DIY No-Grate Powdered Laundry Soap


Life gets busy.  We all have weeks when we feel too busy for homemade, and last week was one of those weeks for me. And my busy week also happened to coincide with my big batch of powdered homemade laundry soap running out.  I was even kind of feeling too busy to make my homemade Dawn liquid laundry soap!

So instead I decided to try out this easy homemade solution that requires no grating of bar soap (or microwaving of soap!) and instead uses the quick and easy hack of only using Oxi-Clean in the recipe rather than any soap.

How to make a homemade powdered laundry soap with no grating of bar soap

Because I like making homemade cleaners and laundry products I almost always have some washing soda and borax around (the other two ingredients in this recipe). I’m also a fan of Oxi-Clean so I usually have some of that around too.  This recipe uses equal amounts of each of those three ingredients so it’s simple to just scoop out a cup or two of each ingredient, mix them together a bit and you’re done!  You can just use equal amounts using the measuring scoop from the Oxi-Clean container too and then you don’t even have to go hunting for a measuring cup.

So far this recipe seems to do well on every load of wash I’ve used it on.  One common complaint of homemade laundry soaps with grated bar soaps is that soap (as opposed to detergent) can slowly make whites look dingy and make towels less absorbent.  Because this recipe has no grated soap there should hopefully be no worries in that area.  (You can read more here:  Soap vs. Detergent)

On the down side, this recipe might not be quite as frugal as using the bars of Fels Naptha soap which sell for about 99 cents a bar.  However I usually do make an effort to buy my Oxi-Clean on sale with a coupon to get the lowest price possible.  And if you’ve made do at home by creating this recipe with what you have on hand instead of going to the store, then potentially you’ve saved yourself time and the temptation to spend more on other things once you start walking around the store. AND – I think this recipe would still be cheaper than store bought laundry detergent too.

Make your own powdered laundry soap with these three quick and simple ingredients - no grating of bar soap needed!

On a side note, I wrote some time ago about the problem of having hard and clumpy washing soda and borax.  Ever since then I’ve been keeping my washing soda and borax in plastic ziploc containers instead of the boxes they are sold in.  Problem solved!  Those open cardboard boxes were absolutely no good at keeping moisture out.

So as you can see in the picture above, I now keep my washing soda and borax in ziploc storage containers.  I cut out the product name from the box and tape it to the lid so I know what’s inside.  It’s a solution that’s been working great for me.

How to make a homemade powdered laundry soap with no grating of bar soap

DIY No-Grate Powdered Laundry Soap

You Will Need Equal Amounts of the following ingredients.  I used:

  • 2 cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 2 cups Oxi-Clean

Combine the washing soda, borax, and Oxi-Clean and store in a covered container.

I use approximately 3 tablespoons per load.   For the 6 cup batch I made with the measurements listed above, I will be able to wash at least 32 loads of laundry.

I thought about putting this mixture in a canning jar to make nice looking pictures, but you know what? Canning jars are lousy for scooping out your homemade mixture.  And I’m not gonna lie to you and act like I’m using that for my day-to-day life.  Instead I have this mixture in a round container with a nice 4″ opening that I picked up at the dollar store awhile back.  In my opinion it’s a better option because I can actually reach in and scoop out some of the mixture.

Make your own powdered laundry soap with three quick and simple ingredients - no grating of bar soap needed!




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    1. Perhaps this would be true if the clothing being washed was very heavily soiled. However for most ordinary laundry these ingredients will still work well to clean and freshen a load of laundry.

  1. I just use an old serrated steak knife and cut the block into shavings. I make sure it’s mostly even then add it to my mix. I’ve grated too many knuckles in the past.

  2. Easy there Heather. She’s repurposed her plastic! You want her to throw away the plastic and buy a glass Mason jar and a stainless steel scoop? Maybe when her plastic stuff wears out she can replace the plastic. It seems like your post is part shaming.. Not cool Heather!

  3. Bev, I like your recipe, but not all the use of plastic. In our effort to economize we should also be trying to llve more lightly on the planet and plastic is definitely not good for the earth! A wide mouth canning jar should work fine for the homemade laundry detergent, and keeping the Borax and washing soda in their boxes keeps more non -biodegradable plastic out of the landfills and oceans. Get a stainless steel scoop, not plastic for measuring. If the Borax and washing soda gets lumpy in the box put the lumps in a couple paper bags and run your rolling pin over them.

    1. This is the amount I use in my top loader, so you may want to use a little less if you have a front loader.

    1. I’ve never had an issue and have used various versions of this receipe for years. My boyfriend uses commercial detergent and his shirts (that we bought together around the same time) are faded and mine aren’t.

  4. Can you use hydrogen peroxide with your liquid down laundry detergent? I thought it would help as a stain remover.
    I’m not going shopping for a few days but will buy some Dawn and want to try this out. Thanks so much.

    1. Oxy-clean is powdered hydrogen peroxide. Adding 3% liquid peroxide is redundant and thus wasteful. The research I found about borax is that it’s only effective in VERY hot water. I use it alone to pre wash towels and rugs dirtied by our very old, incontinent dog.

  5. Hi,
    Wondering…does 20 Mule Team Borax, Washing Soda, or OxiClean powders “expire and lose their efficiency”? I have a few boxes that are at least a few years old. (good intentions, but you know how that goes!) Do you think I can use those with good effects or should I start with some fresh products?

    Also, do you have a post telling about how to get rid of the clumps in these easily? Thanks if you could include the link.

    Blessings and thanks for all you do!

    1. As far as I know, borax and washing soda do not expire or lose their efficiency. However as you know they do have a tendency to clump up if they absorb too much moisture from the air. They only way I know to un-clump them is to just remove the clump from the box and then start chopping away at it! I’ve used a wooden spoon to do this, and readers have told me they use potato mashers and meat grinders! (here’s the link to that article with some reader suggestions in the comments:

    1. I didn’t know that was an option! I will have to check my local Wal Mart and see if they carry it.

        1. ZOTE is a laundry soap in bar form that can be used in DIY laundry soap recipes. I find it in Family Dollar store and Walmart…but Wal-Mart has it in pregratec form also.

          1. I grate my soap this way..first warm in microwave till it is a bit soft…cut bar in half I use my pampered chef hand grater &works great.