Is it Worth it?: DIY Laundry Soap


January 22, 2013 by CassieCravings

New Series: “Is it Worth it?”

Pinterest is overflowing with DIYs and homemade products. And I must say, they certainly peak my interest. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have more natural and wallet-easing products that are made by my own hand?

The flip side to this is time and convenience. While I may lust over the idea of making it myself, I have to be realistic. I am already stretched too thin. With 2 teaching jobs, mamacravings, volunteer work, a family and the need to occasionally sleep, I cannot possibly take the time to milk my cow and churn my own butter.

With this being said, I do want to see what I can seamlessly fit into my schedule and see if some of these DIY products are worth it. Thus the newest series for mamacravings: Is it worth it?

Obviously one thing having worth to a person is subjective. When I am asking if something is worth the time and effort, I am asking if I’m willing to sacrifice time in one area to be consistent in my making of the product. While I may find that time is worth it or not worth it, that doesn’t mean you will find the same. And that’s perfectly okay. I am excited to hear from you if you find the project to be worth it or not.

This new series is all about trying new things. It’s about expanding what we already know. It’s about making messes and having fun.

For my first entry of “Is it Worth it?”, we are exploring DIY Laundry Soap: claims that laundry soap can be created in less than 5 minutes for around $3. This was certainly tempting. So, I made out my shopping list and hit the grocery store. I was pleasantly surprised to find all of the materials easily.


DIY Laundry Soap Materials

My shopping list included:


* Washing Soap

* A bar of soap


I used Ivory Soap because I found it easily in my local grocery store. Ivory is not all-natural. There are some really great all-natural options such as Dr. Bronner’s, Fels Naptha and Zote to name a few.

Additional materials that will be needed are:

* mixing bowl

* mixing spoon

* grater

*measuring cup


added materials


DIY Laundry Soap Steps

Making the laundry soap is really simple.

First, grate the bar of soap into the mixing bowl.

My little helper

My little helper

This is the  most time-consuming step. I had a stellar helper in my little Eli. With his help, this step did not take 5 minutes. Without his help, it probably would have taken 2-3 minutes.

shameless flaunting of my child. :)

shameless flaunting of my child. 🙂

Once you have grated the soap into the mixing bowl, add 1 cup of Borax to the bowl.

Then add 1 cup of Washing powder.

Your final step is to mix the ingredients.



Once you have mixed the ingredients, your laundry soap will look like a store-bought powder laundry detergent.

DIY Laundry Soap

DIY Laundry Soap

How to use

To use your laundry soap, add 1 tablespoon to your laundry. I have a top load washer. However, I have read that a front loading washer uses the same instructions and has the same effect.


use 1 tablespoon per load

How to Store

I am storing my laundry soap in a mason jar that I had left over from another project. I also added a label so that I would not forget the instructions.


The last thing that I added to my jar was a tablespoon that I attached with twine. My grandmother found a ton of silverware at a garage sale for very little money. I found one that could be threaded through the twine to complete my little jar.


my garage sale spoon with twine

my garage sale spoon with twine

The Findings

How well does it work? This soap will be laundering clothes for a coach, a toddler, a teacher, a workout enthusiast, an 11 year-old boy and a stay-at-home grandmother. We go through a lot of clothes, and we get them good-n-dirty. I found that this laundry soap worked really well. I don’t have a single complaint on stain-removal or softness of our clothing.

How does it smell? The scent of my finished laundry was subtle. There was a soft Ivory soap smell to them. I found it really refreshing.

How much did it cost?  A box of Borax, a box of laundry soap and 3 bars of Ivory soap cost me approximately $10. However, this will make for 3+ batches of laundry. When I buy a name brand liquid laundry detergent, I spend approximately $12 per 64 loads. This DIY Laundry Soap costs less than $3 per 64 loads. All natural soaps do cost more than Ivory soap, but this will not dramatically change the cost of the batch. Overall, I am spending less on 250+ loads than I would on 64. That is quite the savings!

