making a 0% superfatted bar of soap:
Superfatting your bars of soap accomplishes two things - it adds a little more oil into the recipe, which is good for your skin - and it acts as a bit of an insurance policy against mis-measuring. It's a bit of a buffer against slightly over or under-measuring your lye. For the laundry soap, however, you don't want any extra oil in the washing machine. You just want pure soap. By taking away the extra oil, though, you're taking away the insurance. So it's imperative that you run your recipe carefully through a reliable lye calculator and measure very carefully and accurately.

Another note: Some people have reported having trouble finding washing soda (sodium carbonate) in their city. You can leave it out of the recipe, but it really does help boost the cleaning powder of the soap. Good news though, there is a way to make your own washing soda out of regular baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).

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