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Homemade Castile Laundry Soap

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Several of you have commented this recipe worked, while others have said it was an epic fail.  Since I don’t go for this method any longer, I thought I might as well save us all some time and effort and point you toward my preferred method now, Soap Nuts.

Soap Nuts: A Natural, Frugal Laundry Detergent

How to Make Soap Nuts Liquid

Soap Nuts Tips

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. Alice Dotson says:

    I made this, but it was too set to stir after the liquid soap soaked up the washing/baking sodas. I tried to mix it well; spoon, whisk, my hands…so I added the water, then another cup of boiling water to mix. So I got my blender out! It worked, just made it a bit more foamy, but it works good. I did use a bit of softener…smells and looks good! U r swell, Stacy! Thx!

    • I knew the liquid amount would vary, based on where you live. :-) Funny how the environment changes so many things. Glad you like it. I think it smells GREAT!

  2. Heidi Fluegel says:

    I made this today. I literally added over 6 cups of water and it keeps solidifying. What is going on????

    • Heidi, I don’t know. :-( I only used one additional cup of water, but I could have used two. I talked to a couple other people who tried it and they added two cups of water. Is it solidifying into powder?? And you used liquid castile soap??

    • I had the same problem of the mixture becoming totally solidified. I had to add about 6 cups of boiling water while chipping away at the block with a knife. Then I used a potato masher to help break up clumps. I then, in order to save the mixture, strained it through a sieve to catch the little pebbles that never dissolved. I work in a test kitchen, so I’d like to think I follow “recipes” pretty well. It is a gelatinous consistency now. I’m hesitant to use it my HE machine. Just sharing…..and still testing.

      • I’ve found that it varies how much water I have to add….and I’ve also found that with making liquid soap, it varies from household to household and even with every batch. You can just keep adding water until you get the consistency that you like – I left mine very thick. We like the powder detergent better, so I don’t make this very often.
        I don’t have a HE washer, so I can’t really speak for that. :-)

  3. Hello, I am wondering what the difference is between your liquid laundry soap and this castile laundry soap( besides the obvious- ingredients!)? Do they work the same? Is one better than the other? Thank you, Martha

    • It’s based solely on soap preference. Castile soap is a natural soap, made from vegetable oil. This batch is a lot smaller than my liquid laundry detergent…..and the amount of water to add can vary each time you make the castile batch. Castile laundry soap will cost more than the other recipe.
      They both seem to work the same for me. If you try one, please let me know how it works for you! :-)

  4. I make a dry laundry soap by grating 2 cups of Ivory bar soap (approx. one bar), and adding a cup each of borax and washing soda. It works GREAT and smells really nice. Sometimes I add 2 scoops of the dollar store version of Oxyclean per batch. Recently, we bought an HE washer and after talking to the salesman at length about the soap, he determined that it would be great for an HE washer, as long as I ran it through the food processor, which is exactly what I’ve been doing. Very cheap and it works really, really well. It also looks exactly like store-bought detergent. Use 2 TBS. per load.

  5. I was looking up the recipes for the laundry detergent. I found the one with the bar of fels naptha soap, but at the seminar last night you had said ivory bar soap. Can you substitute the Ivory for the Fels Naptha Bar?

  6. Betty Lynne Pond says:

    Hi Stacy,
    I so enjoyed your presentation at our Women’s Wellness Group (with Heather R) last week. I have very much enjoyed looking at your site….you are my kind of person and you are serving God by giving others all your valuable lifestyle info…Thank you Thank you.
    I now have you on my favorites and am trying to figure out how to do the RSS feed. I have a question What is the washing soda? Is it in the laundry aisle with Castile soap? In my vast years of life I just don’t recognize what this might be. I do want to start making (your) my own laundry detergent. Everyone at church is talking about it! Thanks so much.

    • Betty, washing soda is made by Arm and Hammer. I just went looking for some yesterday to so I could tell everyone where it was located. :-) I’ve found it at all the area Food Citys. At the Food City in Abingdon, it is in the aisle with the laundry detergent. It was located in the bleach section, on the top shelf, right beside the Borax which you might also want to pick up. The Fels Naptha soap was located on the same side of the aisle, just down a bit with the spray starch. I hope that helps!
      You can find castile soap at Target, any natural food store, and at some arts and crafts stores.
      Thank you very much for the kind words. :-) You’ve given me a boost today!