 Is it worth it? These ingredients and materials were easy to find. The actual making of the soap only took a few minutes. It saved me some money. It is a gentler product for my family. This is definitely a doable, consistent DIY project. Is it worth it? Yes! I am looking forward to never buy store-bought detergent again!

**Do you think that DIY Laundry Soap is in your future? Are you already making your own Laundry Soap or other household products?**



55 thoughts on “Is it Worth it?: DIY Laundry Soap

  1. Sarah says:

    I love the idea for this series!! Can’t wait to see more! And I may actually try making some laundry detergent now… I’ve always wondered about that.

    • mamacravings says:

      I never thought I would want to take the time either, but I couldn’t get over how easy it is. I am totally hooked on this!

      I’m excited to make a series. I think it’s going to be fun 🙂

      • Sarah says:

        Hey, I just got my supplies to make my own! 🙂 Quick question — is it really just one tbsp per load? That seems like such a little bit, but that’s awesome if it’s all you need!

      • mamacravings says:

        I use just tbsp, and it works really well. Every now and then I’ll throw in an extra tbsp if I’m washing particularly dirty clothes. But I don’t even know if it’s needed.

        Let me know how you like it! 🙂

      • Mama Carmody says:

        Sarah, I made my batch last year on April 6th (I wrote the date on the container to keep track). We use only 1 tblsp per load. We have been doing this for a year and have been very happy with the results. We still have more to use. I can’t wait to see how long it will last us!

      • mamacravings says:

        Mine is the never-ending supply too. Really? Why did we ever buy this in the stores?? 🙂

  2. twentyphive says:

    I have tried this! I made a liquid detergent and I love, love, love it. I posted my experience on my blog. I’m with you on this one, its totally worth it!

  3. Julie says:

    I see the Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda in the picture. I’ve never seen that on the shelf in a store, but the, I have lived out of the USA for most of the last 20 years. What else could you count as “washing soap”? Does that mean something like Tide powder detergent…or something else entirely. I suspect it is “something else entirely”. Great post. I’m interested in trying this.

    • mamacravings says:

      In this case, we are replacing the tide powder detergent and making our own entirely. I found the Borax and the Washing powder right next to one another. It’s really important to get one that says “washing powder”. It is an active ingredient in your own soap.

      It was fun to do as a family! Thank you! Let me know how it goes when you try it!! 🙂

      • Julie says:

        Thanks. I figured using Tide as the washing powder would kind of defeat the purpose. Next time I’m in the States, I’ll look for the Borax and washing powder together. Like I said, I haven’t regularly been in a USA supermarket to shop for my own household for 20 years. Maybe that’s why I have never noticed anything other than the brand my mom uses, as that’s all I look for when i shop for her while on home leave.

      • mamacravings says:

        I’ve always lived in the states and have never noticed them before. I guess we just get focused on what we always get. lol

      • linmom3 says:

        I think it is better known as Washing Soda.

      • mamacravings says:

        Oh, I see. Thank you! 🙂

  4. I’ve tried this recipe with Dr. Bronner’s soap and thought it was okay. It is definitely a much more cost effective way to do laundry. My only complaint was with clothes that were heavily soiled – food spills or dirty knees (hello, every piece of clothing my toddler wears) – didn’t come entirely clean. I usually added a scoop of oxyclean or Clorox 2 which removed the stains but sort of defeated the purpose for me.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I love making my own laundry detergent! Don’t use the fels naptha. I used it once and after grating it I was coughing for three days! Come to find out, when in powdered form it is a lung irritant! However, using it to scrub stains works great! It gets out ANYTHING!

  6. Mama Carmody says:

    I found a DIY recipe for laundry soap on Pinterest too. I wanted to use it to save money and for health reasons. We made a batch for about $20 last May and we are still using it. I think it’s going to last us for a little over a year. Only buying laundry detergent once a year and it only costing $20! Now that’s amazing. Of course, there are only two of us to do laundry for but still…I”m excited.

  7. modeejae says:

    I haven’t tried the DIY laundry soap yet but I do make my own yogurt! My teenagers love yogurt and I can make an entire gallon for about $6 rather than paying $0.65 for 6oz!

