We have all heard about saving money by making our own laundry soap.

My deal-lovin’, money-saving, coupon-clipping, never-pay-full-price brain could not pass this up when I first heard about it! Especially since, as a busy mom, I am always doing laundry.

But the truth is, even though I loved the savings, I hated this part: “grate bars of soap into saucepan with water and stir continually over medium-low heat until completely dissolved.” No thank you! With all the sorting of loads, switching machines, folding and putting away (not to mention the rest of life zooming all around us), who has the time to grate and melt soap bars?

This super-simple recipe has changed my life! Well, at least the part of my life that takes place in the laundry room. There is no grating, no dirty dishes, no stove, no stirring continually for what seems like an eternity. Just pour in the ingredients, swish it around and fill up the container. It’s done in less than 5 minutes from start to finish.

Not only is it easy and a huge time saver, but it is so cheap it’s KRAZY! My shopping list for this homemade detergent consisted of one 72oz box of Borax ($3.79), one 55oz box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda ($3.99) and one 9oz bottle of Dawn dish liquid ($0.99), for a total of $8.77 before tax and coupons. How does this price compare? My favorite brand of commercial laundry detergent goes for $12.99 for 96 loads regular price. After doing all the math, I discovered that this no-grate recipe makes 96 loads for about $1! That’s a 92% savings!

Another added benefit: This soap actually cleans better than my old “grate and melt” recipe. I give credit to the grease and grime fighting power of dish soap. Even my I-must-feed-myself toddler’s clothes come clean. That alone makes it amazing!

DIY No-Grate Laundry Soap

Supply List

  • 5 tbsp Borax
  • 5 tbsp Washing Soda
  • 3 tbsp Liquid Dish Soap (I prefer Dawn)
  • Empty 1 Gallon Container with Lid
  • Funnel (if needed)
  • Tap Water


  • Pour Borax, washing soda and dish soap into your one gallon container, using a funnel if necessary.
  • Add a few inches of hot tap water to the container. Put on the lid and swirl vigorously for 1 tor 2 minutes until powders are dissolved.
  • Fill with tap water, letting bubbles run out.
  • Use 1/2 cup per load (a little more for large sized or heavily soiled loads).

That’s it! Who can resist better cleaning in less time while spending less money? Not this KCL!

Are you done making yours yet?

This has been a guest post by Shirley from Riverside, CA
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!


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32 thoughts on “Clean Savings: Easy DIY No-Grate Laundry Soap”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I just put together my first batch..I am excited to try this on my husbands nasty work clothes. He is an airplane mechanic and does not believe in using rags, so he uses his jeans!! : (

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just mixed up my first batch, does it ever have to be shaken up before use? And thank you!

  3. Brandi Smith says:

    My biggest concern is that this recipe isn’t very concentrated. It’s so watery. Isn’t there a way to make it thicker?

  4. Anonymous says:

    OK. Now I am confused. Some people are saying this is OK for HE and some people are saying NO. hmmmm please help.

  5. ZOMBIE says:

    How many one-gallon batches do you get out of the one each of Borax, washing soda and dish liquid?

    • awesome sauce says:

      Oh you will get your money’s worth, that’s for sure. I don’t know about the dish liquid though, but when they are on the 99 cent sale, be sure to stock up. I do the grated version, I just use my blender to “grate” with a few spoonfuls of powder to keep the bar soap from gumming up. Plus I make my all purpose cleaner & knock off cleaning wipes with all three products plus vinegar, baking soda, & essential oils. I still never made a dent in the washing soda or borax, and I’ve made 2 refills on the washing powder already. So it’s pretty good stuff for the price.

  6. Angela Woodward Larson says:

    I love this idea! My hubby works at Borax…….:) I’m trying it!

  7. Carrie says:

    I have used this recipe for dishwashing soap and was NOT happy with it. However I love, love love the laundry soap recipe. I will try a single batch with the Dawn soap and see how it goes.

  8. KYMOM says:

    Instead of liquid I make powder. I grate the soap Fels Naptha in my food processor. I do a big batch. 4 bars of soap, I run it through the first time grating it like cheese. Then switch to the chopping blade and grind it until it is about the consistency of coffee grounds. Mix 4 bars soap, with 1 box of Borax, 1 box Super Washing Soda, and big (4 #) box of baking soda. I made my first batch in June, I am still using it in Oct. Using the food processor takes about 5 min for 4 bars.

  9. couponlee1 says:

    How well is home made laundry soap with colored clothing? Is is harsh? Does it fade? Also..any recommendations for baby detergent? Thanks

  10. Shannon P says:


  11. TK says:

    I’ve been wanting to try making laundry detergent but the grating and cooking always deterred me. I’m wondering where you purchased the borax and washing soda? I checked Amazon and it’s about $23.00 for the sizes you indicated, which is still probably a good deal but $12. sounds better!

    • DC says:

      You can find it all on the laundry aisle at walmart. I bought both for under $6!

    • Anonymous says:

      Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT buy your borax and washing soda from amazon- they’ve clearly caught on to the make-your-own-laundry soap craze and have jacked their prices up like crazy. I bought my borax at Target for $3.99 and my washing soda at Fred Meyer for $3-$4 as well. Walmart has this stuff as well. :)

  12. Kathy L. says:

    Good timing. I, too, don’t like to grate soap. I just noticed that all my bought-on-sale laundry detergent is almost gone; however, I still have plenty of Borax and washing soda left from previous times when I made detergent. I’m so happy to have a no-grate version of the recipe!

  13. Mary Jane says:

    Interesting. I just made my homemade laundry soap for the first with Fels Naptha soap. That soap is so soft that grating was easy. Personally I feel that Fels Naptha is better for the environment then the Dawn detergent.

  14. kimbodini says:

    Does it matter what concentration the dish soap is?

  15. Anonymous says:

    It is not sudsy, and is safe for HE machines

  16. jessica says:

    Are you all accepting articles that have already been written? I know this is the second laundry recipe you’ve all done. Thanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      We try to accept articles with diverse content, but in this case the recipe was different from some others we had featured and we decided it was worth sharing!

  17. No dawn in HE machines.

  18. Sylvia says:

    Is this compatible with HE washing machines?