  7. Hi Stacy! Thanks for your blog, it has been a godsend to me. I have Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds. Have you tried that with a detergent recipe or could I just substitute it for the 1/4 castile soap in this one? Also have you used any castile soap for dishwasher detergent? Thanks!

    • I don’t have a dishwasher, but I do have a dishwasher soap recipe on the site: :-) I”m sorta anti-dishwasher….and I bet you’re not surprised. LOL

      I’m not familiar with Sal Suds – what is it used for and is it liquid? I’ll try to help! :-)

      • Here is the link to more info on Sal Suds:

        I have used it with great success in all of my household cleaning. It is liquid and needs to be heavily diluted, so a little goes a long way. I may make a batch of your castile soap detergent recipe with it soon to see how it goes.

        Also, I made your dishwasher detergent recipe #2 and was shocked to see how clean my dishes were when I used it. I have been spreading word to my friends and family. Thanks for all of your help and inspiration!

        • Well that’s just nifty – I think I might have to get some of that to try! :-) I’m glad you like the dishwasher detergent!

  8. Do you always put white vinegar in the softner dispenser ? Does it give your clothes a sour smell?

  9. Thanks, I will def. try it!

  10. Thanks for this different version of Laundry Soap. I bought Peppermint Liquid Castile Soap about a month ago to save for recipes–this is one I am going to try. I swear, I think I have enough ideas(home made recipes)–including the liquid soap I already have made–to last me a year or so. A big, big savings!!
    Thanks-can’t wait to try this one.

  11. This is my favorite laundry soap. I put it in the blender because I love the consistancy and with my washer it is difficult to just mix some soap in hot water before washing. It is like whipped cream and so fun. my niece wanted to eat it. LOL It seems to clean well. I throw oxyclean into dirty stuff or white sheets etc.

  12. This is my favorite laundry soap. I mix it yep takes a bit more water then I throw it in the blender. It comes out so soft and creamy. I keep it in a cool whip container. It looks good enough to eat. I have a small portable washer that connects to the kitchen sink so its tough to do the dissolve in hot water thing. Thats why I whip it. I also just use 1 T per load.This recipe does my laundry for a couple months. I dont want huge containers of soap
    Thanks for sharingin all of the closets. This is my favorite and best kind!!!!

  13. linda dantonio says:

    please sign me up for daily Emails Thank You

    • Linda, you can do that on the right side of the screen. You’ll get a confirmation email and then you’ll get Barry’s free eBook on how to set up a budget. :-)

  14. Stacy, I have been using your recipe for regular powder laundry soap for a while and I love it, but I came across this today and decided to give it a try. I used almond scented castille (got a great deal on Amazon a while back!) and it is AWESOME! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  15. Oh, and I would also like to add that after working/playing in the mixture with my hands they came out super soft from the castille. Nice bonus!

  16. Some information about mixing castile and vinegar:

  17. Chrissy says:

    I’m a little confused about the use of both baking soda AND vinegar. I thought they react with and neutralize one another. Don’t you have to just use each separately?

    • You know, under normal circumstances this is true…but I haven’t found the two combined in this recipe to cause a problem. It seems to get things really clean…and I have several friends that use it. I also know of a few people who mix the two together in a spray bottle and use it for cleaning – but I just use pure vinegar. :-)

  18. I’m seeing different amounts when i look up other recipe for homemade laundry detergent. One is almost like yours and says 1 cup of castile soap, 1 cup baking soda and two cups of water and only vinegar for the rinse cycle as a softener. does it matter if there is less or more soap or if you leave out the washing baking soda. and does it matter if you add the vinegar to the recipe or just leave it out ans use for t softener?

  19. Instead of using baking soda can I substitute borax? I have washing soda and the other stuff around but no baking soda.

  20. So you put white vinager in as fabric softner as well, how much per load?
    Can you use this in a HE washer?

    • I have been told by those who have HE washers that you have to be careful what detergent you use – otherwise your warranty will be void. :( When I use vinegar I just fill the dispenser in the middle of my washer, but I did measure. :-) It’s about 1/2 cup.

  21. The vinegar and baking soda are acids and bases respectively. By adding the two together, you are canceling each benefits out. The vinegar is a very good disinfectant on its own and typically bases (NaOH) are used in the soaponification process. You should never add them together, in this case it’s fine, and your ending up with basically water. But you loose all power of either material.

