My Favorite Laundry Soap

I finally found a laundry soap recipe that I love!  I have tried another, and wasn’t crazy about it.  It left my clothes kinda stinky after a while, and didn’t seem to rinse out.  But this one, this is a keeper.

This will make a small 2.64 lb container of soap.  Which in our case makes about 80 loads, give or take due to the amount of filth my children have gotten into.  I put it into Charlie’s Soap container.  (FYI, I still use Charlie’s for Emme’s diapers…just because).  This is for a powdered recipe – I don’t like the idea of making 5 gallons of liquid detergent at a time…We don’t have the space to store it.

So here’s the recipe:

2 (3 oz) bars of Ivory (classic with no moisturizers) soap

1 C Borax

1 C Washing Soda (Do NOT substitute baking soda – not the same)

1/2 C OxiClean

Shred the soap with a cheese grater, or better yet, in a food processor.  I shred mine with the cheese grater attachment then pulse it with the next two ingredients (borax and washing soda) with a regular chopping blade.  This turns the soap into little balls or tiny pieces so they can be more evenly distributed.  Then add the oxiclean and mix thoroughly.

I prefer to add a couple drops of essential oil to my laundry soap, once it’s in the dispenser.  I don’t use a flat oil in the container because I use different oils for different things.


With the addition of the oxiclean, this recipe costs me around a dollar (not quite as cheap as without the oxi clean…but close).  The cost will vary depending on the soap you use too.

You can substitute any bar of soap for this, except *try to* stay away from soaps with moisturizers and try to stay away from soaps with tallow or animal fats for HE washers.  Most soaps especially liquid soaps, contain animal fats, including Fels Naptha.   The animal fat gets trapped in the seals and then causes mold – which is why you don’t want to use a regular or really even any liquid soap – other than homemade- in your HE washer.  (NOTE:  Ivory DOES contain Sodium Tallowate – a mixture of Sodium Hydroxide and Tallow or animal fat – usually bovine).  I’m not sure if it’s because of the addition of the sodium, but because it’s a floatable soap, the ingredients dissolve very well and very quickly – which is what you want in the HE washer.  And you don’t want suds.

If you’re looking for a vegan option, try Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap bars.  I prefer the unscented so that I can add essential oils.


Essential Oils to use in laundry:

Lavender – Use for kid’s clothes and/or bed linens.  Lavender is probably the most gentle essential oil available.  It offers many benefits including anti-bacterial benefits and can have a calming affect.  It’s a great essential oil to have on hand as it has many other uses.  It is one of the very few (though you need to make sure you have a good quality oil) oils that you can apply directly to the skin without a carrier oil (like jojoba or argon)

Tea Tree – Tea Tree has a more medicinal fragrance, though I don’t mind it personally.  The benefits of it, however, are nothing to be sneezed at.  It is one of the most essential (heh heh) essential oils I have in my house.  I always have at least 2 ounces of it on hand at all times.  It has anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties.  It’s great to use in loads of kitchen towels or cloth diapers.  And let’s face it, probably socks and underwear too.  I keep it around also because it is wonderful at drawing out infection (for acne in our house-or any other kind of pus related bacterial infection), it can be used to kill fleas in a shampoo for your pets, a gentle rub of tea tree in your child’s hair during a lice outbreak is said to repel lice.  In my opinion, that alone is enough to keep a gallon of it on hand.  It also works better than chemical medicines like abreva on cold sores.   My son gets cold sores terribly, and with one or two applications, they dry up and are gone in less than a week.
Lemon – Lemon is probably my personal favorite oil to put into my laundry.  I put it in at the time of washing, not into the base recipe because I like to use different oils for different things.  I originally bought it because I sat on a piece of gum while I was wearing one of my favorite summer dresses, and nothing – not even freezing and scraping would get it off.  A friend of mine suggested that I use lemon oil.  So I did.  Straight up, it dissolved the gum from the fabric, left the fabric perfectly intact, and voila I have my dress back.

Orange – If you prefer a citrus scent, but don’t like the lemonade smell that the lemon scent leaves, you can try orange.  I don’t smell the orange nearly as much as the lemon, but it’s got a nice refreshing scent.  I imagine orange has the same properties as the lemon.


There are many other essential oils that are appropriate for laundry, my mom used to use patchouli, which is a wonderfully beneficial oil too.  But some people (like my husband) don’t like the smell of it.  Try it out, buy a good quality oil (like Aura Cacia or Young Living) and don’t use a carrier in your laundry soap.  The soap is your carrier.


4 thoughts on “My Favorite Laundry Soap

    • Lemon is my favorite. I just really love the smell. Air smells like I’m washing with lemonade! We use tea tree oil all the time around here. I panic when there is less than an ounce. I’m relatively new in the essential oil’s but I’m finding myself using them for everything. When my daughter was littler (she’s 2 1/2 now) she was horrible to get to sleep. Someone suggested rubbing lavender oil on the bottoms of her feet. It did work for a while! The we fell away from it. But I still love to add it to coconut oil and jojoba as a moisturizer. Let me know what you think about adding them to your laundry, and let me know if you find one that you particularly like! I would like to try sandalwood…

    • And I must apologize to my readers for the choppy nature of this blog post. Gah! I had kids fighting, lunch sitting on the table or being thrown, dogs panting in my face, banana bread in the oven, laundry in the dryer, and of course ALL going off a the same time. And now, it’s almost midnight and I’m catching up. Not my best written post, but it’s to the point, rit?

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