Homemade laundry soap without borax

Updated April 17, 2017

People who strive for frugality in their daily lives have realised that making laundry soap at home is an easy way to save money. Homemade laundry soap costs significantly less than name brands yet it cleans as well. Most homemade laundry soap recipes contain borax (sodium bicarbonate). However, borax is not available in shops in the UK. Also, some people are concerned with the effect of borax on their health. Nevertheless, you can still make your own washing powder without this ingredient.

About borax

Borax is sold in the USA under the brand name 20 Mule Team. It works well as a cleaning agent, but it can be harmful if ingested. It can be particularly irritating to the eyes, nose and throat and it has been banned in the UK. You may see DIY cleaning ideas online that include borax. However, if you can't buy borax, you can't follow those suggstions.


Making laundry soap without borax requires a few common ingredients. You will need 237 ml (1 cup) Castile liquid soap, 474 ml (2 cups) water, 76 g (1/3 cup) salt and 237 g (1 cup) baking soda or washing soda. You will also need a large pot, a large spoon, a 4.5 litre (1 gallon) container and a stove.


This recipe makes 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of washing powder. Add the baking soda, salt and water to a large pot. Turn the stove to medium heat and warm the mixture until it is mostly dissolved, stirring occasionally. Warm the salt and baking soda in the water until mostly dissolved. Transfer the liquid to a 4.5 litre (1 gallon) container. Add the liquid Castile soap to the container and stir. Fill the container the rest of the way with water.


Measure out 118 ml (1/2 cup) of laundry soap per load, and add it to your washing machine as you would with a shop brand. For added softness, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the rinse cycle. If you have a lid for the bucket, you can store the laundry soap in it. You could also repurpose old liquid detergent containers and transfer your homemade soap into them.


Borax is used in homemade laundry soap because it helps boost the soap's whitening power. It also acts as a deodoriser. These properties can improve the performance of homemade washing powder, but are not essential to clean clothes. You can leave the borax out of laundry soap recipes and your clothes will still come out of the washer clean.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Carol Bancroft has been writing about food and crafts since 2000 when she launched her blog, Pure Sugar. Bancroft formerly owned a small wine shop. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Massachusetts.