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Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin

glass mason jar filled with liquid laundry detergent

Of all the DIY cleaners, laundry detergent is the one that I haven’t wanted to do. I would start reading ingredient lists and directions and instantly look away. It’s always been easier to buy laundry soap (even the not-so-great stuff) then turn my kitchen into a soap-making factory. Until I found this easy recipe for homemade liquid laundry detergent.

I won’t lie. DIY liquid laundry detergent isn’t my most favorite recipe to make. Other green cleaning recipes are so much easier and use ingredients I generally always have in the house. Compared to laundry detergent which uses borax and washing soda (I didn’t even know what those were until recently).

But for many, making laundry detergent is a way of doing the following:

  • Making laundry detergent for sensitive skin
  • Saving money
  • Knowing exactly what ingredients are in your clothes
  • Homesteading

What Ingredients to Use in DIY Laundry Detergent

There aren’t a lot of ingredients to use. Which is why this simple recipe does make me happy. But you might not be familiar with these ingredients, yet. So let me explain how they work.

Castile Soap

This gentle soap made from plant-based ingredients is super gentle. That’s why it’s often used for sensitive skin.

Castile soap suds up well. And it comes in a variety of scents. Unscented is great for sensitive skin and those that don’t like fragrance. You can also buy with natural fragrance such as lavender or peppermint.

Dr. Bronner’s has been the gold standard in Castile soap since 1858. But there are other varieties that work, too. Such as Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap made from coconut oil.

Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda)

Washing soda is a chemical compound known as sodium carbonate. It can soften water and help to remove stains. It creates alkaline water, which is beneficial for removing stains and cleaning clothes.

The substance can cause irritation if handled directly, so just be careful.

Yes, there is a difference between washing soda and baking soda. In washing soda, the carbon dioxide and water molecules from baking soda are removed (you can easily do this yourself in an oven with this washing soda recipe).


Some people like using borax. Others think it’s not a green cleaning ingredient.

Borax is a natural mineral that is mined. However, it doesn’t mean it is completely non-toxic. Borax can cause health problems if children, pets or adults were to ingest it or have it get in their eyes, nose or throat.

The benefits of borax in your laundry detergent are numerous, including:

  • Changes the pH level of the water to more alkaline, so your clothes get cleaner
  • Whitens whites
  • Inhibits mold
  • Neutralizes odors
  • Softens hard water
  • Gets rid of soap residue
  • Helps to remove stains

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Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe


pot with pitcher of water and bar of soap next to box of washing soda


  • Medium size pot for cooking
  • Large pot for mixing
  • Storage container
  • Knife 
  • Spoon
pouring water into a stainless steel pot


  1. Shave off the soap with the knife into the pot or use a cheese grater to grate the bar soap. 
  2. Add 6 cups of water and heat slowly on medium heat until the soap pieces dissolve. Heat just under boiling or gentle boiling – do not let it boil over! Keep stirring to prevent the soap from bubbling over the top (about 15-20 minutes).
  3. Add in the washing soda and borax and stir until fully dissolved. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour this mixture into another larger pot or container. (The 2-gallon or 5-gallon buckets from the hardware store work great for this. Make sure they are clean and don’t have an odor in them, though.)
  5. Add 10 more cups of water. Stir together. Let cool.
  6. Pour into your storage container and seal.
glass jar filled with homemade laundry detergent on green and white striped cloth

 *Depending on a lot of factors, you may find that the finished laundry soap will gel a little bit. This will be perfectly fine and will not affect how it performs. Just give it a quick mix or shake it up before adding to the laundry as you do the loads.

To Use

Use about 1/4 cup of soap per load of laundry and wash as normal.

Even More Green Cleaning Recipes

We have a lot of DIY cleaning recipes to help save you money and exposure to nasty chemicals. Check out these posts:


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Nancy Dixon

Thursday 24th of September 2020

Is this laundry soap okay to use in a front loading HE washing machine?

Kimberly Button

Sunday 27th of September 2020

Yes, you can. However, with all things, I can't guarantee that you won't have problems if you have a different water quality in your area. Or water softeners, etc. So while I can say that I don't have any problems, I can't promise that you will have the same exact results.

kath alderwick

Sunday 20th of September 2020

ive the liquid dr bronners soap what would be the equivalent be in liquid form many thanks

Kimberly Button

Wednesday 23rd of September 2020

I'm not sure the equivalent because I haven't made it that way.