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You are here:Home > Recipes > Home Cleaning Recipes > Natural Laundry Soap Recipes
How to Make Your Own
Natural Laundry Soap


Making your own natural laundry soap is simple with Voyageur's natural laundry soap base. In our experience, homemade formulas made with this base work just as well as any store-bought laundry soap - PLUS, they're gentle on your clothes and skin, help make your clothes feel nice and soft, AND cost only pennies per load.

The following recipes are some of the formulas that our customers have shared with us over the years, using our base. Take a look through them to get some ideas, and experiment with them to get the one you like best.


Liquid Laundry Soap
Note:
The liquid soap will be lumpy, goopy, and gel-like. This is normal. Just give it a good stir before using. Make sure soap is covered with a lid when not in use. You could also pour the homemade soap in old (and cleaned) laundry detergent bottles, and shake well before each use.

1. Natural Liquid Laundry Soap Mix

1 Litre Water (boiling)
2 cups Voyageur Natural Laundry Soap (grated) – approximately 2/3 lb.
2 cups Borax 5 Mol or 10 Mol – approximately 500 grams
2 cups Washing Soda (Soda Ash) – approximately 500 grams
7 Litres Warm Water for dilution
• Boil the 1 Litre of water and add the finely grated soap. Reduce heat to low, add Borax and Washing Soda and stir until all is dissolved and melted.
• Pour mixture into a large pail and add the 7 Litres of warm water, stir until well mixed.
• Cover pail and/or package in 4 Litre bottles
• Use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).


2. Natural Liquid Laundry Soap Mix
2 cups Voyageur Natural Laundry Soap (grated) approximately 2/3 lb.
2 cups
Washing Soda (Soda Ash) – approximately 500 grams
7 Litres hot water
• Melt grated soap in saucepan using enough of the water to cover. Heat over medium-low heat and stir until soap is dissolved.
• Pour hot water into a large pail and add hot soap and washing soda. Stir very well. Stir/shake well before using
• Use ¼ cup for each load of laundry.


3. Natural Liquid Laundry Soap Mix
Hot water
1 cup
Washing Soda (Soda Ash) – approximately 250 grams
1 cup
Borax 5 Mol or 10 Mol – approximately 250 grams
1 cup
Voyageur Natural Laundry Soap (grated) – approximately 1/3 lb.
• In a large pot, heat 1 ½ litres of water. Add the grated bar soap and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat.
• In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 1 litre of hot water and add the heated soap mixture. Top pail with 4 litres cold water and stir well.
• Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (may gel).



Powdered Laundry Soap

1. Natural Powder Laundry Soap Mix
2 cups Voyageur Natural Laundry Soap (grated) – approximately 2/3 lb.
1 cup
Washing Soda (Soda Ash) – approximately 250 grams
1 cup
Borax 5 Mol or 10 Mol – approximately 250 grams
• Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
• Use 1/8 cup (two full 15 cc Scoops) of powder per full load.


2. Natural Powder Laundry Soap Mix
6 cups Borax 5 Mol or 10 Mol – approximately 1500 grams
6 cups Baking Soda – approximately 1800 grams
6 cups
Washing Soda (Soda Ash) approximately 1500 grams
6 cups
Voyageur Natural Laundry Soap (grated) – approximately 2 lbs.
• Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub.
• Use 1/8 cup (two rounded 15 cc Scoops) of powder per full load.


3. Natural Powder Laundry Soap Mix
1 cup Vinegar (white)
1 cup
Baking Soda – approximately 300 grams
1 cup
Washing Soda (Soda Ash) – approximately 250 grams
1/4 cup Voyageur Natural liquid castile soap
• Mix well and store in sealed container.
• I find it easiest to pour the liquid soap into the bowl first, stirred in the washing soda, then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small batches at a time (the recipe foams up at first). The mixture is a thick paste at first that will break down into a heavy powdered detergent, just keep stirring. There may be some hard lumps - try to break them down when stirring (it really helps to make sure the baking soda isn’t clumpy when first adding). Submitter used 1/2 cup per full load with great results.




Naturally scenting your laundry soap

All of the recipes here make unscented laundry soap, but you can customize your soap by adding between 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade laundry detergent. It can be added once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover.


Frequently Asked Questions:
  • My liquid laundry soap is too thick, too watery, too chunky, it separated, it’s a solid mass, it doesn’t look like i think it should!
  • My liquid detergent doesn’t look like laundry gel, it looks like goopy glop!
  • I want to use my favorite brand of soap in the detergent, can I?
  • Are there soap alternatives for people who have allergies or sensitive skin?
  • How do you grate the soap?
  • What is the difference between washing soda and baking soda?
  • How long can homemade laundry detergent be stored for?
  • Can you safely use homemade laundry detergents with a high-efficiency or front loading washer (HE machine)?
  • I have hard water & my clothes don’t come out that clean! Any suggestions?
  • Freshly laundered clothes smell like nothing! Can you add essential oils for fragrance to homemade laundry soap mix? If so, how much do I add?
  • Is there a soap residue on clothes after washing with homemade detergent?
  • Why aren’t there any suds in the water when I use homemade detergent?
  • The soap isn’t completely dissolving in the water, why?
  • I’m trying to find an eco-friendly soap! Is borax or washing soda safe for the environment?
  • Ugh! This stuff didn’t clean my clothes at all!
  • Can homemade laundry soap mix be used in cold water instead of hot?
  • Can homemade laundry soap mix be used for washing baby clothes & diapers?