  22. Jamie Garcia says:

    I use the Duggar family recipe, it’s basically this but without vinegar, add Borax, and then dilute the entire thing in a 5 gallon bucket filled with hot water to the top. Then gel it over night. It makes, 10 gallons, adds up to $0.005–yes the decimal point is in the right place, and smells fantastic :)

    I also found a few homemade softner recipes too, one for a dryer sheet! in the book The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier. Very good, straight fwd book on natural cleaning.

    • Jamie Garcia says:

      adds up to $0.005 PER LOAD…sheesh sorry :)
      And it can be used in he machines according to the Duggar family.

      • :-) Yes, I’ve read that as well…but HE manufacturers can sometimes void your warranty if something goes wrong with the machine and they find that you used that detergent…at least that’s what I’ve been told from some readers. I don’t have an HE washer. :-)
        Thanks for clarifying the money part!

    • We like Wool Dryer Balls instead of fabric softener..I love that the laundry gets dry faster!

      I have a similar recipe to the Duggars on here too: I prefer the powder version for storage reasons, but both are fabulous ways to save money. :-)

      • Jamie Garcia says:

        That’s fantastic thanks! (just new to your blog and I have two under 3 yo right now, so I get to like a page a month lol)
        I have the little blue spiky balls that you can buy in the store now, but I claim them first since I used them before anyone else knew what they were 😀

        If I ever have an he machine (probably never since we buy our W/Ds on craigslist for as cheap as possible) I might just take the chance on the warranty myself 😉

  23. We have well water and homemade detergent usually leaves our clothes grey and dirty looking. Has anyone tried this with hard water?

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Mine solidified as well. I think that is it one of two things. I added the vinegar to fast, or my baking soda was old. I put everything in a big pot and am boiling it down on the stove now. (It’s bubbling up and foaming up now.) I may try this again and see what happens. But when I felt the solidified piece it was warm making me think that it did not finish its reaction. I added a few drops of grapefruit essential oil to my lavender Castile soap. I am excited to see how this works in my HE washer.

  25. I have sort of a silly question… I’m pregnant so I’m not wanting to use a lot of the cleaners I used before so I’m trying to use as close to natural as possible without paying a lot of money so I like these homemade recipes with vinegar but I don’t know much about vinegar so I bought one that says “distilled white vinegar.” Is that the same thing as regular white vinegar? Yes I really am that clueless about it. :) I didn’t read all the previous comments so I’m not sure if you’ve already answered this question but I sure would appreciate your help. Thanks a bunch!

  26. Patricia Miller says:


  27. It’s never curdled for me. :-)

  28. I followed this recipe, and now 2 days later it is a solid mass instead of liquid…anyone else have this problem?

  29. Hmmmm. No, can’t say as that’s ever happened here. It likely just needs more water. :-)

  30. I made powdered detergent with borax, etc. and wondered if I could add just a little bit of the liquid castille soap, instead of grating the bar?

  31. I’ve never tried that so I’m not sure.

  32. I made this and when i was mixing the ingredients together it solidified into a stone from the time it took me to measure the water, i had to take a mallet to the whole thing, now its grainy, is there anything i can do to smooth it out?

  33. Hmmmmm, it does get thick if there isn’t enough water. I would suggest adding boiling water and stirring until the consistency is right.

    • I added 4 cups of water but it solidified before i had the chance to get the water in, when i try it again ill try and figure out what i did wrong lol

  34. Supposedly your not to mix castile soap with vinegar it cancels the 2 out- (base+acid= non effectiveness)

  35. I’ve had a ton of comments saying that – and I understand the science….but I also know, for some reason it still gets laundry clean. :-)

  36. same thing with baking soda + vinegar. Acid plus base means they neutralize each other. You should substitute the vinegar with water and I guarantee you’ll have the same results.

  37. Goodness I’ve been reading through so many comments, but I haven’t come to an answer for my question… I’d continue to read, but now I have a 3-year old and 9-month old crying at me. Yes, crying AT me because I’m not paying attention to them! I just need to know if this is safe on cloth diapers. We have to use organic cotton prefolds (synthetic materials are a no, no on my daughter’s skin) and I would love to use homemade laundry detergent. If not, do you have a recipe that you can recommend. Thank you so much and I love your blog!

  38. it does not lump up being keped air tight?

  39. If I only posted things that would work for every single person, I wouldn’t have much to post about at all. Almost everything works different for different people….I’ve tried tons of stuff on the internet that worked for the original poster, but didn’t work for me. So, I just kept trying till I found what I needed.
    That being said, our family uses Soap Nuts now. Easier and more eco friendly.

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