Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap


Making natural liquid laundry soap is so easy, inexpensive, and great for the environment. I’m glad to say that despite the introduction of GST in Malaysia this year, we can still maintain our commitment to green cleaning at home by making our own natural laundry soap.

It takes only 30 minutes overall to make your own liquid laundry soap (including the time to divide it into containers).

This recipe I’m sharing with you makes 15 litres of soap (126 loads), which is enough to last my family slightly over 4 months (we run one load daily). The total cost is around RM39.50, which works out to only RM0.31 per load!

Compare this with store-bought “natural” liquid laundry detergent. One of the popular brands in Malaysia retails at RM47.70 for 50 loads, which works out to RM0.95 per load, 3 times the cost of homemade.

Conventional laundry detergent pollutes our earth with chemicals like sulfates, phenols, petroleum distillates and more, so all the more reason to switch to homemade natural laundry soap.


  • 1 bar natural soap or homemade soap (I used Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby-Mild bar soap, 5 oz)
  • 1 cup Borax (I used 20 Mule Team Borax)
  • 1 cup Washing Soda (I used Arm & Hammer)
  • Essential oil (optional) (I used 10 drops of peppermint EO from an old bottle)
  • 15 litres plain tap water*

* Some other recipes use more water (all other ingredients remaining the same), bringing the total volume up to 19 litres, and users are apparently happy with the results. I chose to make my laundry soap more concentrated because of the amount of dirt our 4 kids get onto their clothes! I suppose when their messy days are over (if ever?), I may make 19 litres instead which would mean this recipe alone will enable us to run 160 loads across 5.3 months, decreasing the cost even further to RM0.20 per load!

What’s in these ingredients?

  • Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby-Mild bar soap is made with organic oils (coconut, palm, olive, and jojoba). Best of all, Dr. Bronner’s soaps are certified fair trade.

Dr Bronner's castile soap

  • Borax (sodium tetraborate) is a naturally occurring substance produced by the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes. The 20 Mule Team Borax variety is free of phosphates, per-oxside, chlorine, and other additive chemicals. Some people have expressed concerns over the use of borax, but this well-researched article by Wellness Mama has convinced me of the safety of using it in laundry soap. Basically, we won’t be ingesting it or using it undiluted. In my view, this reasoning applies equally well to many other natural substances.


  • Washing soda (also known as sodium carbonate or soda ash) is the water-soluble sodium salt of carbonic acid.

washing soda

Where to buy

(Prices at the time of writing:) 

  • 20 Mule Team Borax (available at Ace, RM38.05 for 76 oz)*
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (available at Ace, RM28.51 for 55 oz)*

* Borax and Washing Soda are useful for a myriad of natural household cleaning jobs, and they are used so minimally in our homemade cleaning concoctions so the cost of these items (reasonably priced already) are spread out over a long time.

Now for the recipe!

Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe

  1. Add 2 litres of water to a medium-sized pot.
  2. Grate the entire bar of soap. (I used a cheese grater.) Add it into the water.
  3. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly until the soap dissolves.
  4. Add the borax and washing soda to the soap mixture. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.
  5. Pour 13 litres of warm or hot water into a big bucket/pail that can contain at least 16 litres. (A large one that most people use for mopping floors will do just fine.)
  6. Add the soap-borax-washing soda mixture to this big pail of water. Stir well.
  7. Keep overnight and allow to cool in a safe place, away from children and pets.
  8. The next day, the mixture will have separated a little, but that’s ok. Add essential oil (if using). Stir well until combined.
  9. Pour into clean, empty containers. Using a funnel helps get the job done much faster and with minimal spills. (I recycled our empty milk cartons, cleaning and drying them well beforehand.)
  10. Use ½ cup per load (or up to 1 cup if clothes are really dirty). Shake before use.

How to make laundry soap

Does this liquid laundry soap work?

When researching numerous homemade laundry recipes online, I decided to go with liquid laundry soap instead of the dry powdered version as the liquid recipe ensures all the ingredients are well incorporated.

We have been using this laundry soap for exactly 2 weeks now. I usually add 4 tablespoons of white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of our front loader washing machine and am extremely pleased with the overall result.

(By the way, using white vinegar as an alternative to store-bought fabric softener is another healthier, environmentally friendly, very cheap and effective way of softening fabrics. Clothes don’t come out smelling like vinegar at all. On where to buy white vinegar in bulk and save cost, contact me here.)

With this homemade liquid laundry soap, the clothes come out without the distinct and heavy fragrance of conventional laundry detergent, but I prefer that because those fragrances are actually made of a mix of harmful chemicals. The fragrance of the peppermint essential oil in this recipe dissipates after the clothes are washed but adding the oil may extend the shelf life of this homemade laundry soap, given its antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Given how simple this laundry soap is to make, its economical and environmentally responsible benefits, why not give it a try? You may never use store-bought again – and ease your budget!


This post is sponsored by Dr. Bronner’s Malaysia. All opinions are mine. I’m so glad these versatile, magic castile soaps are now available in Malaysia, both bar and liquid versions! You can also buy them at MacroB Malaysia, located at SS2, Petaling Jaya. Go ahead and like these Pages to get more updates on green cleaning and natural health!


  • Noor
    April 6, 2016 9:44 am

    Great sharing! I am looking forward to made laudry detergent at home too. Do you made your own dishwashing liquid?

  • Jin Ai
    May 11, 2016 6:04 pm

    Hi Noor, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Yes I make my own dishwashing liquid. Will be sharing the recipe soon!

  • Jin Ai
    June 5, 2016 3:07 pm

    Hi Noor, yes I do make dishwashing liquid as we (including the children) do all the washing ourselves. Will be posting the recipe soon.

  • Sharon
    June 7, 2016 6:55 pm

    Love this recipe! Looking forward to more DIY recipe on cleaning solutions😊👍 By the way, where can I get the white vinegar in bulk?

  • Sharon
    June 7, 2016 7:42 pm

    Can you share the recipe of homemade shampoo and facial wash too?

  • Jin Ai
    June 12, 2016 4:38 pm

    Hi Sharon, glad you enjoyed the post! I buy my white vinegar at Pasaraya BSL in Old Town, Petaling Jaya. The current retail price is RM6.90 for 3.3kg.

  • Jin Ai
    June 12, 2016 4:38 pm

    I have tried only the no-poo method for washing hair. Facial wash and dishwashing recipes coming soon!

  • nabila
    November 28, 2016 3:45 am

    hi Jin Ai, can you tell any substitute for bar soap? would any bar soap can be used?

  • Jin Ai
    April 16, 2017 5:00 pm

    Hi Nabila, use pure vegetable bar soap.

  • lightsofourhope
    August 4, 2017 2:20 am

    Hi Jin Ai,

    I have couple of questions to ask.

    1. May I know is this recipe can also made for laundry powder detergent?
    2. Have you ever heard of “Sabun Buku Cap Buruh”? I tried to search for their ingredients list to no avail. Is this what you called as pure vegetable bar soap?
    3. Dr. Bronner Unscented Castile Soap Bar vs. Kirks Unscented Castile Soap bar, which one is your preference?

    Thank you in advance.

  • Jin
    January 4, 2018 3:29 pm

    Hi, this recipe is specifically for liquid detergent. I haven’t tried tweaking it for a powder version yet. I’ve not heard of Sabun Buku Cap Buruh. Vegetable bar soap is made from fats or oils of vegetable origin rather than from saponified tallow or other animal fats, so I’d recommend looking for a soap that lists its ingredients. Have not tried Kirks castile soap either. If you have, please let us know how it works for you. Thanks for stopping by!

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