Help! My liquid laundry soap is too thick, too watery, too chunky, it separated, it’s a solid mass, it doesn’t look like i think it should!
Making homemade laundry soap is not an exact science. If the soap turns out differently than expected, still give it a try since the soap ingredients are all there. If the liquid laundry soap gelled into a solid mass, try mixing in more hot water. If it’s too thin, try adding more soap or Borax or Washing Soda.

My liquid detergent doesn’t look like laundry gel, it looks like goopy glop!
Congrats! That’s how it’s supposed to look.

I want to use my favorite brand of soap in the detergent, can i?
• We don’t recommend using soap that is heavy with perfumes or oils since this may transfer to your clothing and cause stains. They may also cause a chemical reaction with the other ingredients. Neither do we recommend using beauty bars, shower gels or body washes.

Are there soap alternatives for people who have allergies or sensitive skin?
• Try soaps that you know you’re not allergic to, but watch the ingredients in the bar to make sure it won’t react with the rest of ingredients of the detergent. The only way to know for sure is to try it.

How do you grate the soap?
• Use a handheld cheese grater or a food processor (just make sure you clean it well after use). Grate the soap first before adding to a food processor and chop until fine. The finer the soap is grated the easier it dissolves into the water.

What is the difference between washing soda and baking soda?
• Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate Decahydrate. It is the stronger cleaner of the two. Baking Soda is Sodium Bicarbonate and is a by-product of Washing Soda. These ingredients are not interchangeable and results will vary if substituting one for the other.

How long can homemade laundry detergent be stored for?
• We do not have an exact expiry time to advise of, but the powdered version seems to last forever. The liquid detergent also lasts a long time, but will thicken up over time.

Can you safely use homemade laundry detergents with a high-efficiency or front loading washer (he machine)?
• Homemade detergent is low- sudsing which is important for HE machines.
• There is a lot of information that says it is safe to use, but be aware that using anything other than what your machine manufacturer recommends may void your warranty.

I have hard water & my clothes don’t come out that clean! Any suggestions?
• Try adding baking soda, Oxyclean or vinegar as laundry boosters. The recommended amount for baking soda is to start with 1/2 cup per load.

Can homemade laundry soap mix be used in cold water instead of hot?
• The Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap will work fine in cold water. For powdered soap mixtures mix the soap in a bit of hot water before adding to the washer, to help the dissolving process.

Can homemade laundry soap mix be used for washing baby clothes & diapers?
• This question is asked for two reasons: Will it irritate baby’s skin and will it be strong enough to clean nasty diapers. Martha Stewart recommends both Washing Soda and Borax as laundry boosters when washing diapers. The instructions on the box for Arm & Hammer suggest it be used as a diaper soak. Many have affirmed that baby items wash up nicely with no ill effects.

I have hard water & my clothes don’t come out that clean! Any suggestions?
• The finer it is, the quicker it melts when heated, and dissolves better in the wash.

Freshly laundered clothes smell like nothing! Can you add essential oils for fragrance to homemade laundry soap mix? If so, how much do i add?
• You bet! Essential oils are a nice touch to homemade detergents (freshly laundered clothes really don’t have any nice fragrance added with homemade detergent). How much you add depends on how strong the fragrance is that you’ve chosen and what laundry detergent recipe you are using. Experiment for yourself to see what you like best. You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade laundry detergent.

Is there a soap residue on clothes after washing with homemade detergent?
• If you notice any residue, here are a couple things you can try: Increase the water amount, decrease the load size or decrease the detergent used per wash. You can also try a vinegar rinse by using a Downy ball or add vinegar during the rinse cycle.

Why aren’t there any suds in the water when i use homemade detergent?
• Homemade detergents are low-sudsing and you won’t see many suds in the wash. No worries, this is normal and your clothes will still come out clean.

The soap isn’t completely dissolving in the water, why?
• If you’re having problems with chunks of detergent not dissolving, try mixing the detergent in some hot water before adding it to the load of laundry.
• If you are using a powdered version of detergent, try grating your soap into finer pieces.

I’m trying to find an eco-friendly soap! Is borax or washing soda safe for the environment?
Yes, these ingredients are considered by many to be environmentally friendly. Both are used in “green” recipes.

Ugh! This stuff didn’t clean my clothes at all!
• Experiment with the amount of detergent you use in the wash, you should discover the needed amount. You may also try using a laundry “booster” such as Sodium Bicarbonate

Is it really worthwhile making homemade detergent?
• The powdered laundry detergents are the easiest to manage in my opinion (for both mixing and storing). It doesn’t cost that much to give it a shot and see how you like it. If you do find it works well for you–imagine the money you’ll save over time!



Natural Laundry Soap Tips:
• Some people with really hard water or well water may have to adjust the recipes if the clothes look dingy. Perhaps adding a bit more Washing Soda to the recipe will help your problem.

• Although several of the recipes have the same ingredients, the measurements are different–some contain a higher soap to water ratio. Test and see which works best for your laundry needs.

• At Voyageur we carry the containers necessary to make these recipes. We have 4 litre bottles for the liquid laundry soap or the buckets required for larger or small quantity batches.