Thursday, July 12, 2012

Liquid Castile Soap Homemade Laundry Detergent

So I'm a HUGE fan of my homemade laundry soap. You can read my other post to find out about the health and safety reasons I felt compelled to make it. Basically, the commercial stuff has a LOT of bad stuff in it!!

My Original Laundry Soap was adapted from many other recipes floating around out there. It involves grating a bar of laundry soap (I used Zote) and "cooking" it together with Borax and Washing Soda and water. Ta Da!

I loved it! It made 2 gallons of soap, which has lasted me over a month- and I still have about half a gallon left.

 I go through laundry soap pretty fast with a family of six.

Plus, I'm a habitual product over-user, so while I read 1/4 a cup is enough, I probably used more.

I don't know...

I'm bad with measuring ;)

Anyway, my clothes were clean and smelled fresh. (I use vinegar as a rinse aid and Purex crystals to add some yummy smell- they probably aren't the BEST for you, considering they do contain fragrance, and fragrance is bad, m'kay. But, they are 87% natural, and I need my laundry to smell nice. And I don't have any essential oils.)

Happy camper!

The Downside:
A) Time consuming and Messy to make
B) It's THICK!!

Also, I wanted to try a batch with castile soap- a soap made from olive/vegetable oils rather than animal fat (like Zote and Fels Naptha) to make an even more "pure" laundry soap.

I splurged a while ago and bought a bottle of Lavender Dr. Bronner's 18-in-One Magic soap.

Fancy name for liquid castile.

It was SIXTEEN DOLLARS for 32 oz.

GASP!!!! GAG!!! UGH!!!

But many of the things I wanted to experiment with called for it, so... I went for it. That turns out to be roughly .50 cents and ounce- however, you dilute it a lot. It's ultra concentrated.

I could NOT find a recipe that used liquid castile soap and borax and washing soda- I found some that called for salt and vinegar... but I wanted the same cleaning power I found in my previous homemade version.

So I made up my own.

I found a site by Lisa Bronner- Dr. Bronner's granddaughter. It's pretty cool! It's called Going Green with a Bronner Mom. And on her site, I found a comparison of liquid vs bar castile soap. The two soaps are essentially the same- the bar being a bit more moisturizing than the liquid.

One 5oz bar of soap, which is what the original laundry soap recipe calls for, is equal to 1 1/2 cups of liquid.

Mind you- I almost CRIED pouring allllll that soap into my pot. That's like $4.00 worth of soap. That's A LOT to a Poor Man's Wife.

I sucked it up, and kept my eyes on the prize.

But I'll tell ya, I'm glad I did! Not only was it SO much easier, but it solved my problem of gel-like laundry soap.

Not that the original is hard to use, it's not. But I didn't like how it didn't dissolve fully in the wash- I would open the lid (come on, am I the ONLY ONE who opens their washer and stares at the clothes??)and there would be pieces of soap floating on top- unless I remembered to put it in FIRST, which I never do.

There we go!!

The only thing I DON'T like is it does cost more to make it.

The borax and washing soda costs are the name, and both super cheap (they both run about 3 bucks, and you only use a cup of each- about 40 cents worth!) but $4.00 Dr Bronner's s $0.97 Zote is a huge difference.

But, considering it cost me a high estimate of $6 to make 2 gallons, or 256 oz, and you only use 1/2 cup or 4oz per load, (you can actually use less) that's about 64 loads at about 9 cents a load.

Another way to compare:
 I used to buy All brand laundry soap when it was on sale for about 3 to 4 dollars.

At $3 (which is pretty good sale price, also requiring couponing time!) a 50oz bottle (which is what I would get) cost 6 cents an ounce vs my liquid castile version at about 2 cents an ounce.

So, I'm still saving money.

Plus I'm gaining convenience and the added peace of mind of using castile soap- the most natural soap you can get!


1 1/2 cups Liquid Castile Soap (like Dr. Bronner's)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
About 2 Gallons Water

2 1-Gallon Jugs (like milk containers)

1) Heat 1 1/2 cups Liquid Castile Soap and 2 cups water in a pot.

2) Add one cup each Borax and Washing Soda.

3) Stir until dissolved.

4) This step is up to you. Basically you just have to split the mixture equally between two 1-gallon jugs and then fill them with water.

I added a gallon of water to my pot, the scooped it out with my glass measuring cup and funneled it into the two gallons. Then I added water to each gallon til it was full enough.

That's it! I use about 1/3- 1/2 cup per load. You can probably use 1/4, but like I said, I'm a habitual over-user. 

I read some places that people though Dr. Bronner's was too harsh for their clothes. I'm not really sure what that is based off of.  My clothes are fine. You probably should use vinegar as a rinse aid to help get any residue out, but I've done 3 loads without any (I'm out, and laundry duty calls!! Plus I was super excited to try it out!!) and my clothes are still fine.

I hope your clothes are fine too!!

Happy Washing!!



  1. Yes good for the castile soap will start to gel instantly, so make sure you stir it really well. After this, you are good to go! However, when I have the time, I let it cool on my kitchen counter and stir it as it sets up. As it cools, it will start to thicken and gel. I use a wire whisk and stir it every so often.
    use a liquid Castile soap for washing everything when camping good result now.

    Buy Liquid Castile Soap

  2. I too love making everything homemade, I had seen many recipes calling for liquid Castile soap. I too did not want to pay the high price for Castile soap so I made my own in a crock pot! I had already bought soap ingredients to make bar soap, so I had everything to make it. I made approximately 89 oz and it cost me about $7-8 dollars. I did not figure it out exactly, but as you see it was a huge savings!

  3. You know you have a cruelty free recipe here right!? Good for you! :)

    1. Actually it's NOT CRUELTY FREE...the 20 mule borax is made by Dial which tests on animals and Arm&Hammer company tests on animals as well. The ONLY ingredient cruelty free is the Dr. Bronner soap. I guess my search for a truly cruelty free DIY Laundry detergent goes on....

  4. Hello Marah! I just came across your post and today, using your recipe and method made my first containers of liquid laundry detergent. I use the lavender scented castile soap and it came out amazing. Thank you for making such an easy and eco friendly recipe. Happy Earth Day!!