Simple, Effective Laundry Soap

Laundry soap does not get more simple than this, my friends.  I have made and used several different homemade laundry soaps over the past five years, some powder and some liquid.  When we decided to become Fulltime RVers, I knew that I would need to make a change in order to streamline ingredients to minimize space.  Most recipes use Borax  and Washing Soda (they work together to soften water and remove stains), and I knew I wanted to continue using both of those; but I wanted to switch the soap I used to Castile soap.  Why?  Because castile soap is my go to soap.  It is sulfate-free and natural.  I use it as body wash, diluted for handsoap, and even as dishsoap when I am out.  This stuff is so versatile and MUCH more healthy for your body to be in contact with.  Using one product for multiple purposes is a big win-win in our tiny household. Thus, the below recipe was born with ease of making in mind.

Simple Effective Homemade Laundry Detergent

Simple, Effective Laundry Soap


  • 1 C Washing Soda
  • 1 C Borax
  • 1 C Castile Soap  (I buy the unscented-baby mild, but this link shows all the scent options.)
  • 1 gallon container ( I use a leftover plastic water jug.)


  • Put 8 cups of water on Medium heat.  As soon as bubbles begin to rise from the bottom, SLOWLY add in washing soda and borax (Be slow unless you want an overflow situation).  Stir until dissolved.  The water will turn a creamy color, you just want to stir until there is no more grit on the bottom.  It will only take about a minute. Simple Effective Homemade Laundry Detergent
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool to about room temp (can be warmer).
  • Pour this mixture in to the bottom of your empty gallon container.
  • Add water to the gallon container until it is about 2/3 full.
  • Add castile soap.
  • Fill remainder of gallon with water.
  • Gently turn upside down and back and forth to mix.  (Following these simple steps will keep the detergent from overflowing with suds.)

Boom!  Done!

To use: 

Use a ¼ cup with each regular load, more for larger loads.  I also apply the detergent directly to stains before washing with great success!

Shake before each use.

What to expect?  The mixture will begin to jell as it sits, that is perfectly normal, just shake before use.  I think the most difficult part of switching to a natural laundry detergent is the smell.  We are so accustomed to associating fresh scents with cleanliness, but our minds our just being tricked.  I use Unscented Castile Soap, because I use it for so many different applications and don’t always want a smell.   I am accustomed to scentless now from body wash to hand soap to laundry, so I am actually now on the reverse side of the spectrum – my nose dislikes artificially scented soaps.  Once you are away from them for a long time, they smell more like chemicals and are almost offensive.  It does take time for the adjustment to occur, and if you really do want a scent, there is no reason not to have one.  Castile soap comes scented.  You can also always add your own essential oils to any soap.  If you do want to use essential oils, you can add them to the batch when you add the soap, or you can just add a drop or two when you put your soap in the washer’s dispenser to do a load.  This laundry detergent is effective, but if you have stains, be sure to apply it directly to the stain before washing.

Need a fabric softener?  I use plain white vinegar in place of fabric softener.  It won’t give you the exact same effect, but it will work without adding all those chemicals.


About Jen

I love travel, which led me to become a fulltime RVer. I love wellness, which I can talk about 'til the cows come home. I love being self-employed, which means I get to dabble in what interests me from essential oils to RV planners. But most importantly, I love my husband and our life together on the road!

5 comments on “Simple, Effective Laundry Soap

  1. I just started reading your blog and following your youtube videos a few days ago. I am a Canadian (Nova Scotian) living in Denmark with my Danish man and our Leonberger dog, Millie. Why am I commenting here instead of on your other great posts about where you have been etc.? Well, I keep looking for a borax free laundry detergent that works 😉 I use to love using borax at home in Canada (even visited the Borax Museum – yup, that crazy) but Borax is banned in the EU. I havent found a substitute. So I should be disappointed with the ingredients of your soap..but NO..Castille soap! Great idea! We are not full time RVers nor planning that lifestyle for now but we have travelled extensively in the US and Canada and also, have a camper and are heading above the Arctic Circle in Norway this summer to the Lofoten Islands and then down to Geiranger Fjord for three weeks. I love some of the full timer RV tips I find for actual use in our home too. Anyway, as I ramble on… I just wanted to say your blog style and your youtube videos are refreshing. You come across as lovely sensible people sharing your adventures and what you are learning and doing along the way in a clear enjoyable format. Keep it up!

    • What kind, encouraging words! Thank you so much for getting in touch with us. I had no idea there was a Borax Museum??!! That is definitely something I would have visited if I came across it! A substitute for Borax would be difficult, but I hope you can use this recipe in some way to help you get the desired results. Since we physically can not store all of the many things I would love to have, making sure items have multiple purposes is important to us, and I LOVE castille soap. I know that people are on the fence about the “naturalness” of Borax, some believing it is totally safe and others not so sure. That is interesting that it is banned in the EU. If I do come across something for a good substitute, I will certainly let you know. I am so excited for you about your upcoming travel plans. I have been to Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands; but no where else in Europe. I will be googling the Lofoten Islands and the Geiranger Fjord. Thank you for honest, open feedback. Please do keep in touch. Sincerely, Jen (and we love your dog!)

    • We just looked at a few photos of the islands and fjord…AMAZING! What a great trip!

  2. Thank you so much for the recipe! I am looking forward to more of your castile soap recipes if you are willing to share. I just started using this wonderful soap and I am amazed at the fresh, clean results I am having.

    Best wishes on your journey. And thanks for sharing your life with us. We are thinking about full timing but not there yet…. It is a process for us. What to do with our things?? (My mother and father passed away recently and i got her grandfather clock and some other treasured family items that are holding us back from this lifestyle).

    • Hi, Kate! Thanks so much for stopping by! I am so glad to hear that you are benefiting from these healthier, non-toxic recipes! Thanks for sharing your experience, and I absolutely plan to include more and more! Our sincerest sympathy for your recent losses. I can certainly understand how important heirloom items are. We are all in different phases of life, and full timing is definitely not appropriate in every stage. I am just so glad you found us, and I hope that joining us is a blessing to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *