Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Creating homemade liquid laundry soap is one way for today's conscientious homeowner to save a few pennies while becoming more sensitive to the planet's needs.

When creating homemade liquid laundry soap, what items would be included? Something that works on stains, of course, and it would have to have some type of ingredient that would ensure it retained its liquid form. Other than that, adding a fragrance or some type of whitening agent would be great. What about bubbles? A few, perhaps, but not too many. A softening agent would also be helpful, both on the hands and on the clothing.

Another thought that naturally comes to mind when making homemade liquid laundry detergent is toxicity. Will the ingredients be gentle on fabrics as well as on skin? While there is not one individual ingredient that covers all of these bases, glycerin is a good starting point.


Glycerin is an organic product that is odorless and can be purchased in solid, liquid or gaseous form. Glycerin, considered a carbohydrate by the American Dietetic Association, consists of about 27 calories per teaspoon and is used in a variety of foods, pharmaceuticals and personal care items, such as lotions and soaps.


Glycerin draws moisture from the air and then retains the moisture. Because it is viscous it creates buoyancy and body, which helps keep other ingredients in the liquid soap from dropping to the bottom of the container. Glycerin will also keep the soap from solidifying or forming a hard layer across the top. Therefore, laundry soap with glycerin will be thick.

Stain Remover and Softener

When making soap at home, one of the main issues that need to be addressed has to do with the cleaning agent. Glycerin can help in that department, as well. As a solvent, glycerin tackles set-in stains easily in the wash water and can be poured directly onto stains. As an emollient, glycerin adds a softening agent to clothing and may even work as an anti-wrinkle agent. As a general rule, soap with glycerin added to it will be creamier.


Though glycerin reportedly offers little to no toxic properties to humans, there is still a chance that someone in the household may be sensitive or form an allergy to glycerin. Before adding glycerin to the family’s homemade laundry soap, initial testing should be conducted to determine if anyone in the household is sensitive to it.

There is some speculation that glycerin may build up on clothing and other fabric and cause whites to become dingy. Should this occur, simply wash the next couple of loads with a store-bought laundry detergent.

Washing soda and borax can be dangerous. For this particular recipe, use Arm & Hammer All Natural Super Washing Soda and 20 Mule Team Borax are used. PLEASE READ THE BOX LABELS. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. NEVER TAKE THESE PRODUCTS INTERNALLY OR ALLOW THE PRODUCTS TO GET INTO THE EYES. Both box labels point out that the products can be dangerous and to contact a physician immediately if the products are ingested or come in contact with the eyes.

Be especially careful when pouring the powders into the kettle as the powder dust can be dangerous. When mixing the washing soda and borax into the soap be very careful not to splash it onto your skin. Wear protective gloves and long sleeves.

Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe


  • 2 gallons hot water
  • 1/3 bar soap (Any type of bar soap can be used, but Fels Naptha bar soap seems to perform the best.)
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 2 tablespoons glycerin

Homemade liquid laundry soap is easy to make and can be created in less than an hour. When making soap at home it's important that all bottles be labeled with the name of the product--in this case Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap--the date the product was made and instructions on how to use it. Add the cautionary information, as well as the contact information, from the Borax and 20 Mule Team boxes to the label on your soap. If the soap will be given as a gift, adding a list of ingredients to the outside of the container is also a good idea in case of a reaction.

Make sure all ingredients are added in order and that each time an ingredient is added to the water it is done carefully to avoid splashing. Wear protective clothing and gloves.


  1. Start by slicing the bar of soap into three sections. Either use a food processor to chop up one third of the bar or use a knife to slice it into small flakes.
  2. Place one quart of the hot water into a deep kettle and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir in the soap flakes. Mix, just below boiling point, until dissolved.
  3. Add the remaining water to the kettle and stir.
  4. Add the washing soda. (Washing soda should not be confused with baking soda. They are very different. Washing soda is actually sodium carbonate, also referred to as soda ash. It works well in removing odors. Look for it in the laundry detergent aisle of the local grocery store.) Stir carefully without splashing until dissolved.
  5. Add the Borax (sodium borate) and stir. (Borax is also a solvent and deodorizer, and is also found in the laundry detergent aisle.) Stir very carefully until well dissolved.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the glycerin. Stir well.
  7. Use a funnel and an empty laundry detergent container or several smaller recyclable plastic bottles. Pour the detergent into the containers.
  8. Cool before capping.
  9. Store bottles in the laundry room.
  10. Use approximately 1/3 cup of laundry soap per load.

Always spot test homemade laundry soap on an inconspicuous area of the fabric before adding it to the wash water. Do not pour this soap directly onto fabric. Clothing may stain or turn spotty if the soap has not dissolved in the water before adding the clothes.

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