• Washing Soda
  • Borax
  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Water

Making your own laundry soap isn’t hard, but you do have to set aside a little time.   And it’s not the time it takes to measure or mix anything either.  That’s the quick part.

It’s the time for that pesky part of the chore known as “The Grating Of The Soap”.

My favorite homemade powdered laundry soap recipe uses one grated bar of Fels Naptha soap and one grated bar of Ivory Soap and it just seems like there’s no quick way around that part of the process.   A hand grater still seems to work the best for me  (Although I’ve resorted to microwaving soap to try to speed things up).

So for those times when life is super busy, or those times when I’m just lacking in patience (yeah, that happens to me sometimes), I like to fall back on this recipe, that requires . . .


Homemade Laundry Soap made with Dawn



To create a homemade laundry soap without the grating, you can try this recipe that substitutes Dawn dish soap.   It’s still a good money saving alternative to store bought laundry soaps, and because it’s in liquid form you get to skip the tedious process of grating.

Dawn is known to be a great grease-busting soap which of course is wonderful for your dishes, but can also be really helpful for laundry (Dawn is is a key ingredient in my favorite homemade stain remover too!).  I also wrote previously about Detergent vs. Soap and wondered if Dawn might have more detergent properties that helps it rinse off clothing in the laundry better than soap does.

I’ve used this recipe several times now and it works  just fine on laundry and mixes together quickly.  I adjusted the washing soda and borax up slightly from the original recipe I followed so the ratios would be closer to the other homemade laundry soap recipes that I use.


The first couple times I made this recipe I used a recycled plastic gallon milk jug.  Turns out though that plastic gallon milk jugs are really too flimsy for this job, primarily because you need to use really hot water for the first step in this recipe and the hot water makes the plastic milk jug feel too  “soft”.

If you’re going to use a recycled container for this recipe, look for a container made of harder, sturdier plastic like a gallon vinegar jug or gallon orange juice jug.  You could also recycle a store bought laundry soap container, although it’s nice if you know your container is a gallon size so you can just top it off with water and know you have the correct amount.

After not being happy with my flimsy gallon milk jugs, I decided to just go ahead and buy a gallon sized Rubbermaid drink container with a nice pour spout so that I would have the perfect sturdy container for the job.  Kind of out of character from my usual frugal and thrifty self, but life can sure go easier when you have the right tool for the job.

Homemade Laundry Soap made with Dawn dish soap


You Will Need:

  • 1/3 Cup Washing Soda

  • 1/4 Cup Borax

  • 2 Tablespoons Dawn Dish Soap

  • 1 Gallon of Water

  • Sturdy Gallon Size Container

Fill your gallon size container about 1/4 full with VERY HOT water.   Add the washing soda and the borax.  Gently shake and swirl the contents around to help dissolve the washing soda and the borax.  (You may want to put the top back on your container for this step).

Next add the 2 tablespoons of Dawn Dish Soap.   Swirl it around to help mix it in.

Finally you will add the remainder of the water.  It can just be cold or room temperature water from the tap.

If you add the rest of the water slowly, the mixture will not bubble up as much.  However it will still bubble a little bit, and that’s OK.  Add enough water until you have a gallon, and just let any excess bubbles overflow.

Homemade Laundry Soap made with Dawn dish soap

Swoosh away the bubbles, put the top back on your container and if you want, you can tip it and swirl it a little more for some additional mixing.

Use about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup per load.  It will be a thin liquid, but it does the job.

Update:  You may want to read this follow up article on mixing homemade Dawn laundry soap with bleach:  Can You Mix Dawn Dish Soap With Bleach?



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