    • mamacravings says:

      Gasp!!! Do share! We go through yogurt like it’s going out of style! Yogurt cannot POSSIBLY be as easy as laundry soap, can it?

      • modeejae says:

        It really is easy. Maybe a little more time consuming (even without the short people helping 🙂 ) but it really is that easy. I have a post on my blog about it right here if you want to check it out. I just added an update about my latest batch. I seriously make it about once a week. We LOVE it!

      • mamacravings says:

        Ooh! I can’t wait! Thank you!

      • modeejae says:

        Your very welcome! At first I was pretty nervous about it but when I used the heating pad/crockpot method it wasn’t scary at all! Thanks for reminding me that I need to pick up the stuff to make more this weekend! It’s really easy and you can add as little or as much sugar/fruit/flavoring that you want! I need to get some honey and try it with that. Haven’t done that yet.

  8. DIY is fun….my daughters and I had a ball making eye makeup remover ( you have everything, check my Pinterest)
    Also we made lotion bars and vanilla. These gifts were happily received and great bonding…
    Hope you make a photo journal of this fun! Love the time required , with help from toddler part!😃

    • mamacravings says:

      Ooohh! I’m going to go stalk your pinterest! I love the lotion bars as well! That would make for some lovely gifts 🙂

      It has been SO fun to make it with him…while he adds a few extra minutes to the process, it wouldn’t be any fun without him.

  9. Mama Carmody says:

    Since you asked about the recipe I used, here is where I got it: It was a pin I ran across on Pinterest. If I have any heavy stains I just wet the spot and rub the detergent into the stain. I’ve had great success with it. The recipe recommends that you only use a tablespoon of detergent per load. That is all we have used and we have been very happy with the results. – Mama Carmody

  10. Olyvia says:

    that’s cool

  11. sparkmama says:

    I make my own dishwasher detergent, and tub scrub. My house cleaning stock mostly consists of baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, and bleach (this is still my go to when it comes to surfaces that need strong disinfectant, like counters that have had raw meat on them).

    I started initially with the dishwasher detergent and find that compared to the $3+ bottle of detergent we went through every two weeks or so, my homemade mix with washing soda and citric acid is much cheaper (I went a year between buying a $28 bottle of citric acid, and had to buy washing soda maybe 2-3 times in that period, so maybe $12-$15 of washing soda). Vinegar as the rinse agent (at something like $2 for one of those huge bottles compared to $5-$9 a small bottle of something like Jet-Dry), and it’s easily saving us a lot of money with just that one thing!

    I haven’t had the nerve yet to try laundry soap because we have sensitive skin and what we use currently works for us, but I have a friend who did some up – I think with this same mix, and she is liking it (and the savings!)

    • mamacravings says:

      Ooh! Dish detergent may be next! I would love to make my own. My son’s sensitive skin is one of the reasons I wanted to try making my own. I knew that his skin reacted well to Ivory, so I used what was already familiar with. I am loving it! 🙂

  12. […] week, mamacravings’ new series “Is it Worth it?” was introduced. I dove into the DIY of making laundry soap. Come to […]

  13. Yes! your timing is perfect – I’m out of laundry soap and trying to save money any way I can. I am going to make this today! thanks and please continue to post more 🙂

  14. Isabelle says:

    How does the Ivory soap compare to the other laundry bars? I am using the Zote soap right now, but was wondering if the Ivory is as good.

    • mamacravings says:

      I have only used Ivory at this point, so I’m not sure how it compares. I am looking forward to trying a more natural soap to see how it compares. The Ivory soap does have a very refreshing soft scent.

      • linmom3 says:

        I like the Zote a lot myself. It cost me .90 for a HUGE bar at Big Lots. I just started making my own laundry soap in June. I was a born and raised on Tide. Now, I will never go back…I like mine more than ever and it really works!

      • mamacravings says:

        I’m right there with you! I was raised on Tide as well. I feel like we have a life cheat with a great-working, cheap, natural laundry soap! 🙂

  15. Sarah D says:

    Does this work for HE washing machines??

  16. […] Is it Worth it?: DIY Laundry Soap […]

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